Friday, August 15, 2008

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Game by Suzanne Collins is a dystopian novel, set in a not too distant future, with elements of steam punk and reality television. Katniss Edreen is a survivor who, out of love for her little sister, volunteers for a deadly game in which she will have to literally fight for her life against twenty-three other competitors. The winner will win glory, wealth, and benefit their entire community. And live. The truth is, as much as I love dystopian novels, I resisted this young adult novel because it sounded derivative of Battle Royale and I didn't trust Collins to write something that wouldn't constantly remind me of that movie. While there are parts that are similar, they are hardly worth mentioning because this book had me hooked from the second chapter. I knew I was hooked because I started to get tears in my eyes. How many sci-fi novels have I read and found banal with their predictability? How many young adult novels have I accused of being insulting to readers? I can't even begin to count. Collins has managed to create dynamic characters who continuously surprise as the plot twists and turns until the reader is bound to return to read again, to pick up on the more subtle points that may have been overlooked on the first compulsive reading. I could not put this book down! However, about halfway through part three of the novel it hit me--this book has to be part one of a series. I tried to slow down my progress because there is nothing I find more frustrating than finishing the first in a series of books that hasn't been completely published. As the novel wrapped up the major threads of the story, there were some obvious plot points that were not being explored to conclusion. And sure enough, when I reached the last page, there were the dreaded words: End of Book One. ARGH! Why why why? I want to know what happens next to Katniss. I want to know more about the implications of what was revealed in chapter 25. I want to know more now! But the second book is still out there in not-yet-published limbo. I can only appease my own hunger for more by reading her other books, the Underland Chronicles. I had never heard of them or Collins before and now all I can say is directed at the author herself. If you need anyone to proofread the manuscript for book two, please feel free to email me; I would be more than happy to do so.

We're All Star Wars Freaks Here!

Once upon a time in an office far far away.

Coworker: They’ve announced a release date for Star Wars Episode 3.
Me: Really? When?
Coworker: Hmmm . . . May 25th.
Me: Oh cool! That’s the anniversary of when Star Wars Episode 4 was first released.

And an incident from even before then. Christmas Day, 1998. My children and I are playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Marc has become frustrated with the game and quit when he could not answer the question, “On what planet did Luke Skywalker grow up?”

Me: (I am reading from the card) In Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope, what were the call letters of the guard watching the Millenium Falcon in the holding bay on the Death Star?
Joe: What? What kind of crazy question is that?
Friend: I have no clue.
Me: Neither do I. Who the heck could possibly know the answer to this?
Marc: TK421
All others: What?
Me: How could you know that?
Joe: You didn't even know that Luke Skywalker was raised on Tatooine!

But more recently, picture me happily napping in the afternoon. My phone rings. It is Rob.

Me: (still sounding very sleepy) Hello.
Rob: Where did Han Solo come from?
Me: Star Wars.
Rob: No. I mean what planet.
Me: Oh. Well it wasn’t Tatooine but I just woke up and I can’t think.
Rob: Okay. We were just talking and I figured you would know the answer.
Me: What do you think I am? A Star Wars geek or something? (For an answer to this obviously rhetorical question, I refer you back to the initial conversation as shared above.)
Rei: (as I walk into the room, still very sleepy, and plop down at my computer) What’re you doing?
Me: I am looking up something. Rob wants to know where Han Solo comes from.
Rei: Corellia.
Me: Right. He’s Corellian.

Now I realize that Joe gets off easy in this post because I haven’t shared a Star Wars geek story in which he is featured. I could, I suppose, scan in a few drawings he did when he was three or four years old of all the major Star Wars players but that would just embarrass him. But take my word for it, he can keep up with any of us when it comes to his geekiness.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cell Phone Incommunicado

I have been trying to send new puppy pics to be uploaded but my phone is not sending any photo text messages for some reason. I even tried to send one to Mary and it wouldn't go through. This is more than a little disappointing. I could upload the beginning of another story but I already have one up and that woud be redundant. Besides, I'd rather post cute puppy pics. Frustrating! That's what it is! Frustrating!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Lost a Week Somewhere

I don't know what happened. All this weekend when people came to look at the puppies, we kept saying that they were only five weeks old but they are six weeks old! I just looked at the calendar and counted it out three times because I kept thinking, "How did I lose a whole week of their lives?"

This means they could go home if they would STOP NURSING!!! I took this picture yesterday of Snowdoll not even lying down and there they are attaching themselves to her. (I wish I could get a pic of all seven of them there but so far I haven't managed it!)

Not that she always stands but my goodness . . . even lying down it is ridiculous! I keep feeding them and feeding them and they still chase their mother around several times a day!

