Monthly Archives: July 2010

Oh my blog!

So I was just nominated for the OH MY BLOG! award by my GoodReads friend Cathy, who has quite an amazing book blog herself that I think you should check out. http://whereyouwishuponastar.blogspot.com.
I would like to thank Cathy for my nomination. I’m so glad to know that my blog is finally getting some readers and some recognition. I would also like to thank all the little people that I had to step on in order to get to this point. HA! I’m just kidding. But I always told myself I would say that in my first acceptance speech.

So apparently there are some rules to accepting the award and I have a few options of how to do so. I can get REALLY drunk and blog for 15 straight minutes. Well, I’m not really sure if anyone would be able to understand anything I say so we’ll skip that one. Plus it’s before lunchtime in my neck of the woods and I would like to eat some real food first ūüôā The second option is to write about my most embarrassing moment. While I have had about a million of those in my life, it is rather difficult to pick just one, so we’ll skip that one too. Option 3: Make my next blog entry a “vlog” or video blog. I’m not really into “vlogging.” When I can actually get my webcam to work, the lighting is terrible and the quality is less than desirable. That’s what I get for not having a Mac. The fourth option is to take a picture of myself first thing in the morning before I do my hair, make-up, or any other prepping. HA! You people are hilarious. I have chosen the fifth option, which to write a “Soundtrack of my Childhood” post. So here goes nothing.

When I was growing up, the shows I watched the most were Barney, Sesame Street, and anything with the Muppets. So the “Barney song” and the song from Fraggle Rock were big ones that I used to sing along and dance to. My favorite song from my childhood would have to be “Lean on Me.” My grandmother would sing it to me all the time when I was very young and when I got old enough to speak clearly, I would sing along with her and I still sing it in the shower to this day. I was baptised when I was 7 and the song we would always sing in church was “This Little Light of Mine.”¬† I sang that song every Sunday and still think about it every now and then when I’m feeling down. Also, every song from just about every animated Disney movie should be on my track list. Most importantly “Once Upon A Dream” from Sleeping Beauty and “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast. I have to admit that music was not as important in my life back then as it is now. Music is basically my life and I use songs to capture my mood, to lighten my mood, to describe my life situations. When I was younger, music was just something to shake my little booty to (which can still be said today, just with a bigger booty). Nonetheless, I will always remember the moments in my childhood that were defined by music, regardless of whether they were songs from my favorite movie or TV show.

The final step of my acceptance is to nominate others for the OMB award! Here comes the really fun part. The award must be passed on to at least three other bloggers and you need to be sure to inform them so they can chock up their acceptance as well and keep on nominating. The first OMB goes to Lousie Tripp of the To Grow on Book blog. This is a project blog that I am now regularly contributing to and talks about our relationship with books. http://2grow-on-books.blogspot.com/

My second nom goes to Kat a.k.a ThatKindofWoman on Tumblr. Tumblr is my favorite fun/random little blog site where I post my randomosity. ThatKindofWoman has one of my favorite Tumblrs and is quite insightful and trend-setting in her posts. http://thatkindofwoman.tumblr.com/

My third and final nom goes to the writer behind Wuthering Expectations. I came acorss this blog just the other day and fell in love with the way this person writes about literature.¬† It mainly revolves around 19th century literature, which is one of my favorite genres. And plus, the title isn’t too bad either. http://wutheringexpectations.blogspot.com/

Well I think that wraps up this completely long enough blog. Thanks again to Cathy for the nomination and I hope more and more people will start to discover our blogs. Happy reading!

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Read any good books lately? Join the club!

I have gotten totally behind on my blogging and I do apologize. As a rising junior in college with a job and three weeks left til classes, I shouldn’t have to explain to you why I have been absent from my online duties. But sadly, I must also use that as my excuse for not having finished another book for the Weekly. I am almost done and promise I will have it ready for you next week.

But never fear, I still have something I want you to peruse in your free time. It’s¬†a website this week that I shamefully am just now discovering, but there is no question as to why I have already become obsessed with it. It’s goodreads.com. Here, you can make a free profile and go BOOK CRAZY. Its database contains every book ever written and you create lists: A “Read” list, a “To-Read” list, and a “Currently Reading” list. You add books to each list and whichever you are currently reading, you can update your status throughout your literary journey. With books that you have read, you are able to write your own review, give it your rating out of 5 stars, and post it on¬† your blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

Along with the reviews, you can post other forms of your writing, as well as answer questions in the NeverEnding Trivia game and also answer specific quizzes created by other players. There is also a quote section dedicated to users’ favorite quotes from a book or specific author. You can of course create your own trivia question or quiz, as well as add your own quote or create your own network or group, just like Facebook.

You know it couldn’t be a decent website without some social networking involved. You can add friends and see their reviews and updates as well as send them messages and your own reviews. There are also group forums, online book clubs, and they have recently incorporated live webchats with a featured author.

