“Awareness is always in style”

Hey out there. I came across something today that I wanted to share with everyone. I feel as if my fellow lady bloggers will like this a lot but I severely encourage the males to participate as well. While perusing a friend’s blog, I came across a widget that supported The Red Pump Project. Being a girl who loves a good red pump, I clicked and found out that the Project is for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This day falls on March 10 and the Project is asking for the help of all us bloggers out there. Check out www.redpump.org and sign up for the cause. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be given the HTML code for the widget you see to the right of my blog here. Your blog link will also be added to their “Red Pump Wearers” page. Let’s all join together and get the word out there. And I mean let’s face it ladies. How awesome do you think great fashion mixed with a great cause is?

Rock the Red Pump. March 10, 2011.


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Snowpocalypse 2011

The South was hit with quite a winter storm this week. The system is now moving its way up towards the northeast and I sincerely hope all my Northern comrades are safe and warm. I have been trapped in my house for three days now and am most likely coming up on a fourth. In order to help assuage my cabin fever, I decided to blog about what we are lovingly referring to as “Snowpocalypse 2011.” This will also be marked on my mental calendar as the year that 49 out of 50 states had snow on the ground at one time. I mean how often does that happen?

I was supposed to start classes for the spring semester on Monday. Obviously that didn’t happen. The snow came in around midnight on Sunday and continued through late Monday afternoon. We got about 6 to 6.5 inches as you can see by my intense calculations.

The thing that is making this storm so bad is the fact that our temperatures have not even crested the freezing point during the day. The high today was 34. The low last night and for tonight is about 17 to 18 degrees, meaning that everything that melted today thanks to the large amount of sunshine, will refreeze at night and cause for even more hazards on the road. And that’s a whole different thing in itself. The roads.

Let me first start off with my driveway. My Dad attempted to dig out a track for his truck in case of an emergency. Since then, ice has formed on the exposed asphalt in the tracks and we are once again trapped at the top of our rather hellish driveway. He was able to make it out earlier today to get some food but said the Main Street in town could have served as an ice skating rink. And my campus had the audacity to have classes start at noon today. CHYEAH WHATEVS. I think it will be Friday at the earliest that I will officially be able to get out of my driveway without dying and when I will be comfortable enough with the efforts of the sun and the DOT to drive on the roads in town and on the interstate.

The last time I experienced a storm of this magnitude was when I was in elementary school. I remember school was closed for close to a week and we were without power for 2 or 3 days. We dodged a major bullet by not losing power this time. I think this is the first time that’s ever happened when we’ve been hit with any kind of winter weather. Electricity has definitely held the stir craziness at bay for longer than usual.

I must say the extended break has prolonged my personal reading time before I throw myself into Asian Religion, Public Relations, and Film History. I’m currently engulfed in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. It’s a truly amazing story full of rather unique characters. And it’s set in the South which makes it all the more fun. I will definitely have a review of it up before this cold and cruel month is out.

School may carry on tomorrow but we are “encouraged” to use our best judgement when traversing the roads and interstates. This scared driver will probably be posted up until about Friday afternoon when it finally starts to warm up. The weatherman on my most trusted news channel today said that on this day in the year 2000, the temperature was 70 DEGREES. Sometimes it pays to live in the South. But this January, it doesn’t seem like anywhere is safe.

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“Life is the most spectacular show on Earth:” My review of Water for Elephants

I’ve never been much for circuses. Especially due to a fairly intense fear of clowns that I have. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I have not once in my life graced a big top. Until now.

I technically did not physically go to a circus. But my mind’s eye sure as daylight took me there when I read Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants. I had heard nothing but great things about this book prior to reading it but had to wait until Christmas break to enjoy it for myself. About two days after picking it up from the library I was perusing the web and came across the trailer for the movie version coming out in April. And if you have seen it, you will know that it stars Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. And if you know anything about me, you not only know that I squealed with delight, but that I immediately dived into the book within the next hour. And I finished it three days later.

The story is told in a long series of flashbacks through the mind of Jacob Jankowski, the main character. When the book starts off, Jacob is a ninety year old gruff in a nursing home who is forced to relive his days on the circus train when a Big Top pops up across the street. Jacob goes from being a Cornell veterinary student with a bright future ahead of him to an orphan shoveling horse manure on a circus train, to the new circus vet caught up in an intense love triangle with the equestrian performer and her schizophrenic and rather hostile husband.

