STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)

A Plan For A Tale

Not only is today Thursday, but it is also the day in which in 1859 the Charles Dickens novel “A Tale of Two Cities” was first published. Its original format was 31 weekly installments in the literary magazine All the Year Round (owned by Dickens).



One of the most recognizable lines of literature and one of the most widely quoted first lines of a novel, the story begins:

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

This, some would say, is a sentiment that is still true today.

So let me ask you, readers of mine… have you read it?

Some of you might have back in high school. But for a lot of people this book is one of the many literary works that is part of the “literary canon” yet the actual plot remains a mystery.

I’ll admit it. I read it in high school but like so many things I read in high school I don’t really remember it.

Time to remedy this!

A connected thought. Several people have asked me how I decide what to read. Well except for the books that I am asked to read for reviewing reasons, the books I read are usually whatever catches my eye while shopping or what is recommended to me by people’s who have opinions I value.

A while ago I decided to pick my reading material with a bit more of a focused agenda. I consider myself fairly intelligent and fairly well read… and yet I know my knowledge of some of the “classic” works of literature is woefully hit and miss.

So I bought myself this book.



Now, I don’t plan on agreeing with every entry that is listed… and I am sure I will feel the need to add to it, but I thought it was a good jumping off point.

Anyway, to make a long post a tad shorter, I am going to be reading “A Tale of Two Cities” in the month of May.



I cordially invite you to read it along with me. I will blog about it when I am done and again you are cordially invited to do the same… or at the very least comment on my future post.

Also, look for more posts having to do with the “literary canon” and the “501” book in the coming months.



(And just in case you do want to join me in this literary adventure, feel free to buy from Amazon using these links and share the love.)



A Plan For A Tale

Not only is today Thursday, but it is also the day in which in 1859 the Charles Dickens novel “A Tale of Two Cities” was first published. Its original format was 31 weekly installments in the literary magazine All the Year Round (owned by Dickens).



One of the most recognizable lines of literature and one of the most widely quoted first lines of a novel, the story begins:

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

This, some would say, is a sentiment that is still true today.

So let me ask you, readers of mine… have you read it?

Some of you might have back in high school. But for a lot of people this book is one of the many literary works that is part of the “literary canon” yet the actual plot remains a mystery.

I’ll admit it. I read it in high school but like so many things I read in high school I don’t really remember it.

Time to remedy this!

A connected thought. Several people have asked me how I decide what to read. Well except for the books that I am asked to read for reviewing reasons, the books I read are usually whatever catches my eye while shopping or what is recommended to me by people’s who have opinions I value.

A while ago I decided to pick my reading material with a bit more of a focused agenda. I consider myself fairly intelligent and fairly well read… and yet I know my knowledge of some of the “classic” works of literature is woefully hit and miss.

So I bought myself this book.



Now, I don’t plan on agreeing with every entry that is listed… and I am sure I will feel the need to add to it, but I thought it was a good jumping off point.

Anyway, to make a long post a tad shorter, I am going to be reading “A Tale of Two Cities” in the month of May.



I cordially invite you to read it along with me. I will blog about it when I am done and again you are cordially invited to do the same… or at the very least comment on my future post.

Also, look for more posts having to do with the “literary canon” and the “501” book in the coming months.



(And just in case you do want to join me in this literary adventure, feel free to buy from Amazon using these links and share the love.)



Windows, light and dark.

Good morning!

Here is my 2nd attempt to join the fun at the new Windows Photo Meme

First off we have the photo I posted last week when I jumped the gun.



Again, I love parts of down town San Jose. This is one of the views from one of the Starbucks. I took this shot one moreing (with my phone no less) while reading the paper and listening to the city wake up.

And here is this week’s photo:



I took this when I was on vacation with The Maifan-San in Portland last September. It was just a random little alley between buildings but for some reason I liked the way it looked.


Happy Thursday!

The Switch

By now you have heard that Arlen Specter made a party allegiance switch.

Which, as someone who tends to lean more Democratic than Republican, I see as sort of a good thing. (If he can do it, maybe more people will…)

But as a regular Jane voter type person this bothers me.

Specter’s Pennsylvania constituents voted in a Republican Senator.

They no longer have one.

Now, I read that there was a large change in the demographic of the PA voters recently… but that is beyond the point.

Let me say again:

Specter’s Pennsylvania constituents voted in a Republican Senator.

They no longer have one.

He was hired by the people of his state to hold a particular position. One that he can no longer hold.

Shouldn’t he have resigned and ran again? Or something?

???

Or do you think this is the case of the people voting in the man and not the party and therefore no matter what colored tie he wears, he can still properly represent the people who voted him in?

