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Issue 7 | August 2013


From the Editor

Letter From the Editor Dear Anglerfish Readers,

Eric Cole

Editor in Chief

Issuu - www.issuu.com/theanglerfish Tumblr - theanglerfishmagazine.tumblr.com Twitter - www.twitter.com/anglerfishzine Facebook - www.facebook.com/theanglerfish

Managers & Editors Brandon Dannenhoffer Jason Stack Keren Moros David Pantoja Eefje Savelkoul Katherine Taylor

Founder Entertainment Editor News Editor Art Director Sr. Design Lead Sr. Design Lead

Graphics & Design Maddie Valley Rosie Strom Yasmin Roelofs Hayley Pike Tiffany Kuo

Designer/ Illustrator Designer/ Illustrator Designer Illustrator Illustrator

Writers Marissa Alyssa Nabors Cecily Dreyfuss Elsa Stoff Sarah Mills Colleen Good Melissa Heineman Lya Rothmann Lucy Pegg Joie Ling Kaya Mendelsohn Ruth Tirado Pallavi Pillutla

Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer Writer

Social Media/ PR Mert Keceli Tristan Dane

Social Media Social Media

Cover by: David Pantoja

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It has taken me a long time to decide what exactly I would like to say in this month’s letter. I mean, where do I begin? In this month’s issue, we have a very special article, submitted by Miss Jillian Jennet and recommended by none other than Lori Earl, Esther Earl’s mother! This, all by itself, is extremely exciting, and we would like to thank Lori for supporting our magazine by allowing this article to be published. Anyone who is a Nerdfighter knows about Esther’s story, and we can all show empathy for the Earls. Some of us might even be able to truly relate to the tragic heartbreak that comes from losing a child. I have to admit that whenever I hear the name Esther Earl, my eyes start to water and my mind jumps back to the 2010 Project for Awesome live stream when John spoke of Esther and visibly began to break down. It is heartbreaking to watch, but it epitomizes just how important Esther was - not just to her own family, but to hundreds and thousands of people around the world throughout the Nerdfighter community. However, every time I do start to feel the tears come on, I tell myself to stop - not because it is not a sad situation or because Esther doesn’t deserve them, but because Esther would not want us to shed our tears for her. I didn’t know Esther personally, but I like to believe that she was a firm believer in one of the greatest literary quotes in history: “To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” Esther lived a full life, a happy life, and I like to think that she had a smile on her face when she passed away. And after you read the article, I believe you just might agree with me as well. Our other major article this month is our featured fandom article. This month, we have decided to step out from behind the curtain and into the minds of those lovable misfits from Michigan, Team Starkid. With all phenomenons, it is hard to explain exactly why it is that this group of diverse individuals exploded in the pop culture world since their arrival in 2009, but with over 300,000 subscribers on Youtube, their stars finding mainstream success (Darren Criss and Joey Richter) and appearing in articles from publications as big as Entertainment Weekly, that is exactly what they have done. So dive in with two of our brave writers as we attempt to unravel the web and try to decipher why is it that Team Starkid is Totally Awesome. So how about it, readers? Do you have “Get Back to Hogwarts” running on a constant loop in your head? What are your memories of Esther? Submit your thoughts to us here at theanglerfishmagazine@gmail.com, and you may be featured in our next issue! Until then, I hope you enjoy all of our amazing articles this month, and as always, DFTBA! Best Wishes, Eric Cole Editor in Chief: The Anglerfish Magazine


Contents

Table of Contents 01 Letter From The Editor

20 Joss Whedon : The Musical

03 Thoughts From Places

21 Starkid Fandom

04 Advice

24 Welcome to Nightvale

05 Rest in Awesome: Esther Earl Saying

25 Vidcon

08 I love You, Esther Day Nerdfighter

26 Something Borrowed, Something

09 Spotlight: Kelsey Macke

27 PS4 vs XBOX

13 Movie Club 4

28 P.O.L.I.D.O Interview

15 How I Learned to Stop Worrying

29 College Education Reform Oregon

16 Twilight’s Vindication

30 I Chose to Play the Fool

17 The Cuckoo’s Calling

32 Quick College Tips

19 The Obsession with Dystopias

34 Art & Literature

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Reader Submissions

Discovering what’s just aro

Thoughts from places in the Netherlands Most Dutch people love spending their vacations abroad, immersed in different cultures and preferably in a dryer climate than our own. It’s easy to forget that our small country has so much to offer on its own when the border to somewhere different is never far away. By Eefje Savelkoul This summer my best friend and I decided to vacation for a week in our own country to explore the Netherlands as if we were tourists who just happen to speak the language—to discover places we hadn’t been before. We did something new every day and still only covered a fraction of the places we didn’t know before. I had bought a Lonely Planet travel guide to get some ideas as to how a tourist would approach our country and skipped the very large chapter on Amsterdam because I travel there every day for work. There are so many places to visit even if you just stick to this one guide book, and I feel the Lonely Planet is still pretty limited. Of all the places we visited, two left the biggest impression with me: Haarlem and Deventer. Both are small cities with old centers that have a lot of history to them. I loved just walking through the streets and

seeing all the buildings and hidden places like convent gardens and courtyards. It is amazing how much the building styles of a city determine its character. We humans are just passing through, living our lives among the buildings and slowly changing them as they slowly change us. We leave little bits of our stories behind, so that walking through the center of Deventer means taking a tour of its history. Every building has its tale, like the shop that was once an apothecary, the facade of which still sports the advice “Trust in God, but take your medicine.” I spend so many of my days sitting behind a screen at home or at work (three screens at work). When I do go outside, it is mostly to travel from the one to the other or to visit friends. My hometown Utrecht has stories from the Middle Ages branded into the stones I walk past all the time. I was born here but there are still so many stories of this city and its people that I have yet to learn. But when do I take the time to learn? Whenever I have time off, I go somewhere else because I want to discover other countries. And that’s just Europe. There are more countries out there that are so different from what I know that I want to see. With all that, it it so easy to forget that I live among my history. And so do you. Even if your country or state is small or young, there are stories worth discovering there.

Places we visited Amsterdam – We went to the capital to see the Pixar exhibition and to watch Star Trek: Into Darkness because we wanted to see it and it wasn’t in theaters in Utrecht any more. We also walked all over the center visiting English language book shops. Haarlem – We went to the Frans Hals museum and walked around the center, visiting streets that are in the Dutch version of Monopoly. We had lunch at Bagels and Beans. Zaanse Schans – A very touristy location. The Zaanse Schans is a village with windmills and a museum about the area. There is also a hourglass museum, which is just a house filled with old clocks. Utrecht – We both know Utrecht very well, but we hadn’t visited the railway museum, so we checked that out. It’s more fun to visit with kids along. If you don’t have children, there are many more awesome museums in Utrecht.

Photos by: Eefje Savelkoul

Bredevoort – A tiny village that boasts the nickname “book city.” All the main streets are stuffed with different kinds of secondhand book shops. Absolute heaven for those of us who like being almost buried alive under old dusty books.

Eefde – We made a pit stop here just because it’s similar to my name—only one letter off.

A tram in the Railway museum.

Clogs as art at the Zaanse Schans.

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Deventer – Took a tour of the center with the help of a little guide book that has information on many buildings. We also checked out the toy museum, which was awesome.


Reader Submissions

ound the corner

Advice

By Cecily Dreyfuss Dear Cecily, I’ve wanted to get good at an instrument for a long time, and a few weeks ago I got a guitar for my birthday. Learning to play isn’t going as well as I was expecting it to, and I find it harder and harder to keep practicing. I know that practice makes perfect, but is there any way to make myself want to practice?

Flowers in a convent garden in Deventer.

Thoughts From Places

-Anon

Have you ever been in a place and had a thought there? Submit a Thoughts From Places! Send an email with your story to theanglerfishmagazine@ gmail.com with the subject title ‘thoughts from places’. Keep your story at around 500 words and please also include some pictures that go with your story!

Do you have an issue or question you could use some advice on?

My friends walking ahead of me in Deventer.

Send an email with your conundrum to theanglerfishmagazine@ gmail.com with the subject title ‘advice’. Our advice-giver Cecily will take a look and perhaps you’ll get an anwser in the next issue of The Anglerfish!

Dear Anon, I can absolutely relate to this. I play piano, guitar, and a few others so I understand that taking the time out to practice can be both boring and also challenging. When I first started playing guitar, I was really enthused at how much I was learning all on my own. However, over time as I finished learning beginner and started to move on I became discouraged. Here’s what I suggest so you won’t have to suffer in the same way. Make a schedule of what you want to learn. Leave days in between each goal, so if you don’t get it the first time, you don’t have to worry about staying on schedule. Leaving days in between also gives you time to master everything before moving on. Another tip I have is incentivise yourself to complete a goal. For example, when I learned how to play 10 new chords, I used to reward myself with Reese’s, since they’re my favorite. Incentives can be a really good way of convincing yourself to get something done. Good luck!

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Reader Submissions

Rest in Awesome Esther Earl By: Jillian Jennett

Originally Published on: http://www.feminerdity.com

The world we live in is a strange one. It is so easy for would be strangers to become best friends, from around the world. We can feel joy, sadness, hate, and love for people we will never meet, yet we still do, and we still care. Why do we feel such loss when a stranger goes away? Why do we feel such warmth? If one person could answer that question, it would be Esther Earl.

