Monday, October 31, 2011

Charmed Thirds review

I've read the third book in the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty. I will tell you it was a mix of emotions.
It was a different sort of read. In one book, we read about 4 years of Jessica's life. All her college years. I suppose if one reflects on the past four years of their own life, there would be a mix of emotions as well.
There is relationship turmoil and suspense. I was so completely disappointed in my dear Jessica a few times during the read. I kept wondering, "Who is this girl" "I thought I knew her better than that!"
Clearly, after three good books, actually after two, with McCaffferty's witty writing, you feel like you know the girl. Also, McCafferty does a nice job with making the college years true to real life. Nothing too outrageous that could never happen to anyone but exciting enough to keep you reading and turning the pages. And, my particular favorite, is the all too common end to many college students, "So, i have this degree that I thought I wanted/My parents wanted me to get-but that's not what I want. what do I do? Did I mention the debt?" "It sounded like a good idea 4 years ago-but not so much now." "I guess I picked a major that interested me, but not one that would prepare me for a career I was interested in actually having." This to me is, is true to life.
In the end, Jessica grows up into a young adult and is exactly where many girls are here age at the end. I like to call it, in limbo-with direction.
In my opinion, it's a good read. I do find myself kind of cheating from time to time because I really just want to know what happens to her and Marcus and so I flip through a bunch of pages and read the dirt on that situation, and then I go back to reading everything else. I end up reading the her and Marcus drama twice! Which, I'm not sure is enough. I guess you could say it reads a little bit like a tabloid...You go to what you want first but because you spend the money on it, you go back and read everything else, just in case you missed a piece of good, juicy, information or gossip. Exciting!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Economic times-a personal note

In my opinion, economic times suck. I remember, I think, perhaps I just assumed, that once a person had a full-time job. They were able to make ends meet, for the most part. Perhaps not live extravagantly, but could make it and not eat ramen every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Well, I have that full-time job as well as many of American's and I need another job-just to get by. Seriously, I don't have any ramen, but if I did, I think I would be rationing it.
The anxieties that go along with pennies not stretching as far as they need to, are exhausting. I see this as a cycle. Said person needs another job, said person (S.P.)is stressing about finding another job that will work with the full-time job and the hours they must keep at the FT position. S.P. has to fill out applications that are a bit degrading b/c S.P. is no longer in high school and is capable of having a job requiring higher level thinking but is now at the same level as a 16 year old-financially ($0.00 in their pocket). S.P. feels bad about their new low-financial status. S.P. has anxiety about where to apply? who will call first? should I just donate my plasma? how about a kidney? Will mine even be wanted? When are my bills due? How much money can I spend per day and stay out of the hole? S.P. can not sleep at night b/c their mind reals with all this and many other things. S.P.'s work performance at FT job begins to decline. S.P. is informed from friends that they should go to counseling or a doctor for sleeping pills/depression pills/anxiety pills/ or tranquilizers. These sound like very good ideas. S.P. would love to do those things, BUT S.P. has no money. S.P. can not go to a doctor of any kind. This suggestion actually makes S.P. panic because what if S.P. really does get sick and HAS to go to the Doctor, or the car breaks down, or needs an oil change or...on and on...Finally, even though S.P. feels bad and worse about them-self for not being able to make ends meet for them-self with their FT job, S.P. applies for State Aid. People complain about State Aid and S.P. isn't exactly on board with everything that State Aid supports. S.P. isn't quite humbled from said experience, S.P. is privately humiliated and embarrassed.
This is a problem. When will it all change? What made it happen? Not only is there a problem with Job-getting, but also the stress it puts on people, leads to a strain on the health system, and hot debates between tax-payers. What is a person supposed to do? One that is in a position like S.P.? what is the solution? Whatever it is, something better happen soon because, in my opinion, this sucks for all S.P.'s. Government and all people who have a voice that can actually make something change and perhaps make life a little bit easier for all People-wake-up and smell the coffee. Put away your petty differences, your superficial, "I'm better than you's," your materialistic claims, put all that BS away and come together and make a decision that will actually better the nation as a whole. Instead of dragging your feet and counting your coins every night, think of a way to make this nation something other than an economic shit hole. Thanks!

