Category Archives: Fandom Discoveries

Why We Re-read

The Grey Havens Group

In An Experiment in Criticism, C.S. Lewis wrote that anyone who loves to read must also love to re-read. He also gave a definition of myth that included the fact that the outcome of a myth feels inevitable. Pleasure in reading it does not depend on suspense. It carries the weight of the self-evident. It breathes extra life into truths that would not feel as vital if expressed as axioms.

In “Story of Your Life,” the story on which the film Arrival was based, Ted Chiang depicts a mother who is also a linguist reading “The Three Bears” to her young daughter. The mother asks why her daughter wants her to read the story exactly as written if the daughter already knows the ending. “Because I want to hear it” is the answer.

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Later this same mother and linguist explains that some statements, such as “You’re under arrest,””I christen this…

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Nerd Rock: Rush

Círdan’s note: Welcome back music lovers. On Monday, we kicked off our Nerd Rock series with the psychedelic Pink Floyd. On Wednesday, we tuned in to the revolutionary Led Zeppelin. Today, we take a listen to the band Rolling Stone called, “Geek Gods” — Rush! This blog series was developed by one of our high schoolers, Ethan, a.k.a. spock0528. Hopefully he will continue it in the future, but for now we hope you walk away with at least a few new favorite songs. Let us know in the comments! Also, make sure you read the introduction and his explanation of what makes rock music nerdy in Monday’s Post before continuing to this one. Enjoy!

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Rush

Rush is the nerdiest band of all time. Other bands may feature themes that nerds can connect to but the members of Rush are nerds in the same we are nerds. Because of this, the Canadian progressive power trio has a large and loyal fanbase big enough to rival wp-1462844629413.jpgthat of the Grateful Dead. The band is made up of three of the greatest musicians of all time. Geddy Lee not only plays the bass like a boss but also sings and plays the keyboard at the same time causing him to be rated the #1 bass player of all time by WatchMojo. Alex Lifeson’s guitar skills are legendary (rated second best underrated guitarist by WatchMojo) and (depending on who you talk to) Neil Peart is the greatest drummer of all time using a straight-up orchestra of drums that John Bonham or Keith Moon never used. Peart also served as the main lyricist, writing epic sci-fi and fantasy stories while addressing other elements of nerd culture. The music of Rush is everything a nerd could want:  intelligent, perfectly calculated and downright epic.

Rush formed in 1968 in Toronto. The original lineup consisted of high school friends Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson along with drummer John Rutsey. They were mostly a heavy blues rock band taking cues from AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. wp-1462844647848.pngThey released their first album in 1974 where it achieved moderate success with the song Working Man. However because of health problems, Rutsey had to quit the band leaving Rush without a drummer. They recruited Neil Peart who easily surpassed Rutsey as a drummer. Peart also became the band’s primary lyricist. Peart was a major nerd and wrote songs based off works of fantasy and sci-fi. On the band’s next album Fly by Night the group experimented with longer and more complex songs, such as on the song By-Tor And The Snow Dog, which told the epic tale of two fantasy creatures fighting. The album also featured Tolkien references on the song Rivendell.

By Rush’s third album, Caress of Steel, they had gone full prog (progressive rock), now telling epic fantasy stories on over-10-minute-long songs, such as The Necromancer and The Fountain of Lamneth. This obviously put them at odds with their producers who wp-1462844600867.jpgwanted shorter and more accessible songs. Rush refused to comply and released 2112, an over 20 minute long seven part science fiction epic set in the future where rebels battled the evil “Priests of Syrinx” with the power of music, on the album of the same name. The album proved successful, and Rush was beginning to make a large fan base with young nerds who connected with their music. Throughout the rest of the 70’s Rush released more albums filled with songs about greek gods, robots, space travel, immortality, talking trees, and black holes, and though critics either ignored or bashed them, Rush had reached “cult status” with fans.

Listen to the second movement of 2112:

Listen to the nerdy The Trees: 

By the 1980s, Rush began to incorporate synthesizers into their music — meaning Geddy Lee had to add a third job to his role in the band. They began to get radio airplay as well with songs like The Spirit Of  Radio when they started writing shorter songs. In wp-1462844590355.jpg1981, the album Moving Pictures came out which features (at least what critics will tell you) their best set of songs. Rush gradually used more and more synths on their next four albums. However, the use of synths didn’t mean the music got any less awesome. Songs like Natural Science and Countdown show Peart’s geeky love of science and the excitement of space travel, while the song Subdivisions discussed the struggle of not fitting in, basically being a nerd.