Images Courtesy of the Earl Family and TSWGO

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Reader Submissions So just who is she? Esther Grace Earl was once a normal, nerdy girl, with a loving family, and a good heart. She spent her life traveling around the world, from the US, to Europe, and the faraway places you’d never even think to think existed. Her parents, Lori and Wayne, raised her and her siblings to be kind and loving people, thinking about others before themselves. Their life was a good one and their family, happy. Then, all of a sudden, things changed. Esther was diagnosed with cancer, thyroid and lung, at the young age of 12, and nothing was really ever the same. Though a move from France back home to Massachusetts, she stayed

befriended many a Nerdfighter, and even helped run an online blog all about the Vlogbrothers and their adjoining community of nerdy fans. She loved to love things, to love people, and to love what was good. In 2009, Esther had the opportunity to go to LeakyCon, a Harry Potter convention, in nearby Boston. She was surrounded by the things that she loved and the kind of people she loved. “We all took shifts with her, so she could stay as long as possible.” Esther’s mother, Lori said, of whom I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing. “She went every day and just took it all in. She was so happy.” After LeakyCon, the most peculiar thing that could happen to a young teenager with terminal cancer; she befriended

This Star Won’t Go Out

Images Courtesy of the Earl Family and TSWGO

strong and didn’t waver from her signature spirit and bright smile. Through more treatments than could ever be counted, she got better, then worse, repeating ad nauseam for nearly four years. Of course, it was hard on her family, both emotionally and financially; jobs are often are unforgiving with time off for sick relatives, even if it’s your child. She continued to come and go from Boston Children’s Hospital, with different answers every time. The future was bleak, but her good heart still shone through. The life of one who faced illness should not be defined by it, and Esther’s certainly was not. She became heavily involved in the online fan community, finding many friends from around the world who loved Harry Potter just as much as she did. Then, it grew beyond Potterheads and soon she

John Green; New York Times Best Selling Author as well as one half of the Vlogbrothers. How does one make friends with the internet powerhouse that is Mr. Green? “Well, if you love what he’s done and have an oxygen tank, you’re already standing out in a crowd.” Esther and John kept in touch, not as a fan and idol, but as friends. They talked and learned and grew from each other’s company. Esther, wise far beyond her years, was still a teenager and still had teenage friends, still did teenage things, and still made teenage mistakes, but it didn’t make her any less extraordinary in anyone’s eyes. In mid-2010, John came to visit Esther in Boston, as part of her Make-a-Wish, and an unintentional goodbye. She was growing more and more sick, but she still had a while to live, at least so said the doctors. Before he left,

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Reader Submissions

John asked her a question that has, in my opinion, changed the internet forever. He told her that, to celebrate her birthday “in perpetuity”, he and his brother Hank will do whatever she wanted to celebrate her life. This was no easy question for a 15 year old girl to answer. “She could have made them done some truly silly things, from pranks to dares and bad jokes. But, she didn’t.” Lori said. What Esther decided on after her month’s long deliberation, was something far beyond anyone could have ever imagined. She just wanted her day, Esther Day, to be about family and love. She wanted John and Hank, brothers who are always reluctant to say their “I Love You’s”, to just say how much they love each other. So, with some reluctance, on August 2nd, 2010, John Green posted the first ever Esther Day video, talking about Esther and just what she wanted them to do. After an extended

chunk of the world was mourning her loss, in every country, and in every corner of the world she had loved so much. Again, John posted a video, though much more somber, in her memory. “Esther was an amazing kid,” he said, and went on about how much she had changed an entire online community with the love she had shown and the inspiration she was for thousands upon thousands of people. Images Courtesy of the Earl Family and TSWGO In the midst of so much darkness, there is always light. Shortly after Esther’s untimely passing, her family established a foundation in her honor; This Star Won’t Go Out. The foundation is dedicated on easing the pain of those who are touched by childhood illness.

metaphor about french fries, he ended his video with “Hank…I love you.” and then called all Nerdfighters to celebrate with declarations of love, just as Esther wanted. Unfortunately, only three weeks after her 16th birthday, Esther passed away, shocking both her family as well as her friends, in the real world as well as online. It felt as if an entire

Family will, without a doubt, see their child or loved one as more important than any job or anything else in times of sickness. Unfortunately, the world does not seem to agree. The foundation takes donations through the sale of bracelets, shirts, as well as fundraisers and pure donations, and gives it back to those who need it. They have raised over $130,000 for their cause

her family established a foundation in her honor; This Star Won’t Go Out. The foundation is dedicated on easing the pain of those who are touched by childhood illness

Images Courtesy of the Earl Family and TSWGO

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Reader Submissions and donate upwards of 95% of all money raised; something absolutely unheard of in the world today. They are also raising awareness about childhood cancer, and trying to bring the mere 4% of cancer funding up higher. To get personal; I was fifteen when Esther passed away. We both had blue eyes and red hair. We both lived in Massachusetts. We both loved Harry Potter and the Vlogbrothers. We both were in love with life. Right around the time that she passed away, I had lost three of my grandparents in the 9 months prior, and my last grandparent 2 months after her passing. Two of them had passed away from very aggressive forms of cancer and I had been in and out of oncology offices and chemo treatment centers and radiation clinics for a few years with them. Then, suddenly, they were gone. I was lost, so very lost, when this happened, but because of Esther, I pulled through. I did not look upon their deaths as a loss to the world, but I looked at their lives and how much good they instilled in it. I know that what they did for me will live on in me forever and, as long as I love people or help people to love people, they will never die, not really. I could never even begin to cover all of the wonderful things Esther has done, both in her life and beyond. I never did have the chance to meet her, Esther is a true friend to me, and to thousands around the world. She may be gone, but she will live on, in the “I love you’s” and projects and dedications in bestselling books. Her star will never go out. Rest in awesome, Esther.

If you would like to support TSWGO, you can check out their website here: http://tswgo.org/. You can purchase bracelets, shirts, pre-order Esther’s book, as well as donate to the foundation. So who do YOU love? Tell them today!

Saying; I Love You Esther Day

Esther Day is one of the many special days in Nerdfighteria but the true genius behind it is not always realized. by Joie Ling August 3 may be just a regular day for some, but for us Nerdfighters, it’s Esther Day. Esther Earl was a Nerdfighter who, when asked by John what she wanted her birthday to be about, said she wanted it to be a day of love. A day when you tell the people you love that you love them even if it is difficult and/ or weird to do. So due this request, for the fourth year in a row, Nerdfighteria musters up the courage to say “I love you” to the people in their lives. Nerdfighteria is amazing in this aspect because some of them refused to take the easy way out of saying those three words. Nerdfighters around the world employ posters, videos and songs just to say three words that are a lot harder to say than expected.

You can watch Jillian on her Youtube channel: youtube.com/user/JustMeJilly, follow her on Twitter @ JustMeJilly, and check out her photos on Instagram: http://instagram.com/jillianjennett.

During my own preparations for making Esther Day an awesome day for my friends and me, I realized the true genius behind Esther’s request. There is no doubt that I love my friends, but expressing my love for them is not the easiest thing to do. The reason for this is simple. The act of saying “I love you” is final and cannot be taken back after it’s out there. There is love in the world but it isn’t always expressed. To quote the Victorian author George Eliot, “I like not only to be loved but also to be told I am loved.” There can never be too much love in the world, and by saying “I love you,” that amount can be tripled. Esther Day may be the day when all of Nerdfighteria does this, but we should all aim to try to tell the people closest to us that we love them as much as possible. Happy Birthday, Esther. Your star will never go out.

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Reader Submissions

Nerdfighter Spotlight

Kelsey Macke Kelsey Macke has been teaching for eight years and playing music with her husband for ten. She went from zero to Nerdfighter in about one day after reading “The Fault in Our Stars” in January 2012. A 29-year-old Texas native, she has a master’s in special education from the University of North Texas, located in Denton, and still resides there with her husband and cats. A year shy of the publication of her first novel “Damsel Distressed,” she took some time to talk to The Anglerfish about her journey, her inspirations and her plans for the future. By: Alyssa Nabors

Images Courtesy of Kelsey Macke

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Reader Submissions The Anglerfish: So you are a teacher right now? The writing thing was part time, and, now that you’re being published, are you going to switch to writing full time? Kelsey Macke: Really, being published is the first step on a really long road. Even if I’m lucky, it’ll still be a couple of years before I’m able to write full time. It’s just like any other industry where you put out a product and sometimes it’s successful, and sometimes it’s just one of many sitting on a shelf. We’ll just have to wait and see. I started the writing process after I read “The Fault in Our Stars,” and I realized a human person wrote this book! Someone sitting at a desk, toiling, word by word and page by page. That was around the time I started writing with some intention, and it was around one calendar year from the time I first started drafting to when I sold my book to be published, so its been a very fast process for me. TA: That’s impressive! Did you have a clear idea of where you wanted the story to go. Did you have a particular planning strategy or use National Novel Writing Month? How did you finish so quickly? KM: One of the things that made it work was I knew I wanted to tell the story of a young person who had significant emotional and psychological issues. I knew that I wanted to have a very specific set of problems in my main character’s life, and so her voice was very clear when I started writing her story. But I’m the type who jumps feet first into things; I’ve got a long list of adventures I’ve been lucky enough to have, mostly because I’m not afraid to try new things. So I buckled down, drafted in about three months, and immediately started revising and was querying literary agents within four months of starting. And I didn’t give up. It’s a very daunting sort of task, so it really helps to be one of the very rare extroverted writers. TA: You’ve done quite a lot. You’re a teacher and a writer. You’ve been in musical productions. What else? What other kinds of adventures have you had? KM: The other half of the coin, and the reason I think “Damsel Distressed” will potentially be something new, is that my husband and I are also a band, and we’ve been recording together for ten years. We were already working on our debut album when the book was written and when the book You’ll be able sold; and we realized that a lot of our to scan a songs connected hidden code in with the story of my main character the pages with your Imogen. And that’s phone, and it will go when my agent, my publisher, my straight to the song husband and I all that correlates with realized we had the opportunity to do the scene you something very spejust read cial: that we could tell Imogen’s story