Yes, I think people have the right to claim (or not claim) any political party they wish.

But I also think that if you change sides, you owe it to the people who voted you in to let them revaluate if they really want you representing them.

Should Specter have been allowed to switch? Sure… but not mid term, and not without some sort of response from the voters.

I know that if one of the CA Senators decided to switch parties, it would bug the snot out of me. I can only imagine what the PA people are thinking.



… just my two cents.

On The List

I recently put an ad up on Craig’s List.

Before you get all excited or indignant on behalf of Matthew… I put up two different ads to try to sell some of my furniture that won’t fit into my new apartment.

I have never sold anything on Craig’s List before… and I have never bought anything from there either.

Although I did use the site to find that apartment I lived in a few years back… The building was in downtown SJ and had the charm of an old Spanish style villa.

It also had the charm of an ant problem (amazing seeing how I didn’t eat or cook there), an infestation of honey bees (over a hundred of them took up residence in my kitchen), and rats in the walls.

But I am optimistic that not everything that is advertised on Craig’s List is bad…

… after all my furniture is quite nice, it is just too big.

Wish me luck!




<3 <3 <3

First off, just a reminder that I do have another blog that occasionally gets updated with book reviews and the like. In fact, it was just updated today! Click on over and read my review for ‘The Noticer.”

And now, Ruby Tuesday!

First off, this home made tee shirt worn with pride during last weekend’s Walk Against Rape Walk-A-Thon made me smile.



And now I want to post photos of The Maifan-San… create your own transition and keep it clean.

Ahem

One of the favorite pastimes of the Maifan-San and I is a quiet afternoon spent reading/typing/blogging/writing in a one of the many many many coffee shops that we frequent.

Such as the Santa Cruz Roasting Company.



Here is the Maifan-San keeping himself busy being creative… and yes this photo works with RT because there is a big ol’ red A on his chest. (bonus points if you know why there is a big red A on his chest.)



Behind him on the wall was this lovely piece of art.



I love coffee shops.

Even if… le-sigh…



Yes that is a sad EMPTY coffee cup because I am sadly allergic to calfine and thus must get my coffee jollies off in a more vicarious manner. Like buying a mocha for the Maifan-San and then making him kiss me.




Oh…. That reminds me… he comes home 3 more days!

Anyway, that’s my RT for this week! Come back later in the week for what will indubitably be some of the best blogging on the planet.

Or maybe just photos of food and ramblings about politics, moving, books, and Beltane.

The Noticer



Book Review for The Noticer

First of all, I would like to say that had I been consulted, I would have named this book “Perspective” or “Jones” or well almost anything besides “The Noticer.”

Ahem.

This book bills itself as ‘a moving story of common wisdom” and while the common wisdom part is correct, there wasn’t that much of a story involved.

Let me break it down. There is a guardian angel named Jones (or Garcia or Chen depending on what nationality you happen to be) who dispenses much needed wisdom and perspective to the inhabitants of a beach town. He is loved by young and old alike and has the ability to help people look at their problems or situations from a different point of view… or perspective. “Perspective” is Jones’ favorite word.

The framing device of the guru helping the townspeople deal with issues like divorce, communication, hopelessness, acceptance of eventual death, etc works as a framing device should, it keeps things contained and centered and allows the portrait to be the object of focus.

Which is of course the “common wisdom” that is doled out by Jones.

Now, some of the common wisdom is actually worth taking nte of. I personally found the illustration of how different people respond to different signifies of affection and love to be interesting. The idea is that if you are the sort of person who shows your affection and love verbally and your partner needs more tangible physical reminders, you are liable to both not be getting what you want. By understanding what your partner, friend, child needs you can work to provide it and vice versa.

I read that bit and nodded along, “Right, that makes sense” Not all of Jones’ wisdom is as cut and dried. Occasionally his wisdom is a bit cheesy The lesson given to a gaggle of earnest teens of “Every Date is a Potential Mate… so date wisely’ is a prime example. Not that the idea behind it isn’t true… but the delivery of an old man (guardian angel or no) giving teenagers dating advice and them taking it was a bit hard to fathom.

Eventually the town realized that they have been blessed with the advice and attention of a truly remarkable and supernatural being and there is a sense of camaraderie and cohesiveness that is enviable if not really attainable for people who don’t live in a teeny tiny beach town.

All in all, I would say reading this book didn’t change my life… or really my perspective on much but it did give me food for later thought. I appreciated the morality that was being taught and found it refreshing that the book wasn’t a sermon even though it could very easily hae become one.

As far as story goes… well the framing device of the town was tepid at its best and overly cliché at its worst. The common wisdom was, however, sadly not common enough.

