Asp Army: the Hufflepuff of Ender’s Game

So this is a much-needed rant; I will explode if I don’t say this. I just took the Ender’s Game: IF Strategic Aptitude Test, which is basically to sort you into one of four armies: Dragon, Rat, Salamander and Asp. I got drafted into Asp. The asp, by the way, is a venemous snake,most popular for being used by Cleopatra to commit suicide. But, I digress. Before you read on, I would like to warn you with a SPOILER ALERT. If you’re like me, and absolutely abhor spoilers, please don’t read on. If, on the other hand, you’re another hardcore fan, or else don’t mind spoilers, please continue.

Dragon Army: Anyone who’s read the book knows that, like Gryffindor, Dragon Army is where you want to be. Created specifically for Ender, this army has the best, most coveted, most talented students.

Traits: Intelligence, Improvisation Ability, Tactical Ability, and everything else awesome and embodying perfection.

Salamander Army: Led by the devil himself, Bonzo Madrid, Salamander Army is the equivalent of Slytherin in terms of popular perception. It differs in that it is badly-captained, and lack of respect reigns everywhere. Run by fear, it’s not the place you want to be. Still Salamander has Petra, and Petra is awesome. At the end of the day, Salamander does well – they’re just not the most welcoming or easy at improvisation. Stick to the plan and work hard is a motto that normally works for them.

Traits: Ambition, Hubris, Order, Hierarchy, Following the Plan (sometimes blindly)

Rat Army: The Ravenclaw of the Enderverse, Rat Army commander is Rose de Nose, but seeing as he’s not really commander material, I consider him a bad example. Rat is chaotic and disorderly, but they possess an open-mindedness that I like. Dink Meeker, in my opinion, is the embodiment of Rat. Cool, calm and collected, Dink is perfect commander material. Dink actually thinks. He sees the bigger picture and predicts the war that’s going to happen on Earth. He sees the teachers playing them, and he comes to his own conclusions and decision: that he won’t take part in the *ahem* rat race.

Traits: Analytical Skill, Adaptability, Chaos (creativity?)

Asp Army: Here we reach the point of this post and the root of the problem. Despite being a fan, (or maybe precisely because I am a fan) I cannot, for the life of me, recall any part of the book that does more than name Asp Army as a statistic, along with all the other armies. Nowhere is Asp given any character. We have no idea whether it’s a good team or a bad team or what the army’s like. Hence, the Hufflepuff reference.The Asp snake looks more like a nice tough-looking fourth-army-mascot than anything else.

Traits(according to the quiz): Creativity, Innovation

Now, for the rant. I highly dislike the fact that, once again, we have a house/army/category that it is IMPOSSIBLE to identify with for fans. Note that I don’t say that the traits are hard to identify with: I think their analysis of me as creative and innovative is pretty much right. I just don’t feel like I belong in Asp because they’ve obviously just picked up a fourth army to round it off and assigned these character traits to them because, for a quiz, we need the artsy, right-brained house.

Disclaimer: I’m not just jealous that I wasn’t put into Dragon. Although I am jealous. It’s obvious what answers are required to get Dragon, and I decided to be honest and see what I got.

Also, it still remains that Dragon Army is the creme de la creme of Battle School – a sort of Special Ops squad. In short, it’s like Dumbledore’s Army – a collection of the best from each category – not a category of its own, and definitely not comparable with Rat, Salamander and *snort* Asp. Therefore, not being sorted into Dragon automatically makes you inferior.

Back to the Hufflepuff comparison. I’m not saying either Hufflepuff or Asp are inherently bad. I’m just reminded of Harry Potter fans’ disconnect with Hufflepuff because it plays such a minor role in the books/movies. We don’t even get to see their Common Room. So imagine my frustration when I’m placed in an Army which:

  • is not even one of four main armies – it’s just one of many, randomly selected to fill the vacancy. Even Condor and Rabbit were given bigger roles.
  • doesn’t have any significant role or scene in the book
  • does not even have any distinguishing characteristics mentioned in the book – we just have to take Lionsgate’s word for it. At least Hufflepuff has loyalty and magnanimity as guideposts.

Coincidentally, Asp Army has a significantly lesser number of insignias (those circular army-badge-things) on Google image search, as I found out when trying to find images for this post. Hence the slight size difference, for any of you that noticed. Just thought I’d mention it.

So anyway, I’m really angry and really frustrated. The “sorting” does not make sense to me to begin with, and although I’m happy to be pronounced creative and innovative, I hate that I was sorted into Asp. It honestly bothers me.

Also, they do not allow you to retake the quiz. I’ve tried. Even if you revoke app permission on Facebook and try again. Yeah, I know. Another little warning: there’s no guarantee that all your information will be deleted from their system if you decide to back out. It’s part of their Privacy Policy, which – yes – i read. Yes, I was that angry. Although I must admit this would be pretty much a non-issue if I’d gotten Dragon.