This book is electrifying, completely engaging, morbid, romantic, and everything in between. It gives you the real world feel of what circus life was like back during the Depression and takes you behind the dark and gruesome scenes both under the big top and on board the circus train during the long hauls between cities. The detailing is so intricate and you can definitely tell that Gruen did her research before starting this book because a lot of the information is dead on and truly puts you right on the scene.

You meet all the circus characters from the animal trainers, to the angry dwarf, to the fat lady, the tattooed freak, the money glutton of a ringmaster, and of course the silent heroine of the whole book, Rosie the elephant. This book is old-world Americana at its best but it’s no Ringling Brothers, I can tell you that much.

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Day 30: Your favorite book of all time

Drumroll please….it’s the final day of the book meme 😦 Which means I’m a week away from classes starting back up and I’m back to being a hermit. But back to the task at hand. Yes, The Great Gatsby is by far my favorite book of all time. No question. I read this book in the 11th grade and never looked back. The 20’s have always been my favorite time period. The fashions, the trends, the music, the parties, did I mention the fashion? I like to think I was a flapper in a previous life. This book is severely romantic and classic. I love everything about it. Especially the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy. And especially Gatsby. He’s that true classic gentleman that every woman could only dream of having in their arms. I remember thinking Daisy was the craziest woman in the world for letting go of that and I really disliked her throughout the majority of the book. I mean who doesn’t want a love like that? Forget Edward and Bella. And then I saw the movie and knew Robert Redford was the new man of my dreams. This book encompasses the generation that was the roaring 20’s and I can never get enough of it. I want my housewarming party to be a Gatsby party and I want to have a 20’s vibe to my wedding. This book has not only inspired me and taught me a lot about literature, but it’s given me a better sense of history and a much greater appreciation for the classic.

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Day 29: A book everyone hated but you liked

I had to read this book in my 9th grade English class. We were split up into groups and were each assigned a different science fiction novel and this was the one my group was assigned to. I had never really been a fan of the sci-fi genre and was planning to Cliff Note the hell out of this book, as did the rest of my group. I had heard of Ayn Rand and The Fountainhead and most people I had heard from said her books were far too long and way too boring. When it came time to start reading, I just decided to read the first chapter and get somewhat of an idea of what it was about before I relied on good ole’ Cliff for all the rest. Well when the first chapter was over, I still had no idea what was going on but for some strange reason, I wanted to learn more. I am proud to say that I actually finished this book in its entirety without ever opening one of those little yellow and black pamphlets. And I’m even prouder to say that I was the only one in my group of 8 who did so. I remember our group discussions about the book and I was always the first (and really only one) to jump into discussion and start asking questions. My group members were not too big a fan of me at that point. Nor were they fans of the book. I remember them all saying how much they hated it and how wierd they thought I was for 1. actually getting through more than a page of the book and 2. actually reading the whole thing. But it was thought-provoking, interesting, and could even foreshadow a society yet to come. And that makes it a horror story.

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Day 28: Favorite title

 I haven’t read this book yet. It’s on my to-read list. But I really love the title. I have friends who have read the book and say it’s quite interesting. It’s no surprise that the plot revolves around the alphabet.

The plot summary according to Wikipedia:

Ella Minnow Pea is set on the fictitious island of Nollop, an isle 21 miles SE off the coast of South Carolina, and home to Nevin Nollop, the supposed creator of the well-known pangram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” This sentence is preserved on a memorial to its creator on the island and is taken very seriously by the government of the island. Throughout the book, tiles containing the letters fall from the inscription beneath the statue, and as each one does, the island’s government bans the contained letter’s use from written or spoken communication. A penalty system is enforced for using the forbidden characters, with public censure for a first offense, lashing or stocks (violator’s choice) upon a second offense and banishment from the island nation upon the third. By the end of the novel, most of the island’s inhabitants have either been banished or have left of their own accord.”

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Day 27: Most surprising plot twist or ending

Easy. HARRY POTTER BEING A HORCRUX. Sorry if I just ruined it for anyone. I mean I guess I should have seen that one coming but I really didn’t expect it when I first read about the horcuxes. I swear when I figured out that Harry was one, I screamed “THE SCAR!! OH MY GOD NOW THEY HAVE TO KILL HARRY IN ORDER TO DESTROY VOLDEMORT.” Well obviously that’s not really how it ended up in the book. But at that one moment in time, I thought my life would never be the same. My grandmother read all the books before me and I went screaming to her saying, “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME MIM?? I mean I feel that would be at least an important hint to give.” Yeah I was a little obsessed with the books back then. But I mean can you blame me? I also have to say the ending of the series was pretty surprising too. A pleasant one, but a surprise nonetheless.

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