Second review: Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

I found these books in the local library. I love them. It's a series. The main character is Jessica Darling. The first one I read, I thought it was placed in the wrong section. I felt it was a young for me. The girl is in high school and dealing with her high school anxieties. At any rate...
The books read like a diary. I feel that any time a book is written in that manner, it's just an easy read and I always seem to enjoy them, page turners, you might call them.
The second one is about her Senior year of high school in a little po-dunk town in New Jersey with parents she can not stand. She feels like an outsider in her own home. She doesn't really feel like she belongs in school. I think you call this a "loner." Of course, because it's a high school setting, it deal with crushes and boys of interest and the question of what college should she go to.
It's an easy read. Again, a little immature for me to really identify with at this point in my life. But at the same time, dealing with boys you like and boyfriends, and making tough choices, and amazing family idiosyncrasies, they are kind of universal themes. Even if you're older, you can at least time travel back to what it was like to be that young and have your college or non-college choice be the biggest of your concerns.
Jessica Darling has some wicked, sarcastic humor, which I totally get into. I laugh out loud when I read these books. A nice simple read, but sucks you in like reality TV. You think you're really too old for this kind of drama, but you just can't pull yourself away from it.
In my opinion, if you need a book to read to reminisce of days gone by, or know a female teen that's into reading, this is a good choice. Not too heavy but not too superficial. As the series continues, Jessica Darling grows up and learns valuable lessons of love, life, and friendship. Lessons of which we can all be reminded of.

Book Review: Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner

OK! Yes! I know! This is a bit late in coming. I've actually read that whole book and another one...Whoopsies. Actually, the book review part of this blogging experience was truly what I was most excited about. And I've not done it yet!
SO-the book-Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner. I really enjoyed it. Perhaps not as much as the first two books of hers that I've read. In her Shoes and Good in Bed. The first two, I think, are geared toward the mid-age audience-you know me-20 something...Not a teenager anymore but not dealing with marriage and divource and kids and all that. So, the first two, might be a little superficial for some, but again, it depends I think on who you are.
Little Earthquakes, is about four young mothers. Each one having their first child. While I have not had a child, i think Jennifer Weiner does an accurate job of portraying pregnancy and motherhood and some situations that DO occur between husband and wife during this time. She kind of hits all the big points and problems. In general, the situations of the four women are as follows: (I don't want to give away too much in case you decide to actually read it, so I'll to be vague in who is who) Lady 1: Basically ran away from her past, had a baby, and is mourning the loss as well as coping with her "new" day to day life. Re-figuring out who she is and being honest about it with her husband as well as figuring out her past.
Lady 2: A young, beautiful, successful, in the spot-light kind of lady. She thrived off her own success but has trouble finding work now that she's pregnant and married to her even-more-in-the-spot-light-husband. LOVES her baby and wants to be the "Perfect" Mom, doing things by the book-literally. Has to deal with her husband's mistake and has to decide if she can forgive him.
Lady 3: Used to being in control of everything. Doesn't want to ask for help for anything. Even when she obviously needs help. Has to deal with her husbands lack of motivation and her ghosts of childhood past-which she has never informed her husband of. Also has to cope with the fact that she actually likes to work and not being with her baby all day. A feeling she doesn't think she's supposed to have.
Lady 4: Has the perfect life. The successful business, mentally stable, the perfect husband. The worst Mother-in-Law.
In the end, all ends a little too happily ever after, but that's okay, since it is a fictional book and not real life. To a certain extent, I think everyone who does read this book can relate to each character in some way and walk away with a lesson or two on forgiveness, openness, and how to deal with a variety of real-world relationship issues.
In my opinion, it's a real read. It's real life depicted as well as real life can be only fictionalized. And, it ends happy, so why not read it?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tragedy-If they could Talk