Images Courtesy of Kelsey Macke

with a book and an album. So when the book is released, it will be released alongside essentially its own soundtrack. The book is really interesting. There are graphics and illustrations throughout. There are song lyrics and poetry—sort of mixed-media pieces. You’ll be able to scan a hidden code in the pages with your phone, and it will go straight to the song that correlates with the scene you just read. I’m really excited! TA: That’s really cool! Was the idea of using this technological ability to mix media something you were really motivated to do, or was it an idea introduced by someone else? KM: Actually it was my agent’s idea. I call her a mad scientist because she has incredible ideas. She’s not afraid to reach for the stars, and she brought the idea to the forefront. The book’s going to have a web presence and videos and all this additional material: music videos, poetry and artwork. You can totally just read it as a book, but if you are into media and technology and social networking, then it’ll be really interesting and hopefully a really unique experience.

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Reader Submissions TA: Let’s take a minute and talk about the steps you took to get published. KM: Well, the first disclaimer is that nobody’s path is going to be the same as anyone else’s. Really, the first though my expedisclaimer is that rience was fairly nobody’s path is going straightforward. First, you have to to be the same write a good book— one that you believe as anyone else’s in—and you have to finish it. You have to

have done your research regarding word count, what editors and agents are currently looking for, and find something that matches your own passions and interests. Once you have something written you have to find other writers to partner with to start reading your book. I know that in the YA [Young Adult] community, Twitter is like the Holy Land. There are so many inspiring YA writers on Twitter, and it’s such a warm, welcoming community. There are incredible websites and blogs dedicated to helping people find critique partners and beta readers because that step is so important—that first feedback you get. And once you’ve done that a few times, and you’ve edited and revised as much as you can, then, if you want to be traditionally published, you need to start querying literary agents. There are lots of resources online and so many agents in Twitter. I actually met

Images Courtesy of Kelsey Macke

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Reader Submissions the finalists. I think this will really help the book resonate with the community because they will have helped create it. TA: Do think this is a book that the Nerdfighter community in particular will find common ground with?

Images Courtesy of Kelsey Macke

my own agent on Twitter before she became my agent. They love giving advice and talking about what they’re looking for, and so getting involved in that community is really, really helpful. Once you start querying it is hard, because you will be rejected. I don’t know a single writer that hasn’t been rejected by either an agent or publisher. So you do have to thicken your skin and be prepared to hear “It’s not for me.” If you believe in your book, it’s really important to keep going. I was rejected over twenty times by different agents. But hopefully, you do find an agent who’s passionate about your work, and that agent will try to sell your book to publishers. But if you don’t get an agent that loves your work, then it’s really important to start working on something new. Don’t give up on the first project—keep sending it to agents. But the best thing you can do is keep writing. That is my number one piece of advice: keep writing. TA: Great advice. Lets talk more about the book. Its going to be mixed media. Does that have anything to do with the contest that’s coming up? KM: Yes. My main character is Imogen Keegan. She’s seventeen, and I’m telling her story through journal entries, so in there are her doodles and potential song lyrics, and that’s really where the mixed media aspect comes in. I’m so excited about the contest. We’re announcing it officially [on] August 16. The novel is just so interactive. I know you’re familiar with how John Green talks about books belonging to their readers, and I think that’s particularly true for this book. I think it’s a book people will be doodling on and writing in and really making their own. So we’re holding this contest to have the cover designed. It’s open to any graphic designer, illustrator, anyone who can put together an image that ties in with the story. There will be a video released on the 16th, and it will include excerpts from the book, songs and artwork, and explain how the contest will work. The winner will receive the cash commission for the cover for the book, and it’s definitely a foot in the door with publishers who are always looking for new graphic designers. It’s exciting for me—since so much of the book has been created by me—to have someone else create the cover for it, who has an outside perspective. It’s a great opportunity for people to get creative and get involved in the project. Eventually, a selection of submissions will be posted for public voting to help narrow down

KM: I think Nerdfighters as a group have a few things in common. They are passionate and people who seek to improve themselves, and my book is about a young person who is struggling, who has a lot of pain. I think my story is unique in that it is not about fixing the problems but about being brave enough to want to start fixing the problems. I know that desire for self-improvement is something I’ve found in the Nerdfighter community, and I think Nerdfighters will be able to relate to my character in that way. TA: How did you get involved with the Nerdfighter community to begin with? KM: I was introduced to the Nerdfighter community when all my friends started reading “The Fault in Our Stars” and telling me I needed to read it. I was hesitant because of all the hype, and, well, what if it’s not that good. So John Green was on tour and making a stop to speak at an American Library Association event in Dallas and it was three days away. My friend wanted to go and asked me to read the book so I’d be excited about going with her. I picked up the book and read it in a day, had all of the feels, and I was an instantaneous fangirl. I went with my friend and we had the best time. We took pictures with the van, and I got to meet John, and it was right after that that I found the videos. I honestly just crawled my way into Nerdfighteria, and the next thing I know, I’m watching all the videos and I’m active in the forums and I’m reading all the books and I’m contributing to Project for Awesome. I think that’s one of the best things about Nerdfighteria: there’s no initiation period. You can be involved as much as you want! There’s something for everyone, and I think its incredible. It still makes me excited.

You can see Kelsey vlog every Friday at youtube.com/ kelsnotchels, follow her on Twitter @kelsnotchels, or check out her website www.kelseymacke.com. Don’t forget to check out the cover design contest for “Damsel Distressed” at www.damseldistressed.com and watch for the release of the book and album by Wedding Day Rain (www.weddingdayrain.com) in October 2014.

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Entertainment

The Anglerfish Movie Club

Illustrations by: Rosie Strom

Taking Woodstock (2009) & Footloose (1984) 13

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Entertainment

This month’s films look at the power of youth and the freeing aspects of the arts. ‘Taking Woodstock’ follows the true story of Elliot Teichberg, the man who spearheaded the effort to rehouse the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in 1969 Bethel, NY. 1984’s ‘Footloose’ tells the tale of a city boy who moves to a small country town where public dancing has been outlawed. York City seems to be the exact opposite of his parents who are struggling to get by as motel operators in essentially the middle of nowhere in the upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains. By: Sarah Mills and Melissa-Lynn Heineman SM : The most obvious connection that I saw between these two films was the ability for the arts to give young people a way to express themselves and reflect the times they are living through. Obviously, with ‘Taking Woodstock’, this is shown through the music of the late 1960s and the whole youth culture of flower power and the “peace and love” movement. In ‘Footloose’, especially with Kevin Bacon’s solo dance scene and the final senior dance, you can see how expressive dance is for these characters at this time in their lives. MH: While ‘Taking Woodstock’ didn’t venture into dance, the music really does aid in the expression of the time. This is especially important and rather impressive due to the movie looking 43 years into the past, whereas with Footloose, what you saw was what you got, as it was a modern ‘80s film. A music piece that stands out to me is a scene where Elliot and two hippies trip on LSD and venture into a more intimate situation. They use Love’s song “The Red Telephone” non-diegetically, and the music is fitting of the time and the scene. SM: Exactly! You really see the marriage of the music and the culture, whereas in ‘Footloose’, it is the dance itself that carries that expressive power, rather than the music they are dancing to. Another clear theme that I picked up on when I watched these films was the potential of the younger generation. Elliot in ‘Taking Woodstock’ is the youngest president of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce and his success in as an interior decorator in New York City seems to be the exact opposite of his parents who are struggling to get by as motel operators in essentially the middle of nowhere in the upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains.