Watch the music video for Subdivisions: 

By 1989, Rush had returned to a harder guitar-driven sound with the album Presto and continued this throughout the 90s with albums like Roll the Bones and Counterparts. Though it looked like the band was over after Peart suffered a major personal tragedy, the band returned wp-1462844548883.jpgin 2002 with Vapor Trails leading to Snakes and Arrows in 2007. Rush latest album, Clockwork Angels, released in 2012, was an epic concept album later adapted into a steampunk, dystopian fiction novel. In 2010 the documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage was made telling the story of the band and their struggle of being constantly overlooked. They were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years later and recently celebrated their 40th anniversary with the R40 tour, rumored to be their last major tour.

Watch the trailer for the R40 tour: 

Watch the trailer for Beyond the Lighted Stage:

That’s it for now. I hope you all will check out these awesome artists!!! Nerd (and Rock) On!

Coming Soon: The Beatles, The Who, Queen, Jethro Tull, Iron Maiden, and David Bowie.      

For one final video, take a listen to the epic The Spirit of Radio:

Send us an owl: What is your favorite Rush song and why? What other bands do you consider to be nerdy? Leave us some song suggestions in the comments. 

Nerd Rock: Led Zeppelin

Círdan’s note: Welcome back music lovers. On Monday, we kicked off our Nerd Rock series with Pink Floyd. This blog series was developed by one of our high schoolers, Ethan, a.k.a. spock0528. Make sure you read the introduction and his explanation of what makes rock music nerdy in Monday’s Post before tuning in to this one.  Enjoy!wp-1462761910460.jpg

Led Zeppelin

wp-1462762574688.jpgYou don’t get more epic than Led Zeppelin. British hard rock band Led Zeppelin is one of music’s greatest artists. As far as bands go, they are only second to the Beatles in terms of innovation and influence. They revolutionized live shows and made Rock and Roll about albums, not singles. Though they were only around for a little over a decade, they created about as flawless as a career as possible through their nine albums. Rated the 3rd greatest artist of all time by VH1, 14th by Rolling Stone Magazine, and second greatest band of all time by WatchMojo their music is timeless and oh-so nerdy, often borrowing elements from fantasy and history for their music and appearance.  

wp-1462762565582.jpgLed Zeppelin formed in 1968 as a heavy blues rock band made up of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, drummer John Bonham, and bassist John Paul Jones. They released their first album in 1969. It was made up of  blues covers, acoustic tracks, and psychedelic songs. It began one of the most successful debut albums of all times becoming the fifth best selling album of the 60s. They released their second album Led Zeppelin II later in the year which outsold its predecessor and is now seen as one of the most important albums in hard rock and heavy metal history. The album featured more original songs written by Page and Plant such as Whole Lotta Love and Ramble On.

Listen to the Tolkien influenced “Ramble On“, especially the second verse:

Led Zeppelin were renowned for their incredible musical ability. Jimmy Page is considered to be one of rock’s all great guitar players (usually ranking just under Jimi Hendrix). John Bonham is usually rated the greatest drummer of all time, while Jones was known not only for his skill with a bass but with the keyboards as well. Plant became known for
his powerful, bluesy voice that cemented him as one of the greatest frontmen of all time. Led Zeppelin’s live shows wp-1462762491966.jpgbecame legendary partly due to the fact that they lasted for many hours, much longer than had ever been done before. They were also known for never releasing singles, meaning you couldn’t go to the record store and buy a single Led Zep song, you had to buy the whole album.

Watch Jimmy Page play an incredible guitar solo with a bow:

By Led Zeppelin’s fourth album in 1971 they were the biggest band in the world, taking over from the now broken-up Beatles. The album featured many of Zeppelin’s best songs such as Black Dog and When the Levee Breaks and of course, Stairway to Heaven.  Led Zeppelins lyrics began to get more complex as they now used the works of Tolkien as inspiration for songs. Stairway to Heaven, Ramble On, Misty Mountain Hop, and The Battle of Evermore all reference LOTR in some way. The group also referenced Norse mythology and Vikings with songs like the Immigrant Song and No Quarter.

Try to find all the Tolkien references in the geeky “The Battle of Evermore”- 

wp-1462762553227.jpgOn their next few albums Led Zeppelin began to experiment with more types of music such as funk, reggae, ballads, progressive rock, folk, along with using spanish and eastern influences, such as on the song Kashmir (featuring the nerdy line: “I am a traveler of both time and space”) . Houses of the Holy and Physical Graffiti were some of the bestselling albums of the decade and their new musical styles helped bring in new fans.

