I am not a Gryffindor

You might belong in Gryffindor
Where dwell the brave at heart
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart

— the Sorting Hat

I’m a Hufflepuff. Or a Ravenclaw. But a Gryffindor I am not. Where dwell the brave at heart? Daring, nerve, and chivalry? What about their vulnerability?

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Pokemon Wednesday: This is the Best Clickbait-Inspired Title I Could Think of, and Here’s Why

I have a confession to make: I didn’t study for my algebraic topology midterm because I couldn’t stop playing Pokemon.

The truth is, for the last eighteen years (and I’m turning 27, so that’s two-thirds of my life), Pokemon has been one of the few constants from year to year: Pokemon was there when I played with my friends in Hebrew school; Pokemon was there when my parents my separated and I went back and forth between my parents houses while my mom was at school; and Pokemon was there when I began college myself and needed something, or anything, to pass the time when I wasn’t studying.

And Pokemon was also there when I should’ve been studying last week. In fact, Pokemon–in its many iterations–has been keeping me from homework for a long time.

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Sloom

Sometimes I wonder what damage those fairytales we were told as children left imprinted in our psyches. Forget the idealized yet ignorant gender norms portrayed in every romance. Forget the blind hopefulness of always waiting for a happy ending. Forget the unbridled belief in magic and myth and mystery.

Maybe there’s a deeper damage to all those Disney dreams.

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The First Rainbow

Long before rainbow colors signified the LGBT community for me, they signified Reading Rainbow: a children’s program I watched growing up that helped inspire me to read. I remember watching as they turned the pages, illustrations seamlessly becoming animations, and always wanting to get these books to read myself.

I never did, but just knowing about them made me eager to read–made me look forward to library trips and the discovery and adventure awaiting inside each and every book.

I grew up and Reading Rainbow was replaced by other shows, my interest in children’s books replaced by young adult series, and I never thought about that iconic theme song that still brings me back to my youth. Then, not so long ago, I stumbled across this Kickstarter campaign to bring Reading Rainbow back to kids everywhere.

Immediately I became a backer.

But there’s still more to do, more children to help Reading Rainbow inspire. I would not have become the person I am today if not for the books I’ve read, and I might not have read anything if shows like Reading Rainbow hadn’t encouraged me to read and made books as much fun as any action figure or play set. Reading is the foundation of all learning, and to help our country–to help the world–be all that it can be, we must help our children learn to love reading. And I believe Reading Rainbow can help us achieve this goal.

Will you please help us change the world, one child at a time?

Click here to make a $5 (US) donation, or here to visit the campaign’s Kickstarter page.

When you back Reading Rainbow, let me know! As a campaign volunteer, they’d like a tally of how many backers I recruit, but more so I want thank each of you individually..

The Sci-Fi That Should’ve Been

Some things we can’t choose–our skin color, our parents, our aptitude for eyesight and how soon we need glasses, or perhaps how soon we lose our hair, or perhaps how long it takes us to remember what we were doing before we completely forget it. But some things we can choose–what we consume, how we spend our time, what we study.

This isn’t a list about choices. This is a list about all those things chosen for me–things that maybe I would’ve done differently had I the foresight to know better, the insight into my own destiny as the world shaped it for me.

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Nobody Puts Royal Baby in the Corner

When news of the Royal Baby’s birth broke on Monday, I was listening to Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, talking about the 6.9 million children who die before their fifth birthday. As a proud uncle of an energetic and adorable little five-year-old, I couldn’t help but feel my heartstrings struck by the thought of having missed any of these amazing past few years–or the thought of not having any more years to look forward to.

No doubt the young Prince George Alexander Louis will receive the premier healthcare in the world and all the love any child could need or ever want, but for many children whose faces will never grace the front page of international news, this future is a dream yet to be imagined–and their present suffering is a nightmare for all of us.

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Cacao Kapow!

Coffee and chocolate. For me it’s been a love/hate relationship, and yet it seems coffee and chocolate are staples of the Alternative Spring Break trip I’m going on in March. It’s a comical story–but it has grave consequences.

Then again, I might just be full of beans.

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Cold White Snow

Last semester in my religion class I found it funny that (almost) every time a religious group felt they had deviated from the true intent of their Scriptures or beliefs, they would start a new religion and from there build a new way of interpreting their faith.

It made me think of when the autumn comes and I remember how life used to be,. I was a playful yet shy little boy who defined my life in terms of how full my Pokedex was and whether or not I had caught the last episode of Digimon. I miss those days–not for their content, but for their simplicity. There were no such things as deadlines. Vocabularies were smaller. Complex numbers were still just imaginary.

So I did what I always did, in those moments before class began, or before it ended, or before my teacher next spoke: I wrote.

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Photons Magnificent

This time nine years ago, the world was a different place. I was a different man. I was hardly a man at all; I was still a boy, draped in juvenile dreams, believed of a world that didn’t exist, or instead existed beneath the tide of the world we lived in. Mythologies were ripening inside me, thousands of stories stirring, yearning to get out.

It was somehow pristine, yet thoroughly in the dark.

I remember it clearly. Oh so very clearly.

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Malevolent Benevolence

When we came to North Carolina we spent a few weeks with my aunt while my dad got a job at an apartment complex nearby. Then we moved in. I recall a handful of things here: There was a small group of friends (were they distant cousins?) who loved the show Beetle Boys (or something akin to that) about three kids (I think the middle one was a girl) who somehow gained magical Power Ranger-esque powers to transform into beetle-like fighters with special abilities. I liked the show and I watched it in secret whenever I could so I could play with my friend’s action figures, but my mom didn’t let me watch it and that was the end of that.

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