Friday, February 26, 2010

So What Are YOU Doing on St Patrick's Day?

I honestly have no clue what I will be doing but apparently someone I know is getting married.

See what happens when someone catches the bouquet?  But I'm trying to figure out who belongs to that other hand . . . I just noticed that there's one too many hands in this picture.  What is that other person doing? Hmmmm . . .

Edit:  In the comments, Erin says that it is Heather's daughter's hand.  Ahhhh . . . mystery solved.

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Friday Randomness

Rob has said that Reiki helps ease the pain he experiences, a complication of his having diabetes. I love it when I find articles that confirm that other people are having the same positive experience with Reiki.

This blog is very pretty, maybe even interesting, but I found myself so engaged with the images that I didn’t slow down to read the words. And that’s okay. It gives me a reason to visit again.

If I were homeschooling, this is the type of resource, a downloadable workbook on nature drawing based upon this woman’s workshops, I would have wanted for my children. I would have wanted at least the first workbook to see if they might become inspired to learn more.

Here are some sites that discuss yoga asanas and some basic stretches for those with cervical spondylosis.

The “Power” of Positive Thinking doesn’t work for everyone. If you thought you were the only one who didn’t benefit from affirmations, you are not alone and this article may explain a few reasons why.

This is a wonderful article about haiku—the history, the form, and some classic guidelines for writing haiku.,january2010

This video, about Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), from the Mayo Clinic is an example of one of the many things someone with vertigo will go through to resolve the sensations associated with the condition.

Three of the five things this article recommends to help increase a person’s sense of happiness include writing.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Moment in the Life

The following was written in January but then the computer hacker issue arose and this was not posted as I had planned.  

Me:  Joe’s bringing Matt by later.
Marc:  Okay.
Me:  I’m hoping we can get Adam to come over and hang out a bit too.
Marc:  Okay.  (moving towards the door to leave for work)
Me:  You have something white on your (black) pants.
Marc:  Oh.  That’s a sticker.  (He makes no move to remove said sticker.)
Me:  Oh.  Okay. 

I’m not quite sure why the sticker was not removed.  It is possible that the sticker was removed as soon as he got into his car.  However, he walked out of the house with a sticker on his pants and now I am curious . . . will the sticker be there still when he comes home? 

Matt and Adam did indeed come over.  However, I forgot to look at Marc's pants to see if the sticker was still there.  Oh well.  

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy by Alex Lemon

Happy:  A Memoir by Alex Lemon is about how the memoirist went from being a college boy who parties hard and plays baseball to facing death under the hands of a surgeon’s knife because of a bleed in his brain after he suffers a stroke.  The experience Lemon faces is brutal and his telling of it is raw—full of blood and guts and piss and puss.  In many ways, Lemon is the anti-hero of his life; the portrait he paints of himself is not pretty and although he is not necessary likeable the reader can’t help but read more.  Like him or not, you want to know how this baseball playing, hard partying jock is going to survive. 

But first you have to get through the coarseness of who Lemon is and the interaction between him and his friends, how he treats his girlfriends, and especially how he treats himself, is sometimes hard to read.  Although the reader knows that there is a diagnosis coming that is going to change his life, the vertigo and dizziness he experiences, even the occasional blackouts, are easily dismissed because of his lifestyle.  When he eventually goes to a doctor, there is a sense of relief and when the doctor tells him to take it easy but he still does what he wants to do even in the face of the worst, it is hard to must up compassion for him. 

It is hard but not feeling some pain about his suffering is impossible.  Lemon shares details from his childhood which are heartbreaking, making his love and appreciation for his parents all the more believable because his life was not ideal and his need to live it fully is understandable. 

Nevertheless, memoirs are a dime a dozen and if Lemon brutalizes himself so thoroughly on the page, why bother to read this memoir at all? 


Because Lemon doesn’t share the pathos of his life to garner sympathy.  Rather, he rips himself open on the page and it is only the lazy reader who wouldn’t recognize the life parallels he himself experienced. 