If you feel the need for some good old fashioned never out of fashion inspiration that even though it suffers through a sometimes painful framing device and enough small town “charm” to make you go running for the nearest skyscraper still manages to convey the overall feeling of hope and yes, dare I say it, perspective… then I recommend this book.

And if you are interested, go ahead and buy it from here!


Announcement Time!

Yes, there have been rumors… yes there have been hints and speculations…

Here is the official announcement!

I am moving to Santa Cruz!




Not for another 19 days… but still.

I am so totally stocked!

The new apartment is teeny tiny and doesn’t really have a kitchen as much as a stove and a sink next to a fridge (read: no real counters) but that’s ok seeing how I don’t really cook.

It is a 5 minute walk to downtown with all the coffee shops and shopping… and a 20 minute walk to the beach.

Go ahead, read that last part again. Then wipe away the drool and be happy for me.

Moving is going to be a hassle of epic proportions seeing how it is a good 45 minute drive away (over Highway 17) and the Maifan-San won’t be around to help.

But I am blessed with a gaggle of family and friends who love me enough to help me move…. So I am not overly worried about the logistics.

Worried, yes. Overly worried, no.

I actually started packing on Sunday… all the books, DVDs, VHSs (remember those?) and even some of the kitchen stuff and miscellaneous other items all got packed up. I will be attempting to sell my dinning room set and my recliner, and yes I know I have a bit of time before moving day… but again, I am tremendously excited.

Santa Cruz baby, Yay!!!!!




SF WAR

Yesterday was the Women Against Rape Walk-A-Thon in San Francisco.

I know you are probably tired of hearing me beg for money for this cause… but I just wanted to give a quick recap and send out some thanks.

The group met up at the Ferry Building yesterday morning and after we got ourselves all signed in and outfitted with the very brown (who chose brown?) official Walk-A-Thon tee shirts…. we set off on the walk!



(Yes that is my official Skepchick bag)

It was a bit over 3 miles… something I could do in about 45-50 minutes depending, but of course this was a mammoth group of people chanting, hooting, hollering, and such and so it took us closer to two hours.



We wound our way through the city passing through some rather sketchy neighborhoods… Stacy my Walk-A-Thon buddy was quick to point out the streets that one should never be on at night, or alone, or anywhere near without an escort.


I was shocked at how many people were there, (a lot of guys!) humbled by the fact that I seemed like one of the eldest people there, and for the most part quite taken with a few of the chants;



Stop!
Don’t touch me there,
This is
My private square
R-A-P-E
Get your hands away from me
It’s Rape
Clap-clap Clap-clap
It’s Rape!
Clap-clap, Clap-clap

There were even some home-made tee shirts



I don’t know how much was raised in total, but I do know that those of you who donated via my personal fund raising page helped me gift more than $700!

Which is… wow.

My original goal was 200 bucks… thanks to the generosity of my family and friends, the amazing Skepchicks, the magic of Twitter, and the awesomeness of all the people who follow Bad Astronomer…

Over $700!!

So… let me send out a thank you to the following people.

Joel
Amanda
Joe
Patrick
Fred
Kevin
Heidi
Tim
Lee
Dennis
r3r
Clinto
Spyderkl
Lance
WickedLibrarian
The Bad Astronomer
Seismiccowgirl
Rick
Jeff
Elyse
Jessica
My dad
Grandma and Grandpa Bartel
Chris
Leah
Bryan
Matthew
Mick
Jen
Angus


Again, thank you all!!

MIA: No More!

Forgive me Bloggers for I’ve been away.
My last blog was a week ago today

Hard to believe but true… and it isn’t just that I haven’t been around to blog, I haven’t been around to read the blogs of y’all either.

I have been instead working insane hours at work.
Plugging away at the short stories.
And getting ready to move. (more on the later)

Anyway, just wanted to let you all know I haven’t fallen off the planet and I am okay… and should be back to blogging soon.

Smile!

It’s Friday!

Other reasons to smile… the stock market is up, The Maifan-San comes home tonight, and it should be sunny and warm all weekend.


Speaking of smiling…. Here is an article that makes the claim that people who smile more in yearbook photos have a better chance at a happy marriage. Which, umm seems like saying that as the use of staplers in offices has risen, more people are committing suicide due to work related stress.


But this line was fun: And smiling in photographs has been shown to be correlated with a number of traits, including a generally happier disposition


Why do people smile in photos? Is it simply because we are pretending for the sake fo the camera and the future peole gazing back at us that we are happy? Or is it because we are happy, because photos are taken mostly at ocasions that warrent happiness.

Plus... what about old photos where people didn't smile... I somehow doubt there weere fewer people with a general happy disposition.