I know I can’t be alone in feeling this annoyed. I ranted to two people already and cursed being placed in Asp till my throat went sore. What hurts the most is the fact that the quiz is supposed to make you get more excited and involved with Ender’s Game; they just alienated me from it. Asp has no role in the book. I’ve been placed in a background army with randomly-assigned traits. That makes me feel lost. Even though I know it’s just a game, and it’s just for fun, and it should probably be considered a bonus that we have a somewhat official quiz at all, I’m still annoyed at the illogical way in which it was handled. Sure, I realize that for moviegoers, or people who are only reading the book to get an idea of the story before the movie releases, it’ll be all in fun and it won’t really matter. But for me, as a devoted fan, it does.

I, immature or not, will continue to hate Asp Army as one of the four advertised/promoted armies until I hear word from Card about Asp. It’s his world: if he says Asp is important and creative, I will believe that Asp is important and creative. But not until then.  So please, if anyone hears any official news about Asp or has proof or views to the contrary, please let me know. I am definitely open to persuasion.

As a side note: it sucks that I got 5/5 in the YA quiz, and I can’t go to the comic-con and collect my prize. Cue loud weeping.

Heard of Rippln? – Some Shameless Marketing

Okay, so this is an email template the site Rippln suggested, but it’ll do as well as anything else I could come up with:

Let me ask you a quick question. When you first heard about Facebook… how many people did you tell? 10, 20, 30 people…? How about Twitter, Instagram or Angry Birds…?Did any of those companies pay you for the marketing you did for them?If not, then you need to check this out ASAP:

You created what we call a “Ripple Effect”… and we believe that you should be paid for that (don’t you agree…?)If you are ready to get what you’re worth for all of the word of mouth marketing that you are ALREADY doing… then check out this short video:


P.S. If you’re curious, feel free to ask me any questions. I’ll share as much as I know… but this is going to move FAST, so don’t wait. Get in the Ripple now!

Anyway, this is basically just a cool way of tracking your online influence and maybe getting paid for it. Why not give it a try? 😀

Paula Deen’s Mistake

Daily Prompt: No, Thank You

June 22, 2013

If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?


The first thing that popped into my mind on seeing this was that I’d love to ban a few racial slurs. I happened to click on this link []  today when it came up on my Facebook feed as I was scrolling.

The article and the video only mention that Paula Deen, someone noteworthy in her field, had used a certain racial slur, and was under media fire for it; also  her contract was not going to be renewed. Although I was dismayed by the fact that people still use racial slurs in this day and age, I couldn’t figure out why there had been such a strong reaction to it that it became Upworthy-worthy until I read the copy of the legal papers at the bottom of the page.

The brief talks about the blatant and, frankly, disgusting sexism and racism that was shown to a Ms. Jackson during her tenure as manager at a restaurant under Deen. The description of the verbal, mental and physical assault of Jackson made me shudder and feel dirty; dirty because I am a part of the same human race that both perpetuates such acts and allows them to continue unchecked. I admit that prejudice is sometimes inherited, and that I am lucky to have grown up in surroundings that permit free thinking and encourage equality, but I believe there comes a point beyond which no prejudice can account for our mistreatment of our fellow beings, human or otherwise, on Earth.

I strongly encourage anyone and everyone reading this to please have a look at the copy of the legal complaint I have mentioned above. We may not all be in a position to help out those being harassed, but we can at least attempt to remain aware of their struggles; if knowledge is power, and with great power comes great responsibility, then surely to remain ignorant is to willfully shirk responsibility?

What Makes People Deserve Awards?

Daily Prompt: Person of the Year

June 13, 2013

You’re asked to nominate someone for TIME’s Person of the Year. Who would it be, and why?

I don’t know all that much about politics. My general knowledge and awareness barely covers things like the unrest in Turkey and Edward Snowden’s uncovering of the NSA’s spying activity. So no, I don’t think I’m qualified, rather, aware enough, to name anyone as person of the year.

But I am keenly aware of what people I know have been through this past year. Several friends have struggled with their education, my roommate has had on-again, off-again depression because of a guy she’s seeing, and yet another friend questioned humanity itself, saying we don’t deserve to exist. I’ve seen nearly everyone I know, whether I like them or not, fight their own battles. One friend lost a father a year ago, another  has fought her weight and managed to lose some, and so on and so forth.

I looked up today’s Figment Daily Theme a while ago:

Your Daily Theme for June 12, 2013
A writer must learn empathy, that ability to fully understand the emotional life of others. Yes, even those we find depressing, boring, or plain old annoying. It’s that understanding of others that helps us shape compelling, three-dimensional characters.

Take a peek at the News Feed of someone you once hid on Facebook, or unfollowed on Twitter, and select a particularly grating recent post (Maybe: “Off to Zimbabwe then Paris! Pictures to follow! Send me a postcard from wherever you are!”), then write at least 500 words in the voice of that person about that post, in a way that helps you better understand him/her without anger, annoyance, or judgment.

