Monday, November 19, 2012

Skyfall

Although gadgetry, ego, and explosions are Bond staples, Skyfall was refreshingly scant on all but the latter. Mendes paid exceptional attention to detail, imbued subtlety in the too-often one line zinging hero, and allowed viewers to peel back layers of 007 where his predecessors feared merely scratching the surface.

With the exception of high stakes poker in Casino Royale, this was a much more cerebral Bond flick than its predecessors, one that kept us on edge as it explored the inner workings of both the villain and the resurrected.

Bardem embodied a virulent, violent, and crazed psychopath with a cool exterior. Motivated entirely by revenge, and possessing all the skills of a double zero agent, Silva was like an atomic bomb with a faulty detonation switch. His bleached blonde hair and overly calm demeanor were the only indicators to his underlying lunacy. The brilliance in his character was that we expected him to explode at any moment, to be overcome by his emotion as Bond so often does. But we never quite get to see Silva angry or flustered, even when his plans do not yield the expected results. As bumpy as the ride gets, the bomb never goes off; its destructive potential well known, even secretly desired.

Another refreshing element to Skyfall is that the plot does not revolve around world domination, rogue military generals hellbent on genocide, or giant freaking lazers. In fact, with the exception of a perfectly timed derailed subway train being summoned by Silva and almost crushing 007, this film appeared quite realistic. Skyfall's action sequences were plausible and plot driven, not bombastic and random.

Daniel Craig's grittier and less charismatic archetype of the historically and egregiously over-exaggerated spy is a welcome repast, and Mendes ingeniously lets audiences feast on more than merely car chases, shoot outs, and chiseled physiques. This bond is wounded, humbled and even doubts himself for a time. We learn that 007 is human after all, and as Q put it, "less of a random killing machine, more of a personal statement."


Friday, October 5, 2012

The Great Debate...and Death to Big Bird!

The presidential debate has come and gone, but the aftermath and attention continues to gain momentum. The general consensus is that Obama's challenger won the first round, a view widely accepted by both sides. Although I think that Romney presented himself confidently and well prepared, the things he said were not quite in alignment with what he's been preaching all along.

In lieu of suggesting that Obama won or lost, I'll say that what he didn't do was appear as confident or as prepared as his opponent. Perhaps he should have looked at cute puppy pictures for better concentration. Even more egregiously, what he failed to do was throw a couple of grenades back towards the wall of hypocrisy and ambiguity behind which Romney was apparently hiding...smug grin and all.

To be honest, Obama would have been criticized no matter how well he would have done, or whichever strategy he would have employed. If the concept of winners and losers can even be applied to a debate of this nature, then this was Romney's to lose all along. The president has been ahead in the polls, is generally well-liked, and as we all know, is a great orator. However, that guy never showed up.

Both campaigns have been fraught with less than scrupulous rules of engagement, but the President's biggest blunder, in my opinion, was that he didn't ensure that the American people saw the real Romney. You know, the guy that thinks 47% of Americans want and depend on government handouts. The ruthless business mogul who surreptitiously keeps off shore accounts to evade taxes. The rich man who refuses to disclose all of his income, who is a bastion for taxes that benefit the wealthy, and the man who is vehemently against education...after all, he said he would kill Big Bird. 

To be fair, I don't agree with everything the president has done, but I find it hard to be too critical considering what he inherited, and that things have been getting progressively better in regards to the economy and jobs. If the trend continues, the only bullet in Romney's rhetorical gun, will be the $95 million dollar green energy investment that he clung to the other night like a broken record player.

The president indeed looked a little tired the night of the debate, almost as if he was annoyed at having to be there even. I'm not exactly sure what people were expecting though: some magic trick, a slaying of a dragon perhaps? We got who we elected and what we were promised: a man willing to take the heat, stay the course on his beliefs and strategies, and a man who came from meager beginnings to achieve greatness; going to bat for those who are neglected, oppressed, or less fortunate.