However in the late 70’s personal tragedies, such as Plant being injured in a car crash and his young son dying of illness, along with drug use caused Led Zeppelin to begin to disintegrate. Soon after the release on their 8th album In Through The Out Door, John Bonham died of alcohol poisoning leading to the band’s breakup in 1980. In 1982, the album Coda was released. It was made of previously recorded but unreleased tracks. Page and Plant both pursued solo careers during the 80’s and 90’s. In 2007 the band reunited with Bonham’s son, Jason, on drums for the Ahmet Ertegun tribute concert leading to a DVD release of the concert in 2012.  

Watch the trailer for the Celebration Day concert: 

Our Nerd Rock series continues on Friday with Rush! 

wp-1462762540468.jpgP.S. At the meeting, we talked about Page’s playing of the guitar with a violin bow and how different and unique that is, and how that is, really, what a nerd looks like. What do you think?

Send us an owl: What is your favorite Led Zeppelin song and why?

Nerd Rock: Pink Floyd

Círdan’s note: A few weeks ago, we asked our young adults if they had any topics or questions they wanted to address in a student-led discussion. One of our high-schoolers Ethan, a.k.a. spock0528, put together a fabulous presentation on Nerd Rock that we thought was too good not to share. We’ve transformed his powerpoint into blog form so that you can enjoy and rock along with us. Remember our Grey Havens YA slogo: “Being a nerd is not about what you love, it’s about how you love it.” Ethan’s enthusiasm for rock and the connections he draws between music, fandom, and being a nerd are what Grey Havens YA is all about. This post is part one of three (so far), so stay tune for more classic rock and nerdy awesomeness. Party on, dude!

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Best of Both Worlds

You wouldn’t think it but Classic Rock and Fandoms go together extremely well. I can’t think of a nerdier type of music. While pop has to always please a mainstream audience, rock can sound like whatever you want it too as long as it just sounds awesome. While pop music has to fit inside a box, rock music can have large amounts of fans without a single hit. While the artists in this series are all pretty well known (except for maybe one), many people don’t see the nerdy side of their music. That’s what I am going to point out with this series and hopefully introduce to some new music that’s sure to get you as excited as the next Marvel movie.

Here is what I mean when I say “nerdy music,” and these are the factors that I used to make this list:

  • Characters- The members of the band are cool and may even may be nerds themselves.
  • Backstory- The band itself has an epic story (such as their rise to stardom, lineup changes, etc.)
  • Visuals- The band’s logo, album artwork, or images at live shows are nerdy in appearance such as taking from sci-fi or fantasy.
  • Talent- The band members have almost superhuman talent on their instrument.
  • Lyrics- The group’s lyrics feature nerdy themes (such as not fitting in, science, or themes and ideas based off of novels or poems)
  • Fandom References- The band’s lyrics or imagery references fandoms we still enjoy today.
  • Solid Franchise- The band has produced a steady stream of quality material during their time together.
  • Storytelling- Their music tells stories through either individual songs or concept albums

So Here We Go!!!

Pink Floyd.

wp-1462754049217.jpgPsychedelic/Progressive Rock band Pink Floyd is one of the most successful and innovative music artists of all time. Rated the 51st greatest artist of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine, The 18th greatest artist by VH1 and the 4th greatest rock band by WatchMojo, Pink Floyd is a combination of intelligent lyrics, lengthy and complex arrangements, unique themes and imagery, and spellbinding live shows.

Formed in 1965, Pink Floyd started out as a psychedelic band led by frontman Syd Barrett who used fairytales and works of fantasy as inspiration for Pink Floyd’s earliest albums such as The Piper At The Gates of Dawn and the space themed Saucerful of Secrets.        

Listen to the Tolkien influenced “The Gnome” from Pink Floyd’s first album. 


By their second albums Barrett had succumbed to the excess of the 60’s, his mind altered by drugs leaving Pink Floyd without a frontman. Bassist Roger Waters stepped up to the task working to find Pink Floyd a new sound, while guitarist David GIlmour stepped in to replace Barrett. The group tried out experimental soundscaping on
Atom Heart Mother and film soundtracks on albums like Obscured By Clouds and More. They even scored the the music for the moon landing on British television. In 1971 they released Meddle, which showed the band moving in a more progressive direction. Little did they know they were about to become one of the biggest bands of all time.