Um, so I heard about the massacre of animals from one of my friends posts on facebook. I read about it. It's horrible. I have mixed feelings.
The killing of ALL those animals is just completely wretched. But the nasty icing on the cake is that 18 of them were endangered Bengal tigers! Endangered! As in so few, there are close to extinction. As in just a few left in the WORLD! Not just the United States.
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, there are about 3,200 tigers left in the wild. About 1,850 are Bengal Tigers. This is just an estimate and they noted that accurate estimates from countries other than Nepal or India aren't available. That's all! 1,850!
It's a tragedy that these animals were killed. Since my first exposure, I've heard about it on the radio and read a different news account of it. The radio guy posed a question-was this guy selling the animals?
This to me is a legitimate question. Why would a person have all those animals in the first place? As far as I know, it's not a zoo. It's not a rehabilitation center that partnered with a zoo. They were not in the circus as far as I know. So-why have these animals?
I have a number of questions I'd like to ask, if there was actually a person who could answer them.
1. How were these animals treated? Were they provided for appropriately? Hmm...there is a report that the owner was cited for animal abuse and neglect.
2. How did the owner afford to care for these animals?
3. What laws were broken? Were any laws broken?
4. Who was allowed to care for the animals?
5. What training did the owner have to even make it plausible for him to care for these animals?
In my opinion-it was a dumb idea to have all these animals in the first place, assuming the owners/caretakers were just common people with no training.
Furthermore-to set them free! OK, obviously, the poor guy-yes I do feel somewhat sorry for him, was out of his mind. He had all these animals. He set them free! He killed himself. What a great idea to endanger his entire community and the rest of the nation. The nation might be a little extreme but honestly-you never know how fast and how far an animal can travel. It was just highly ill-conceived, irresponsible, and senseless to just set the animals free! If he didn't want them anymore all he had to do was turn them over to a reliable care center, authorities, or someone! I just don't think they needed to die!
Instead, the police officers came ill-prepared with no tranquilizers and had to shoot all those animals! I feel for the officers as it does seem they had no choice and their jobs are to protect the public. The deputy sherrif that was interviewd by ABC news does seem regretful and remorseful for the duty done, but also feels a sense of obligation to serve and protect. He didn't have much choice. But, I just wonder if maybe some of the animals could have been saved if they were better prepared. I also wonder if quite frankly, shooting them, is just much easier. I'm sure they were scared out of their minds because I would be, and killing an animal is ensuring your safety but did it kind of just become like a mob-mentality? Where, they just shot because the animals are big and dangerous but perhaps not ALL of them were actually being dangerous. I'm sure I will never know.
In my opinion, this massacre was a total tragedy. No one won. Yes, no one was hurt except for the owner that commited suicide but it's just heartbreaking for all those animals.
I also wonder about the health of these animals. One monkey is rumored to have a virus that is very dangerous to humans, what about the rest of them. Perhaps the rest of them were infected and that is why he let those loose. An even more reckless thought.
Another thought-the wife of the man who set them free and killed himself, Oh, how she must be feeling. I wonder if she has the support of the community or has been ostracized. I wonder, to what extent, she's mourning. I want to know what all she knows about those animals and their care. If animals could talk, I'd love to hear their story-at least the 6 that are still living. the 49 that are dead, well, they're story won't be told now.
My little animal rights statement: Animals don't have a voice. We, responsible humans, need to express their voice and fight for their rights.
My final, last opinion on all this, I'm not sure the slaying of all these animals will be justified in any way by passing legislation on the rules and regulations of owning "exotic pets."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I actually turned my TV on today and I saw this story on TV. Click on the left hand side of your screen under the "Latest thought provoking event" for the story. In my opinion it's completely brilliant!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lady in a Leopard Suit

This one is short, sweet, and to the point. I apologize in advance that the links and such to the left are from yesterdays post. Nothing quite could capture this.
In my opinion women should not wear a leopard print one piece, capri pant, thing. OK-it's not Halloween. It wasn't a costume. The whole thing was leopard print. The bottom half were hugging her legs to about capri pant length. The middle was wrapped around her round non-pregnant stomach. The top part was low cut and revealed an odd amount of cleavage. She walked as though she had not a care in the world. Well...I guess she wouldn't' have to, leopards are high on the food chain. In my opinion, this particular outfit was not a good idea for the poor woman who bought it and for the designer who thought of it. WOW!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You want Bad Service?

