Stronger Writers Are Better Workers. Who Knew?

writing skills matterA few months ago, the online grammar-check website Grammarly conducted a study with over four hundred freelancers to see what effect, if any, writing skills can have on career options. They published the results in an infographic, shown on the left (click to make it larger), which was covered by The Huffington Post, and I was asked to cover it as well (though being a student at university caused a several-weeks delay). In the interest of full disclosure, Grammarly will donate $20 to the charity Reading Is Fundamental as a thank-you for this coverage.

I work in a community college writing center, and am acutely aware of how poorly the K-12 school system in my area prepares students for college life. In fact, the community college system here offers dozens of remedial English courses per semester to prepare these students for the actual college English courses of ENG-1A and 1B. The K-12 system’s insistence on focusing on test scores and “measurable” results has resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of young adults who are unable to clearly articulate their thoughts and ideas in writing. This simple fact holds them back from completing their college education, as nearly all college courses require quality writing to achieve passing grades, and rectifying this problem can and sometimes does require students to take an additional year of schooling. Worse, according to the study, this can even hinder their employment options!

Continue reading “Stronger Writers Are Better Workers. Who Knew?”

I Have A Copyright

Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution states that “The Congress shall have Power… To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” This is known as the Copyright Clause. Over the years as new technologies and creative outlets have been invented, new laws have been written to create and protect copyrights over anything created by the human mind, whether it be literature, music, video, art, etc.

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72 Hours Remain

dawnFor anyone who doesn’t know why I called this blog The Kokiri Reader, yes, I know, I need to write an entry for that “About” link at the top of the page. I’ll do that eventually. In all seriousness, though, the Kokiri Forest is a location in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It is where Link lives with the child-like Kokiri, each of whom has a fairy except for Link. And while I think the whole concept of the Kokiri and their forest is very, very similar to the Lost Boys in Never-neverland from Peter Pan, I’ve always liked it. I’ve always hoped that Saria, Mido, and the other Kokiri would make reappearances in future games, like Malon and Talon of Lon Lon Ranch and the Zoras, Gerudos, and Gorons have done.

Much to my disappointment, in the past fifteen years the closest reappearance the Kokiri have had is in The Wind Waker, where they aren’t even Kokiri anymore (rapid evolution for the win?). Even Majora’s Mask, which takes place in an alternate dimension to justify the reuse of many character models from Ocarina of Time, didn’t feature the Kokiri! And, as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

In any case, it’s about time this Zelda-themed blog had a Zelda-themed post. Continue reading “72 Hours Remain”

Forest Huts Don’t Have Locks

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A few weeks ago, a friend and I watched Jack the Giant Slayer, which combined the¬†titular tale with¬†Jack and the Beanstalk. A couple days ago, I watched Mirror, Mirror, which is a modern retelling of Snow White. Between the two, I’ve become rather fascinated with going back and seeing the origins of the folk/fairy tales we know so well today, and studying how they’ve changed over generations.

To start with, I’m looking into Snow White. I would like to write a more in-depth look at the history of that particular story, but for now, I’m just going to focus on a particular passage that sounds¬†a lot like a passage from a completely different tale. The passage in question is in the original 1812 and 1857 versions written by the Brothers Grimm, but I guess I just didn’t remember it, or maybe it was removed in the adaptations I read. However, in 1916, Joseph Jacobs wrote his own version of the story for his Europa’s Fairy Book, in which he removes the space from Snow White’s name and cuts the number of dwarves from seven down to three. Oh, yes, and Snow White is seven years old in all three versions.

Continue reading “Forest Huts Don’t Have Locks”

The Structure of Smaug

When the final movie installment of The Lord of the Rings was released back on December 17th, 2003 (ten years ago today, in fact), I was eager to see them bring The Hobbit to the big screen. J.R.R. Tolkien’s original book was one of my favorites growing up, holding the rare distinction of being one of the few books I read cover-to-cover more than once.

So when the movie was finally announced, I was thrilled.

When it was announced to be a trilogy, I was puzzled, and didn’t see the necessity. But hey, they said they were pulling stuff out of the book-length Appendix that Tolkien added to Lord of the Rings, and I had enjoyed reading that Appendix, so no worries, right?

Continue reading “The Structure of Smaug”