Yes, I would have been happier with a better closing statement, more vociferous and animated responses, and truthfully, a more rigorous defense of our beloved Big Bird. I don't know about you, but if there is one more attack on Sesame Street, one more careless attack on one of the cornerstones of our educational upbringing, then there will be blood my friends....and I'll bring the Count to keep track of the bodies.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Study: Cute Pics Improve Work Skills


Study: Cute Pics Improve Work Skills

Seriously? People invested time and money on this ridiculous study, while people die of cancer and battle a litany of chronic ailments. Doesn't Japan have more pressing matters to attend to like whale poaching, tsunamis, and, oh I don't know, nuclear radiation leeching into their food and water sources?

Here's a brilliant idea, instead of wasting company resources by surfing the web and looking at pictures, how about getting back to work. How about that?


Alright, so maybe the kitten's cute, and maybe there's some microscopically inexplicable link to looking at cute pictures of babies or other portrayals of random cuteness, and temporarily improved dexterity on an operation game set. But I doubt we need actual surgeons ogling over puppies right before surgery in hopes of enhancing surgical performance. I'd rather they stick to reading my fucking medical chart and x-rays, but that's just me. I can be a little picky at times.

The study also concluded that cute features induced careful behavioral tendencies, "which is beneficial in specific situations, such as driving..." Driving? How the hell did they test that? It didn't seem to prevent the girl with the little Dachshund in her lap from texting and subsequently swerving into my lane (twice) during rush hour traffic this morning.

Then again, I did manage to write an entire blog post today. Shit, maybe it does work...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Writing Samurai

I'm on a mission to master the craft of writing. Of all the literature I've read that was designed to guide one on this path, there is a salient piece of advice that I've found as a common thread among them: to be a better writer, you have to write everyday. A nugget of wisdom of which I was suspiciously afraid.

To master a craft a person must spend 10,000 hours of his or her lifetime dedicated solely to practicing this one activity. Malcom Gladwell revisited this theory in his book "Outliers", outlining how professional athletes and people considered to be gurus have reached, or exceeded this magic number.

Unfortunately, I'm not always motivated to write, and even when I am, it isn't guaranteed that I'll be able to pin point a worthy topic of which I'm proud enough to share. At other times, my environment sabotages my intentions with barking dogs, email, and you tube videos. Handling distractions long enough to get into any type of rhythm is an art in and of itself.

I've read articles that share iPad apps in the form of productivity tools that assist in time management, provide various reminders, and others designed to help you focus on writing by preventing you from logging in to other programs. We've come a long way from post-it-notes and tying rubber bands around our fingers.

We're probably all too familiar with distractions these days. With the ubiquity of social media, and our growing fear of being left out of the know, we have conditioned ourselves to constantly peruse Facebook, perking up at notification sounds and text messages in Pavlovian fashion. And even with my Herculean strength, the gods and their mischievous ways often prevail. Social networking, news, and an instantaneously searchable universe of information...all at the tip of our fingers make it virtually impossible to concentrate.

Some articles suggest finding your most productive time to write, others proffer more technical tips, and yet others attempt to take you on some spiritual journey of discovery and introspection. While I find all of these methods to be insightful, and helpful in getting the most out of the time you do spend writing, I have yet to find the key to unlocking the doors that lead to the core of my imagination. The tranquil ocean of creativity that silently stirs, waves of inspiration slowly forming, eventually crashing upon the sandy shore. It is here that I want to walk barefoot, picking up exotic sea creatures and feeling the cool water blanket my feet.

So, yes - writing is about practice, productivity, and everything in between. My task is to not try to hit a home run every time I come up to bat, but just get a base hit. Forget about the perfection of the art, the rituals, the ceremonious sharpening of the blade or purging of evil. Sit down, take a deep breath, and let the words flow...like the exhaling of your breath, or the retreating tide upon that special beach.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bribery, Mass Shootings, and Chick-Fil-A...What Would Batman Do?