Here are Shadow and Tipsy sleeping with a dirty article of clothing. Don't let this picture fool you! They are guilty of nursing too. In fact, you can clearly see Shadow in that first pic and if Brownie hadn't lost his grip, he wouldn't have climbed across and blocked Tipsy in the second pic.

Tipsy Finds a Home

Amit and his lovely wife came to look at the puppies on Friday. They returned Saturday and were still torn between Tipsy and Teddy Bear. I talked to them about the differences in personality and they wisely chose Tipsy. She'll need less attention than Teddy Bear that's for certain!
Much of the time she is playing by herself, peacefully. But she's pretty bold as well. She loves to bark at Romanov and invite him to play. Of course, the moment he moves towards her she runs and hides under a table or between my legs.
And for all that she's more docile than some of the other puppies, that doesn't make taking a picture of her any easier. She's a bit of a squirmle.
(Amit, if you would please leave a comment or email me with your wife's name. That would make me so very happy.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Teddy Bear was sixth

A family came looking for a boy dog but we only had two girls left. The parents debated while the three boys looked and held the two leftovers. Eventually they chose the one I call Teddy Bear.
This is a good fit because this little puppy is good for finding trouble and she has so much energy! She'll probably wear all three of those boys out and still want to play with the parents. They'll make one another happy.
One thing I know is she barely walks anywhere. If she isn't trotting, she's in a full out run because she's forever in a hurry. Ironic that she would not be one of the first to find a home, all things considered.

The Key To Yourself by Venice J Bloodworth PhD

The Key to Yourself: Opening the Door to a Joyful Life from Within by Venice J Bloodworth, PhD is another of the TBC books that focuses on how we can create our reality. Building on what was taught in the previous two books, Bloodworth takes the teaching a step further. Her frequent quotes from the Bible are, I suppose, meant to lend her teachings a legitimacy they otherwise do not merit. That these authors who are twisting the Biblical texts to their own purposes choose to not provide the reader with the chapter and verse only reinforces to me that they know they are misapplying these quotations. A text taken out of context can be said to say anything. Unfortunately, even most Christian readers probably don’t know their Bible well enough to recognize that quoting the Bible doesn’t not make what the writer is saying valid. Because the writers clearly are relying on the ignorance of their readers, I find myself defensively reading, feeling insulted by the writer’s assumption that I don’t recognize the truth behind the lies they are trying to present as truth. I literally had to force myself to read and finish this book. Had I not committed to reading all twelve books in the TCB collection, I would not have bothered. Had I been reading this book at someone’s recommendation, I might have suffered through it depending on how much I respected and appreciated the other person’s presence in my life. And again I have to say that it is a good thing I did not read this book when I received it or I would have surely canceled my membership in the book club. Especially after finding three out of four books rather disappointing (if not downright maddening) and the cds are at best redundant if not all but worthless. In this volume of the collection I also noticed some careless editing. Magnificent became inagnificent (I think because the person though the m looked like in?) and Universal actually became Universa!. On page 84 I found “but not until my emotional center was brought into play did I made any progress.” I have increasingly little patience for poorly edited texts and these mistakes are so far beyond careless as to reinforce the overall insult to the reader. There is one incident in which the author quotes from The Gospel According to John and uses it as an epitaph to the twentieth chapter of the book. Here it is: Whatsoever we ask we receive of Him, because we keep his commandments. John: 3-22 That is not a typo. Or if it is, it is in the book that way. So I went ahead and used my concordance to find the context for this text. However, I could not find this text anywhere in the entire book of John. I did find the following: But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.—John 11:22And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.—John 14:13Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.—John 15:16And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.—John 16:23 Now at least you, dear reader of my blog, can look up the verse for yourselves and decide if, when read in context, it means what this author is presumptively stating it does, which is more than I can say the reader of her book could do. Rather, you could look up the verse she quoted from the book of John if it existed. But it doesn’t. Hard to listen to the teachings of a person who manipulates her information to manipulate her readers. As for the cd, the New Age music is quite effective for putting me to sleep. Debbie Ford’s voice, with her slight lisp, is quite soothing adding to the rather lethargic effect that this cd has. I can’t say what I think of the guided meditation because I keep falling asleep before it finishes. Now if the cd were one to help with insomnia, I would have to say it is brilliant. Under the circumstances all I can say is that it is very relaxing but since falling asleep during meditation is not the purpose of meditation, I can’t say it is a success.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gone Daddy Gone

All of the puppies have found themselves homes. I will write more later with pictures but for now I am terribly tired and ready for a nap. I've been fighting a losing battle with a fever and all I want to do is sleep.