MH: Ren in ‘Footloose’ is a Chicago-bred teen who loves dance, cigarettes, gymnastics and rock music. Arriving in the fictional town of Bomont, UT, he discovers all that he loves is scorned by the community due to a severe drunk driving incident that happened some time ago. Dancing is prohibited, and while many teens secretly rebel, Ren openly rebels. He finds himself ostracized, ticketed by the local police, kicked off the gymnastics team, and is openly antagonized by the townspeople. This undoubtedly was aided by the fact that he was a city kid and a threat to a sheltered town run by people who feared change. Nevertheless, his passion for dance and music helps him touch the town reverend to begin to change the town for the better. SM: I always thought it was interesting that, in the town council scene, Ren uses Bible verses to back up his beliefs about the need for people to dance. It reminded me so much of the way that people can interpret the words of the Bible to fit whatever point they’re making, be it homophobic beliefs or the extremes that people like Dan Brown take them to in order to tell a good story. It didn’t seem silly, but I thought it was surprising that John Lithgow’s character of the reverend didn’t have anything to say in return. MH: Amongst the other themes, it’s interesting to note this parallelism in religion. ‘Footloose’ has very Christian themes, like the evils of temptation. ‘Taking Woodstock’ portrays much of the Jewish racism found in a cliche “small-town” setting. The Teichbergs find themselves harassed with Nazi graffiti, and the discussion of the struggling immigrant emerges in arguments over money. What I love about ‘Taking Woodstock’ is how they relate religious antagonism with other forms of discrimination, including race and gender-identity - something I’d love to applaud Liev Schrieber for in the film. Both films fit the ‘oldies’ mold of films, lovable with character growth and a voice against the “man.” That being said, the movies were enjoyable and fit a criteria for a good, laid back repeat-film - one that you can see over and over again.

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Entertainment

B-Movies and You

Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Sharktopus

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Here’s one writer’s take on the most overlooked of all cinematic treasures.

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Who’s even making these things, and why do they keep coming out?

By Alyssa Nabors I have never claimed nor will I ever truly feel that my taste in movies is more than, shall we say, plebeian. While I am not averse to Oscar bait, enjoy an occasional indie film or foreign flick, and have been known to watch the classics now and again, it cannot be denied that among my DVD collection are frequently viewed copies of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Ghostbusters II, and others that were panned by critics, failed at the box office, or both. But something you won’t find is anything that was released straight to TV or DVD. Even as a kid, I instinctively felt that if a movie hadn’t made it into a theater, usually preceded by plenty of TV spots, it wasn’t a quality flick - probably not even worth my time, let alone money. With plots that were rip-offs of rip-offs, unappealing animation styles, and other earmarks of low-budget films, I wondered who was even making these things and why they kept coming out? In the past, this class of film was called a B-movie, and its history was as rich as that of film itself. Originally referring to the less-publicized second film of a double feature, the term now classifies any inexpensively-made genre film that receives little to no advertisement and a release that might be limited, aired on television, or straight to DVD. B-movies have launched the careers of

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great actors such as John Wayne and Jack Nicholson. However, they rarely make it into theaters nowadays. While I was in college, I came to value a specific genre of B-movie: the campy horror movie. Usually found at video stores or on cable TV, this particular type of horror movie involves rapidly disappearing co-eds, a loosely formed plot, and gallons of red-colored corn syrup. Reveling in the glorious clichéd nature of it all, I began to think that making a movie like this, without worrying whether it was “good” by anybody’s standard, would be, in short, fun! When you think about the movies SyFy has produced in the past year, mostly disaster flicks involving some improbable beast or another, you can’t help but smile - MegaShark? Sharktopus? Sharknado? Clearly someone’s stuck on sharks, but it seems to be working out all right for them! With Hulu and Netflix, the B-movies of the past and present are more accessible than ever before. Don’t let the instinct to snub a cheap and lowbrow-looking flick rule you; just take a chance and try something new and goofy for a change! Maybe Sharktopus is just what you’ve been looking for.


Entertainment

Twilight’s Vindication What if ‘Twilight’ was a tragedy?

Illustration by: Eefje Savelkoul

It’s hard to believe that the Twilight saga will have been out for eight years this October; the novels and its stars are just as talked-about and relevant in pop culture as the Harry Potter franchise, which first hit bookshelves in 1997. However, the series is often met with far more negative criticism than the wizard epic loved by so many people, and for a whole array of reasons. By Marissa Wilks Some people take more issue with the movie’s actors than the story itself; others simply dislike the characters. Many people (including John Green) have said that they believe the notions of love put forth by these novels are unhealthy and unrealistic, which is probably a fair criticism. However, acknowledging and putting aside the author’s writing styles, the acting, and the ideologies of love put forth by this story – acknowledging that these books are as loved as often as they are despised – it is arguable that perhaps one of the reasons why people find this franchise so dislikable is because it has a happy ending. It’s not as though Twilight is the only story in history which romanticizes unhealthy love or affections: love that has an imbalance in power, or creates life-altering problems for both parties involved and their families. This contemporary fiction is just one of the most recent in a line of widely worshipped romances – and the most classic of them all comes to mind. Recognizing that Romeo and Juliet is a very old classic, one that is a play AND was written by one of the most recognized writers of all time, one could subject it to the same premise-based scrutiny as Twilight, but isn’t often, despite their similarities. Why is that? Well, that’s obvious – they were written centuries apart by different authors in different countries. For all they have in common, maybe the most popular criticisms of the premise of Twilight could be said about one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. Both of the stories are centered around young, star-crossed lovers separated by unfortunate circumstance; both defy any and all boundaries to be together; both are written by authors sympathetic to their situation. Their most notable difference is the fact that Romeo and Juliet ends in tragedy, whilst Bella and Edward ride off into the sunset together forever. When we look upon Twilight with disdain, one of the most stated criticisms is its premise that love can solve anything if one fights and wants enough for its continuance. What if one of the reasons people at times dislike Twilight is because this ideal is ultimately vindicated in the story, one which society has come to accept as being unrealistic or impossible? We might come to wonder how we would feel about Romeo and Juliet if it ended with the couple living out long and happy lives together. One of the most attractive things about that story is the idea of its tragedy, that two people who were meant to be just simply cannot be together. It’s the idea that love can try to transcend all obstacles but may ultimately fail, and should perhaps be treasured all the more for this fact.

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Entertainment Illustration by: Eefje Savelkoul

How would we feel about Romeo and Juliet if they lived happily ever after? Would we come to think them as selfish or reckless, acting rashly without devastating consequence? Or what if Twilight ended in tragedy? Would we more often possess more generous feelings towards its characters? Is it possible that we only believe in obsessive, unhealthy love if those involved can be denied, or even punished, for their folly, even if we claim to be sympathetic towards it? Maybe this is all a stretch; it’s probably also true that most people would think more highly of these novels if Bella’s character was more fully developed, or if it was even written by a different author altogether. Maybe our opinions and ideals of what love should be are so relevant and ingrained in our society that we’ll always have something to say about fairy-tale romances. A more fully-developed thesis could probably argue this point better than this article does. But it’s a start, and if there’s one thing that’s true, it’s that the way we feel about romance and happy endings probably say more about us than they do any one story.

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J. K. Rowling On 14 July 2013, less than a year after the publication of The Casual Vacancy and six years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it was revealed that JK Rowling’s latest book was already on store shelves. In fact, for three months, The Cuckoo’s Calling had been largely ignored by readers - until it was revealed that Robert Galbraith was simply a pseudonym for one of the world’s most successful authors. By Lucy Pegg I first heard the news on a typically mundane Sunday morning whilst scrolling through The Guardian on my phone. Like some inferior version of Google, there are certain ‘keywords’ my brain now looks out for, and being a massive Potter fan, foremost among them is ‘JK Rowling’. So upon seeing her name, I stopped scrolling and read the headline, at which point - and I’m not kidding here - a small scream escaped me and I descended into a total nerdgasm. It seemed that the great goddess Rowling had deigned to write the world another book and her pseudonym had been revealed to the world. Having posted on the relevant social networks, I headed over to Amazon to order myself a copy. And not a week later, the book arrived and I discovered to my relief that this book is genuinely brilliant. Cormoran Strike, our protagonist, not only has a great detective name but seems very real; like all believable characters, he has flaws, in this case a tendency to be gruff and to keep himself isolated from those around him. But there’s also an endearing quality to the determination in his investigations


Entertainment

Writes Again which, whilst is in part fuelled by a need to pay the bills, highlights the difference between him and the regular police. He seems to feel an empathy for the supermodel victim Lula Landry, which is at first surprising, until we gradually see the similarities between them as he slowly reveals his past. A s always with Rowling’s writing, the setting is extremely

vivid too. If you’ve ever ended up in the posher parts of London amongst the endless streets of identical white-windowed houses, you’ll instantly be able to visualise the house in which Lula meets her end. In a particularly entertaining scene featuring Strike’s secretary and sidekick Robin, she negotiates in a high end boutique just like those that intimidate so many tourists wandering the city. Both celebrity haunts and the tackiest of fast food outlets are represented in this novel, and I would say it is one of the more accurate descriptions of London seen in popular modern literature. As for the actual plot, it’s subtly involving. Whilst not a Stieg Larsson novel with every chapter ending in a brutal torture scene, you certainly want to unravel the mystery and do start to see possible clues in every sentence. But one downfall of The Cuckoo’s Calling is that it lacks a sense of urgency, even at the climax. Perhaps this is characteristic of a plot focusing on a supposed suicide; the crime is in the past and the investigation is retrospective, so it feels as though the dangers have passed. I would argue that, despite the story’s conclusion, this is more about psychology and the insecurities of those in the limelight than physical crimes, setting this apart from the more violent crime fiction currently in vogue. So once again, Rowling has written an engaging read. To make some obligatory comparisons, I preferred this to The Casual Vacancy, though there was a definite feel that this was written more for entertainment purposes than to deliver a striking social commentary, as is clearly the focus of her first adult novel. Having said that, there is some very clear criticism of the savage nature of the media, which, given that the author was a target of the News International phone-hacking scandal is quite relevant. I do have just enough self-control to not compare this with Harry Potter. Overall though, this is definitely worth reading, providing of course you can actually manage to get a copy.