Listen to Pink Floyd sample the Doctor Who theme on “One of These Days” (at 2:20)

With the release of Dark Side of the Moon in 1973 Pink Floyd became superstars. The album spent 917 non-consecutive weeks on the charts and is now the 3rd best selling album of all time. Pink Floyd had found their mind-bending, epic sound with Waters providing the philosophical lyrics and themes, often using Barrett’s mental illness for ideas, which led to some of their most famous songs such as: Wish You Were Here, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and Brain Damage, while Gilmour’s guitar skills and the rest of twp-1462754049220.pnghe band’s musical talent (Richard Wright’s keyboards and Nick Mason’s drums) put unique music behind the words. The band released the album Wish You Were Here in 1975 while also receiving recognition for their live shows which featured laser and light shows.

As Pink FLoyd’s fame grew Waters’s lyrics began to grow more political. In 1977 Pink Floyd released Animals, an Orwellian concept album that compared social classes to barnyard animals and in 1979 they put out The Wall, a concept album telling the story of a rocker who builds a metaphorical wall from humanity. The album became the best-selling album of the decade (although DSOTM would later outsell it). However Waters (who wrote The Wall pretty much all by himself) began to see the band as his own. In-fighting caused the band to break up after one final album in 1980 (basically a Waters solo album).

Listen to “Pigs on the Wing Pt.2” from Animals

To people’s surprise, Gilmour, Wright, and Mason reunited for a new album in 1987 without Waters ensuring a legal battle over Pink Floyd name. Waters eventually relented and the new Pink Floyd lineup scored a few hits such as Learning to Fly and On the Turning Away. In 1994 the group released the album The Division Bell, an altogether stronger and more focussed effort. In 2005 Pink Floyd managed to put aside their differences for one last show together at the Live 8 Charity Concert before going their separate ways. Richard Wright passed away in 2008 and a mostly instrumental Pink Floyd album, The Endless River, was released in 2014 honoring his achievements.  

Now, I leave you with two final videos. Watch this incredible guitar solo from the Live 8 show (solo starts at 20:54, but you’ll also enjoy the rest of the video):

Finally, see more about the Pink Floyd live show experience in this trailer for Roger Waters’s new concert movie: 

Our Nerd Rock series continues on Wednesday with Led Zeppelin!

P.S. At the meeting we also enjoyed watching the first eight minutes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens as it syncs up perfectly with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. It was pretty spectacular!

Send us an owl: What’s your favorite Pink Floyd song and why?

The Last Stand (Jim Kraven’s Diary) #2

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Círdan’s Note: It has been quite a busy 2016 already for Grey Havens YA and Grey Havens Group, Inc. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook for the latest news and Phone the TARDIS if you’d like to be added to our email list. We have some exciting news to share with you this April, but for now we want to take a moment to showcase why we do what we do. One of the reasons Grey Havens YA exists is to help foster the creativity of young adults. Not only have they have blown us away with the invention of their own Roleplaying Game, the game itself has also helped to foster community and inclusion among the group, and it’s a blast to get to watch them work. Today, we get the chance again to peak into one of our member’s imaginations as he recounts the recent events of the game through his character’s diary. Jim Kraven (aka 145barbarian) serves as the group’s guard and carries his child around in his backpack. (Find his previous account here.) For this game, we split the party in two and switched back and forth for gameplay. Let’s take a brief glimpse into Jim’s mind and see what he’s thinking while in and out of this strange limbo…

wp-1459125115326.jpgDay 3

Sitting here staring at all these ropes for the last few months has been driving me insane. I say months, but I mean minutes. Feels like it though. Hopefully our GM (Game Master) lets us move soon. I wonder where Timmy is…

Oh goodie. Our overlords started with the base group. Now I’m stuck here in limbo for another couple minutes.

“My throats are at your necks,” the new person said. There you go everyone. That’s our overlord. Thank GM we have such a great person ruling over us!

It’s been twenty minutes. Still stuck in limbo. I can’t help but wonder where Timmy is. I hope he isn’t playing with the dead lion corpses. That would be gross. I might disown him if I find him doing that. That’ll show him.

All I can do is stare straight ahead, right into this mirror. At least my locket popped open. I miss my wife. Looting this place reminds me of when she and I went shopping for our new home. Oh…the good ol’ days. Now I’m here. She’s not. Timmy is though…somewhere.

Yes! Out of limbo!

Oooook. Weird noises outside. I don’t see anything from the windows. Well, nothing but fog…and a mob of zombies in the distance. A figure is running to the hardware store out of the fog. It’s Timmy! And…oh…good. He isn’t covered in blood. That’s good.

Gell went to the supermarket. I’m gonna stick around here at the store for a bit. It gives me a good view of the street incase I need to fire shots at the mob. I’m watching the supermarket with my sniper scope. The zombies are close. Dangerously close.