If you love to read as much as I do and want to share your thoughts on books with others,¬†I definitely recommend you sign up at this site. Whether you want to bash the teen sap of Twilight or rave about your journey through Timbuktu, get on there and let it be known. I myself have over 50 books listed and am adding more everyday. I’ve even found a potential book blogging opportunity. Don’t hesitate to read my friends.

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I Dreamed a Dream….within a dream

I saw the best movie of the summer last night. And yes, you are hearing it from me, it trumps Eclipse and kicks it all the way back to Vancouver and beyond. Inception, directed by Christopher Nolan, who you may know as the director of The Dark Knight, is by far the best movie I have seen in a long time It’s completely mind-blowing, the effects are superb, the cast is amazing, and the plot is incredible. Wow, how many more adjectives can I fit in here? Well let’s keep going and we’ll see.

I have always been interested in dream studies, especially lucid dreams: ones in which you realize you are dreaming whilst in the dream and decide to control your surroundings. So basically, this movie was made for me. I lie to you not, I had a dream within a dream last night after seeing this movie and woke up trying to analyze it. This movie has completely changed the way I will dream and even think about dreams. The story line is completely original and is something that has never been done before. I have a feeling a lot of low budget films will attempt to follow in its footsteps and turn into a Gigli situation. But the simple fact that this team of people can create dream situations in which they gather confidential information is just insane.

Like I said earlier, the cast is amazing. And they each have their own title on the team. Leonardo DiCaprio – The Extractor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt – The Point Man, Ellen Page – The Architect, Marion Cotillard – The Shade, Ken Watanabe – The Tourist, Tom Hardy – The Forger, and Cillian Murphy – The Mark. Michael Caine is also in the movie which takes Nolan back to his Batman roots. DiCaprio’s character, Cobb, is my favorite. His personal story controls the movie and has the ability to pull you in until you realize you have gone as deep inside his mind as he has into yours. This movie should be labeled a psychological thriller because it gets inside your mind and the story is told in such a way that you are left hanging from beginning to end. Oh and that ending. One of the best endings I’ve seen in all my years on this earth. I won’t give it away, but I will say everyone in the theatre with me screamed in unison when the credits began to roll. It really takes¬†a lot for me to make comments out loud in a theatre, especially since that’s the factor I hate most when seeing a film. But I gasped, I cheered, and there were about a million ‚ÄúNO WAY!‚Äôs‚ÄĚ that escaped this mouth. It was that compelling.

The special effects are also superb. While I have read that Nolan really does not like to incorporate CGI into his movies, that really couldn’t be avoided in this film. And he should be thankful. I have never seen effects such as those, such action, One of my favorite scenes is the one in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt is floating through a hotel hallway kicking total ass with no gravity. I mean COME ON!

I don’t like to give a lot of plot away in my movie reviews simply because I don’t want to spoil anything for aonyone and I want people to gain their own perspective and have the chance to watch the movie themselves with a fresh eye. I truly hope that you will see this movie because it is more than excellent. It gives a WHOLE new meaning to the term “cinematic adventure” and I promise you will come out of there talking about it with your friends and wanting to go back for more. You’ll probably even dream about it.

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The Lady and the Panda

Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I have a great love for the giant panda. If I could give all the money in the world to ensure that they would no longer be endangered, I would. One of my absolute favorite books tells the story of the woman (yes I said WOMAN) who brought the first giant panda to America. Her name was Ruth Harkness. And the book is The Lady and the Panda by Vicki Croke.

Ruth Harkness was a socialite in the 1920’s who really only worried about what dress she was going to wear to that night’s function. She was happily married to Bill Harkness: an adventurer with the dream of being the first person to bring the giant panda, a then unheard of and mysterious creature, to America. Just weeks after their wedding, Bill embarks on such an adventure but unfortunately loses his life along the way. Devastated, Ruth decides to continue Bill’s legacy and go on the journey for the panda herself. So in 1936, she sets out to Tibet to find what her husband died trying to find.

You can imagine her journey was not easy. Especially given the fact that she was a woman trying to make a name for herself in a man’s world. The terrain was rough, some of the cities she encountered were in turmoil and in the middle of war, and there were several other explorers¬†along the way who would stop at nothing to take her down and beat her at her own game.

Ruth doesn’t escape the wiles of being a woman on her journey. She does fall in love with one of her partners in the expedition but forgets him completely when she lays eyes on the panda cub she will eventually bring to the States. After years of unrest,¬†great obstacles,¬†and relentless trekking, Ruth brings Su Lin to America. No other animal in history has gotten as much attention as Su Lin did.

The book reads almost as a diary of Ruth’s adventures. Even though the print was rather small and the chapters quite long, I loved reading and re-reading this book. There are also pictures included of¬† both Ruth and Su Lin, along with some of the sights she saw along the way.

