Reading is a Skill

I talked to one of my aunts on Facebook this morning about reading a book that she and my uncle had recommended to me in 2006.  I read the first book in the series of a million books (over-exaggerated number) and it was probably the most difficult book I had ever read.  I told her, and I was just saying this as an excuse, that reading is like a skill.  I can’t read an advanced book as a beginner, or even intermediate reader.

This was her response:

“Your analysis of reading being a skill is spot on, as the Brits say. It IS a skill, and the only way to improve that skill is to continually work at it.”

So, it is no longer just an excuse and the only way for me to be able to read those books is to continue to read my immature vampire ebooks to continue to grow as a reader lol.

I actually love reading.  I would say that I used the Harry Potter books as my beginners books and have grown from there.  The Harry Potter books were amazing because they didn’t have big words that I had never even heard in daily use, they were simple words that every person knows.

I think buying the Nook was the best investment towards my “skill” for many reasons like the built-in dictionary for example.  If I don’t know a word I can look it up by either typing the word into the Nook or by placing the cursor next to a word.  This helps me learn what those words mean for the next time I see it.  It helps me grow as a reader.

Eventually I will get to those Belgariad books.  Like I said, I read the first book and as difficult as it was to read, it was just as difficult to put it down because it was such a good story.  I’ve only read the first story and I can’t wait to get to the next one because I have to know what happens next.

I’m in the intermediate stage because the vampire books that I have read have had some pretty big words and I’ve been able to understand without having to look the words up so I feel like I’m almost there.

I was going to make up my own skill level names but I wanted some examples like beginner, intermediate, pro etc. but I actually found that there is in fact a reading level Wiki site.  Wikibooks: Reading Levels.

So here we have pre-reader which are the children’s book which I actually did read as a child until I was maybe 5.  Then there is beginner which is almost similar to children’s books but maybe without pictures.  I’m pretty sure Harry Potter is in this category.  Intermediate which are books that most adults can comprehend and I do believe that the vampire books that I read are intermediate.

The final 2 categories are advanced and professional.  I’m pretty sure the Lord of the Rings and Belgariad are both in the advanced category.  They may be somewhere in between though, I’m not quite sure.

It will take me a bit of time to get to the advanced stage because I haven’t really read that many books but I’m working on it.  The more I read the better I get at it and as long as I continue to read what I’m reading I’m pretty sure I will get up in the ranks and join the rest of the adults my age lol.

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Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride

I know I know, you don’t have to tell me, I’m very late for the conversation since this documentary came out in 2009 but I’m just now seeing it for the first time on Showtime.  We don’t get out to the movies very often and when we do we have to both agree on what we see which means we don’t get to see a lot of movies.  So… here I am in mid 2011 just now seeing this movie for the first time.

ho·mo·pho·bi·a Noun /ˌhōməˈfōbēə/

  1. An extreme and irrational aversion to homosexuality and homosexual people

I found the definition for homophobia so that people will know the exact definition and know I am not making it up.  “An extreme and irrational aversion”…  Note the word irrational.  That is in the dictionary.  It says that your aversion to homosexuality is irrational.  You know if the dictionary says you are being irrational then it’s time to cool your jets.

When I started watching this movie tonight I didn’t know they were going to really get into all of the gory details about how other countries treat their gays.  I thought it was just them documenting their organization of the gay pride parade and festival in Canada and that it would be pride for 90 minutes.  Instead, they bring us to Moscow, Serbia, Sri Lanka US and Canada.

“There are over 80 countries across the globe that still criminalize homosexuality.  7 or 8 countries that actually uphold the death penalty.”

These are the words that are shocking to me.  I know that there were countries that criminalize people for holding hands or just for looking or acting gay.  In Sri Lanka it’s a 10 year prison sentence, yes still.  Just for being gay in public.  In India and in Africa lesbian women have to worry about corrective rape.

“‘Corrective rape’ is a criminal practice, whereby men rape lesbian women, purportedly as a means of “curing” the woman of her sexual orientation.”