“Timmy,” I whisper, “Go hide behind the counter.” Timmy goes. Unknown is helping carry everyone up to the roof of the market. Good idea. Those zombies are getting really close. Apparently there is a  ladder inside. I’m gonna stay down here to watch the streets.

Timmy started crying. I got his storybook from him and started reading it to him. He stopped. “It’s ok Timmy,” I whisper, clutching him in my arms, “It’s ok.”

I un-barricaded the door to let Eadlyn in, barricading the door behind her. A loud horn just sounded out. The zombies are leaving! Timmy is gonna use his bone knife to fight off the remaining zombies…at least, he thinks he’s going to. I’m not going to let him.

Well, back into Limbo. I’ll try to write more tomorrow.

Círdan’s Note: No, Jim you can’t end it like that! I need to know what happened!! — Ahem. Excuse me. Well, hopefully we can find out next week as Grey Havens YA returns to gameplay in The Last Stand. P.S. Did you know that sometimes we want to roleplay at Grey Havens YA, but we forget to bring dice? When that happens, our members cleverly decide to use either rock-paper-scissors or a handy dice app to get the job done. We don’t let a silly thing like dice stop us! We hope you enjoy these forays into The Last Stand and all it’s zombie-goodness. 

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Send us an owl: If you were there, can you explain the parts of the story that Jim leaves out? Otherwise, what’s your favorite part about roleplaying games?

The Top 100 Beatles Songs

Círdan’s note: Here at Grey Havens YA, we are geeks and nerds about a lot of things; remember — it’s not about what you love it’s about how you love it. Some of our members are music nerds, and Spock0528 wanted to share his love of the Beatles with you. Check it out!

When it comes to music it simply doesn’t get any better than the Beatles. It’s pretty much a scientific fact by now that the Beatles are the most important musical inovators of the 20th century. Though they were together for only around a decade they changed the face of music forever. There simply is no excuse for not liking them since they have something for everyone. Their impressive catalogue of music stretched across 13 albums and a vast collection of singles is undeniably incredible and while they will always be known for big hits like “Let it Be” and “Hey Jude” it’s often in their more underrated songs that Beatles were at their most brillant.

Thats why I have decided to create a list of their top 100 songs. Before we start just know that this 100% my opinion based. This isn’t what professional music critics will tell you is their best it’s just my personal opinion. Also there are much more than 100 fantastic Beatles songs. While I was going into making the list I was surprised at how fast the spots on the list filled up and some of the songs I was planning to put on from the beginning had to be left aside.

So without further adieu here are the top 100 Beatles songs. I hope you find your favorites, rediscover some old classics, and perhaps even discover a few new Beatles tracks.

Song:                              Album:

100. Blue Jay Way-  Magical Mystery Tour

99. I’ll Follow The Sun-  Beatles For Sale

98. Sexy Sadie-  The White Album

97. Dig A Pony-  Let It Be

96. Honey Pie- The White Album

95. If I Fell- A Hard Day’s Night

94. Oh! Darling- Abbey Road

93. And I Love Her- A Hard Day’s Night

92. Don’t Let Me Down- Single

91. Martha My Dear- The White Album

90. I Me Mine- Let It Be

89. You’re Going To Lose That Girl-  Help!

88. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da- The White Album

87. Please Please Me- Please Please Me

86. I Should Have Known Better- A Hard Day’s Night

85. Hello Goodbye-Magical Mystery Tour

84. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)- Abbey Road

83.  From Me To You- Single

82. One After 909- Let It Be

81. Yer Blues- The White Album

80. You Won’t See Me- Rubber Soul

79. Another Girl- Help!

78. The Ballad Of John And Yoko-Single

77. She Loves You-Single

76. I’ve Got A Feeling- Let It Be

75. Good Day Sunshine- Revolver

74. Magical Mystery Tour- Magical Mystery Tour

73. I Feel Fine- Single

72. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

71. Michelle- Rubber Soul

70. When I’m Sixty-Four Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

69. With A Little Help From My Friends- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

68. She Said She Said- Revolver

67. Mother Natures Son- The White Album

66. The Night Before- Help!

65. We Can Work It Out- Single

64. Back In The USSR- The White Album

63. Girl- Rubber Soul

62. Hey Bulldog- Yellow Submarine

61. Lady Madonna- Single

60. All My Loving- With The Beatles

59. Think For Yourself- Rubber Soul

58. Got To Get You Into My Life- Revolver

57. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

56. Can’t Buy Me Love- A Hard Day’s Night

55. I’m Looking Through You- Rubber Soul

54. Taxman- Revolver

53. Love Me Do- Please Please Me

52. Things We Said Today- A Hard Day’s Night

51. I’ve Just Seen A Face- Help!

50. Get Back- Let It Be

49. Dear Prudence- The White Album

48. Drive My Car- Rubber Soul

47. For No One- Revolver

46. The Long And Winding Road- Let It Be

45. Maxwell’s Silver Boat- Abbey Road

44. Blackbird- The White Album

43. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

42. Here, There And Everywhere- Revolver

41. Day Tripper- Single

40. Love You To- Revolver

39. Nowhere Man- Rubber Soul

38. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away- Help!

