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I shamelessly totally stole this fromlucre_noin and the extremely relevant and interesting questions and conversation that has resulted from said questions over on her journal.

Ask me questions about The United States so that I can ask you questions about your country.

I am just so curious about everything and I think internet is amazing because it allows people of different countries to talk to each other and destroy prejudices.

2011 in a Nutshell

 I'm finally back from the East from burying my grandfather. To be honest--not quite the way I wanted to end 2011---BUT I thought instead I would reflect on all the positive highlights of the year--and my hopes and dreams for 2012! Maybe once I have the right words I'll be able to write a tribute to my grandfather, send out some VERY late Christmas fandom cards, and write some thank you notes.

Books I Read in 2011: 44 Total

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2011 Movies: 28

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TV Series I Watched: 10

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Fandoms Involved in: 4

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Eventful Things that Occured:

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  • Keep better track of the books I read in 2012
  • Eat better--walk once a day
  • Finish my AU rendition TMNT Fic
  • Start my original fiction stone story
  • Look over and review original story from college for submission for publishing; redo what needs doing
  • Participate in more challenges
  • If possible, attend a convention
  • Make more LJ friends
  • Get a Job
  • Be Hopeful

Happy New Year Everyone!!!! May 2012 treat you better than 2011!


How does this happen? How do I keep getting wrapped up in reality TV shows(Shakes fist at Survivor and Mark Burnett)? Now I'm going to be on pins and needles until December 18th!!!

Anybody else out there have this problem?
As I mentioned in my last posting things in my life have been a bit hectic as of late. My brother comes home Friday after having been away for three years. Needless to say I haven't been sleeping well as of late. I'm also a bit of an admitted book hoarder--these two concepts have recently collided for a couple of very late nights spent re-reading a couple of my childhood favorites.

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen:  This is a book I picked up at a city library down-sizing sale because I swore I had read it when I was younger. But having wikipediaed it just now, I realize that isn't possible. The book wasn't published until 2001. The book itself focuses on a troubled teen by the name of Cole. We open into finding out a bit of Cole's long troubled history and his most recent, nasty bit involving pounding a fellow classmate's head into the ground. The first half of the book focuses on what is to be done with him because of this. Cole is not a likeable character. He's angry, selfish, a bully, and at times bordering on annoying. As the story further develops we learn a little bit more about his family and some of the interactions going on there. Key is his always drunk trying to not ever be involved mother and his abusive father. As a reader, this certainly made me more sympathetic to Cole as a character, but his always blame others attitude continued to grind away at my patience the first half of this book. Luckily for Cole, he ends up having some champions in his corner--notably his parole officer Garvey. Garvey cajoles/tricks Cole into submitting his application for a program called Circle Justice.

Circle Justice is a program that seeks alternative options for justice other than the typical jail sentencing. Members of the community, the victim, and the offender are all invited to take part of an open forum---the idea being that the community takes responsibility for what occurred also and that all parties are satisfied. At the forum, individuals sit in a circle and are only allowed to speak when they have a certain object--in this case a feather.

I really enjoyed the idea/concept behind Circle Justice (which is a real program used primarily in the Midwest areas of the United States) and the themes of healing all parties involved instead of just punishing the offender. I see the real promise where individuals are given the chance for social justice and also allowed to make themselves a better person. Not to get on my soapbox--but maybe our jail system wouldn't be so overcrowded here in the South if we had a program like this in place.

But back to the book---the first half of the book concludes with Cole getting sent to an island to live on his own for a year--a way for him to not hurt others and to think on the actions he done. GUYS--the first day there this kid burns done the cabin provided to him ON PURPOSE--this also ruins all of the supplies he has been given. At this point I was already thinking the kid was in deep shit---but then, THEN he decides to try and run away from the cabin by swimming. Yes, you heard me right---swimming. In freezing waters. In the middle of Alaska somewhere. Needless to say that doesn't work out and he almost dies. After he crawls back and falls asleep on the burned embers of his former cabin (no clue how he didn't burn himself) he wakes up and decides he still wants to die. Because then guys----he deliberately provokes a mysterious white bear that has appeared which then proceeds to beat the crap out of him (at which point I had to quietly mute my cheering section for the bear). Kid has broken arm, broken leg, broken ribs--numerous lacerations. Kid is pretty much up a creek without a paddle.

“Whatever you do to the animals, you do to yourself. Remember that.”

