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!  

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Carlyn's Diary: March

It’s only three months into the year but there have been some major happenings in my life. For starters, I’ve decided to go back to school and study journalism and my grandma has come to live with us. In the first matter, I decided to go back to school because I want to be a better writer and I want to work with adults. I have worked in the education industry for six years in various roles and I want to have a change. I will be working as a substitute teacher while I study journalism to pay the bills.  After graduation, I hope to pursue a career in journalism with my education degree to fall back on.

 My family and I recently found out that our grandma has Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a disease that affects brain function which results in diminished thinking ability and memory loss. There is no cure for the disease at the moment. We didn’t know she had it because we live interstate. We only learnt about grandma’s condition when her symptoms became worse.

It was sad seeing grandma again when she first arrived. She had once been an impeccably dressed and lively woman only to become a fragile, confused and dishevelled old lady. Grandma is doing well now that she has us to care for her.  Sometimes she knows who we are and sometimes she doesn’t. It’s like she has a switch that goes on and off. I don’t feel sad about it anymore, instead I focus on the person she is now.

We go for walks together every day and she remembers that it is part of her routine.  Sometimes, she comes up to me, clutching her hat and my hat in hand asking to go for a walk. We don’t go very far and most of the time she thinks I’m just a nice lady but I do cherish my time with her.

There will be a time when we have to put her into a nursing home. Her condition will become worse to the point that she will need 24 hour care. For now, I focus on spending my time with her. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Blog Update

Jon and I decided that while we enjoy writing entertainment posts, we cannot keep up writing them every Monday. We both are quite busy at the moment with work and personal issues.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Monster Trucks (film) 2017

Tripp Coley (Lucas Till) is a high school student spends his time repairing a truck and working at the local junk yard. His life changes when a mysterious creature appears in the junk yard and starts living in his truck. Tripp names the creature Creech and he tries to hide him from evil oil magnate Reese Tennyson (Rob Lowe) who wants to kill Creech and take over his habitat for a new oil drilling station. Tripp, Creech and Tripp’s love interest Meredith (Jane Levy) go on a wild adventure to save Creech.

Tripp is a typical brooding teenager who just wants to get out of his small town. He loves his mother, resents her boyfriend and his real dad who left them. I would have liked to have seen more family dynamic, it just seemed stereotypical. Meredith is an overachiever who offers to tutor him and follows him around and he’s also idolized by a younger student. Both of them like him so much but he just ignores them. It made me cringe and wondered why they even like him.

This was a cute movie and if I was a kid I would love it.  I thought this movie would be about monster truck rallying but it turned out to be different. It was more like those creature makes best friends with a young child movies from the 80s and 90s like E.T or Magic in the water.  The movie moves at a fast pace which set aside character development and a detailed plot. So, I found it to be a bit underwhelming. However, I’m sure kids won’t mind such flaws and this could become a favourite among younger audiences.

The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery- Review Carlyn

Valancy Stirling has lived for 29 years controlled by her mother and bullied by her extended family. Valancy’s life changes when she is told by her doctor that she only has one year to live. She keeps her condition a secret from her family to avoid their attempts to control her further and starts living her life the way she wants. Valancy’s family think she’s become crazy as she starts to speak her mind and behave in what they think is scandalous.

Lucy Maud Montgomery is one of my favourite authors. She is most known for writing the Anne of Green Gables series. I thought that the Anne series were the only books that she had written. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she had written more books. This book is the first I have read from L. M Montgomery where the main character wasn’t an aspiring author and it’s a book for adults.

I was worried that the Blue Castle would be this depressing book where Valancy doesn’t learn to stand up for herself until the end. Fortunately, it wasn’t the case and the story gets that over with right near the beginning. I find this book highlights the bohemian lifestyle that was emerging in the 1920s which was a change for L.M Montgomery sentiments for the Victorian era. It was interesting to see what was considered scandalous in the 1920s, the era that the book is based. The things that Valancy does wouldn’t be an issue today. She goes to stay with a woman who had a child out of wedlock and marries a wild and reclusive man.

Valancy is a strong female character who challenges stereotypes. She has some idealistic qualities that are featured in most of Montgomery’s heroines but seems more grounded than Anne Shirley or Emily Byrd Starr.  However, she still gets caught up in raptures about the Canadian wilderness just like Anne and Emily. I can see how some readers might find the moments where the characters are made breathless by the sight of the light shining into the meadow or forest tedious. But at least she doesn’t get tears in her eyes from the sight like some of Montgomery’s heroines.
I wish there was a sequel to this book but it ends well. I hope it becomes more popular in time too. I recommend this book for fans of L.M Montgomery.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...