Saturday Selects: Why I Love Museums

Saturday Selects is a series of posts I write on the ocassional Saturday about topics outside the general bookish theme of the blog. Today I’m discussing museums.

I think if you’re reading this you likely know about my trip to DC last year. For four days I went to every museum I possibly could. After the conclusion of the trip I still have a lengthy list of museums in and around DC I want to visit. A month before I went to DC last year I went to Austin for two days. It was the first time I visited one of the presidential libraries. In those two days I went to four museums and the state capitol of Texas. Next month I’m spending eight days in Boston.

As you can see I’m just about obsessed with museums. Quite honestly I’d like to visit every museum I possibly can during my brief time roaming Earth. But the question I often get is “Why?”. Why do I want to travel to different cities of the world just to go to museums?

I’ll tell you. That’s where all the history lives. I’m not saying there aren’t bits of history scattered throughout cities and historical places, but for what is typically a nominal admission fee you’re granted access to hundreds, thousands, and in some cases millions of pieces of individual history. How great is that!

You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the opportunity museums give us. We’re allowed to learn about cultures, eras, wars, and movements because people behind the scenes have usually devoted their lives to preserving history and historical artifacts of all shapes and sizes.

I love museums because I’m only one person in one era living one life experience, but I’m so eager to learn about the things I haven’t and won’t be able to experience. Museums are time machines. And who doesn’t love those?

Come to DC With Me: Day 4

You’ve now reached the end of my little series documenting my trip to Washington DC. The trip came to an end much too soon, and I can’t wait to go back. But the final day was another busy one for us. We finished visiting the monuments and memorials on the National Mall. We visited the Holocaust Museum. We finished the trip with the National Archives and the Newseum. The best part of this final video is that I give my thoughts on the entire trip as we’re driving to the airport. These are my thoughts just as I was thinking them.

Now watch! And thanks for visiting DC with me! Back to normal programming tomorrow.

Something Incredibly Exciting!

No, I didn’t get a few thousand words of my new story down on paper yet. It’s even more exciting than that. MUCH more exciting.

Last night I did something I’d never done before. *gulp* I booked my first trip! I’ve told some of you all that I’ve never really done any traveling, right? Cause I haven’t. I’ve been on a plane once and I’ve visited only two major cities outside of Texas. Chicago (where the plane I was on landed) and Orlando when I went to Disney World so long ago that I hardly remember it.

Want the details? Yeah? Okay.

So the trip will happen May 23-26 of next year. I’m not sure if people usually plan trips that far in advance, but I’d rather have months of preparation than weeks. And it gives me time to keep saving like I have been. I’ll be visiting one of the cities I’ve wanted to visit since becoming an adult. Washington DC!

Here are the places and monuments I’d like to visit in an ideal world:

Library of Congress
Washington Monument
Lincoln Memorial
World War 2 National Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
US Capitol
White House
Smithsonian Museum of American History
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
National Holocaust Museum

And if I somehow get through everything I want to see, then I wouldn’t mind spending half a day or so at Six Flags America. I’m so excited for this even though it’s almost six months away.

Of the places I mentioned I think I most want to see the Library of Congress. I mean, I might faint and die when I get inside, but at least I’d be surrounded by books! And it’d be the first time I get to check something off my Bookish Bucket List in forever!

Have you ever visited Washington DC? Do you remember your first trip on your own?

Italicizing Book Titles, or Should you?

I do. And I have done so for some time now. But it isn’t universal. It really depends on your personal preference and the style guide you learned from.

In college and I think also in high school I was taught MLA style. And they have you italicize book titles. But theย AP Stylebook would have you place quotation marks around book titles in your writing. To me, italics are just easier to read and less confusing. When I come across quotation marks in written text I’m immediately thinking that I’m about to read some dialogue. Maybe that’s just me? No idea. I think you can also underline book titles if you want? But I believe the practice has been largely replaced by italicizing.

There may not be only one way to identify book titles in written text, but there is one thing that you shouldn’t do. You shouldn’t just write the title as if it were any other group of words without properly identifying it in some way. Why? Because how is your reader, whomever it may be, supposed to know that they’re reading the title of a book if the text looks no different from the rest?

The message is that italics, quotation marks, and underlines really don’t matter as long as you use one.

PS: I’m leaving on my trip I announced a little while back this week! I’d said I wouldn’t be blogging, but maybe I’ll post quick 100-125 word posts during my travels. I think.

I’m Going on Vacation!

And I want to meet you!

Okay. I realize that most of you are complete strangers to me, but plenty of you aren’t. I mean, I kind of wish I could meet all of you and show you how random I am in person, but I can’t. So that’s why this is really going to be a trip of a lifetime! Because I am going to get to meet some of you! (I hope)

Let me tell you what’s going on. I don’t have an exact itinerary just yet. But I do at least know a handful of countries I’m hoping to visit, so if you happen to live in one of the countries then we’re about to meet! I know for sure I’ll be going to the UK, France, Australia, Germany, and then circle around back to the US and visit a few states I’ve always wanted to see. If you live in one of these states/cities you better say so! California. New York. Washington D.C. And depending on the time I spend in New York and California, I may slip into Canada for a day or so.