I often get wrapped up in not knowing what to write about. It's actually a rather fascinating phenomenon - not quite writer's block, but her lesser known half-sister, writer's fog. I'll read tons of articles of various themes in order to find inspirational fodder, but end up thinking that there's either an overexposure to these topics, or that they've spawned trivial conversations not worth responding to (e.g. Chick-Fil-A). It's kind of like watching a bar fight among all your friends and not knowing at whom to throw punches.

I generally don't like contributing to close-minded, limited perspectives on current events, or to heated debates on gun control, women's rights, or the apparent, secret government agenda to make people drink more milk (it's true). But at some point, we need to sift through all of the mess and tackle the issues we can actually control. And sorry to break this to you, but preventing angry, socially retarded sufferers of paranoia from masterminding murderous rampages can't be controlled.

People are going to snap whether we make movies about caped crusaders and serial killers or not; it's what happens when fragile minds in poor support systems are put in a vise. Does anyone ever wonder why mass shootings are mass shootings and not stories of white suburban kids with machetes hacking away at innocent bystanders in the food court at the mall? (A real video game I swear)

According to Dr. Stone, 96.5% of mass murderers are males with personality or behavioral disorders who harbor a severe grudge. Sound familiar? These guys are ticking time bombs, just waiting to get fired, bullied, or told that they can't have an egg mcmuffin after 10:30, before unleashing their rage upon the world.

Limiting how much ammunition one can purchase on the Internet or more stringent background checks for weapon purchases will not prevent mass murder, but they are still good ideas. Ultimately, what we should really be asking ourselves is why no one is ever jailed in corporate fraud cases. How is accepting a $15 million bribe to end a criminal investigation into bribery okay? What needs to be done to discourage and prevent war profiteering, unlimited political campaign contributions, money laundering, and risky bank investments? How many more financial melt downs and mortgage bubbles will be needed before we rise up in protest?

While people argue whether or not Chick-Fil-A should be allowed to inundate a city with their fast food and religious rhetoric, or if we should be allowed to own automatic weapons, I'm going to continue to wonder if either is relevant in the grander scheme of things. I mean really, if we can't stop men in suits from regularly committing every form of corporate crime and financial buffoonery known to man, what make us think we can combat hell-bent mass murderers?

So, forgive me for not chomping at the bit to share my opinion about a fast food chain's religious beliefs, I just happen to think that there are more pressing matters at hand. After all, if I'm going to come out of superhero retirement to kick some ass, somebody better be threatening to detonate a nuclear bomb and not threatening to boycott fried chicken.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

London Olympics: Hearts of Gold

I've been watching the Olympics rather religiously. It was a tradition of sorts in my family, and it seems that the ritual has stuck. After all, who cannot appreciate the world's finest athletes competing, sacrificing, and fighting for gold. There is no lack of drama, back story, media hype, and suspense. Perfectly sculpted bodies, with laser-like focus, disciplined, and meticulously trained keep us on the edge of our seats as they run, flip, fly, dive, kick, paddle, reposte, fling, spike and shoot.

The margin for error at this level of competition can be a hair off center, a splash, an extra hop, a perry, a point, or hundredths of a second. The majesty and poetry of what their bodies are capable of doing is inspiring, jaw-dropping, and often downright unbelievable. With steeled nerves, icy veins, and expressions that indicate their minds are on parallel planes, they take their positions...gravity is defied, time slowed, and sometimes for only mere seconds, they captivate millions. On this stage, heroes are made, naysayers quieted, nations shocked, hopes shattered, careers forged, and dreams fulfilled.

The true magnitude of what these athletes can accomplish boggles my mind. Some show such resilience and perseverance, while others succumb to pressure and scrutiny. While we all love to see our respective countries victorious, I think we allow ourselves to be consumed by whether or not a medal is won. Such seductions are inevitable, easy even. However, my attention is often stolen by an athlete who is simply grateful and humbled by the opportunity to compete, tasked with carrying not only their own aspirations, but those of an entire country.