37. Paperback Writer- Single

36. She’s Leaving Home- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

35. Come Together- Abbey Road

34. A Hard Day’s Night- A Hard Day’s Night

33. Something- Abbey Road

32. Let It Be- Let It Be

31. Help!- Help!

30. In My Life- Rubber Soul

29. Across The Universe- Let It Be

28. Penny Lane- Magical Mystery Tour

27. Lovely Rita- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

26. Revolution- Single

25. I Want To Hold Your Hand- Single

24. Within You Without You- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

23. And Your Bird Can Sing- Revolver

22. Eight Days A Week- Beatles For Sale

21. All You Need Is Love- Magical Mystery Tour

20. Happiness Is A Warm Gun- The White Album

19. Here Comes The Sun- Abbey Road

18. Ticket To Ride- Help!

17. Strawberry Fields Forever- Magical Mystery Tour

16. The Fool On The Hill- Magical Mystery Tour

15. I’m Only Sleeping- Revolver

14. Yellow Submarine- Revolver

13. Yesterday- Help!

12. The Abbey Road Medley- Abbey Road

11. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)- Rubber Soul

10. Rain- Single

9. Julia- The White Album

8. I Saw Her Standing There- Please Please Me

7. Hey Jude- Single

6. Eleanor Rigby- Revolver

5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps- The White Album

4. I Am The Walrus- Magical Mystery Tour

3. Helter Skelter- The White Album

2. Tomorrow Never Knows- Revolver

1.A Day In The Life- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Okay so thats it! What are your favorite Beatles songs? (Send us an owl!)

Also here is a Spotify playlist I made of the songs. Hope it works!

The Lull of Childhood Memories

Círdan’s note: Tomorrow at Grey Havens YA, we will be discussing “Usher II,” the Martian Chronicles story about a man who’s so fed up with the censorship and book burnings of earth that he creates his own House of Usher on Mars and invites all the “sophisticates” over for murder and mayhem. It’s a thrilling tale with it’s fair share of horror. Today, one of our members (145Barbarian) embraces the viewpoint of the Other as he reflects on a few of his favorite horror films and how they deal with the lull of childhood memories. It’s shaping up to be quite a scary week over here at Grey Havens YA!

At our Grey Havens YA meeting (January 9th) we mentioned something having to do with childhood. We said that some find safety in it, while others want to forget their childhood ever happened. I couldn’t help but think of some of my favorite horror movie characters during this. It may sound weird that childhood and horror villains are related, but even they had childhoods. The two examples I am going to be using are Michael Myers from Halloween, and Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th (The remake).

***WARNING—SPOILERS FOR HALLOWEEN  5, AND FRIDAY THE 13TH (Remake), AND A MINOR SPOILER FOR FREDDY VS.JASON FOLLOW—WARNING***

***FURTHER WARNING—BOTH MOVIE CLIPS ARE FROM R RATED MOVIES—FURTHER WARNING*** (rdan’s note: In the spirit of Bradbury, I’m not going to censor 145Barbarian’s post. But please note that you have been warned.) Continue reading The Lull of Childhood Memories

What A Nerd Looks Like: Embracing Enthusiasm, Embracing the Other

wp-1454298478123.jpgDid you know that Grey Havens YA has been around for two years and nearly four months now? It has been an incredible journey so far, and we are so proud of our members and our growing community.

Many adults have come up to us over these two years and told us how much they wish they had a group like this when they were younger. They understand how uniquely valuable a haven for literature, imagination, community and inclusion can be for young teens and old teens alike. They get it because they’ve seen it in action, so now I want to take a moment to try to describe it to you.

Grey Havens YA isn’t just a book club. It is more than just fun events and fandom programming. As you’ll see in our upcoming Geek Philosophy series, Grey Havens YA is about teaching young minds to imagine greatly, live enthusiastically, and engage thoughtfully with the world around them.