As a big toothy grinner myself, I would like to point out that I am a) an optimist who smiles easily and b) happily divorced.

In other news, like many people I just realized that swimsuit season is coming and decided to try to trim the fat a bit… in my case around the tummy/thighs.



Step One: Eat better.

I looked up what sounded like a yummy and pretty healthy breakfast….

BACON, EGG AND CHEESE MUFFIN (500 calories): Scramble 1 large egg in 1 tsp margarine and place on a toasted whole-grain English muffin spread with 1 tsp margarine. Top with 1 slice cooked turkey bacon and 2 tbsp shredded reduced-fat cheddar. Serve with 3/4 cup berries, 1/4 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt and 12 oz skim latte.


But I ended up eating this instead:




That is a sesame bagel, paper jack cheese, and egg, real bacon…:


Diet: Fail.

...

So, lets go back to talking about the weekend. Since the weather is going to be so nice, it might be a good time to go for a drive… and if you are anything like me, a drive along a twisty turning road is a highlight of any weekend. A recent article that talks about some of the nations most thrilling (dangerous/fun) roads puts CA’s Highway 1 down by Big Sur at the top of the list! How much sweet talking will it take to get the Maifan-San to drive me there this weekend?

Think happy thoughts….

Reflection on Windows

Mary has a new Photo Meme going on… Windows!

And since I have fallen off the RT wagon as of late (keeping busy with you know, the life aspects of life) I thought I would throw an entry up. Not sure how often I will be able to play but I do have a few photos of windows….

This shot is just one of my favorites from downtown San Jose. I took this shot while reading the paper on a bright and warm Sunday morning last summer. I was sitting outside Starbucks and enjoying the sounds of the city… birds chirping, the occasional whine of some construction equipment in the distance…. Amazingly, at 8 am downtown is relatively quiet.



Man I love summer, downtown, Starbucks, warm and sunny mornings...

Thanks Mary!

New York State of Mind




News for LGBT rights… New York has a bill making its way that would allow same sex marriage.

Things to note: The bill was introduced in 2007 where it passed the state Assembly but did not pass the senate.
The senate at that time was Republican controlled.
Now-a-days the senate has a majority of Democrats.

Here’s a fond and optimistic hope for NY to follow suit with Iowa and the rest of the states currently making CA look even sillier by comparison.

Choo-choo!

Good news!

Mr. O! has taken the first step toward high speed rail systems in the US.

Yes, this project is going to be pricey and take for-freakin-ever.

But hey, first steps are important right?

A Delightful Bit of SSP

Just a bit of cross posting shameless self promotion.

I have a new(ish) entry up over at my other blog: Perhaps Reviewed

The new entry is my review of the book A Garden of Earthly Delights.

Go.
Read.
Enjoy!

Fire, Books, Conspiracy Theories, Taxes... and Sex

Today is April 15th.

Tax day.



For a wonderfully written diatribe about why you shouldn’t be complaining about paying your taxes, head on over to Greta Christina’s blog.


Today is also the day in which one of my favorite TV shows of all time Rescue Me returns for its 5th season.



Tommy Gavin: one of the darkest and most complex faces on TV... and what a face!



Y’all really should check this marvelous show out. (The first four seasons are on hulu.com so no excuses!) An interesting aside to this news is the recent find that one of the main actors on the show (Hey Franco!) happens to be one of the 911 conspiracy theorists who believe that the whole thing was an inside job.





I don’t tend to agree…. But I will still watch the show. Heck, he isn’t the first actor to have a view I disagree with. In fact… he isn’t the first person who’s political views I disagree with. And compared to say people like Jenny McCarthy who is actively trying to hurt people… well, I can live with the fact that he believes in something I find silly. Many people do.



Speaking of conspiracy theories… or at the very least possible censorship, have y’all been following the goings on over at Amazon? It seems that they are suffering form some odd ‘glitches” that have a few groups up in arms. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.



In other news, I worked on a short story last night… It is the one that I got the idea for in mid January, right before my world turned all topsy turvey. I am looking forward to finishing it soon… despite the fact that it has nothing really to do with what happened in January, I think I will sleep easier once it is done.



And lastly... here is a slightly NSFW (depending on where you work) video that made me laugh.









Happy “Hump” Day / Pay Day / Wednesday!

A Garden of Earthly Delights



Book Review for A Garden of Earthly Delights


Every now and then I read a book and while reading it I think “Now, this, this is literature.” I am then usually filled with a conflict of emotions. On the one hand I am humbled and amazed and think that there is no way I will ever be able to write something like this. On the other hand I am giddy with delight and grateful that my eyes continue to allow me read things like this. Such is the case of Joyce Carol Oates’ A Garden of Earthly Delights.