The thing I love most about this book is the fact that it gives you a history lesson without you truly realizing it. You learn all about what was going on in the world during the 30’s and 40’s, especially in countries like China, who were in the middle of war. You learn what it was really like for a woman¬†in the midst of¬†male domination. And you get to see how one little panda brings together a whole nation. And that, my friends, is worth a read.

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RIP Nate Henn: A True Peacekeeper

For those who don’t know, for a few years now, I have been passionate about helping the children in Uganda who are suffering because of the civil war that is tearing through the Congo. While I am unable to actually fly there and participate in the Roadie Internship sponsored by Invisible Children, I have been able to do my part here in South Carolina by becoming involved in an on-campus organization and even sponsoring a benefit concert to raise money to build schools for the children. But a man named Nate Henn was doing what I could not do by dedicating his time and his life to those kids and by spending years in Uganda serving them.¬†Sadly,¬†Nate lost his life on Sunday doing a selfless act that many of us could never bring ourselves to do.¬†

Nate was killed after a terrorist attack sent explosions raging through a rugby field in Uganda. A field in which hundred were gathered to watch the World Cup Final. Even though he died amongst utter chaos and amidst anger, Nate died for peace. And he gave his life for Uganda.

What he has done for Uganda and the children has been completely selfless and downright respectable. He sacrficed a life of luxury and comfort to live in less than humble conditions for no pay in order to protect the rights of these children and to protect them from harm. I only wish I could have the same motivation and the same humility.

While he was not a glory-seeker in the least, I will continue to honor him and his passion for peace. Nate, thank you for what you have done for the Invisible Children, for Uganda, and for the American people. You are truly a hero in my eyes and your legacy will carry on inside my passion for helping these kids and bringing peace to Uganda.

So I ask you to please take a moment today to remember him and to reflect on what he has so graciously done for others in need. Visit natehenn.com to learn more about him and his mission and if you feel so compelled, to donate in his honor.

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How the Writer Becomes a Writer

Well kids, you get a break from the books this week. I have not had a chance to finish the new book I started so I cannot properly give a good review. However, I do have a recommendation for the week. And not just for this week. This is something that I think everyone should do a little of everyday. And that is to write. Write anything. Write what you feel. Write down what you dreamt about last night. Write a rant about how much you hate your boss. But just get it down on paper. It could more than likely lead to something else. Something much bigger than you.

I officially started on a manuscript last week. I had a creative rush at work and just had to get some ideas down before I lost them forever. I have known for years now that I want to write a book one day but I never thought I would start on it now. Granted, it will take years. And I have already completely changed the theme since I started and most likely will do so again about 20 times. But hey Harry Potter wasn’t written in a day right? I’ve been writing my thoughts down ever since I was able to write and I have finally gotten enough inspiration to get started on my dream.

I know there’s a little writer in all of us and there’s also that little part who wants to see our name in print. Whether it be in a magazine, online, in a book, or even on a billboard. Start writing things down RIGHT NOW. Open up that huge imagination that has been lingering beneath those pantsuits and ties. Wrangle that little 4 year old out of you at least once a¬†day and you will be surprised how much fun you’ll have and how much you’ll learn about yourself.

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“Because God never slams a door in your face without opening a box of Girl Scout cookies”

This week’s recommendation is another book that may have just been added to my top 10 list. It’s Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Journey for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia¬†by Elizabeth Gilbert. Some of you may have seen the trailer for the upcoming movie based on the book, which stars Julia Roberts. *insert squeal* I had heard several great things about the book before the movie even came into play but have just recently gotten the chance to read it. And I was the farthest thing from disappointed.

With everything from a prophesizing guru to an old American man in India who always speaks in “bumper sticker” to a no carb left-behind mission, Gilbert has one hell of an adventure and comes up with one hell of a story to show for it. The conversational tone of the book was enough to make me love it from the start. I love reading a book that makes it seem like the author is talking directly to you and in their own style and voice. That’s why I read a lot of autobiographies and “Based on a True Story” type deals which is exactly what this book is. Eat, Pray, Love documents Gilbert’s world travels and her journey towards personal and spiritual contentment following a nasty divorce. One must understand the rule of thirds and the importance of the trinity to truly appreciate this book. In the Introduction, Gilbert makes sure to explain an Indian tradition known as the 109th bead, and the importance of the number 3. The novel is divided into three “books”, each composed of 36 stories, pertaining to her adventures in each of the three countries listed in the title.

Gilbert also incorporates her brilliant use of anthropomorphism into several circumstances throughout the novel. My favorite being the “cops,” Depression and Loneliness and the conversation she has with them all leading to¬† her being frisked and interrogated.

Gilbert definitely makes me feel better about the notion of talking to myself to help when I am stressed or in panic mode. She even writes to her inner voice in a private notebook. And I thought I was the only one that did that! The whole book itself seems to be a self-dialogue to help her cope with the personal troubles. And I like that. And I hope you will too.

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