Illustration by: Eefje Savelkoul

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Entertainment

The Obsession with Dystopia Understanding the attraction of dysfunctional worlds

Book trends are as common as fashion trends, and the trend of dystopian fiction has been growing in recent years. How can a reader’s fascination with dysfunctional worlds be explained? by Joie Ling Perfect utopias that have gone very wrong, leaving the hero/heroine to change the status quo. This is one of the many storylines found in the newest book craze: dystopian fiction. It’s a subgenre of science fiction and is usually categorized as a story that takes place in a futuristic world that is quite different from modern day society for obvious reasons that can be seen in its books. Dystopian fiction is in no way a new sub genre and includes classics such as Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and neoclassics such as The Passage by Justin Cronin. Two of the most popular and wellknown dystopian novel trilogies are Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games and Veronica Roth’s Divergent. Both of these dystopian worlds are based in different post-apocalyptic worlds where a new form of government has been implicated and their respective stories follow heroines fighting for their family, friends, and, in

many cases, their own life. If you need a quick refresher, The Hunger Games take place in the nation of Panem (formerly the United States), made up of twelve districts under the totalitarian rule of the creatively named Capital. In true dystopian nature, the Capital requires two tributes from each district to fight to the death in a yearly televised event, known as the Hunger Games. The story follows Katniss Everdeen as she fights in the 74th and 75th Hunger Games. Divergent takes place in dystopian Chicago with a society made up of five different factions that live by upholding certain aspects of humanity. However, corruption and tension between the different factions causes trouble in what started out as a utopia leaving Tris, our heroine, to figure out what to do. Although there are no sparkling vampires and muscular werewolves, dystopian fiction has become the newest obsession of book fans. What is it about dystopias though that has created such a huge fanbase? There are many different answers to this rather broad question. The first answer that springs to mind is the influence from the media. The media is responsible for the start of the vampire craze, and it is safe to say that it is responsible for the dystopian craze as well. (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is set for a November 2013 release, and filming for Divergent has concluded with a March 2014 release date.) But, despite the

images courtesy of flickr creative commons

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obvious evidence that supports the media as the reason behind this literacy boom, I have my doubts it is the sole perpetrator. Some other reasons could be the romance found in some of the stories or the very simple answer that the storytelling is just really good, which,in my opinion, it is. But another not oft-considered answer is that perhaps the idea of dystopias appeal to us, the readers. The notion might seem crazy as a dystopia is defined as, according to Merriam Webster, “an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives”. The thing about dystopias is that the one thing they all have in common: their past. All of these dystopian worlds sprung forth from the ashes - quite literally, in some cases - of our modern society. Perhaps we see dystopian novels as a way of looking into a “What if” future a long ways down the road. In some ways, we think of these stories as possible scenarios of what might happen to the society we know today. As the readers, we are able to connect to


Entertainment Joss Whedon and the Musical by Lucy Pegg the worlds found in these dystopian novels because they started out as our world. Due to this connection, we find ourselves wondering whether or not we would survive in this dystopian world or what our roles in the dystopian world would be. I doubt that I am the only one who has ever thought “What would life be like for me if I lived in Panem? Or what faction would I be in?” Despite the many reasons of why dystopia is appealing, it is still a wonderful genre to read as you relax from a long day. Allow yourself to be teleported to another world that may or may not be our own future.

Although there are no sparkling vampires and muscular werewolves, dystopian fiction has become the newest obsession of book fans.

If you haven’t heard of Dr Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog or Once More With Feeling (the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer), you might not expect Joss Whedon to be a musical theatre kind of person. He’s the man behind celebrated modern sci-fi, horror, and Shakespeare, but he has admitted that he’s now known for killing characters and also making them sing beforehand. His creations have all the spontaneous singing, dancing, and cheesiness of other musicals, but, because it’s Joss, you get a load more nerdiness thrown in, too. Dr Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog is in fact so incredible that Time Magazine named it the 15th best “invention” of 2008, even cooler than the Mars Rover. As it’s a super-villain musical starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day singing a multitude of insanely catchy songs, they’re probably right. Perhaps the most interesting thing to consider about Dr. Horrible is how humble its beginnings were, as it has grown so immensely since 2008. Originally created during the Writer’s Guild of America strike, the production’s tiny budget meant favours were called in and many were not paid until the musical was released in DVD form. Now, though, it’s a cult sensation and convention halls across the world are filled with white-coated doctors, goggles pushed high upon their heads. Whedon’s other musical creation, Once More With Feeling, doesn’t feel like a one-off episode in the middle of a season. It feels so much longer and more involved, despite being only 45 minutes in length - much like Dr. Horrible. But one of my favourite things about the episode is the fact that it is a proper episode, contributing to the series’ arcs (especially where relationships are concerned) and this sets it apart from “special” episodes in other TV programmes; it’s not like the recent puppet adventure in Community that mysteriously had little effect on the show’s universe. Plus, soundtrackwise, it just keeps getting better; even now, I can listen to the album and decide that every track is my new favorite song. With persistent rumours of a Dr. Horrible sequel it seems there is hope Joss’ musical adventures are not over yet. Who knows, perhaps The Avengers 2 will suddenly become more tuneful? Just imagine Tony Stark and Pepper Potts squabbling in song... Image courtesy of Netflix

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Since the introduction of ‘A Very Potter Musical’ (AVPM) in 2009, Team Starkid has grown from a group of college friends just fooling around into a fully fledged stage company, providing some of the most entertaining and creative shows of the last four years, at least to their fans. But what is it about Starkid that gets people so passionate about their work?

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Illustration by: Rosie Strom


Entertainment EC: I think the best place to start is at the beginning, and where we each found out about Starkid shows. For me, it all happened very simply. I was on the popular Harry Potter website Mugglenet, and I remember scrolling down and seeing a news story for a Harry Potter musical, thinking that it was a joke at first. Who would make a Harry Potter musical? This wasn’t because it isn’t a fantastic idea, but because of copyright issues that come along with that kind of move. So I clicked on the story, along with the attached Youtube video link, expecting to be Rick Rolled, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t a joke; it was a very real thing. As those first chords of “Get Back to Hogwarts” entered my mind, I knew that I would be hooked. Each song had me rewinding to memorize the lyrics, and I was left with a feeling that only intensified as each joke brought gut-busting laughter.

as the marriage of the three is bizarre but works strangely well. And the way that ‘AVPM’/’AVPS’/’AVPSY’ have taken the ideas from the Potter series and intertwined them while making them their own is quite incredible. That’s something I’ve always admired about Starkid: they can play into the humor while also making it dramatic and at times dark, while also playing at my fangirl heartstrings. And beyond that, they allow me to be nostalgic while also drawing me into the fandom, as they truly make their shows their own. EC: I think you really hit the nail on the head as to why Team Starkid has gotten so popular over the last four years. It is not just the memorable acting of its performers, some of whom have become global superstars, like Darren Criss. It is not just the music, which

They are shows that expertly draw emotional responses out of those who see them, and that is something only the best shows are able to do MH: I found ‘AVPM’ by accident through Youtube. I remember going through a bizarre phase of being obsessed with Potter Puppet Pals, and, at one point, I saw the video title “A Very Potter Musical Act 1 Scene 1.” I was intrigued, and immediately clicked it. Similarly, I was hooked almost immediately - so hooked, actually, that I just kept relistening to “Get Back to Hogwarts” instead of watching the show for a week or so. I was delighted by the concept of a fanmade musical, seeing as how there was all this material on the internet already: fanfiction, parody videos, music, and dramatic readings. From there, I continued my journey into it and proceeded to fall in love with the fandom, even being one of many who aided in crashing Starkid on Youtube as ‘A Very Potter Sequel’ (‘AVPS’) was released. EC: I think we will find that, like us, a majority of people in the Starkid fandom will have fallen in love with them through ‘AVPM’, and while I love that show, I think it was important that Starkid branched out and evolved as they continued to develop shows. I think it is very easy to fall into a trap when you are developing something in a fandom as engrossing as Harry Potter, and it is very easy to be labeled as “those Harry Potter guys” or something similar for life. However, I believe Starkid did an excellent job of avoiding this trap by immediately following up their debut show with a show completely different from ‘AVPM’: ‘Me and My Dick’, a show that, while it maintains the light hearted humor of ‘AVPM’, is much more adult-themed and geared toward a more mature audience. It was a show that proved that Starkid would have diversity in their work and it was an important step to take for their future. MH: The company is most definitely diverse, and along with that creative and witty. While I haven’t seen ‘Me and My Dick,’ I have seen ‘Starship,’ and after a bit of research, I realized it wasn’t only inspired by ‘Starship Troopers’ but also ‘The Little Mermaid’ and ‘Alien.’ The combination is quite clear and adds a level of comedy,

