Monthly Archives: December 2013

Pages of 2013

Last year I was  taken with the Ranger’s Apprentice series and enthralled with Anna Karenina, mulling over the statement “Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

2013 was the era of Harry Dresden who hails from Chicago and Dagny of Taggart Transcontinental. I am still hungover in awe of the dialogue, theme, plot, pacing, characters, and the authors’ universe building (checklist that novels go through before I really hat tip and geek out).

These are the books I consumed this year (excluding any manga, dime store novels, school materials, and of course, the Bible).

Legend/ Key:
– didn’t finish
*recommended
*****omg this rocks my world!!!

A Walk to Remember*
The Wedding
Nicholas Sparks

Divergent
Insurgent

Veronica Roth

Dresden Files 1-14 *****
Jim Butcher

Princess Mia
Princess Forever
*
Meg Cabot

Utopia
Thomas More

Time Keeper*
Mitch Albom

Wonder
R.J. Palacio

Les Miserables
Victor Hugo

The Son*
Lois Lowry

Ender’s Game
Speaker for the Dead
*
Orson Scott Card

The False Prince*
Runaway King*
Jennifer Nielson

Shadow and Bone
Siege and Storm

Leigh Bardugo

Atlas Shrugged*****
Ayn Rand

Mortal Instruments 1-5
Cassandra Clare

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz*
Frank Baum

Prodigy*
Champion*
Marie Lu

Dracula
Bram Stoker

Unenchanted
Chanda Hahn

The Mark of Zorro*
Johnston McCulley

The Descendants*****
Kaui Hemmings

Qur’an

The Greatest Knight*
The Scarlet Lion
Elizabeth Chadwick

The Elite
The Selection

Kiera Cass

A Shade of Vampire
Bella Forrest

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Laini Taylor

Stuff Christians Like*****
Jon Acuff

I intended to post a few comprehensive reviews of these tomes. Unfortunately what I read has a tendency to slip out of my memory banks faster than a jackrabbit speeding across the desert on a hot August day.  Well, it’s something to shoot for next year!

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What You Got in That Bag?

Maybe you get this, maybe not.  You’re out with a group of friends and they ask, “Does anyone have _____?”
Is it just me or do you feel angst if you have to respond “No, sorry…” and failed to be useful in that instance?  Probably just being cray again, but for occasions such as these and in the event of a disaster, here’s what you should carry with you at all times.

          toothpicks
          gum/ mint/ candy
          stapler
          paper clip/ safety pin
          flashlight
          band aid
          matches
          pens/ pencils
          note pad
          scissors
–          stamps/ envelope
          hand sanitizer
          aspirin
          napkins/ tissue
          hair ties
          compact mirror

Be prepared, is my motto.  My bag is filled with these tools at the ready as well as other secrets.  There are books in my Kindle as well, which takes care of the Bible and other reading material for waiting rooms.  What I have issues carrying is tape because the plastic dispenser keeps breaking.  I plan to add birthday candles, batteries, Swiss Army Knife, cough drops, and bottle opener to my repertoire.  But when it comes to smokes, you’re on your own.  Good luck, soldier!

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Jammin’ in 2013

For some, good music was only from the 60’s.  No, the 80’s.  Or was it 90’s?

Forget that, I for one say the best songs are happening NOW.  My favorite artist wasn’t even on the radar a decade ago.  I mean, it’s hard to beat last year when we had Fun, Psy showed up like a boss and almost took over the world, and hello, Thrift Shop ring a bell? Then there was a little ditty by Carly something or other then Lumineers closed it all up with a bang.  Yes, those were the good old days.  But when we think we’ve heard it all, Lorde blows up out of nowhere showing us something awesome this way comes.  “Get Lucky” and “The Fox” were also unexpected dark horses but I’m still not settled on whether or not I like them.

What makes or breaks a song? I’m sure there’s some legit theory involving consumer trends and sex appeal, etc.  For me it goes through these tabs before it receives a seal of approval:

Performance: This covers the artists’ image,  their playing instrument or dancing, and music video, if applicable

Sound: Voice skills – Are they distinctive or pouring themselves into the lyrics?  Are they impressively talented or OD with autotune?  Music flow – Is there an innovative pause, marvelous harmonization, piano interlude or just one of those annoying rap bridges?