…and was stumped. I trawled through old friends’ walls, searching for something good to use to spur my writing. That’s when I realized how much I’d changed. I was spending time with people I really connected with now, people who cared about me too. I was open to new experiences, and more confident about myself and my abilities. As a result, I was  less constricted, much happier, and a more developed, mature person than I’d been a while ago.
So I dedicate my allocated CyberAward of the Year to all of us. We have all grown this past year, no matter what the cause, what the field and what the reason. We have improved our lives and, whether we realized it or not, also had an impact on the lives of those around us. Just ask a friend and see, I dare you to. And isn’t that what this award is about? To have brought about a change in the world, one that affected others and was appreciated? You are an inspiration to several because of how far you’ve come.
Go ahead, take that badge and pin it on. You deserve it.

Mary-Sue, Anti-Sue and Me

Your Daily Theme for 5/23/2013
Mary Sue
A character is referred to as a “Mary Sue” if she is either improbably perfect or powerful, if his flaws are superficial and are just used to make him a more attractive character, or if she is a stand-in for the author.
Write a fictionalized version of yourself. Make him or her as powerful and perfect as you’d like. Then, write an Anti-Sue: Yourself at your worst. Finally, fictionalize yourself, focusing on your real quirks, beauty, and failings. Which character would you most like to read about?

They met only once – at the airport, outside terminal 44A. Slipping her smartphone into the pocket of her well-tailored corduroys, she smiled warmly and made way for a woman passing the other way. Flurried, tires bulging through her t-shirt, the woman avoided eye-contact, accidentally knocking a passerby down.

Sighing in frustration, I picked myself up, dusted off and looked up at the faces of two women – one red-faced, apologetic, and the other full of polite concern. Twisting my hair back into a bun, I half-smiled, deciding to let it go. The weather was perfect outside. I grinned, waved, and walked on.

Link to original posting on figment:

Plants vs Zombies

After months of waiting, I finally got to spend some time bonding with my brother recently. And what better way to bond with a brother than Plants vs Zombies? Drafting up plans of attack while consolidating our three main lines of defense, we watched with bated breath as the pedantic zombies were beheaded and fell to the ground with the grace of artists, lacking the imagination to change their straight-on attack strategy(?).

Three days and several hard-won battles later, we have finally won the war, thanks to the never-fading vitality and potency of peas. And maybe of our relationship as well.

In response to Trifecta’s weekly writing competition:

Why the Internet is Like Magic

Whether you’re in school, in college, working, or retired, I’m betting the debate has been brought to you in one form or the other: is the internet a boon or a bane? Is the internet distracting us from what’s important in life (typical points being family, friends, relationships, etc.) or is it helping us grow and learn more about the world and helping us stay more in touch with each other? Or, if both, then which effect affects us more? Even, is it worth staying in touch with several people across the world at the cost of the person who’s standing there right in front of you? In general I think, personally, that the internet is like magic. Just like Hagrid warns Harry about magic, and how not all wizards are good, I think that no item or invention is inherently good or evil – it depends on the use we choose to put them to. That said, I believe that people love blame-shifting; makes us feel better. “It’s not my fault – the mug just slipped….”, or “I would have been able to find it if I had a better organizer”, or even, “It’s not my fault – the test was just way too hard!” We’ve always loved blaming something  or someone else for our own lapses in focus or responsibility. As the saying goes, a poor workman always blames his tools. How is the internet any different? We had loners and unsociable people before the advent of the internet too, just as we had loafers and discourteous people who ignored people around them for something or someone else. It just so happens that, today, almost all our ways and means of enjoyment or killing time are linked in some way to the internet, so we’ve found a good blanket term to substitute for “laziness” and use as a scapegoat for our own lack of etiquette or priorities. A friend and I share a certain belief regarding the importance of various forms of communication, and the priority that you give people using each of them, that can be expressed like this: someone you’re texting/chatting online with <someone you’re talking on the phone with < someone you’re talking face-to-face with (which should be pretty self-evident, but doesn’t seem to be as important to people as they claim) I think everyone is aware of what their priorities are or should be, and yet chooses to disregard it. We all, as a people, see our guilt reflected in that of those who put the internet above their human connections and relationships, and, to ease our own consciences, blame their lapses on the internet. So anyway, I like to compare the internet to magic – it helps us  stay in touch and learn more and do just about everything with less effort. But, like magic, it can have both positive and negative effects. At the end of the day, it’s the bond we’ve shared with those around us which’ll make our lives worth living, which will make us want to get up in the morning. Nothing should ever get in the way of that – least of all a set of cables, a circuitboard and binary code. And now, I should get off the internet and go spend some time with family. See, Ma? Writing prompts are good for me.