Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Lunch Box

Illa (Nimrat Kaur) is a young Indian housewife who makes hot lunches for her husband which is sent through the intricate Dabbawala system to deliver it to her husband. In India, it is common for office workers to have hot meals from home or a restaurant to be delivered to them via a delivery service. Usually a man will come collect the meals from a residence or restaurant and then it may be sent on the train or bike depending on the location. Illa’s lunch is accidently sent to Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan ) an accountant who is about to retire after thirty five years working at the same firm.  

The two start to send messages to each other in the lunch box and they learn about each other’s lives. Illa writes about how her husband takes her for granted and Saajan writes about the monotony of his life and his loneliness from being a widower for many years.The pair come to depend upon each other and fall in love but it’s complicated. Illa has a husband and a young daughter and Saajan feels he may be too old to start something new. They try to meet a few times but things get in the way.

It was a cute movie. One of my friends recommended this film to me so that’s why I watched it. I love movies set in India as I love Indian culture. I enjoyed watching the film but I wish the ending hadn’t been ambiguous. I had hoped that all the issues would be resolved in the end. I don’t know if they would have got their happily ever after because they were both lonely people who just happened to be there for each other. I think a hobby and friends could have easily fixed the hole each had and Illa needed to communicate more with her husband.  

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Autumn Dreams

Eighteen year old Annie (Ivy Matheson) and nineteen year Ben (Matt Visser) get married and run away to New York but are stopped by Annie’s father. Ben goes to New York by himself and Annie remains on her family farm. The two are separated for fifteen years until they reunite to get a divorce as each have decided to marry other people.  Ben (Colin Egglesfield)  lives in New York engaged to Jovanna (Tasya Teles) and Annie is engaged to Joe ( Michael Karl Richards) back on the farm. The divorce proceedings don’t go to plan and Ben and Annie spend time reminiscing their past and rekindling their love.

Ben and Annie were a nice couple. Nothing spectacular about their love story, sometimes love is like that. I thought that there was more chemistry between the teenaged versions of Annie and Ben rather than the older ones. I also think it’s because the teenagers were at the height of their love and the older ones were rekindling their love.

It’s a cute movie to watch when you want something on but don’t want to concentrate too hard. I watched it while I was cleaning the lounge room. I also picked it because it had the shortest running time on my huge saved list on Netflix. What I found refreshing about this movie was that there were no scheming love interests. I thought Jovanna would be some uptight city girl who would make snarky remarks about Annie being a small town country girl. Or that Joe who was friendzoned by Annie in their teenage years, would be behind some kind of deception which resulted in Ben and Annie’s estrangement.  However, Jovanna and Joe were both nice people. I felt bad for them in the end.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Carlyn's Diary: June 2017

This year I decided to go back to university and study journalism. I am a teacher but I wanted a career change. I’ve always liked writing so I want to work in a field with writing. Now that I have finished my first semester, I’ve realised that journalism is not for me. I would like to do creative writing instead so that’s what I’ll be doing next semester.

I was first interested in journalism as I wanted to be a better writer and blogger. However, I’ve decide to go into creative writing instead. I started to write a novel because it was something that I always wanted to do. Then I realised that I need some help in writing a good story and that learning about creative writing would be better for me.

What I’m watching

 I finished watching Anne with an E on Netflix. It’s a new series based off Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery. A story about an orphan girl warms the hearts of two elderly people that adopt her. I like this new adaption which I feel is made for this generation. It’s more darker and veers off the books a little bit.

I’m currently watching Designated Survivor on Netflix as well. It’s about a minor politician who becomes the President of the United States after a terrorist attack.

What I’m reading

I’m currently reading Eve by Jenna Moreci . I’m only at the beginning so I don’t have all the answers but it seems to be about a young woman who is a mutant who is despised for being a mutant and there’s aliens and she is in college. Good read so far. 


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins is the last book in the Anna and the French Kiss Trilogy.  The books focuses on three girls who attend the School of America in Paris. This one is about Isla, a quiet girl in her final year of high school. She has a three year long crush on Josh Wasserstein, a boy in her class who she thinks doesn’t know she exists. A chance encounter with Josh leads to love.  As the pair start to know get to know each other problems arises. Josh is the son of a senator and must play the role of the perfect son in public. He knows what he wants in life and Isla doesn’t. Isla is plagued by doubts about their relationship and feels that she is not good enough for him. She wonders whether he loves her for her or he wants her because she’s there.