Words/ Theme: What are they singing about?  Is it original, real, clever, or just a jumble of trivial nonsense?

Catchiness: The tune may override my will to dislike a song.  This is a wildcard that may or may not obliterate the above set standards.

My favorite  mainstream songs this year:

Unconditionally – Katy Perry
Oh no, did I get too close/ oh, did I almost see what’s really on the inside
You just feel safe with these lyrics, it’s intimate and appeals to our humanity.  Her Anna Karenina inspired music video is amazing and gorgeous not to mention her AMA performance.

My Songs Know What you did in the Dark – Fall Out Boy
So light em up up up/ I’m on fire
Welcome back!  Your what knows what I did in the what?  I like the curious lyrics that catch you off guard.  Plus, who doesn’t like a big fire?  And who can keep the whoooooa out of their head?

Holy Grail – Justin Timberlake ft. Jay Z
Once day you care/ it’s so unfair/ sippin’ from the cup till it runneth over
Unique with its variety of tempos.  Here JT wails about being done so much wrong.  No, it’s not about a woman.  Okay it is.  And her name is Fame.

If I Lose Myself – Onerepublic
Take us down and we’ll keep trying/ 40,000 feet keep flying
Not as groundbreaking as their last few singles.  This is actually a disturbing song, but it’s deep if not different.

I Want Crazy – Hunter Hayes
I don’t want good enough/ want can’t sleep can’t breathe without your love
Right on, Hunter, I say down with easy or conventional love. “Good enough” is for monarchists. And commies.

Royals – Lorde
We count our dollars on the train to the party/ and everyone who knows us knows/ that we’re fine with this
The stark soulful voice catches you from the get go.  Then her social commentary on the conditions of low class society hits you like a slap but her message is delivered good naturedly.

Everything Has Changed – Taylor Swift ft. Ed Sheeran
All I know is your held the door/ you’ll be mine and I’ll be yours 
Overly simple and repetitive, yet the hope and innocence portrayed in this duet is irresistible.  They wrote this together on a trampoline. Plus mini versions of them in the video, adorbs.

Seriously awful:

Roar – Katy Perry | Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus | Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars | Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke | Same Love – Macklemore ft. Mary Lambert

Almost made it/ better luck next time:
Stay – Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko | Just Give Me a Reason – Pink & Nate Ruess | Hurricane – Bridgit Mendler | Let Her Go – Passenger | Heart Attack – Demi Lovato | Best Song Ever – 1D | We Own the Night – The Wanted | The Monster – Eminem ft. Rihanna | The Other Side – Jason Derulo | Wake Me Up – Avicii | Made in the USA – Demi Lovato | Pass Me My – R5 | What About Love – Austin Mahone | Still Into You – Paramore | Melodies- Madison Beer | Say something – Great Big World & Christina Aguilera | Timber – Pitbull ft. Ke$ha | Burn – Ellie Goulding | We Own It – 2 Chainz ft. Wiz Khalifa | It’s a Beautiful Day – Michael Buble | I Wish – Cher Lloyd ft. T.I. | In a World Like This – Backstreet Boys | Brave – Sara Bareilles 

Feel free to laugh – I’m tuning you out with my earphones.

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Love Notion #1: The Checklist

  Some women will just jump into a relationship with any guy who pays them attention, which speaks about their level of self worth.  When one connection ends they anxiously prowl, hook up, and waste time in their limited life going through the same mistakes.  They are known as serial daters or I call them Settling Sues.  Maybe it’s just me but I don’t want to scatter my heart around or set a bad example with a reputation.  Because lessons learned are usually burns but a lot of people take their sweet time to realize that.