Perhaps I own this perspective simply because the kind of work I do. My perspective on service is basically this-you get what you give. In my opinion, if you treat your cashier, your waitress, waiter, anyone that is there to essential serve you at any given moment in which you arrive, in a respectful sort of way, they will also respect you. We've all been there, had bad service for a variety of reasons. It's quite possible that you were eating out with friends and the waiter was completely wretched and you might have lost your cool only to result in further bad service. My tip to you, keep your cool. Even though they really do suck, ask for their manager or request someone else to wait on you. Be polite, you don't need to be belittle the person. Then prepare to politely and respectfully explain your expectations of what you thought you were going to get when you walked in the doors and hopefully, this new person, will be able to give it to you. If not, don't go there again. Their business will get a reputation of being poor and will go out of business. If they don't, at least they aren't getting your money.
Perhaps you sit down and your waitress looks like someone just ran her dog over which is a total good-mood killer for you and the company you have. REMAIN POSITIVE! I repeat, REMAIN POSITIVE. Be polite, mind your manners, and you just might make whatever her problem is fade away, at least for a little bit. In my opinion, service goes both ways. You go out, someone is there to wait on you, but you are there to assure them they are doing a good job. Some reassurance, some respect, and general politeness goes a long way in the world today. A decent tip also helps-but that's not the point. If you make the person that is there to serve you feel like they are doing a good job and appreciate their efforts, they will at least try to continue to do so and they will be only too HAPPY to go back and get you a salad with no big white chunks of lettuce and get you a new drink because the one that was served first has too much foam on the top. In the end, they will have enjoyed waiting on you and you will have enjoyed yourself as well.
Another thing to keep in mind, a lot of times, the person looking at you with what has been requested by you, really had nothing to do with the preparation of it. They put it on a tray and bring it out to you. Keep that in mind the next time you're out and about. Did your waitress really under-cook your steak? Probably not. Don't take it out on her. Be polite, ask to speak to the cook, or ask her if anything can be done. Place the blame where it belongs. Hold the right person accountable for your dissatisfaction.
Also, if the next time you walk into a restaurant only to hear a bunch of "NOT IT's" coming from somewhere in the back of the place-perhaps it's a hint you should check your attitude. Perhaps you keep getting bad service because YOU have a bad attitude-hold the right person accountable for this poor service you complain about. In my opinion, getting good service starts with you.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Amanda Knox is Innocent

Allow me to preface and perhaps claim a disclaimer. I know very little about legal jargon. I know even less about Italian language and Italy. With that said, in my opinion, Amanda Knox was innocent from the beginning. I find it to be a bit of an outrage that this case has gone on for four years when it simply didn't need to. If you click on the link I provided under current thought provoking event, the father says it plainly. It was impossible for there not to be any evidence of Amanda and her boyfriend in that little room, and it simply shows a lack of common sense.
I could be super negative and propose the thought that perhaps Italy was selfish and enjoyed all the press this case provided to their country. I would like to think a government would not be as selfish as that. They would account for the fact that it's a human being and their life they would be exploiting and ruining. Do they deserve 3 cheers for doing that? I believe not. Remember, this is just a supposition as to why they would detain her for so long. I'm sure there is plenty of evidence I'm not aware of and have not taken into account but none-the-less.
I find it curious what it would be like to be in a foreign prison for so long and then just be set free and go back to where you're from. I wonder what she thinks of our Nation now. A lot has happened. I'm sure, to a certain extent she has been informed of news from the United States through family or whatever news sources she had access to, but the experience of the United States must be quite different from four years ago.
I also find it upsetting and inspiring the amount of debt her family has incurred from doing everything they can to bring her back home and prove her innocence. Over a million dollars! and reportedly from a CBS report even her grandma took out a $250,000 loan to also pay for expenses. This family does not seem to me to be the kind that has money flowing from their ears or secret money trees in their back-yard. I don't believe this kind of money is pocket change for them. I don't think even the fines that athletes incur for doing stupid stuff, I don't know if they would consider that amount of debt to not be a burden. It's is an astronomical debt that will not likely be paid off in their life-time unless a serious amount of fame comes of her story. I'm not so sure Amanda seems the type that would feed off the attention and would want to bring even more attention to her situation. In my opinion, I'm sure she'll make a few statements and perhaps publish a book to soothe the talkers and answer the questions and then she will continue on with her life-out of the spot-light.
I'm torn in my opinion about paying back this debt. On one hand, I would be so livid that I've drained my retirement funds and am in debt up to my ears over a case that is absurd, a farce some might say. On the other hand, I might not care at all. I might just say, "It's only money and my daughter is worth that and ten times more." We can only hope for the best for this family.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I had a bad day