The book is set in Paris and New York, two gorgeous settings which adds to the romance. I think it’s makes for great escapism and perfect for holiday reading. I found myself wanting to visit both cities after reading this book and visiting all the places mentioned.

After reading this book, I judge the first book as the best out of the three. The relationship between Isla and Josh was a little too passionate for me. The two fall in love very fast, like Romeo and Juliet fast. The couple do a lot of frantic kissing and making love. They are ready to do anything for the other. I don’t think it’s unrealistic though because teenaged love can be like that. I would have liked for their relationship to be a slow build, starting with friendship and leading to love.  

As a prudish crusty old person, I didn’t think like all the sex that they were having. I didn’t think it was appropriate for the young audience. However, I can also reason that young people have sex and the sex is handled responsibly (they practice safe sex) and delicately in the book. I would recommend this book for older teenagers.

I didn’t relate to Isla at all. In the book, Isla doesn’t know who she is or what she wants to do in college. I didn’t see her problem as an issue at all. She’s rich and can go to any college she wants, she could take a whole bunch of classes to find herself. She doesn’t have to go to college either.

I would have liked to have read more of Isla’s life outside of her relationship with Josh. Isla’s relationships with her friends and family are mentioned in the book but I would have liked more. I liked Isla’s best friend Kurt who has autism and is obsessed with maps. I think he deserve his own book. I also liked Isla’s sisters and her relationship with them.

Despite these flaws, I still think that Perkins is a talented writer who writes beautifully. Her descriptions are gorgeous. I wish I could write like her. This book is entertaining and fun to read. I recommend it for older teenagers. 

Friday, 12 May 2017

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

I once read a discussion on secondary characters and how it must feel for them to have all this adventure happening around them or to be the best friend of the chosen one. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness explores this idea. The book follows Mike Mitchell, a high schooler about to graduate high school. He just wants to go to prom and spend the remaining weeks with his friends Henna, Jared and his sister Mel before they all leave to go to different colleges. What gets in the way of all this is the frequent times the world has almost come to an end. In Mike’s world they have had “1. the undead, 2. those soul eating ghosts, 3. the vampire cycle of romance and death” (Ness, 2015 pp. 83-84). Mike is not the chosen one, nor are his friends. Instead, they are just the regular people going about their business and while all the dooms day stuff is happening.

Each chapter begins with a short passage on what the chosen ones are doing. In this book, they are called Indie kids, they all have unusual names and wear unusual clothing. It reminded me of Twilight and other YA books. I liked reading those passages too and I would love it if it were turned into a short story too. I enjoyed all the digs at stereotypes like how there’s a love triangle and where it repeatedly says that the spirit from the other world is the most handsome boy the heroine has ever seen.

While the book spoofed the YA supernatural genre, there were serious issues presented in the book as well. Mike has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder stemming from anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. His dad is a closeted alcoholic and his mother is a politician who wants to pretend she has a perfect family. Mike’s sister Mel also is a recovering anorexic.
 I liked Mike. I admired his protectiveness of his friends and family. He’s just a regular guy but when bad stuff happens he’s ready to help them. I felt sorry about his OCD and his continual habit of washing his hands and counting. It’s terrible to have something control you like that. I didn’t really relate to his feelings of worthlessness though because it was clear that his loved ones cared for him not just put up with him like he thought.

This is a cute book and fun read for those who like Young Adult supernatural fiction. I liked this book so much that I have earmarked pages of the quotes that I like from the book. I found the premise to be hilarious and original.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Kat Dahlia

I’ve been listening to a lot of love songs lately for inspiration for a novel I am writing. I stumbled upon Kat Dahlia’s music on Youtube. Kat Dahlia is an American singer and rapper who released her first album My Garden in 2015. 

I’m still going through her playlist but the songs that I like so far are Crazy and I think I’m in love. I think Kat Dahlia’s songs capture the fear and the elation of falling in love. Her songs are a swear word or two which may be inappropriate to younger audiences.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Jon Bear's Journal: Catching Up With Jon Bear

Having finally risen from my Winter hibernation I wanted to reach out to our readers and update you all on the happenings in my life these past few months.

Life has been pretty busy the past several months, mostly because of work.  I am the Customer Service Supervisor at a Grocery Store in Upstate New York and recently our store has been transitioning its "brand".  As part of the transition the store which had been our home for the last 40 plus years will be torn down and a new store is being built in its place in our current parking lot, directly next to the old building (before it is razed). 