Illustration by: Rosie Strom

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Entertainment is brilliantly written and performed, and, like any good musical, is able to perfectly convey the emotions of the characters and help progress the plot in a way that is entertaining and exciting. It is not just the writing which, as you mentioned, pulls together elements from a lot of previous works, but remains fresh, as well as witty and touching at times. It is the fact that Starkid has been able to effortlessly combine all of these elements together to create shows that are truly one of a kind. A Starkid show is unlike any other kind of show. It will make you laugh and cry, making you so elated one moment and ripping your heart out the next, roughing it up and replacing it with some bandages. They are shows that expertly draw emotional responses out of those who see them, and that is something only the best shows are able to do. MH: I don’t think there’s any better way to put it, and I believe that many would agree. There have been times when I’ve bonded with people over a memorable ‘AVPM’ or ‘Holy Musical B@tman’ (‘HMB’) song, and the feeling has reduced someone to tears. It has gained such a fanbase and the Starkids have not become outwardly puffed up from it. I mean, Evanna Lynch actually wanted to become involved for ‘AVPSY’ which does say something. And they have a wonderful sense of self-referential humor, like “Damn G.L.E.E!” and Ron’s headband appearing on Bug in ‘Starship.’ And, in ‘HMB’, there was indeed a rekindling of Voldemort (Joe Walker) and Quirrell’s (Brian Rosenthal) relationship between Batman and Superman (Walker and Brian Holden, respectively). There’s also something to be said about post-Starkid fame, as members like Joe Walker,

Lauren Lopez, Joey Richter, Dylan Saunders, Joe Moses and, most recently, Jeff Blim, have developed huge fanbases. EC: You are correct. There are plenty of other Starkids who have found big fame through Starkid, with Joey Richter appearing on the Disney Channel series ‘Jessie’, Joe Moses having a one-man travelling show, and Dylan Saunders producing a solo album. I think all of these items, while good for each individual person, also bode well for Team Starkid’s future in general. It can’t hurt that their stars are becoming bigger in the pop culture universe, which will only bring more renown to their own shows. It has even been stated by Matt and Nick Lang (the writers of all of Starkid’s shows) that they believe their newest musical, ‘Twisted’, could be the first that could have a life after the initial theater run, meaning that the show could be taken out on the road. If this is the case, I believe it is only the next logical step in Team Starkid’s development, and I can only see the group becoming bigger and bigger in the future. MH: Well, they are putting out a graphic novel, ‘Quicksand Jack’, at some point. They are a large part of Leakycon and the internet fandom “battle”. I can see them going incredibly far. Starkid is made of fangirls and boys making explosive media to excite their fans, and no matter where the cast and crew members go in the future, a string of fans will be close behind. Starkid has displayed, over the past 4 years, a determination to entertain and display a love for a colorful group of fandoms. Wherever they go, they, as their name says, will be stars - especially together.

Starkid has displayed over the past 4 years a determination to entertain and display a love for a colorful group of fandoms.

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Welcome to Night Vale, where neither people nor dogs are allowed in the dog park, a giant glow cloud brainwashes residents and deletes all digital evidence, and the Sheriff’s Secret Police monitor your thoughts on a daily basis. by Ruth Tirado ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, warnings from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the voice of Night Vale is Cecil Baldwin, who broadcasts the news as well as particular on-going events. The podcast has gained quite a large fandom over the past year, possibly due to the strange phenomena that occurs in Night Vale. Such occurrences include an invisible and always teleporting clock tower and hooded figures that gather in the dog park. Another explanation is because of Cecil, the soothing voice of Night Vale. Some say he is very charming. Others say that his voice is literally charming and that once you start to listen, you

will be cursed and forced to listen to every episode. It’s kind of hard to tell. Maybe you’d like to see for yourself. Although he has an enchanting voice, Cecil is often heard either bashing a resident named Steve Carlsberg, who is very concerned about government conspiracies, or warning residents of sudden dangers. Many listeners particularly enjoy listening to him fangirl about Carlos, a scientist, and his “perfect, perfect hair”. Carlos moved into town at the beginning of the podcast to study Night Vale’s unexplained phenomena and, in doing so, caught the attention of Cecil. With potential love blooming, more dangers await the small desert town. If you regularly enjoy sci-fi and anticipate imaginative content exploring scientific innovations including time travel, this podcast is not for you, as time does not exist in Night Vale. However, if you enjoy a dystopian setting, full of bizarre events that the citizens of Night Vale are seemingly tolerant of (and if you wouldn’t mind being the recipient of a curse or two), then you’re in luck! ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ is free and can be found on iTunes. The question is not whether you’d think you would survive in Night Vale, but rather, how long do you think it would take before you started hearing voices and seeing strange things? You shouldn’t worry, however. Solace may come from a soothing voice from a radio station...

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Entertainment

VidCon’s Movin’ On Full disclosure: I am a big crier. A sad book, a romantic movie, and basically any Harry Potter reference have the potential to turn me into a weepy little puddle. As someone lucky enough to have attended three of the four VidCons, I can tell you that the conference, without fail, will reduce me to tears at least once during the course of the weekend, not from sadness, but from joy. By Kaya Raven

But VidCon has grown and changed, as well. This year, Taco Bell had a booth in the Expo Hall, Rebecca Black hosted her own meetup, and, after some casual racism last year, Shane Dawson wasn’t asked to perform on the main stage. There were more people than ever before, cosplaying Adventure Time characters, passing out business cards with their YouTube channels on them, and lining up to meet Jack and Finn Harries. More people means more people to talk to and more YouTubers to meet, but it also means more people waiting in lines and more of a divide between content creators and fans. I think that those who have been in this community for a long time struggle with accepting and validating these masses. It is

Vidcon logo property of VidCon LLC

At the first ever VidCon, Shawn Ahmed of the Uncultured Project hard for some to appreciate the finesse and subtlety of a fangirl presented his video that shows the school built with Nerdfighter when Charlie McDonnell obviously just looks like he wants to go to donations, and I started to sob in my seat. Then, I missed a year sleep. Our message preaches that we should welcome and accept and cried because I wasn’t there, sitting everyone, but the biggest complaint of at home alone, watching YouTube videos VidCon 2013--according to my Tumblr Everyone is so of everything I wasn’t a part of. During searching skills--was that there were too genuinely excited my second VidCon in 2012, as George many people. This is clearly ridiculous Watsky recited “Letter to My 16 Year Old and hypocritical because it is ultimately to be there, from Self,” tears streamed down my face and I a good thing that our message of love the volunteers helping out and intelligence is reaching so many. had to ask the girl next to me for a tissue. This year, at VidCon 2013, I cried openly But when there’s a six hour line waiting to the fans, both young as I stood in a sea of people in Pizza John to meet Caspar Lee, it’s hard not to say, and old, to the content shirts and homemade DFTBA hoodies “Man, VidCon sure has changed,” and who all sang along with Hank Green’s not mean it in a positive way. We were creators posing for “Strange Charm,” a song about quantum once underground and secret, and now countless pictures in physics; everyone knew all the words. we are not. What I have learned from The ability of VidCon to bring me my experiences at VidCon is that this is the hotel lobby to tears has been a common thread not bad. through the years. Also remaining conVidCon has always made me so proud sistent is the atmosphere of fun and friendliness. Everyone is so of this community, even the first year, when it was a tiny, disorgagenuinely excited to be there, from the volunteers helping out nized gathering, and even now, when there are enough people to to the fans, both young and old, to the content creators posing fill a huge arena. Hank and John have built such a loving, supportive for countless pictures in the hotel lobby. Every year, I have been community and then gave us a way to come together. There is no able to shake the hand of someone I greatly admire and say how better feeling than being in a room with hundreds of people who much I appreciate and respect his or her work. There’s always a know all the words to “Strange Charm.” I am excited about where mind-blowing concert to finish off the weekend, and I always leave this event will be in the future and I am excited about all the new, wanting to come back. fun ways it will make me cry.

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The Anglerfish | Issue 7 August 2013


Entertainment

Something Borrowed, Something Blue This issue’s book reviews focus on the two widely acclaimed novels, ‘The Penderwicks’ and ‘Push;’ one geared more towards the younger set, the other meant for more mature readers only. by Marissa Early-Hubelbank Something Borrowed: ‘The Penderwicks’ was written by Jeanne Birdsall in 2005 and is partially based off the classic novel ‘Little Women.’ It is about the four Penderwick sisters: Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty, and their summer at the Arundel estate. There, they meet a lonely boy named Jeffery, who lives an isolated life there with his icy mother, Mrs. Tifton. She doesn’t approve of the Penderwick girls – or their father, who is raising his daughters without their mother. But in the girls, Jeffery sees a lifetime of fun; they soon become fast friends, getting into many adventures – and lots of trouble. This is a fantastic coming of age story for people who are either too young or simply uninterested in reading the aged (but not outdated) ‘Little Women.’ It’s different from the classic in that it’s set in a modern era, yet contains similar, relevant themes: ones like feeling lonely, misplaced, and misunderstood. It’s heartwarming, of course – but even more than that, it’s feisty and will keep you laughing for hours, especially if you have someone to read it with.