Yes, I said it plain as day. It was a not so spectacular day. It started out good. I was up, moving and shakin'. I played my favorite songs on my way to work, even danced a little in my seat. I felt like I might actually have a bounce to my step. Even my shoe with the cracked sole that squeaks with every step I take wasn't squeaking, or maybe I wasn't noticing. It was a great morning, cool but sunny. I had every reason to believe that today was going to be a good day.
I had in my head that my assistant manager was going to be gone today. I really don't mind him too much, but it's just more chill when he's not there. But he was there. Ok, I told myself. Not a big deal. I went to work and things were good. Then, my manager said something and I said, "Well you know, I don't have to work as hard." and he said, "You don't anyways." or something like that. Which I thought was kind of mean. THEN, I went to the next task, and a friend walked by and he said what he was going to have for dinner tonight. I said, "OK." He said, "Well, aren't we feeling a bit bitchy today." I opened my mouth in shock! No, actually I wasn't feeling a bit bitchy at all and then my manager came around again and said, "Are you having a bad day?" I wasn't until you spoke to me...I didn't say that. So, I tried not to let them ruin my mood, but in my opinion, it's really hard to stay upbeat when everyone is telling you, you're being grumpy-even if you have no idea how that is even possible because you were actually feeling really quite happy for the first time in a long time-but then because they keep saying, "My gosh! You're in a bad mood" you become in a bad mood. Why does this happen? In my opinion it shouldn't.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lawn Decorations

I live in a relatively middle of the road type neighborhood. It's not rural by any means and it's not exactly suburbia. I wouldn't really call it a city-like L.A. or Chicago or Vegas or Phoenix. So, it's just somewhat normal and progressing toward the "old-but very well maintained" section of the community. Lovely homes, nicely landscaped, lawns beautifully mowed, some by professional lawn mowers, pools, and fences. Even a new-age-y house where they have a garden-lawn, it's all veggies. They put out a sign-"Free" by s mound of their freshly grown vegetables. So, it's keeping up with the times, sort of.
Across the street is a new subdivision that is GORGEOUS! THere are ponds and swans and ducks and geese and a wheel thing that water falls down. I mean, it's just like finding buried treasure when you're on a canoe with a hole in it. The good news, this treasure is not buried. I pass this local treasure every day, twice a day. Disturbingly, today, I also passed a seasonal lawn decoration as well.
Halloween is appraoching and tis the season for scariness and the giant blow-up lawn things. You know what I mean, like a giant blown-up santa or teddy bear with a present, or waving snowman, or whatever...I look across and there is this black thing. I sort of am thinking it's garbage bags or something.Hello? In this community? Garbage bags! Probably not! It was a blow up spider-deflated. And in my opinion, the deflated form is scarier than the inflated form. The inflated form is probably just a weird looking spider that looks nothing like a real spider. In fact, I'm not sure if it would make people smile and get excited about the the upcoming holiday.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Jane Eyre-the movie

So, I might be a little biased on the whole movie. Jane Eyre happens to be my all time most favorite book-ever. It's kind of insulting to even call it just a book. It's a novel, a great work, a classic. To me, it's like the end-all be-all for the hopeless romantic. For real. AND moreover the main character isn't some prissy little girl twit who doesn't know what to do with her in-love self. She has principles, she stands by them, and doesn't sell herself short when she has to choose between having the love of the man she loves be unconventional or give it all up because she wants it to be well...conventional.
The movie portrays the book I read quite well. Some of the scenes depicted were exactly as I had imagined them-which rarely ever happens in book to movie productions. The movie depicted the events properly and got the gist of the story across well enough. However, it moves at about the same rate it took me to read the book-approximately 5 years. Once I got into the book, I loved it, that's probably why I didn't fall asleep watching the movie or just start doing something else. If you intend on watching the movie with a guy who isn't a fan of Jane, he will fall sleep for sure.
More to the point, if you haven't read the book, I'm afraid you'll miss the point of Jane Eyre all together. Because I have, I understand the pride and reasoning of the choices she makes. The movie does not provide inner dialogue, so in my opinion, to anyone who hasn't read the classic novel, they will be confused by what this plain Jane does and represents.