As we’ve been reading The Martian Chronicles over the past two months, we have discovered something about our group of geeks and nerds: while the humans in the Martian stories fear that great, insurmountable Other, we are drawn to it.  We want to know who the Martians were, how they lived, what they would have to say to us about our own lives… As nerds and geeks who explore the world and its stories with great enthusiasm, we are drawn to the Other points of view. We want to know more about how Kylo Ren thinks; we are heartbroken over the pains Draco Malfoy has been through; we are fascinated by the friendship between the Doctor and the Master; we crave knowledge of how “the other side” thinks and feels and lives.

At our recent Multi-Generational Philosophy Discussion in which we partnered with the Longmont Senior Center to discuss Geek Philosophy with both senior adults and our YA members, one of the senior adults said something very profound to our members. We were talking about the horrors of racism, and a YA member observed that her generation may not be as inclined to prejudice as those in the past. The senior adult replied, “You said that your generation is not as racially charged. I believe that, for you [Grey Havens YA members], because you are not afraid to be enthusiastic. When you embrace being a nerd, you are not afraid to be enthusiastic, and to live.” He mentioned the notion that “Joe Cool” can be cool all his life and then realize he never actually lived, but when you embrace who you are and embrace being a nerd, you stop being so worried about looking cool and you start really living.

wp-1454299663565.jpgTo the founders of Grey Havens YA, these two concepts are intrinsically related. We are drawn to other sides, to the viewpoints of those who are different from us, because we are enthusiastic about knowledge and about life itself. In one of our favorite quotes, John Green said, “Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. … When people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness.'”

That is why we do what we do here at Grey Havens YA. We want to encourage young adults to be unashamed by their enthusiasm for the miracle of human consciousness. True, some of our members aren’t as enthusiastic all the time. Some of them struggle with depression and very real issues in their lives, but they still show up every week and they share in the enthusiasm of others. They show up every week and they discuss philosophy, darkness and light, science and art with the rest of us. They show up every week and feel safe to be themselves. It is quite a miracle itself to behold.

Grey Havens YA means so much to our members, and it means so much to us. We are so proud of these last two years, and we look forward to many more. We especially love adding to our community and watching our new members fit right in as if they’ve been with us all along. Grey Havens YA is full of  that special kind of magic. Will you help us spread it?

A star shines on the hour of our meeting,
Robyn and Kelly

Photos by Steve Eggleston

When Trivia Isn’t Trivial: One Reason to Love “Fandoms Unite”

On December 4, Grey Havens YA hosted Star Wars: The Fandom Awakens at Lafayette Public Library, part of our Fandoms Unite outreach program. As we were leaving, I called out, “Live long and prosper.” One of the teens replied, “Namárië.” Fandoms Unite, indeed!

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Eager to answer!

Fandoms Unite, our monthly program of trivia, captions contests, singing, dancing, acting, improv and general fandom craziness is always a ton of fun but it might not seem like a very important thing to offer young adults. What significant good could possibly come from teens getting together once a month to celebrate popular culture? Why would we even encourage such a thing? Isn’t popular culture, well, trivial?

The answer, we strongly believe, is no. Everyone engages in some way with popular culture. It gives many of us a significant part of the language with which we understand and speak about our world. (How many of you would know what I meant if I said that someone can be as logical as a Vulcan but as passionate as Anakin Skywalker?) It is how we engage with it that matters most.

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Star Wars Yoga: Han frozen in carbonite!

Fandoms Unite is not just an experience of popular culture; it is consciously imitative of the internet experience, the home turf of much of the growing fandom subset of popular culture. We sing and shout along to clips and GIFs. Our captions contests are practically exercises in meme-making, and our non-competitive trivia is a lot like one of those “how-much-do you know-about…” quizzes most of us have taken online. The difference between an online community and a Fandoms Unite community (and we believe both can have value) is that Fandoms Unite takes place in a room in which teens are interacting with each other in person. They see first-hand that there are other teens and even adults who take their interests seriously. We reflect the things that make them laugh and the things that spark their imaginations back to them and they, in turn, share the light of their enthusiasm and creativity with us.