A couple of nights ago, I was watching men's gymnastics and saw an unlikely competitor, an underdog from Ireland that had overcome amazing adversity. The announcers mentioned the sacrifices this young man had made simply to make it to the games in London. They alluded to the support from his family, all the bake sales and car washes, scrounging together enough funds to compete in various events. But that isn't all. He overcame countless injuries, a botched leg surgery that left him with extensive nerve damage and doctors that told him he would never walk again. Later, he suffered a brain injury that threatened his gymnastic hopes again.This too he overcame. With such a display of tenacity, resolve, and sheer will, who could not wish him the best? Who among us could not root for him?

I don't want to take away from any other athlete's success, plight, or their similarly daunting obstacles. Please revel in the dominance of the USA's women's beach volleyball tandem of Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh. Cheer for the Michael Phelps's, the Dana Vollmers, and the Ryan Lochtes. I certainly did, but don't forget that the hope of some countries rests upon the shoulders of young men with torn rotator cuffs, on surgically repaired legs, and damaged brains...upon the dreams of boys so brave that they defied doctors and science, simply refusing to give up.

In my mind these are the true champions. Not the privileged with unfettered access to facilities, unlimited resources, or those endowed with impressive frames or inherent physical prowess, but those who were laughed at, ridiculed, and told no. Kieran Behan did not win a medal in this Olympics, but he won something more grand than gold: not only was his dream of reaching the Olympic stage realized, but he walked away with our hearts and knowing that he has set an example for everyone who will ever face adversity, or have to hear the unsavory echo and seemingly insurmountable weight of the word no. It is this aspect of the human soul that makes me truly awestruck and fraught with compassion. Winning an Olympic medal is undoubtedly an impressive feat, but sometimes just getting there is in a class all its own.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bloodshed at the 1984 Olympic Trials

Because my little sister and I were closest in age, we generally were forced to entertain each other against our will. From time to time, boredom would overcome our desires to push each other off of a cliff and we would be civil enough to play a game or two, but usually our loathing was too much to suppress and we'd end up fighting, me armed with superior intellect, and her with sharp teeth.

One day my best friend Robert and his little brother David came over to play. Our driveway was at an impressive incline, which made for perfect high-speed descents in my flashy new wagon. After a while, my little sister wanted in on the action. She was obviously unaware that girls are not allowed on all men, Olympic training bobsled teams and I was certainly not budging on a hundred year old policy. In an act of misplaced female activism and defiance, my little sister marched to the pole near the bottom of the driveway and in silent protest, blocked the wagon's path. 

I issued multiple warnings as Robert and I prepared for our next run, but little sis held fast in her sacrificial stance. I figured that once she saw the wagon speeding towards her, that she would naturally move out of the way, but I truly underestimated her resolve and passion for bobsledding. True to my word, Robert and I pushed off and quickly jumped in the wagon, hunching down to maximize acceleration. Fatefully, I was at the helm, steering the red bullet as it raced down the slope, all the while expecting the deviant holding on to the pole to bale on her useless tirade at any second. Before I knew it, the handle flew from my hand and the wagon, seemingly possessed, careened towards my sister as it picked up speed. 

I fumbled to regain control, but the handle fell forward and away from my grasp, and was now shooting straight out like a spear, and a split second prior to impact, I was made aware of its target...my sister's hand. This wagon was not made from plastic, but of rugged, unrelenting iron, and it pierced through her pudgy, 4 year old flesh and sinew like butter. Before we knew the reality of what had transpired, shrieks of murder ringed in our ears and the sight of a thumb hanging on for life by a sole strand of tissue, was indelibly seared into memory for eternity. Our mother, well versed in first aid, immediately came to the rescue. Unfazed by the sight of blood, or the dangling digit, scooped up the wounded bystander, wrapping her hand in ice and towels, and rushed to the hospital.  