Something Blue: ‘Push’ has won dozens of awards, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award as an Outstanding Literary Work of Fiction, and was on the New York Times’s Top Ten list of 1996! It was written by a poet named Sapphire and follows an overweight, young, black woman’s struggles with disease, self-loathing, abuse, and illiteracy. Precious is a sixteen-year-old girl living in Harlem during the mid-eighties. Her parents have abused her in every which way imaginable; even as she was held back all the way to the ninth grade, she was passed along in a system that failed her. As of the start of the book, she is suspended from school, pregnant for the second time, and is sent to an alternative school, where she wants to learn to read and write. This book is written in a form of free-verse poetry; it exists within its own flow that is easy to get used to. It is a painful, raw narrative that hurts to read but urges the reader to continue, to want solace for Precious as badly as she wants it for herself. It’s a novel which speaks volumes to anyone who has ever been abused, victimized, let down, or made to feel like they were anything less than someone filled with amazing potential. It’s the sort of book that will leave you stunned and emotionally drained for several hours. It’s beautiful, brutal, unique, and indescribable. There’s no giving it proper justice in attempting to describe it; the only homage that it can ever come close to being fully given is for it to be read, cover to cover, and to be absorbed. Luckily, this book is amazing, so that isn’t too difficult. illustration by: Rosie Strom

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Entertainment

The Next Generation: XBox One vs Playstation Four As the world continues to advance in technology, the realm of video game entertainment is evolving from mere battles into a full-fledged war, and the world is about to meet the newest heavyweight contenders to step into the ring. But the question is who will ultimately reign supreme? By: Eric Cole

Sorry, Wii U. I know you have your fans, and I know that as long as Nintendo still has Mario and Zelda, there will always be people who will stick to Nintendo for all of their gaming needs. However, for the majority of the world, the battle for video game suprem-

acy has come down to two companies: Microsoft and Sony, the XBox versus the Playstation, respectively. Both of these companies seem unwilling to back down in the fight, and that is only going to intensify this holiday season when the newest iterations of their platforms hit store shelves. Which one will ultimately win the battle is still to be seen, but there are some intriguing areas to look at to see who has gained the early edge, especially when it comes to passionate gamers.

Kinect vs Playstation Eye This is the Minority Report section of the article. You remember Minority Report, right? You know, that movie about the future where we could speak and turn things on with our voices, and they had all those virtual screens that people could manipulate with their motions. Okay, while things haven’t gotten that advanced yet, the more you read about the newest version of Kinect, the cooler it sounds. While Sony has been very generic about what you will be able to do with the newest Playstation Eye - simply saying that it

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The Anglerfish | Issue 7 August 2013

will tell foreground and background people apart, and that you will be able to log into the system using facial and body movements Microsoft has wisely decided to release a ton of information about the newest Kinect. First off, every X-Box One sold has a built-in Kinect, unlike the newest Playstation Eye, which will be sold separately. It doesn’t end there, though. With the newest Kinect, you will be able to seamlessly transition from games to music to videos to live TV using only simple voice commands like “X-Box. Watch TV.” How simple is that? The newest Kinect also has infrared, meaning you will be able to use it during those late night gaming sessions. Anyone who used the original Kinect, though, knows that there was a certain amount of lag to the system. So, just how powerful is Kinect 2.0? According to Microsoft, the newest Kinect is so powerful that it can detect motion in just thirteen millionths of a second. That is about the amount of time it takes light to bounce back between you and the camera. All of this adds up to one seriously awesome piece of hardware. Advantage: Microsoft

VS

Game Exclusives

Let’s be real for a second: while technical specifications are all well and good, the real meat and bones of the gaming world is the games, and both companies are coming out swinging with quality system-exclusive games. On the X-Box side, we have a wide array of games, but they’re mostly first person shooters. There is the newest ‘Halo’, the continuation of the survivor horror franchise in ‘Dead Rising 3’, the revival of a beloved fighting franchise in ‘Killer Instinct’, the continued evolution of the incredibly popular PC sandbox game ‘Minecraft’, and an early Game of the Year contender, at least according to early reports, in ‘Titanfall’, a giant robot throwdown. This is certainly an impressive list of exclusives, and it only gets better as Microsoft has announced that there will be 15 exclusive titles coming to XBox One over the next year, 8 of which are brand new franchises. That is certainly impressive, but Sony is certainly countering these flurries with some hits of their own. There is the futuristic adventure ‘Infamous: Second Son’, the Victorian Age epic ‘The


News Order: 1886’, the Minecraft-esque puzzle solver ‘The Witness’, and the revival of two of the most popular franchises in gaming history with ‘Final Fantasy XV’ and ‘Kingdom Hearts III’. Yes, I know that both of those games will also be on XBox One; however, in the minds of gamers, both of those franchises are so engrossed in Playstation Lore, so it may be difficult to see them as anything but Playstation titles. And answer me one question: How did Square Enix decide to announce these games to the world? It was at Sony’s E3 panel! This is all in addition to whatever Naughty Dog Studios are able to conjure up. Let’s face it, if Sony is able to land another ‘The Last of Us’-sized exclusive, they will win the gaming war hands down. With the kind of reputation and respect Naughty Dog has, I can definitely see them doing just that. Advantage: Sony

Price Okay, let’s get to the bottom line because as much as people can talk about the advantages of one system over the other, the big selling point, the one thing that will really sway gamers one way or the other, especially in these trying economic times is the price of the system. It is really simple: X-Box One will hit store shelves in November 2013 at $499 in the US, £429 in the UK, and $599 in Australia. This is significantly more expensive than the Playstation 4 which will most likely be released in December 2013 for $399 in

What’s P.O.L.I.D.O.? In what ways do you show your nerdy passion? Do you often reference “The Big Bang Theory”? Spend more money on ThinkGeek merchandise than you do on groceries? Well, what about advertising your nerd life on a skateboard? An up-and-coming skateboard company wants to redefine what it means to be a nerdy skater. By: Ruth Esther Tirado No, P.O.L.I.D.O. is not the name of a Mexican child. It is an acronym that stands for “Physics and Other Laws I Don’t Obey” and the name of an up-and-coming skateboard company that wants to bridge the gap between nerdom and skater life. After meeting with the one of the heads of the company, Victor Davila, I was able to understand more about how exactly P.O.L.I.D.O. was going to do that. Interviewer: Where did the idea of P.O.L.I.D.O. come from?

the US and £349 in the UK. This is one advantage that is undeniable. Advantage: Sony It would be very easy to write a much longer article than this as there is so much to discuss in terms of these two consoles, such as what kind of video player do they provide (Both will have BluRay), what are their stances on Indie Games (Sony had the early support of Indie Developers, but Microsoft is gaining ground), and what kind of backward compatibility do they offer? (Neither Sony nor Microsoft will have backward compatibility of Xbox 360 or PS3 discs respectively. Although, Sony will most likely offer emulation of classic games in the future.) However, the important thing to remember when choosing your future game console is this: what matters to me as a gamer? No matter what the answer, you will always have a great choice in front of you, and that is always a good thing.

Victor: For years, I’ve been doing activist work and me and some friends started this project called EcoRyders. And EcoRyders was an idea where it would be a summer program for three months. It would be a day camp three days a week where we would take kids and teach them about environmental and social issues in a secret goal to turn them into activists or at least make them more aware. As an incentive for them to come to the classes, we would teach them how to design skateboards. But in order to do that, we would need grants, which is a pain in the ass, because what ends up happening is you owe favors to people who don’t necessarily have the same interests as you. And so, we decided to make a company that represented us in every possible way because there are no real nerd skateboard companies even though plenty of skaters I know are nerds. I know people who I’ve skated from Wall Street to Harlem with, and at the end of that, we started having a huge argument over who would win a fight between Batman, Iron Man and SpiderMan–to which my friends are idiots and assumed Batman and Iron Man would win, when Spider-Man has the powers–that’s a whole different conversation. But that’s the argument, and I want to appeal to that, and we want to appeal to that because everyone in P.O.L.I.D.O. is a nerd of a different caliber. Interviewer: So along with bridging the gap between nerdom and skateboard, where are you getting the help to create these boards? Victor: Well, we are having a lot of different artists help design boards–things with chibi-Gods, and other copyrighted designs.

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News Our goal is not only to create smarter skaters, not only to create a good environment or create rad nerdy designs–it’s to create art as utility. We want to make great boards to ride

We also want to contribute to the comic world by creating a comic of the creators and putting it out online. However, when it comes to the actual materials, we have to buy them wholesale, but from good-quality providers that even sell materials to companies like Zoo York, because we have connections to them. We get the boards blank and from there, we design them, and we grip them and put the wheels and trunks. And the way we’re going to design the board is we’re going to use silk screens. They’re all going to be screened by hand. It’s hard but we’re up to the challenge. We’re going to be focusing on longboard because they last longer. They’re good quality but, most importantly, you can put more art on a longboard. Our goal is not only to create smarter skaters, not only to create a good environment or create rad nerdy designs–it’s to create art as utility. We want to make great boards to ride. Interviewer: What is P.O.L.I.D.O. currently doing? Victor: Right now, we’re working on our Indiegogo, Kickstarter and Rockethub campaign. We’re all still young and, as a result, it’s less

risky for us to go into business together since we’re a cooperative. So, literally, every member of P.O.L.I.D.O. is a partner and we all have one vote. We all make decisions together and it’s all by consensus. We don’t want to end up being engulfed by greed or capitalism because we are basing it on a nonprofit, and we want to make sure we have our morals intact ten years from now. Right now, we’re working on campaigns to fundraise. We’re all creating rewards for those who contribute once our Kickstarter and Indiegogo to come out. Amongst those would be prints of designs on watercolor paper frames. Other awards would be T-shirts, buttons, stickers and things of that nature. And it’s all based on price. Someone who donates $15 will get a sticker and a letter of thanks. Someone who donates $50 and above would get a skateboard, T-shirt, sticker, button, top hat, cane and a plaque that we create for them that just says, “You, sir and/or madam, are one fancy gentleman.” We also are giving out mustaches, because we like mustaches, just not ironically. Our logo is a minimalistic polar bear wearing a top hat and a monocle, and there’s a very sneaky reason for that. P.O.L.I.D.O., which stands for Physics and Other Laws I Don’t Obey, is actually Portuguese for “polished.”