Then the book proceeds to start getting deep--deep in a good sort of way. Cole's lying there--and at first he's still angry--still blaming other people and even the bear for his current predicament. He evens spits at said bear when it happens to show up again. But as time goes on an interesting change starts to happen. He goes into survival mode--eating bugs, worms, even a mouse that crawls up on him. He notices a bird nest full of baby sparrows overhead---then a thunderstorm happens and the tree under-which he was lying incapacitated is struck by lightning. The baby sparrows are killed when the tree trunk explodes. And this is when Cole starts to be less angry at the world--when he realizes he is going to die. That the baby sparrows didn't deserve to die but they did. That all things eventually die--breathing here one moment and gone the next. And he starts to become less angry and more accepting of his circumstances---and the actions that brought him to this point. And when the white bear comes back again--he isn't afraid anymore or angry. He accepts that the bear will kill him and most likely eat him--and he reaches a hand out to the bear because he wants his last action to have been stroking the soft-looking fur on the bear's face. Bear walks away without eating him and he is eventually rescued by the caseworker--who came by to check up on him.

“The mauling didn’t make sense. In the past, everything had always been afraid of him. Why wasn’t the bear scared?”

The second half of the book starts with a glossed over account of the six months of physical therapy Cole underwent to recover from his wounds and heads straight into his return to the island (this after much discussion about whether or not he will even be able to return when as a reader I know very well he will be. But it was a good reality insert). Once back on the island we get a deeper look at a character introduced minimally before by the name of Edwin. Edwin is a friend of Garvey's and starts to work with Cole on how to manage his anger. I won't spoil the tactics he is taught as I think the second half of the book is really the best. Cole really starts to discover who he is as a person, what he wants from life, and really what life is. The books winds down with Cole having the opportunity to face the individual he attacked and help that individual get over their fear, both of Cole and of other things. Which brings to mind for me an old saying about fear breeding anger and anger breeding hate. The resolution of this story while not as complete as I feel it could have been stays true to the character of the book and the lessons learned. Just as in the story life does not wrap up in an easy knot--your actions do effects others--and you do have to learn your own song and accept yourself for who you are--the good parts and the bad. Overall, a beautiful story of the the journey of healing--highly recommend this for children and even as a 20 something individual I found that this book profoundly touched me.

The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen: I remember reading this book as a child and greatly remember it being profound in my young existence at the time. Someone once said you should read a book once when you are young, once when you are middle-aged, and once when you are old. I think that was really the case here with my re-reading of "The Hatchet". My experience now was completely different from the experience I had as a child. As a kid I remember being a little shell-shocked by what happens in this book--I also could not put the book down--that's how much into it I was. I needed to know what was going to happen next.

Reading it again---there were still definitely those moments--maybe as profound and more stick with you. But there were also more moments of disbelief and laughter. I'm not sure if it's because as an adult I'm more jaded than I was as a child--or if it's because there are times reading the book I was shaking my head and mentally telling the character not to do something/do something extremely different. As an adult--I shake my head that the kid didn't try and follow the radio signal he got in the plane at the beginning by turning the plane back. I also am amazed he survived the crash at all. As a kid---the main character surviving the plane crash automatically made him a hero in my eyes because the whole plane crash scenario was freaking scary.

I'll admit to being somewhat impressed as an adult by a thirteen year old's ability to build a shelter--but the mother in me wanted to tell the kid to put some mud on his body to drive away the damn mosquito's that torture the poor guy the entire book. As a kid I think I found the hatchet more profound--even found some symbolism in the damn thing--but as an adult I realized that throughout the book I kept thinking of it purely as a tool.

"He did not know how long it took, but later he looked back on this time of crying in the corner of the dark cave and thought of it as when he learned the most important rule of survival, which was that feeling sorry for yourself didn't work. It wasn't just that it was wrong to do, or that it was considered incorrect. It was more than that—it didn't work."

Another big difference reading this as an adult versus as a child is my reaction the main character's big secret. As a very sheltered child reading about his secret was a bit of a scandal. Which kind of makes me sad that as an adult I found his big secret almost laughable. Which goes to show how much I've changed as a person and maybe how much society views on divorce have changed since my childhood.

Something that stayed the same---my yuck factor to the fact that we find out at the end that the fish he has been eating the entire time have themselves been eating the dead pilot's body. The gross factor of this get's me every time--not to mention he's been drinking that water for three months!!! Yuck!

Holiday Cards

I've seen quite a few other peeps posting this. So if anyone is interested in receiving a Christmas card from me, feel free to drop me your address. All comments will be screened.