This one woman told a story about how they rape lesbian women for hours, it’s pure torture to be raped like this especially since most of them are still virgins at the time of the rape.  It’s not only painful to penetrate them but it’s also very demeaning and you know, mentally painful.  It’s painful for me to even think about it.

In Moscow Russia you cannot have a gay pride, the mayor denies their applications and says that he will continue to deny them this year, next year, 5 years from now and 10 years from now.  As long as he is in office he will continue to deny their gay pride festival so they have to go to secret locations and have their quick 5 minute gay pride then pack it all up before the police show up.

In the middle east, if you are gay you are going to be pushing daisies very soon because they do not, absolutely do not want you living among them.  They will kill you and it is perfectly legal to do so.  I seem to recall the president of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad being asked in a press conference in the United States a few years ago about the gay iranian people and he said “We don’t have gay people” and everyone laughed at him.  He was very serious, he wasn’t expecting to hear something so bold as being laughed at as if he had just told a joke.  They do have gays, they are all in hiding, married with children and pretending to be straight to stay alive.  That is no way to live.

People are dying and people are being held in prisons for 10 years and being raped to correct them.  This is why we have gay pride.  It’s to make people aware of intolerance and to send a message that we are here, we are queer, get used to it.  Our message is to get over it and stop killing us and treating us like we are dogs because we were all born this way just like some of us were born with red, brown and blond hair; brown, blue and green eyes; black, brown, red, yellow, pink and white skin.  We were all born this way so just get over it.

My definition, if I may be so bold to give it, is that homophobic people aren’t afraid of gay people, they just don’t understand why we are all so happy and “gay” about being ourselves when they have to live the way their parents told them they have to live.  You see, I believe that all of those anti-gay people are only anti-gay because they cannot be gay themselves, they are jealous because we are living the lives they feel they should have led so they are taking out their aggression on gay people because they are too coward to be openly gay.

Other homophobic people are that way because they are so ignorant because they were told by their pastor that because it says in the bible that being gay is a sin.  Well, so is being fat and so is being lazy and so is judging other people because that isn’t for them to do, that is for “God” to do.  You don’t have to talk to gay people if you don’t like them but by acting out against them you yourself are sinning and will go to this mythical place called Hell in our stead.  So enjoy.

You know, before I watched this documentary, I have to admit that I didn’t know all of this information.  I know to some degree but not every thing they were talking about.  So I come from this a little more educated and enlightened.  I’m going to watch it again the next time I see it on Showtime so I can be sure to pay close attention so the information stays with me.

My uncle was so bold to ask me one year, my visit just so happened to be around gay pride month where it was all over the news.  He asked me plain and simple.  “Why do gay people need to have their ‘Gay pride parade’?  The mexican’s don’t have a parade to be proud to be mexican, the blacks don’t have a parade to be proud to be black, so why do gay people do it?”

See, this movie is a great way to explain to them what I cannot explain from memory.  First of all I didn’t answer him.  I knew that it would be detrimental if I responded with an ignorant point of view because all it takes is one idiot (me) telling people the wrong thing and they tell a friend and they tell a friend and so on.  So I reserved my answer for a later time when I was more educated on the subject.  Here we are about 9 years later and I may just be ready to answer that question.

I won’t bring it up unless asked again though because when it comes to this type of conversation with my family, I get interrupted a lot and am constantly told I’m wrong and I’m not going to put myself in that situation so screw em.  And that’s another issue, they ask but they really don’t want to know the real answer.  They don’t want to know the full details so they tell you to edit yourself because they are so afraid I’m going to start talking about anal sex.  It’s not all about sex people.  It’s about freedom and about not being killed by your government or put in prison for simply being alive.

Wow this is longer than I thought it would be.  Ok so to wrap this up, it’s a very good documentary which helps explain a ton about not just the gay pride itself but also give you some historical and statistical facts.  Just watch it.  Here is the trailer.

Nook Study

A friend called me asking about how my Nook works because her son is doing an online college course and is required to buy textbooks but wanted to find out if there were a cheaper alternative. He only gets so much with his grant that he can only afford to pay so much for a textbook.