Now, Oates is a bit of an acquired taste… her prose is very often thick and her descriptions are both accurate and horrible. When a character in an Oates novel or short story feels pain or discomfort, so dose the reader. She writes with a style that is meant to be sipped, to be taken in slowly and savored.

There is substance and heaviness behind her prose… and I, for one, am a fan.

A Garden of Earthly Delights tells the story of Clara who is born into a family of migrant farmers and moves up the ladder of society. She uses her wits, she uses her body, she uses every tool at her disposal… and she is at once heartbreakingly sympathetic and woefully unlikable. It is a combination that mirrors the society and people who make up her context; a backdrop of the American people themselves.

“I guess I like it.” Clara said shyly.
“Look at the others”
The old man pulled out another tray. Clara’s heart beat in confusion and alarm at everything she had to see, touch, think about. Her first instinct was to take the first thing and have done with all this awkwardness, all this pain…. The stones sparkled at her and their settings were intricate and beautiful, gifts from another world that she had no right to and she was stealing from, those that really deserved them – not girls like herself but women who were really married, who were not choked with shame in a doctor’s office…. There was an ugly roaring in her ears. She would ne able to wear on one finger something worth more money than her father had ever had at once, … and it was all coming about with no one showing any surprise except herself.


Clara is every awkward girl, every manipulating woman, every proud and defiant mother, every lovesick teenager, every migrant worker, and every socialite with fading beauty. She epitomizes one who attains the “American dream” but is never really fulfilled.

I read a tagline for a movie not that long ago… I didn’t really “get” it at first and I don’t really think it fit the move, but I do think it fits Clara and Oate’s award winning novel.

They dream without faith.

I highly recommend this book. If I were a English teacher, I would assign this book. As it is, I am looking forward to reading the next Oates book in her Wonderland Quartet; Expensive People. I will of course let you all know what I thought of it once I do.

In the meantime, if you are so inclined to read A Garden of Earthly Delights, feel free to click the link blow and buy your very own copy.

If you aren’t bleeding or unconscious, then you must be fine.

Yes… I am still a bit MIA while working on my Short Story Collection, my impending move (thinking more and more about Santa Cruz), and one of busiest times of the year at work. (Overtime is my friend)

But I had to break the silence so to speak and grumble rumble a bit about this article that I found on NPR’s website.

Allow me to sum up:

A team in CA tested the time it took 13 people’s brains to react to examples of other people experiencing physical pain versus emotional pain and found that it took the test subject longer to react to the emotional pain. They posit that human have evolved in a way that we recognize physical pain faster and that we must teach children compassion for emotional pain. If the children don’t have the proper coaching while watching the news or seeing things in video games, they might lack the full range of compassion which is a problem since compassion anchors moral systems.

I have several problems/issues/questions. Feel free to respond via email or comment.

First off, this study was done to 13 people. Now, call me jaded but how in the world did they set up something as diverse and complex like brain patterns and pain recognition and hold a straight face with only 13 test subjects. These 13 people are supposed to represent everyone else? I always wonder about the sample size of research… and even when it is a bigger number such as “Of the 658 people surveyed, 54% admit to thinking that Jack Shephed is a twit.” But 13? 13? Really? How did they pick these 13 people? What was the protocol? Did they take into account race, gender, creed, age, socioeconomic background, politics….? How in the world could they possibly with only 13 people?

Ok, another issue. One of the examples of physical pain was watching as a female tennis player breaks her ankle. Apparently it took people longer to feel compassion when hearing a woman with cerebral palsy talk about giving up hope in finding romantic love. If I had Meg’s stamp, I think I would use it right about now. As it is… I have to wonder about the validity of this comparison. Would people’s reaction times change based on the gender of the viewer (Do men respond to a woman in either type of pain at a different rate than women?) What about the effect of the gender of the person in pain… if it was a guy who broke his ankle and a guy talking about giving up on love. Wouldn’t things like society’s view’s on women in sports or the idea of romatic love need to be taken into account?

Not to mention the fact that watching someone break his/her ankle is a very quick, very obvious sort of thing… but having somebody start talking about their feelings… well yeah it is gong to take us longer to clue in and then feel the “right’ emotion. Duh.

Also… wouldn’t the visuals themselves be at play here… Seeing someone getting hurt versus hearing someone talk about it. What is we watched a dramatic break up or someone weeping at a grave and then just heard someone tlak about breaking an ankle… I tend to think that the reaction times might change yes?