If you’re a skater and/or nerd or just someone who wants to support P.O.L.I.D.O. in its quest to bring nerds and skaters together, keep an eye out for their company on Indiegogo and Kickstarter! Davila estimates that P.O.L.I.D.O. will debut in December and will need as much help as possible to get started.

Paying it Forward Oregon has passed a revolutionary piece of legislature that may change the way American students pay for college. By Colleen Good In July, the state of Oregon passed a bill that will change the way Oregonian students pay for college. Set to launch with the incoming freshman class of 2015, the bill will allow students who are Oregon residents and attend one of the state’s seven public colleges to get free tuition. In exchange, students must pay the state 3% of their yearly income to the state for 24 years after they graduate. Called the “Paying It Forward” model, this Oregon model is based on a similar and fairly successful concept used in Australia. The bill was passed unanimously and was heralded for its innovative and progressive take on the growing problem of the cost of higher education in the U.S. Oregon college students graduate

29 The Anglerfish | Issue 7 August 2013

with an estimated average of more than $24,500 dollars in student loan debt. In fact, the high cost of college tuition has been discussed many times and has even been the subject of protest recently. While the concept is cool, some problems still arise from this solution, such as finding the money to jump start such a radical idea. It is estimated that starting the program will cost the state $9 billion. It is unclear where they will get these start-up funds, but so far, everyone involved in the bill is excited for how it will solve the student debt crisis.


News

I Chose to Play the Fool in a Six­-Piece Band The Life and Influence of Ian Dury As we are discussing the power of theater in this issue of The Anglerfish, it would be unfair to leave out one of the most theatrical and outspoken musicians of the last half century: the “rock and roll vagabond”, Ian Dury. by Sarah Mills Ian Robins Dury was born on May 12, 1942, in Harrow in northwest London. His dad was a bus driver and chauffeur, and his mother was a care worker. From these humble beginnings, Dury would go on to pioneer a new way of performing and writing lyrics, inspiring the growth of the Punk and New Wave genres in the U.K. But his rise was by no means an easy one... When he was seven, while visiting the coastal town of Southendon-Sea, young Dury went for a swim at the local outdoor pool. What no one could have known was that, present in the pool water, was the potentially deadly polio virus. Polio is a viral disease that affects the nervous system, sometimes leading to partial or full paralysis

and, in extreme cases, death. When young Dury came in contact with the virus, it attacked his spinal cord, forcing him into a fullbody plaster cast. He was confined to a hospital bed for eighteen months and then attended the rough Chailey Heritage Craft School for disabled children. Dury was able to overcome all of these hardships, but the muscles in his left arm and leg were left severely atrophied, requiring the lifelong use of a full leg brace and cane. At sixteen, Dury chose to attend Walthamstow School of Art, where he was surrounded by creative and inventive peers. Among his many influences was a teacher he had at Walthamstow, painter Peter Blake (best known for his design of the cover of the Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely the power Hearts Club Band”). of the music Dury went off to take graduate and of Dury’s courses at the Royal performance had College of Art, and in 1963, he began to wrestle patrons’ three years of study attention away from that led to work as an illustrator and art their pint glasses teacher. It may not come as a surprise to learn that Dury once described himself as a “middle class prat from art school.” Dury’s first foray into music did not occur until he reached the age of 29 - a late start for anyone hoping to hit it big as a musician, one may think. His band, Kilburn and the High Roads, allowed Dury to experiment with lyric writing (a natural progression from the poetry he was already producing) and to begin his theatrical life as a frontman and vocalist. The Kilburns achieved cult status in the emerging London pub rock culture, touring around London’s pubs, performing on tiny stages with little to no lighting or sound setups. This meant that the power of the music and of Dury’s performance had to wrestle patrons’ attention away from their pint glasses. No easy feat. Dury would address, caress and abuse the microphone, throw scarves around his neck, change costume during numbers, and

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News encourage the audience to sing and shout along with him. This complemented his lyrics: a combination of poetry, word play, observations of British everyday life, character sketches and sexual humour. Dury’s career took off when he joined forces with some of the most talented jazz, funk, rock and roll and reggae musicians in London to form Ian Dury and the Blockheads. They went on a tour to promote Dury’s album “New Boots and Panties” in 1977, cementing their musical bonds. Their first single was 1978’s “What a Waste,” which reached number five in the U.K. charts. The next year they released “Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick,” which took the U.K.’s number one chart position from The Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” Finally, at the age of 37, Dury was being recognised as the great lyrical talent that he was. Dury was constantly writing songs which would challenge his audience to think about the world around them. One of the clearest examples of this was the song he released during the United Nations’ International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981. “Spasticus Autisticus” showed Dury’s disdain for the idea of a “Year of Disabled Persons.” He saw it as patronising and counterproductive and expressed this through uncompromising lyrics: So place your hard-earned peanuts in my tin And thank the Creator you’re not in the state I’m in So long have I been languished on the shelf I must give all proceedings to myself

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The BBC banned the song from being played before 6 p.m.; a sentence influenced by the fact that many people did not realize that Dury was physically disabled himself. Dury described the song as “a war cry,” and in a 2009 article, Professor George McKay would call it, “one of the outstanding protest songs about the place of disabled people in what he called ‘normal land.’” The true meaning of the song would finally be fully embraced during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Paralympics in London, where a disabled theatre group proudly belted out the song for millions to hear. Dury passed away in March 2000 at the age of 57 after a battle with colon cancer. He left behind a massive footprint on the shores of British music. An obituary in The Guardian called him, “one of few true originals of the English music scene.” Suggs, a musical contemporary of Dury’s and the singer in the band Madness, called Dury “possibly the finest lyricist we’ve seen.” He shows us today that you can overcome seemingly impossible odds and that it is never wrong to dream big. Dury lived hard, felt deeply, sang loud and spoke his mind; never apologizing for himself or his views; and his music will forever remind its listeners to do the very same. Rest in awesome, Ian Dury.


News

College Apps 6 Quick Tips by Kaya Raven

Applying to college? An NYU student tells you six things every smart Nerdfighter should keep in mind 1. Don’t say “amazing” in your essays. Don’t say “beautiful.” Don’t say “nice.” Don’t use vague descriptors of any kind, really. You are trying to sound more impressive and more special than 50,000 other kids. There is a better way to describe your life­ changing trip to Peru than saying it was “incredible.” Find it. 2. Go on as many dorky campus tours as possible. You can read as many pamphlets and websites as you want, but you won’t know 100% how you feel until you’re there. Can you picture yourself on that campus? Does the tour guide seem like someone you could be friends with? Is there a self­serve frozen yogurt place with fresh fruit toppings nearby? Ask yourself these and more as your mom bombards the tour guide with a million embarrassing questions. 3. Make your essay personal, but don’t make it sad. Schools want you to set yourself apart by drawing from your past and speaking to the future you hope to have. They don’t want you to tell them a sob story. No matter what has happened in your life, tell the optimistic version. Make yourself seem strong and resilient and awesome. Talk about your grandfather’s death or the time your cat got run over by a lawn mower, but make the essay about why they should love you and not why they should pity you. 4. Realize that Ivy Leagues are not for everyone. Just because they have good reputations and everyone’s heard of them, does not mean that you belong there. Atmosphere, type of people and location are just as important as academics. Don’t feel like the world is ending because your SAT scores aren’t Harvard material. (And, no, I’m not just saying this because I got rejected from Columbia. I didn’t even apply. Take that, NYU stereotypes!) 5. Get a zillion people to edit your essays. English teachers, math teachers, drama teachers, friends, co­workers, parents, neighbors, eight­year­old cousins—each person who reads your work will catch different typos and grammar hiccups. You don’t have to listen to every person’s corrections, but if you hear enough opinions, you’ll feel stronger in what you choose to keep or take away. If seven people can’t understand what you’re trying to say, you know you have to change it. 6. And, lastly, calm down. You are going to be completely fine, no matter what. (It’s only a tiny decision that will entirely shape your next four years and probably the rest of your life, right?) No, but seriously. It’s all good. Every school has its pros and cons. You will have a great time wherever you end up. And if you don’t, you will cry a little and learn so much about yourself, and then you’ll transfer to a place that you love.

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Art & Literature

By StudioGhibliRocks Submitted to our tumblr. (studioghiblirocks.tumblr. com)

By Kristina Rogers Submitted to our tumblr.

We only had space for one page this issue, so it is just art this time. Next time the literature will be back! Submit your art or writing to us at theanglerfishmagazine@ gmail.com! It doesn’t have to be Nerdfighter related, share what you want to share. Have you submitted something and it’s not in The Anglerfish? Don’t worry, we’re probably just saving it for a future issue.

By Kat Taylor

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The Anglerfish Issue #7 - August 2013  

In this issue you will find a very special article about Esther Earl, as well as articles on Starkid, Nightvale, Vidcon, B-Movies and more!

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