My initial response was, "I told you so", but after the bloodshed and horror, I was truly remorseful and upset. The whole time she was gone, I hoped that her thumb could be reattached and that the Olympic trials would eventually resume without any more hiccups. I now know the answer to the question posed by many physics teachers, "What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?" In the end, the little brat returned bandaged and well, and so began a deep seeded hatred that gave birth to years of my little sister's vengeful wrath, and eventually another story of when she had to be rushed to the hospital after another one of my brilliant ideas.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

About a Boy

When my sister asked me to be a guest writer on her blog, my initial thought was that she must have gone crazy, obviously forgetting my penchant for sarcasm, innuendos, and fanfare. Not the first choice for mommy-blog material. Even though I often push boundaries or flirt with impropriety, I also venture into the contemplative caves of the mind, and peer deep into the reflective pools of my subconscious, asking questions, turning over rocks, and creating ripples. I suspect this is where she wants her readers to go...and not waking up naked with a hangover, next to a monkey smoking a cigarette.

While my sister and I do share a love for baseball, movies, books, and dogs, we couldn't be more worlds apart. For instance, we both talk about boobs...me for my adoration of them and her for their ability to sustain life. She lives on the East coast, and I on the West. She is family oriented and domestic, while I live the whimsical, risk-taking life of the hopelessly romantic bachelor. She has four amazing sisters...and I win have been blessed with five.

I don't suppose most guys are raised in such an equally nurturing, yet hormonally volatile environment. And truth be told, while I never got to watch what I wanted on T.V., or use the bathroom without a wait, I was bestowed a unique perspective into the female psyche. I'm certainly not going to sit here and tell you that I am a guru in such matters, but I am privy to the source of many female-specific behaviors that usually stupefy my less intelligent, neanderthalian brethren. Okay, well perhaps I don't have the actual answers as to "why" they do what they do, but I do have a fairly fool-proof crisis management and survival guide, which I personally think is more practical anyway.

Growing up with five sisters is kind of like being raised by wolves. You're allowed in the den and are considered family, but they can still tear you up if you get out of line. I'm not exactly sure where I'll go with my post, but I've lit the fire, and within the cauldron, something mysterious brews...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Great Expectations...

The past few days have been a mixture of disappointment, contemplation, reminiscing, and revelation. I've had a chance to spend a considerable amount of time with my Dad driving around taking pictures and thinking about the old days. I can't express how much things have really changed here. Many places we go, the ones we can get to anyway, no longer look the way they once did. Skyscrapers, overpasses, shopping malls, casinos and the like now pepper once sparsely populated areas. Prices have shot up, along with toll roads, and construction sites. A subway station is being built, large sections of the city's inner sanctum look as though a giant worm has tunneled his way across town. A metro rail is good in many ways, but the project is long, and strains an infrastructure already bursting at the seams. An old tropical landscape slowly transforms into a formidable metropolis like it's Northern counterparts.

Much of what has changed saddens me. It makes me feel even more out of place in life. This was the one place on the planet I felt like I was inherently a part of...at least more than any other. And now, this too has slowly turned its back on me and has begun to walk away. Nostalgic epiphanies notwithstanding, today was exceptionally nice. I went out with my Dad taking pictures, and hiked up a hill that overlooks the whole city...letting the juxtaposition of being in a jungle that towers over a booming city marinate in my mind. After the hike I had fresh empanadas and a papaya milk shake, the familiarity with the native food was comforting...as well as the price.

Earlier in the day my Dad and I had gotten haircuts together. He doesn't have much left, but I admire that he likes to keep what remains well groomed. For only four dollars, I can't blame him. My haircut was as good as I remember them being, but the service was not. I have been sobered by the realization that people do not have as much pride in their jobs as they used to. Difficult to say if this is due to a new generation, a loss of faith in the economy and government, or a result of wealthy foreigners and drug dealers inflating prices and alienating the poorer class.

Taking pictures of my old neighborhoods and those of my childhood friends brought with it a great sense of peace, happiness, and fulfillment. Although I couldn't remember exactly which houses everyone lived in, I could remember how I felt spending time there, which is a million times better. Much of my longing for these earlier times is not entirely because of how the Panama Canal Zone was physically, but also because it represented a simpler life, unfortunately one that no longer exists. I think I'm coming to the realization that this trip has a lot to do with letting go...surrendering to the shift in the cosmic current and shedding regret or desire of an imaginary place on the spectrum of space and time. I too must grow, construct new beginnings, blossom, and to stretch towards the infinite...ever hoping that the foundation holds steady.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cool Runnings