He had hoped that if he bought a Barnes & Noble Nook that his eTextbooks would be cheaper but I did some research for him while on the phone and found that they do sell textbooks new or used or you can rent them but in actual book format. Not e-book format for the Nook.

Although, they do have a new thing called Nook Study that is a program for your PC or Mac that you download/install and you can buy eTextbooks for 50% less than the actual textbook.

I was looking at the features that they offer such as being able to highlight in many different colors, leaving an asterisk and typing notes as well as bookmarking. Very similar to the actual Nook (although the Nook doesn’t have a color highlight choice or asterisk’s). Many other features like highlighting a word to look it up on Wikipedia, Google, dictionary etc. Printing pages, copying text to your homework, importing notes and many others.

I told him that if he wanted to buy a Nook for reading books that’s fine but don’t waste your money if your purpose is for textbooks because it doesn’t work. With his grant he was able to buy a laptop for taking tests on their website and whatever else they require of him to do there so he can just use that laptop to install Nook Study.

I wish that they had all this technology when I was a kid. It would’ve been a heck of a lot easier for me, who am I kidding, I probably still would’ve ended up the same because of my dyslexia, A.D.D. and learning disability. But who knows, maybe it might have been different. I guess I will never know. Maybe in the next life…

Money Saved for ebook Reader

I officially have the money saved up for an e-book reader. Although I can’t really buy it yet because I have to make sure we have enough money for food for the next 2 weeks before I can spend the money I am saving. I have to get my priorities straight lol.

So I’m leaning towards the Amazon Kindle. I wanted to get the Nook because of its color screen but heard how slow it is and it’s not worth my time. I don’t need little icon book covers to make me happy.

I didn’t want a Kindle because most of my e-books are in pdf, .prc, .lit, .mobi and .epub format. I know you can read pdf files on a Kindle and I’m ok with not being able to use the dictionary I guess. I probably won’t have that feature with a Nook with pdf files anyway. I don’t really care for a Sony because I don’t really care about library books, oh and I don’t care about lending books with Nook as I have no friends with a Nook anyway lol.  And the Nook, Sony and Kindle stores all have pretty much the same prices for e-books anyway so store options don’t matter.

So, Kindle it is. But, again, I have to wait until I get my next check to make sure I have the money and then some.

Although I still have a lot of regular books in paperback and a hardcover book coming that I won from GetGlue.com. No not the zombie one, they offered me another one. But when I do get the Kindle the first e-book I will buy will be the first Sookie Stackhouse novels books 1-8 despite it’s hefty $55 price tag. I say hefty because it’s paperback version is only $35 so I’m over spending on it. Although, who knows what I will do. I’m unpredictable lol.

Oh and I’m going to also buy the Kathy Griffin book “Official Book Club Selection” and her moms book Tip It. Although, those 2 in e-book format are expensive so not right away.

After those then I will start buying the charmed novels and maybe more buffy novels. I have a few in paperback but not in order. Also there are star wars novels and star trek novels, let’s see, supernatural, smallville, roswell… too many to list. Let’s just say I’m going to be pretty busy. Oh and that’s not including all the books I plan on buying from Rainbow ebooks too lol.

Will I have enough time to read all these books that I plan on reading?

I do have a LOT of e-books on my computer right now so I’m not exactly sure how much money I will be spending on e-books right off the bat because I will be converting all of them to Kindle format so I can finally read them. Yes, I have a lot of unread e-books waiting for me. So the only money I’ll need to spend right away is on the Kindle then I won’t have to spend any money for quite a while until all of my current books have been read.

Ah the life of a book-worm.

Update: Ok so I was wrong, check this out.  The new kindle has this –  Enhanced PDF Reader – With dictionary lookup, notes, and highlights.  That’s perfect!  That’s all I wanted to know lol.  Now the Kindle IS my choice to buy.  Cool, now I can buy all .pdf files anywhere and transfer them over to my Kindle.  This way if one store has an e-book cheaper than Amazon then I can buy it’s pdf file.  And I can buy Rainbow ebooks in all pdf file formats and not worry that I can’t read them.  Awesome!