Because when Lemon describes his experiences it never rings false or watered down or even colored to appear different.  If what he shares is harsh that’s because his experience was harsh.  The way he phrases himself throughout the book is honest and the cadence of his prose is pure. 

Because this poet has brought to bear an experience and talent onto the page which simply cannot and should not be ignored. 

Difficult to read?  Hell yeah but so much easier to read than to live. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Amazon Allows People to Comment on Reviews?!?!? Who Knew?

The other day I noticed for the first time that allows people to comment on reviews.  I’ve always noticed the helpful link—the yes or no “Did you find this review helpful?” option.  But I never noticed that people could write comments about your reviews. 

Curiosity piqued, I explored and confirmed my worst expectations.

None of my five star reviews received any comments.  Not that I would expect the author to say “Thank you for the glowing review” and I really don’t expect others to chime in with “I agree” or anything but . . .

None of my four star reviews received comments either because I guess I still liked the product, usually a book, for people to bother. 

However, the comments really start coming out at the three star level and boy-oh-boy do people want to defend their right to say my review sucks when I give something two stars or even one star.

Guess what?  If everyone liked to read the same books, we wouldn’t need so many books to be published every year. I know.  Shocking but true.  And given that most people barely read more than one book a year, I guess that means we'd be lucky to see 20 books published a year.  We'd at least have one for each genre or type of book anyway but nothing more.  

And guess what else?   I didn’t read any of the comments.  I stumbled upon one comment by accident and replied to it.  This is, in fact, how I made this curious discovery about comments and all.  But I am not going to defend my opinion just because you disagree with it.  Perception is not definitive, subjective opinion is all the more mercurial.  Truth is, I may not love something today and adore it tomorrow.  Appreciation sometimes grows.  (And sometimes depreciation as well.  Not everything stands up to the test of time.)

In the moment of writing the review, however, my opinion is what it is and I honestly wish I liked more of what I read than I do but I don’t always make the best choices in reading material.

Nevertheless, I can choose whether to read other people’s scathing opinions about my less than stellar reviews and I choose not to do so.  I don’t care how many hateful comments may fly my way or how many snarky replies to my reviews I receive.  Freedom of speech allows people to say whatever they want to say and the internet has provided a forum that allows people to say things I don’t think most of them would have the courage to say to my face.  That’s fine.  Odds are, if I were in the room with some of the authors to whom I’ve given only a star or two, I would be more diplomatic with my opinion of what they’ve published. 

I just thought, in all fairness, I would put it out there that I don’t read the comments to my amazon reviews.  I am only one person with one changeable opinion and I don’t really see how my not loving each and everything I review is that big a deal.  Certainly not big enough for others to bother commenting upon.  If you have a different opinion from my own, and obviously some of you do, then please take the energy and words with which you would leave a less than loving comment of my review and write a glowing five star review of your own.  Be the yin to my yang, the light to my dark, and return balance to the universe but don’t leave a comment in hopes of my reading it.  Unfortunately, I’m too busy reading and writing reviews of my own to bother.  

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay

Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay is the third book in the Dexter series.  No doubt there will be more than the four books already published, although I have no interest in reading the fourth book after reading this one.  That the books are different from the television series was a huge selling point for me; I was actually more enthusiastic about reading the books because the television show chose to depart from Lindsay’s original vision. It was not until reading the books, however, I understood why the producers chose to move in new directions and I can’t say that I blame them.

In the second book something comes to light that I found distasteful.  I hoped that Lindsay would choose to move in a different direction in the third book, one that would not leave me so disgusted.  Without a doubt, he moved in a different direction, dumping in some esoteric nonsense that shattered all pretense of credulity.  What’s worse is that he did not chose a higher road and further explores the implications in the second book which I hoped he would have the courage to not do; if there is a difference between the erotic and the pornographic, Lindsay has crossed the line in this book. 

In a nutshell, the author lost me completely and although I enjoyed the first two books for what they were I loathe this book so much that I won’t read any more of the Dexter books.

And yay to the television producers for having the sense to drop Lindsay’s vision after the first season, before it was too late, because the television Dexter and all of the other characters are far more interesting as a result.