A lovely rain fell today. There is a phenomenon that I have dubbed "the cool before the storm". The sky darkens and the temperature drops considerably. You can actually feel the cool moisture in the air, the foreboding wind often giving you goosebumps. The clouds become swollen and heavy, like the bulging bellies on many Buddha statues. The atmosphere instantly makes you sleepy. Then....the voluminous rain drops begin their descent, saturating everthing in their path. Plants glisten, puddles form, streams and currents carry off the day's litter, and droplets chase each other down window panes...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Raining Cats and Dogs

I've never been a huge fan of cats. I'm a dog-lover to the bone. However, Minga is different. I don't know if it's because she's Panamanian, or if the humidity is getting to me, but I like her. She doesn't have this entitled pretense in her mannerisms. She lets me pet her, and genuinely seems to like my affection. She does her thing, and I do mine, our paths mainly crossing either while I type at the computer, or when she meanders past my legs as I watch the television. She is like that cool, carefree person you meet at a party and instantly connect with. There's some engaging conversation devoid of commitment or pressure, neither person with an agenda...just enjoying each others intermittent company.

Her food and water is on the computer desk...presumably to keep it away from the dogs, and because it's next to the window. The window is her portal to the outside realm, and all of us are trained to slide the screen to facilitate her passage. She often sleeps on the balcony, and on hotter days under the shade of my Dad's car. She has a small frame; a black and white cat that moves silently...never exerting more energy than what is necessary. I haven't heard her speak a word the whole week I've been here. She gives an inaudible meow, only mouthing her intent and waving her tail as she looks in your direction and then at the window, trusting that you know what she wants, then patiently waiting for you to comply.

Minga is refreshingly easy to look after. In fact, there isn't much actual looking after. A stark contrast to my 80 pound doberman. I love him to death, but he is the antithesis to Minga...always on alert, anxious, pacing....a sentinel awaiting his next command. His bark is loud and frequent, he consumes a lot of food, requires copious amounts of attention, and must be exercised regularly. These responsibilities are mostly fulfilled with affection and willingness, but at other times I wouldn't mind a nap...or only having to slide open a window screen.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Musings from Panama

I'm not sure rain is the proper word for it...the sky has opened...spewing forth a deluge that apparently has been accumulating for months. The verdant landscape drinks, the jungle's inhabitants taking refuge beneath the broad leaves of the tropical flora that bend and sway under the weight of the rain's onslaught. 

The downpour is vigorous, but short-lived, as is often the case in Panama. During the rainy season, on even the most beautiful and sunny of days, dark and heavy clouds will often seize the sky in moments...tormenting the prepared and unsuspecting alike. A few minutes after the rain has subsided, parrots and parakeets become vocal, but are wary of venturing far from their refuge.

They must know the fickle weather well, for a second wave of rain begins...not as powerful as the first, but steady, and accompanied by a low and rolling thunder in the distance. My mother's cat, Minga, lies lazily next to a window, enjoying her slumber, undisturbed by the torrent just outside. The heavy raindrops pound the roof and cement creating an orchestra of sound as the rain picks up again, falling as punishingly as before. It doesn't appear that venturing out today is feasible. Perhaps I should take a cue from Minga, who only stirs to change positions...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Motorcycle Musings

I know, I know...it's been a while. I'm not really sure what to say. I haven't quite been suffering from writer's block or anything, I just haven't quite been in the mood to express how I feel per se. I've left the majority of the anger and self loathing for my diary, and decided what is left, a few philosophical musings if you will, should be posted here. My life has been going through a transition period... job hunt, graduating school, reassessing friendships, etc. And while I usually welcome change, this one in particular has presented some sobering epiphanies, such as: perhaps I'm not meant to be a writer, love is a faint memory, and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna need a root canal.