Ok… not finished yet. The idea of humans evolving to feel compassion for physical pain faster than emotional pain seems like one of those statements that sounds right until you think about it. Someone with more evolutionary biology should probably take this one but I can’t help but wonder if this idea is sort of right but still wrong. Most other animals don’t express emotions the way we do. (Cue someone bringing up chimps.) I can’t quite put my finger on what bothers me abut this idea that we are born “hard-wired” to feel compassion for physical pain but not emotional pain…. Anyone?

And as for kids being taught compassion, well again with the “duh”. Kids also have to be taught that the stove is hot and that fish can’t survive playing on the carpet with the Barbie dolls. And yes, I do think compassion has a lot to do with morality…. In fact compassion as a guideline for morality makes far more sense to me than a religious dogma of “because he/she/it said so” but that could just be me.

So.. maybe this study has some interesting applications to our lives… or maybe it means nothing at all because again, 13 people? Comparison of lack of romance whining and potentially graphic bone crunching gore?

Give me a break.

Pride

Sorry this is a tad later than normal… I ended up in Santa Cruz last night and totally forgot that it was Thursday and not Friday.

It is Good Friday today… which means that Wall Street is closed, which means that I have the day off. Lucky me? It is a day off without pay… so, not super lucky but still, I plan on enjoying myself.

However, without further ado,…


It’s that time again.. time for sin!


Welcome to my mini-meme

Kay's Seven Deadly Sins Meme



(still not an artist)


(Again special thanks to those of you playing and those of you reading. If you want to find out about how to play, Read This.)

The Sin of the Week this time around is Pride.




Not a big shocker this week… had you been paying attention you probably knew that Pride was fast approaching and that it is the last of our sins.

Pride.

I think they mislabeled this one. I think Pride is fine… but hubris is sinful. However, who am I to quibble?

Pride takes many forms and yes there are ways in which Pride is not at all a bad thing. as with many of these ‘sins” the general thing isn’t bad… but when it becomes too all encompassing or powerful a force in one’s life, then it becomes bad and should be avoided.

I struggle with pride. Not the arrogance hubris sort of pride… In fact I have a bit of the opposite problem stemming from a rather lower than normal self esteem and some very major body/eye/shyness issues.

But I do struggle with pride. I am often too proud to admit when I need help.

Now, you might be rolling your eyes and such, but let me explain.

I have poor eyesight. Not as bad as some people but vastly worse than most people. I wear glasses (bifocals) and I don’t drive. Nor do I see in 3D. I also have difficulty with depth perception, peripheral vision, and of course seeing things that are small or far away. Far away being a relative term meaning that no matter who you are or how well I know you, there is a VERY good chance I won’t know it is you until you are less than 10 feet away…. (Please make a note of this should we ever agree to meet up in a bar, coffee shop, beach, etc. I am not ignoring you… I just haven’t figured out that it is you who is waving at me from all the way over there…. And I have enough stories of getting in the wrong car, sitting down at the wrong table, dancing with the wrong guy, or waving at a total stranger, thus I am wary and will need more than a wave.)

It is actually very hard for me to admit all that… and this is the internet where one should be able to admit to all sorts of things because after all, you all don’t really know me right? But admitting that I have problems with certain things, that I am not as good at doing things as others, that occasionally I need a helping hand on the stairs or whatnot is very very difficult for me.

I don’t like asking for help.

And it isn’t just the visual things (although that is a glaringly obvious example.) I don’t like asking people to drive me places. I don’t like asking people to help me move. I don’t like asking people for advice even when I need it.

Because of pride. Because even though I have trouble, I like being self sufficient.

However, usually I get over myself. Not always, but mostly. I ask for help.

But I have an even harder time accepting it.

To the point where I have put myself in dangerous or stupid situations or paid extra or gone without because I didn’t want to ask for help or couldn’t accept the help that had been offered.

And that is when I know my pride has become hubris (arrogant pride) and it is at those moments that I need to remind myself that asking for and accepting help doesn’t make me a mooch or a looser.

It makes me human.


Okie dokie…. There you have it; Pride.

Feel free to write your own “Pride” piece and post it before next Friday… and make sure to come back next week for the Sin Wrap Up and Prize Drawing.

(Yes, a prize drawing… you all thought I forgot didn’t you?)

MIA?

Hello interweb!

I am taking a bit of a blog break. Don’t worry, the Sin of the Week will be posted as normal and I will be poking my head in every now and then… but I simply MUST finish what I need to do book wise.

Send me your happy thoughts and pep talks….


… and I promise to catch up when I can.

Hugs and Happy Thoughts

--Kay

Vermont Joins The Fray!

Coming out of a bit of a blog-break (really MUST finish these short stores) to send a big batch of internet lovin’ over to Vermont.

Why?

Because Vermont just joined Iowa, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in allowing same sex marriages.