For a few weeks prior to our store closing in mid March I was working every day, without any time off, so I felt a little bit drained from that stretch.  My fatigue was as much mental as it was physical though.  I was moving a lot of paperwork that we needed to retain for our new store.  Many of the things we process, such as Western Union transactions, people's payment receipts, Money Orders and Bill Payments among other things require us retaining documentation between three to five years.  All those papers fill a lot of boxes.  We needed to shred the old ones that were not necessary to keep any longer and find a safe home for the ones we needed to keep prior to the targeted opening of our new store sometime in July, most likely. 

My mental fatigue came mostly from my anxiety about the transition and the fact that certain audits were being conducted prior to our move.  Everything seemed to go quite well though and I was told that out of all the store closings that were conducted recently (and there were several) that we were the best prepared.  Which gave me a small feeling of pride - knowing how hard I worked to try and make it that way.  

I was also beginning to take on some new responsibilities and learn new things as I hope to move up positionally with the company.  I had a few weeks of doing the store's payroll prior to our closing.  I think I will be doing the payroll again once we reopen, but I know I will be rusty on it having only done it 4 weeks and then being 3 to 4 months removed from having worked on it at all.  Not to mention that our new store will likely have close to 100 or so more employees then we had before.  I look forward to the challenge, but know too that I will need to be focused and ready for the grand opening of the new store. 

Presently I have been moved to a new home store in the same town where I was working previously. Our building that should be completed in July will utilize some different systems then the store we left a few weeks ago.  I am training and learning the new systems.  I have felt pretty comfortable with the transition so far.  I have been fortunate to work with some people who have a lot of experience and really know what they are doing.   The first three days or so that I did the morning paperwork it took me a long time to complete, but after my first week I have cut that time down by 3 hours and am finishing the morning work either as early or earlier then when is expected. 

The holidays and my birthday were fun as I was able to visit with my family a few times in late December and in early January.  While I do not often travel to exotic places, the time I share with my family is very precious to me.  My nearest relatives are my Mother and my oldest brother's family who live about an hour and a half away.  I generally get out to see them once a month during the Spring, Summer and Fall, but during the Winter in the Northeast, I typically see less of them.  My twin brother and his family and my sister and her family live around a 7 or so hours drive away, so I see them even less frequently.  

Recently though, I have been planning for a visit with my twin brother and his family who will be coming to see me next week.  They are thinking of looking at some homes in the area, as they consider a possible move to Upstate New York.  Should they decide to make the move it would be great to have them so much closer then they have been for the past 15 or so years now.  While our time for excursions will be somewhat limited by their house hunting plans, we do hope to make it to the Via Aquarium in Rotterdam, NY, hit up a playground if time permits (so my brothers three young sons can run around and have some fun) and watch some movies and baseball, with it being the opening week of the Major League Baseball season.  

Unfortunately my small apartment will not have enough room to house 5 visitors, so Clifford and his family will be staying in a nearby hotel.  But I do very much look forward to their visit, and I hope that they will have a great time and want to come back!  This is the first time they will be visiting me.  As the only single member of my family, I am typically the one who is driving elsewhere to visit others.  It's a lot easier to make one person's schedule work for travel then a whole family's schedule. 

I have remained emersed in politics since this past year's election.  There are a lot of things that I am concerned about with the directions of America and the Trump Presidency, ranging from their potential ties to Putin in Russia, to their domestic policies regarding people of the Muslim faith, to Trump's appointments of cabinet members who seem to be the antithesis of the departments they are charged with heading up... YES, the new Environmental Protection Agency director has a law suit against... wait for it... you guessed it... The Environmental Protection Agency, and the new Energy Department Director, when running for President several years ago, couldn't even remember the name or function of the Department of Energy. >.< *woes me* 

So yeah... I never paid so much attention to the United States political environment until I felt like we were in danger of severely degrading our strength and loosing the respect of other nations, especially our allies, around the world. 

In spite of those concerns, I do feel optimistic about 2017 and what it holds moving forward.  While I know I have been negligent regarding the blog for a few months now; I feel I have been pretty proactive at work, which has been a long standing goal of mine for a few years.  Balance is always important though, and there is a cathartic relaxation that emanates from blogging.   Although I am off to a late start, I am excited about sharing 2017's adventures, that lay ahead!  
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