Life is truly fascinating, and not always in the speechless adoration of a sunset kind. Sometimes it's more like the morbid magnetism of a motorcycle accident, seducing our eyes to ingest the potentially macabre manifestation of Newton's Laws as we drive by. Sometimes we're frustrated and inconvenienced passersby, sometimes we're the motorcycle, and in other cases, we're the motorcyclyst who wonders how his life became a wreck. This is the risk one takes by driving a bike I suppose, or not using hand signals.

As we all know, life isn't comprised of an endless network of perfectly paved tunnels and highways devoid of cars, but an intricate web of twists and turns decorated with rocks, potholes, pedestrians, rain, and inevitably, other motorists. To say that navigating all of these obstacles is a challenge would be an egregious understatement, and to top it all off, you're not given a map, or a manual. We're merely comforted with the knowledge that crashing isn't a question of "if", but of "when".

My birthday is quickly approaching, and while I have no qualms about my age or getting older, I'm not entirely sure where all that time went, or what in God's name I was doing seemingly wasting it. I was raised in a laid back culture, one with an entirely different attitude and outlook towards the concept of time than the U.S. Consequently, I've always scoffed at people hustling about, planning, setting goals, in states of constant worry, and stressing over one thing or another. Maybe the busy ants and squirrels toiling away gathering and accumulating things know what they're doing after all, but hard as I try, I'm programmed to only go where the wind blows, and to amass only as much as I can carry.

Frankly, I don't think this strategy has worked out too well, but who really knows whether or not flossing everyday would have prevented the root canal. Perhaps it was meant to be. Perhaps it has always been a question of "when" and not "if". In either case, the timing is perfect. Just like life I've noticed. Everything working in perfect harmony and balance, just as it should be...ants toiling, squirrels collecting, suns setting, and motorcycles careening towards their inevitable state of rest.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3)The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This was and excellent end to a fantastically well written story. The books became progressively more intriguing, and Salander's story did not disappoint. I must admit however, that at the end of Lisbeth's long and arduous plight, with no one left to combat you very much feel the same way she does, not really knowing what to do with yourself. I highly recommend these books and it is a only with a bitter-sweetness that I am free to start a new one; I didn't want them to end, but I am always elated to delve into a new adventure.


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Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Glass Castle

The Glass CastleThe Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. By the third page I knew I was going to like it. Jeannette's story-telling is magical and enlightening. It's amazing how her recollections keep you suspended in place of simultaneous disbelief, humor, and horror.

Although many of her memories are funny, her book reminds us of the indomitable and hopeful spirit of children, as well as the very real consequences of perpetual disappointment on their impressionable hearts and minds. Walls makes you revel in every small victory for the family, and sympathize during their chronic struggles. Although at times you want to shake some sense into her parents, or replace them altogether, you can't help but ponder the paradox of our struggles shaping who we become.



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Friday, January 20, 2012

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With the Dragon TattooThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


So, I enjoyed this book overall, although I think it may have been hyped a little much. Everyone that saw me carrying it around professed how amazing it was. I definitely liked it, but was not blown away. I found it challenging to read through much of the Swedish words at first, and you're not really hooked until a little past the half-way mark.

I definitely love Salander's character. She simultaneously typifies absolute strength and vulnerability, encapsulated in a hardened shell entirely impenetrable by the world's worst cretins. She thrives in the face of despair, is fatally calculating, and seems to have only one weakness....Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative reporter who is the other protagonist in the story.

I did enjoy this read, and will continue reading the rest in the series, especially after discovering what inspired the author to write them. Besides, Lisbeth Salander is like a crime magnet attached to dynamite filled with fury, and I can't wait to see who or what lights the fuse next. I've also heard a lot of positive feedback about the movie, but I'm not going get my hopes up. Movies are inevitably better when I watch them with little or no expectation.



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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What the Dog Saw

What the Dog SawWhat the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Another great book by Malcom Gladwell. His ability to weave scientific research and social experiments into exciting stories is unsurpassed. Gladwell has an uncanny ability to dissect seemingly innocuous facts and observations, and spin engaging tales. With a unique perspective, he forces you to challenge conventional wisdom and think about why things are done they way they are. A fast read with varied material that is sure to entertain and educate regardless of your interests.