Singing, "Let it Flow," a Star Wars parody of the famous Frozen song
Singing, “Let it Flow,” a Star Wars parody of the famous Frozen song

When teens experience other teens and adults celebrating the fandoms they love, they feel seen, heard and valued. When people feel seen, heard and valued, they are more confident and willing to take risks. Learning always involves taking risks. The first time you rode a bike, you had to have the confidence to risk falling. The first time you learned to read, you had to have the confidence to risk failing. Learning to think critically and independently requires the confidence to risk forming and expressing your own thoughts, based in your deep experiences of reason and feeling, even when others are telling you that you are wrong. Learning to say “no” to high-risk behaviors when everyone else is jumping off the bridge, requires the confidence to stand strong against persuasive peers and the need to feel accepted at all costs. Sometimes, that confidence can be nurtured in a meeting room at a library answering what may appear to be trivial questions about Star Wars. The intrinsic worth of confident risk-taking is one reason we say…

May the Force be with you. Live long and prosper. Namárië. Fandoms Unite!received_966898340064948.jpeg    received_966898646731584.jpeg

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Send us an owl: This post describes just one of the many reasons we believe in our Fandoms Unite programming. Have you attended one of our events? What was it like for you? 

If you love what we do and want to help us bring Fandoms Unite to as many young adults as possible, check out this fun and easy way to support us this December. Hanon le (and many thanks).

Grey Havens YA’s Last Stand!

RPG Dice

The year is 2602. The planet once known as Earth has been callously re-christened The Last World. America is now popularly known as The Corruption. The Sahara Desert is covered in frozen ash. Days are short and dark. The temperature remains at a stubborn 14 degrees Fahrenheit. There are zombies, dragons, zombie dragons and killer wasps. Who can you trust? How will we survive?

RPG Character Sheet

This is the world of The Last Stand, a role-playing game developed by Grey Havens YA members at last April’s Real Myth and Mithril Symposium. Today, we finally got to come together in one large group to play! Some of our characters are road-weary loners, some are brilliant but aloof and unstable, motivated by self-interest or fear, some are too trusting and kind. Some have magic, others have science and mechanical skill. None of these skills are infallible.

Some have empathy or telepathy, others have trouble understanding what goes on in another person’s head. One carries his small son across the post-apocalyptic landscape in a backpack, wondering at times if the burden is too much. One of us is a Martian, kind but lost and overwhelmed by the thoughts that flood her mind. Another is slightly mad from all she has seen, though we don’t know what memories haunt her. There is a man in the camp who can be quite caustic but hovers around his community anyway. One man has golden eyes and no one knows his name. One is the sole survivor of a recent, terrible war. Our dragon is helpful but he snores. Times are harder than they have ever been. Is this really what we do for fun? Absolutely it is!

RPG Group 2

Role-playing games are good for the mind, heart and soul. If we can be anything we want, why do we give our characters limitations and problems? Why not just place ourselves in paradise? Why do we harness our imaginations to the roll of a polyhedral die? Because problems are solved, beauty is created and relationships are forged when our limitless daydreams have to fit themselves into a world that, as wild as it may be, is still governed by rules. Every time we roll the die, we risk failure but risk is our business. We don’t just hack our way through trouble either. We have weapons but we also have skills. We have strengths and weaknesses and we use them all to try together to find what each of us is looking for.

Real life is like that, too, isn’t it? Sometimes we have everything we need to succeed but circumstances turn against us anyway. Sometimes, everything goes our way. You can’t have everything you want but you can have adventure–in the game and outside of it. We also have each other.

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Our young adults built this world with all its dire problems and it is likely that they will save it many times over.  They each put nuance and depth into their characters while our game master oversees the whole thing with patience and wit. It is easy to be impressed by this. It is easy to see them going on to do great things in our own world, such as showing compassion for all kinds of characters, finding ways to work together even when the compassion hasn’t risen to the surface yet, solving problems, understanding when things don’t go their way but allowing themselves to feel elation when they do. It is also easy to see how gaming is helping them to fulfill their potential on the way to adulthood.

Gaming is part of a great tradition of storytelling, a myth that metamorphoses in the telling. It is collective storytelling, a tale adapted by each mind that joins the quest, causing the other minds to bend and twist to keep up. In a role-playing game we can see through strange eyes. Each player tries out a persona that emerges from a mix of compassion for their own attributes, empathy for what it must be like to be another, a bit of wish fulfillment and a lot of adapting to everything that comes along, including zombies, dragons, zombie dragons, killer wasps and, from time to time, a bit of luck.

rpg character drawing

RPG Gigi Character

RPG Robyn Jayne Katie

The Last Stand proved so popular with our members that we would like to add regular gaming sessions to our schedule and, perhaps, even invite more gamers to join us but this would require more time and resources than we currently have. Click here to help! Click here to learn about what happens at a Grey Havens YA meeting when gaming is not on the agenda. May fortune fall upon your every roll!

Send us an owl: What is your favorite role-playing game? What is your favorite gaming memory? 

In December, we begin reading and discussing The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. We would also love to know your favorite memories of reading this great author.

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