So, we should know not to rush into anything.  But does that qualify tall blue walls instead?  Here’s what a lot of girls (Conceited Cadys) on the other extreme end demand more or less:

  • Handsome while modest
  • Cultured but not worldly
  • Financially secure yet generous
  • Leader and also a servant
  • Sensitive without being feminine

     This is the impossible balance.  What does that amount to?  Jesus Christ, basically.  Actually, I’m sure even He’s amiss on some of these because He was known as plain and pretty much dirt poor.  Let’s face it, guys have it rough.  This means Cady types want such an extraordinary man because they believe they are the perfect Mary or Hannah.  I am so sure they fit the Psalm 31 description of an angelic woman super hostess who encourages men to be better and support them unconditionally.  I also have to say it’s messed up that Cadys care so much about height, clothing style, and their vehicle or real estate holdings. “Girls don’t like boys/ girls like cars and money” – Good Charlotte

Not that guys really have a clear or healthy picture of what they want either. What kind of preferences do they have? “Uh…supermodel?” Okay, bye now, thanks for playing!

I’d be grateful to have someone compatible who can put up with me, getting there is already tough as it is. Here are some ideas I have as far as boundaries:

Loves God
Anyone who is not submissively transformed by truth and love is a fool I cannot respect (neither is a solemn downer who does not know how to laugh or take a joke).

Sociable
Two introverts do not make a right.

Clean/ Organized
Because I’m a lazy slob.

Healthy Family Background
I’d rather there be no major issues or rifts I’ll bring enough kdrama for both of us  🙂

Considerate of Time
You’re not a child, please introduce yourself to a clock, thank you!

Bromance
Peers and mentorship involvement are vital otherwise the relationship will suffocate me.

Not Consumed with Career/ Media/ Hobby
Drop the weights, remote, phone and back away slowly…

Not a Sensitive Drama King
Emotional diva men need not apply.  Trust me, I’m way ahead of you on the jealousy and criticism department.

Hotness Factor (8 out of 10)
This is probably a controversial one, but hey, I can’t control who I’m attracted to any more than I can change my own face and body.  Confession: I have a weakness for guys with nice hairdos.

Also, someone who tries to hard to please people and has a facade is ick.  I can’t stand mild types with no motivation.  Goody goodies are no fun but I don’t want the extreme bad guy punk either.   Also I don’t think it’ll work out if they are as picky and allergic to food as I am, I could use a dining partner who acts as a trash bin.

Bonus Traits
Girls like guys with skills.  I would like it if the guy were active in:

Heart = animal lover; passion for missions; can deal with children
Arts = movies; musically inclined; likes cooking
Mind = teachable; news aware; speaks another language; math talented
Body = exercise once in a while wouldn’t be bad; extra cool if they were handy around the house; masseuse please!

I have high standards but at the same time know that I act like a princess instead of a crazy flawed human who will be a bother to put up with.  I know I need to grow up and get over the ideal of meeting the tall dark vampire who smoothly romances me like a perfect gentleman and buys me roses on occasion.  Yes, that’s pathetic and delusional, so that’s why I need as much help from God as I can get!

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Under the Rug

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

We hear this like it’s one of our official broken records but it will remain one of most difficult practices in life.  I think for the most part I agree with it.  Nobody wants to be around a Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer, which I am internally so that’s why I usually find it beneficial to zip my screaming howler (waving my Treasure Planet flag).  I also think there’s room for constructive criticism because we all have flaws that need correction and sometimes people just ask to be roasted.  There are many who are far more prone to weigh your words when delivered through tongue lashings rather than sugar coated euphemisms.  For those who doubt, ask the military.

A few times I would go on about a person’s decision or attitude that I don’t agree with and then out of nowhere I get this:

“Well, that’s why we love them.”

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Nope + Lame.  That’s untrue for these reasons:
1) Maybe for you but please don’t speak for me (ever)
2) I don’t love someone for doing something that pisses me off.  If anything, I love them in spite of this annoying trait.  When I think about the offender and this phrase I start cruising FB for new friends or consider moving to another state to start over.  Half kidding.

I know, I know.  I should bring up my issue with the one who got under my skin in the first place, and usually I will.  Unless.  If the perpetrator ends justifying their side and going on and on explaining where they’re coming from, I end up feeling like I’m watching ballet or listening to jazz (code names for torture).  I learned recently that it’s useless to have a heart to heart with a person who won’t welcome feedback.  When this occurs I vow not to put myself in that situation again because I don’t like wasting my time and effort when I could be playing Fruit Quest instead and you can judge me for being selfish or brilliant.  Fyi, I happen to hate confrontation, so it takes a lot for me to express what bothers me.  It’s such a relief when I approach someone and tell them I didn’t like what they did and they just take it or leave it.