So that’s it! My little trip around the world.

You’re probably wondering why I’m doing this at all. Well, I think the best time for one to travel is the time immediately following college graduation. And yes, I graduated two years ago, but I’m still in that period. And as for the blog, well I’m leaving fairly soon because there’s no reason for me to wait, but I’m going to write some posts and schedule them out for the next few days. But I most likely will not be blogging during my trip, which I expect to last about two weeks. Because I’ve never had the chance to travel and I don’t want to spend that time replying to comments and checking stats.

If you happen to live in the UK, France, Germany, Australia, California, New York, Washington D.C., or Canada, AND think you might like to meet me in the near future…then you need to tell me! I think we could probably figure something out.

That’s all for today. MP Sharma, I’m stealing you and bringing you back in my suitcase!

15 Reasons to Read This Post!

Photo Credit: Leah’s Thoughts

You guys know that I rarely deviate from my books/writing/reading posts. Well, I’m about to. But I promise it’ll be fun. And interesting. So, unless you’re really new around this side of the blogging neighborhood then you likely saw my Liebster Award post from this past Saturday. If not, you can read it here. Anyway, I felt that my readers/followers enjoyed learning a bit more about the guy behind the blog as I listed out 15 random facts about myself. Some having to do with writing and some not. Well since I like you guys so much I figured why not just go ahead and tell y’all even more about myself? Here come 15 more random facts about me. Hope you like.

1. I may have fallen in love yesterday. She took me by surprise and now I don’t know what’s going on! It’s scary. Love is scary.

2. I have a really obnoxious laugh. Like whenever it gets out in public someone always looks at me like…what the heck are you doing? But it’s me. ๐Ÿ™‚

3. I want to be able to travel the world someday. The Sistine Chapel. Pyramids of Giza. Stonehenge. Anywhere in Rome. Statue of Liberty. And so many more places. Someone with a lot of frequent flyer miles should loan me a few. Or all of them.

4. I cried when I got the author proof of my first book last year.

5. I come from a rather large Mexican family. Four brothers and three sisters. John. Brandon. Marc. Michael. Christina. Adrianna. Brandi. I’ve also been led to believe that there are others out there, though I’ve never met any more. Eh. We’re Mexican after all.

6. I share the exact same name as one of my brothers and my dad. It’s funny because we all go by something different. Our full name is John Raymond Guillen. My dad is Ray. My brother is John. And I’m JohnRaymond. But only family calls me that, so you guys can’t. Unless you’re the person who I may have fallen in love with yesterday. Then you can call me anything you like.

7. I have a weird double standard that I didn’t realize existed until fairly recently. When I’m around any guy friends I speak pretty vulgarly. Is that a word? But when I’m around a girl friend I won’t even say damn. And I would NEVER EVER EVER cuss at a girl. Nope. I’d hit a guy who did that in front of me.

8. I hate wearing jeans. With a passion. I have to wear them for my job but I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I wore them somewhere else. It’s cause I can’t find any that fit right. My brother and I seem to share the same problem. They’re just too tight. Probably why I never wear pants once I’m home. Or a shirt.

9. I had an iPhone 4 for more than two years and never had a single problem with it. I’ve since switched to a Samsung Galaxy S4 and the screen went out after about six months and I got a free replacement. And the replacement phone doesn’t lock when I’m not using it. But I’m not going back to Apple! I refuse.

10. I routinely cry while reading books. I’ve cried while reading my own and I always knew what was going to happen. Call me a baby.

11. I don’t talk to a single person from my high school graduating class from 2010. It’s sad. I met some great people in high school. Their loss.

12. I don’t dance. At all. My sister got married about a month ago and I didn’t dance. I wish I could. But I can’t. I have no rhythm. Or anything. I’ve vowed to make a fool of myself at my wedding and never again. You can’t change it!

13. Normal people my age (22) do what on the weekends? Party. Go out. Something other than sitting at home doing nothing. Well I sit at home and do nothing every weekend. Cause I sleep. And read. And occasionally I’ll actually get some writing done. Call me boring. I’ll call you an alcoholic. ๐Ÿ™‚

14. I hate when people criticize me for not using my degree a year after graduating. Seriously, get out of my life. I’ll punch you.

15. I went to the gym on Halloween last year in a hot dog costume. Yes, pictures were taken. Yes, I’m more awesome than you.

Yay! So now you know even MORE about me! Are you ready to give me your flyer miles? Say yes. I’ll love you forever.

I usually end every post with a question of some kind. So, tell me what you thought of my randomness. Or tell me something random about yourself. Or hit Like and leave my blog. Whichever you prefer!