Way To Go Vermont!!!!

The Not So Great Eight

Just a reminder about my new and awesome baby blog for reviewing such things as I deem worthy of review… or get for free with the understanding that I will review them….

I have a new review up.

The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton!

Teaser:

In other words, I severely disliked reading this book and had I not told the nice publisher people that I would read it and write about it there is no doubt in my mind that I would have quit very early on and never ever ever finished it.

And I was all ready to lambaste this book, to mock it, to rip it apart, to go point by point and tell you all exactly how and why it was a colossal waste of my time.

But then I realized something…. This book isn’t my sort of book, but it might be just what the doctor ordered for other people. With that in mind, I have prepared the following list.

Reasons you should read “The Great Eight” by Scott Hamilton.

You love Scott Hamilton and reading his earlier memoir was not enough.

You enjoy relearning concepts about happiness from a book instead of where said concepts are normally found: greeting cards.

You have a deep appreciation for exclamation points!

You have the attention span of a gnat.



To read the entire review Click Here!

Iowa!


Awesome news about Same Sex Marriage from Iowa!
California: Take Note!

Greed

It’s that time again.. time for sin!


Welcome to my mini-meme

Kay's Seven Deadly Sins Meme



(still not an artist)


(Again special thanks to those of you playing and those of you reading. If you want to find out about how to play, Read This.)

The Sin of the Week this time around is Greed.



Also Known As: The pursuit of things to the extreme as a way of denying them to others.

Basically, when you want something not because you need it, but because you don’t want someone else to have it.

And… I am out of thoughts.

Greed is something I don’t really get. I am sure I have been greedy at one point or another in my life… but honestly it is hard to think of an example besides that one time in Sunday School when I ate all the animal cookies because little Danielle had called me a name and I knew how much that little rolly polly child liked her cookies. It was a retaliatory gorging that made her cry and made me sick and well, I think I learned my lesson.

Of course I could link to AIG or other well documented occurrences of corporate greed, but that seems a bit too on the nose.

I guess the most common sort of greed that I deal with is a strong aversion to sharing. Not everything… in fact there are a lot of things I am more than happy to share if I can, my food, my books, my movies, my CDs, my opinions, my bed (with the right person), my space, my time, my cooking (hey! It happens sometimes), my money, my clothes,….

Mostly happy to share.

There are times when, well, not so much. When I want my room to myself. When I want the ice cream container to be Kay’s Ice Cream, Not For You. When I want quality time with my boyfriend or my sisters or my gal pals without having to vy for their attention or affection.

But mostly, I share well with others.

The idea of sharing has been on my mind the last few months. My current lease iwill be over next month and I am preparing to move. I might end up living alone but there is a very real possibility that I might end up living with someone else… living with a stranger. The last time I did this, it did not turn out well.

I am scared. I am scared of having to share my space with a stranger. I am scared of having to share my stuff with a stranger.

It boils down to HAVING to share instead of choosing to share.

I know I will be fine…. A period of transition and viola! Everything will be hunky dorey, but in the meantime I am trying to remind myself not to be greedy.



I know this post wandered off topic a bit and really wasn’t very well done… Greed is such a weird concept tht it can be hard to wrap my head around it.

Oh well, now it’s your turn… show us all how great you can write about Greed!

Don’t forget to put your name in Mr. Linky…. The more times your name shows up in the Meme, the more likely you are to win the Sin Prize!

A Royal Gaffe?

It had to happen. When President Obama and wife Michelle met the Queen at Buckingham Palace, a Prince Philip gaffe was inevitable.

In the small talk when they first met, the Queen and the Prince were sympathising with the President and his wife about their gruelling schedule since arriving late on Tuesday evening.

“The time lag,” said the Queen, ever the diplomat.

“You’re just trying to stay awake!” said Philip, ever the foot-in-mouth blunderer.

Then the President told the Royals: “I had breakfast with the Prime Minister, I had meetings with the Chinese, the Russians, David Cameron…

“And I’m proud to say I did not nod off in one of the meetings.”

A guffawing Prince Philip then blurted out: “Can you tell the difference between them?”

Now at first I thought that was an insult to David Cameron. But perhaps not. I may be wrong. Perhaps it was a compliment for the Tory leader to be compared to two powerful world leaders.

Either way, it was vintage Prince Philip!



From Jack and Jill Politics.

The Great Eight




Book Review of The Great Eight

Reading this book was a departure for me. First of all I tend to read fiction and when I do read nonfiction, I am usually reading something historical or scientific (Hawking, Dawkins, etc) or even something political (“The Mommy Myth” or “Audios Barbie”).I tend to stay away from self help books, inspirational books, or memoirs by people I don’t have a desire to emulate.