The other advice would be to just get over it.  Why do you care so much about someone else’s minor actions and opinions in the long run?  Isn’t it better to accept others for who they are instead of seething about it on the inside?  My response is, I agree.  I know I get passes when I behave like a perfect jerk or drop the ball when it comes to being there for someone.  A sign of growing is up letting go of the little things.  If not, the only recourse is to plot revenge and start hoarding bricks in the cellar like the guy in The Cask of Amontillado (shout out to Poe).

Now, for the mirror test.  Am I that magnanimous person who appreciates being called out?  Is Obama the best president ever?  I’m already beating myself up about my blunders, trust me.  I have more insecurity than you can shake a corn on a stick at.  Basically what I’m saying is that I am way introspective and aware of how I suck while obsessing about overcoming said suckiness.  Although it’s not pleasant, I’ve grown when people question or challenge me, especially when I hear a sermon.  It’s not something I encourage but will appreciate in the long run because face it, we need to be grounded (thanks, mom).  There’s no easy balance when it comes to loving correction and honest verbal backhands simply because you don’t know what the consequence will be.  All we can do is check ourselves and think it through before we take up the position of the voice of reason.  Or building a response with bricks.

 


Expectation Wars

Stuff (Single) Christian (Girls) Like: Getting Upset with Guys for Not Acting Like Real Men

Haha, I know, but a Jane Austen style match is way more likely to happen.


Stuff I Hear at Work

Work.  Location: corporate building. The place where hopes and creativity go to die a slow death (see Office Space).  But if you’re lucky enough to have colorful peers (in the literal and figurative sense!) stuck there with you then it’s not so bad.  They’re as amusing as a reality show AND it’s true life from the streets.

The cast

T: supervisor and genius who always has your back
D: snarks all day in the corner
S: ghetto fabulous and tells the best stories
I:  mini S, brat in training
M: the sweetest and most educated of us all
C: confrontational outspoken gangster, aka my hero
J: work husband, keeper of nerdy facts
A: glam and proud of it

Here’s a free sample of our daily convos:

C: Yeah, so it’s okay to tie up a kid to a tree.

I: They have black sand beaches in Hawaii
S: Shut up, no way!  Does it feel like sand or rocks or what?

I: Yeah it’s been stormy and rainy lately which means we’re probably going to have an earthquake.
M: There’s no such thing as earthquake weather!

(hijacking someone’s gift)
M: Who gave me this? (bottle with a tag)
S: It’s from me.
Everyone else: No, it’s not.
S: Yes it is, I used black construction paper and white out to write on it.  That’s wassup.

S: You ever put jelly on toast? (smacking noises)
A: I don’t like jelly.
D: (walking by) I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.

A: I’m so tired of cheap people I don’t know what to do with myself.

T: We are going to start shipping with this program.
C: F*** no, I’m not doing that (walks away)
S: That didn’t go so well (giggles)

T: This guy gave us a photo of his injury.
C: First of all, that foot looks like it’s been dead for ten years.  Second, he should watch where he steps.

(discussing how we like our steaks and food in general)
D: I think scallops have the best flavor!
I: What’s a scallop?  Is that like a bird?

S: Yeah, it’s just like this one time with a homeless lady and she threw the sandwich yelling for money instead…
C: You got that from a movie.

Repeated lines:

No, man!
Bye, Felicia.
She lie like a rug.
Would you rather…?
Sanji, where did we buy this trolley?
(raise imaginary glass) To evil! (clink)
Homegirl needs to get over it.
Calm down, Gina (there is no one by that name in the building)
The product’s not the one that’s defective.
(Russian accent) In Soviet Russia you do not break stroller, stroller break you!
Is it 4:30 yet?! (quitting time)

More good moments:

Someone showing off their new compact Bible and people flipping through it.  For the most part I love living in this country.

Discussion about sticking with your guy during good times or bad times.  Whether they ramen it up with their sweetie or ballin’ on certain days it says something about loyalty, which I appreciate.

Love to you guys – even when you drive me crazy – I’m sure it’s mutual.  Say it with me, our warranty doesn’t cover stupidity.  4 years and counting!

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