Starting Tomorrow: 30 Days of Doctor Who

Day 01 - Favourite Incarnation of the Doctor

Day 02 - Favourite Companion
Day 03 - Favourite Villain
Day 04 - Favourite Character
Day 05 - Favourite Guest Star
Day 06 - Least Favourite Character
Day 07 - Favourite Episode
Day 08 - Favourite Series
Day 09 - Least Favourite Episode
Day 10 - Favourite Scene/Moment
Day 11 - A Scene/Moment That Makes You Cry
Day 12 - A Scene/Moment That Makes You Giggle
Day 13 - Favourite Era Visited by the Doctor & Co.
Day 14 - Favourite Doctor Moment
Day 15 - Favourite Rose Moment
Day 16 - Favourite Martha Moment
Day 17 - Favourite Donna Moment
Day 18 - Favourite Amy Moment
Day 19 - Favourite ‘Ship
Day 20 - Prettiest Scene
Day 21 - Favourite Location
Day 22 - Something Silly
Day 23 - Something Epic
Day 24 - Favourite Accessory of the Doctor’s
Day 25 - Favourite TARDIS Team
Day 26 - A Scene/Moment That Made You Go “Aww”
Day 27 - A Scene/Moment That Made You Go “Argh”
Day 28 - Favourite Series Arc
Day 29 - Favourite Music/Song
Day 30 - Why You Love Doctor Who


Jericho: God How I Miss This Show!

Going through fandom withdrawels this evening...

Torchwood 10---Say what? Spoilers ahead

I've been an avid fan of Torchwood for some years now. Since the beginning I guess you could say when we were first introduced to Captain Jack Harkness on the Doctor Who episode "Are You My Mummy?" Which incidentally remains one of my favorite episodes--the combination of creepy kid, WWII Britain, orphans, Rose/Zeppelins, the Doctor, and the introduction of Jack was fantastic!
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9.11.01 Ten Years Later...We Remember

10 years ago I woke up and went to school on what I thought was a normal September. I was seventeen and it was the start of my senior year in high school. By the time the day ended--the world I knew had forever changed...

I walked into the ROTC department as I did every morning to wait for the start of classes. A couple of fellow cadets were gathered around a TV in one of our classrooms and told me that a plane had crashed into the world trade center. I stopped very briefly and looked at the TV but none of us thought very much about it--you see in the months leading up to the attacks several small plane accidents had occured--including one running into a building. Information at that point was not clear--we all assumed it was just another small plane.

When the bell rang I went to first period--Government. Ironic huh? At that point it was known it was a bigger plane had struck the first tower. We had no class that day--in Government class we watched the 2nd plane strike in horror. When the 1st tower fell---I stupidely remarked that "at least we still had the other tower"--at that point so in shock and so naive still. After the Pentagon, the rumor mill on TV began---the White House was in danger, the State department had been struck--different buildings were being named out---our class began to try to determine where all of the building were using the wall hangings from our class. I remember our Principal made an announcement--to this day I can't remember what it was about other than I think that it said something along the lines of how school was going to continue but that if anyone wanted to go home they could go to the office. I don't remember any of my other classes that day except that all we did was watch the television. Classes smushed together to take advantage of limited televisions. Our math class was the only one where any work was done that day--she refused to let us watch TV but did allow a radio to play throughout the class. We kept waiting for the next attack to occur.

My parent's--both of them picked me up from school that day--my dad's government building had been evacuated due to bomb threats--

I think everyone--anywhere was glued to their TV's for the next few days--watching and rewatching the towers fall, watching people choose to jump to their deaths--watching people run from the smoke cloud. Seeing the flyers of the missing--the eerie sound of no planes in the skies for days--the recovery effort at the towers.

2,983--that's how many people we witnessed murdered that day. We stood and still stand as witnesses to history--10 years later it isn't any easier--the images don't hurt anyless--

10 years later Saddam Hussien is dead. Osama Bin Laden is dead. Thousands of other both military and civilian have died.

10 years later we remember.

We hope for peace or at least some measure of it.

Misadventures & Love in Tejas

Things I love...
  • The way I can tell my puppy Max is falling asleep because he get's really limber and loose. His legs get floppy and looses resistance just like a baby's does before it conks off to the land of Nod.
  • The virtual cascade and cocoon of the summer concert of crickets and frogs.
  • Listening to said concert lying down on the concrete patio outside.
  • Watching the bluest blue of skies at night.
  • The way said puppy snuggles into me like I'm the only one in the universe he loves and needs in that very moment. He makes me feel wanted.
  • Firefly reruns on TV all day long.
  • Funny movies in full movie theaters.
  • Not stressing out about deadlines...because it's just not really that big of a deal. It will get done.
  • Run-ins with Garden snakes
  • Driving through forest fires