This book was not my cup of normal tea but since the publisher was nice enough to send me a free copy with the understanding that I would write a review, I sat down one sunny afternoon with the expectation that I would read it, learn something useful, and pass on said wisdom to you.

Or not.

It was actually hard to finish this book. Not because the subject matter was deep or thick or difficult to grasp. Not because the writing style was high brow with big words and even bigger concepts.

But because… after reading the first ten pages or so I started to feel the stabs of an early migraine setting in.

In other words, I severely disliked reading this book and had I not told the nice publisher people that I would read it and write about it there is no doubt in my mind that I would have quit very early on and never ever ever finished it.

And I was all ready to lambaste this book, to mock it, to rip it apart, to go point by point and tell you all exactly how and why it was a colossal waste of my time.

But then I realized something…. This book isn’t my sort of book, but it might be just what the doctor ordered for other people. With that in mind, I have prepared the following list.

Reasons you should read “The Great Eight” by Scott Hamilton.

1. You love Scott Hamilton and reading his earlier memoir was not enough.
2. You enjoy relearning concepts about happiness from a book instead of where said concepts are normally found: greeting cards.
3. You have a deep appreciation for exclamation points!
4. You have the attention span of a gnat.

Was it really that bad? Yes, yes it was.

In the book figure skater (and Olympian Gold Medal winner -1984 on a well documented and admitted technicality) Scott Hamilton gives you advice on how to find happiness. See, he is an expert having survived a childhood (never diagnosed) illness, testicular cancer, and a brain tumor. He is happy see, he is married with kids living away from the rat race, performing, living his dream…. And You Could Be Happy Too!

I am not sure what bothers me more about this book, the fact that the entire thing is written in a style better suited for “Discover A Better You” pamphlets one might find behind the couch at a doctor’s office or the fact that Mr. Hamilton honestly seems to think that advice like “Keep Trying!” “Trust God!” “Failure happens, but you can get over it!” are not only worth of a 183 page book but are somehow new and exciting!

I should have counted the number of exclamation points… thre is some serious overkill going on!

In fact, it was difficult to not read the book without hearing the narration done in a hyper squirrel voice. Here is an example passage from the potion of the book where we are encouraged to find the positives in every situation:

“Take, for example, being short. I don’t need to list the infinite number of negatives about being far shorter than the average man. But on the positive side of things, I can tell you that at five-foot-four. I don’t take up as much space. I fit in airplane seats more comfortably. My clothes don’t require as much material thus helping save the planet (and I am a better environmentalist since I don’t use as much water in the shower!)”

Other words of wisdom include life altering assertions like “You’ve got to find the light spot, even in the darkness. If you don’t, you can’t be happy.”

Not that I necessarily think he is wrong… I am just not sure there is anyone out there who wouldn’t already know this. (And if there are people out there who think that happiness can be found by dwelling on nothing but the dark/bad stuff… well are they going to buy a copy of this book? I would wager not.)

He continues to talk about light and dark and brings God in as well: “There is so much darkness in the word and it has the potential to suck us in like a black hole… God created the sun for many reasons, one of which is to give us light. You notice that we sleep when it’s dark? I like to think this is God’s way of saying ‘Hey guys. Don’t pay too much attention to the darkness.”

At this point I almost threw the book across the room.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I think happiness is a good thing and I think that being reminded that being happy or finding happiness isn’t an overnight thing and that tools like a good sense of humor and humility can help you achieve it. I don’t even have a problem with people finding happiness with God or Shinto or Zeus or whoever…. But again I have to wonder who was the target audience for this book. People who already buy into this woo-ish sort of touchy feely stuff probably don’t need to read this book and those of us with a more practical way of seeing the universe will be alternately bored and nauseated by Mr. Hamilton’s ramblings.

It doesn’t help that it is written at a 5th grade reading level, the font is huge and on almost every page big blocks of test are blown up and indented so as to a)make the book even longer! and b) draw special emphasis to things like “Learning not to fight the inevitable changes life brings is a key component to being happy."

I am not sure when I felt such a sense of relief upon completing a book. In fact, I guess I could say that the only real happiness I got from the entire ordeal was that eventually I finished it (gritting my teeth and reminding myself of the nice publishers every step of the way.)



If you are interested in reading this book for yourself and agreeing or disagreeing with my review, feel free to use this link to buy it on Amazon!


Lorn

Just a quick note,

RIP Andy Hallett.



Who died Sunday night in LA potentially from complications stemming from heart trouble.

As Lorn in the show Angel, Andy made a name for himself. He was a talented actor/singer who was only 33 at the time of his death.



Join me in remembering Andy,