Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

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The Greatest Thing About the 90s

I feel I must pay tribute to one of the greatest decades of all time. Despite attending high school and college in the 00’s (how do we say that, by the way? The double oh’s?) I feel like most of my generations fondest memories come from the pre-2000s. A lot of college was spent reminiscing about the good ol’ days, when Stephanie proclaimed “How rude!”

Ah, yes. Girl Power, a prince born in West Philadelphia, and TGIF was the best lineup on television. We didn’t have playlists, we had mix tapes.

But, if I had to pick the one thing that has stuck with me from the 90s is the Jock Rock/ Jock Jams compliations.

A wonderment of audio fantasy. Sure, not all of the songs were from the 90s, but the idea was.

I recently went to a Rangers/Tigers playoff game. They played the beat from “We Will Rock You” at least five times.

Dare I ask: Where are the stadium anthems of today?

Where is the new Final Countdown? Who hasn’t yelled “Aye, oh, let’s go!” and mumbled through the rest of Blitzkrieg Bop while passing beer and peanuts down to that guy in the middle of the row?

My Tamogatchi died, my Beanie Babies are worthless, and the only time I do the Macarena is at wedding receptions. Lame, lame wedding receptions.

In the world of Jock Jams, the 90s are never over.

And, there’s no better way to get pumped up.

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Aside

They’re Everywhere (who is ‘they’, again?)

Do you know there are 7 guns for every 1 person in the United States?

I have no idea if that’s true. But, someone told me about it this weekend. I’m pretty sure he was a cult recruiter.

I sat at Starbucks, catching up with a friend. We do this once a month, usually Sunday afternoons, a nice leisurely chat. We talk about everything. Culture, books, politics, movies. She was my AP US History teacher and, damn, if I don’t love history. It’s amazing, speaking with someone who holds 30+ years of knowledge and education in her head.

As time wound down, I caught the eye of a stranger sitting at a nearby table. He adjusted his wireless headphones a few times and sucked on his pen, occasionally clicking a few keys on his keyboard.

Middle-age, hair graying at the temples, and astonishingly alert for someone who should have a head bent over their laptop.

He was listening.

At the time, I’m sure we were waxing philosophic (I’m still paying good money for my education, dammit).

He stood and approached our table, pulling the headphones down around his neck.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “But, I couldn’t help but overhear that last part of your conversation.”

My eyebrow cocked of its own accord, as it is wont to do when it hears crazy. You could help it. Turn up the headphones. Stumble across a cat video. Stand closer to the steam wand.

I couldn’t help but overhear means I was eavesdropping because you mentioned buzzwords.

“And?” I asked.

“I’m in charge of an organization…”

My eyebrow lifts higher.

“That is interested in protecting the American Constitution by bringing lawsuits against the government.”

“Mmhm.” By now, skepticism and suspicion oozed out of my voice.

“(gun statistic)”

“That’s interesting.”

The conversation continued, citing statistics of questionable origin. Keep in mind, I was talking to a US History teacher. US History often comes up in our conversations. I’m a writer, she’s a brilliant educator. Creativity loves to hang out with us.

“Have you heard of the Georgia guidestones?”

My eyebrows were back under my control, and I lowered them to a glare. “No.” (They exist, by the way, check them out here)

“They were written by a group you would know as the Illuminati.”

Jackpot. Crackpot jackpot. I love conspiracy theories.

Anyway, by promising to visit his website, I was able to save both myself and my mentor. Keep your eyes open. The Illuminati were more than just a plot point in a Dan Brown novel. If I join, does that make me a Templar…or how does that work, exactly?

Not sure. And that’s not even the craziest thing I’ve heard at Starbucks…

Besides joining a grassroots conspiracy organization, what can I bring to these maybe Templars? Not sure about that one, either, but if I remember anything from Lara Croft, the Illuminati want to control time for NO REASON IN PARTICULAR!!

Maybe next week, I’ll be updating my tumblr from my iPhone on a quest for the Holy Grail. I’m taking a fedora. And a whip.


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Book Breakdown: Little Brother

Do you ever feel like someone is watching you?

I’m talking about something more frightening than lolcats (not that lolcats aren’t terrifying)…

Anyway, thanks to Cory Doctorow, I’ve spent the last two days in a state of look-over-the-shoulder paranoia.

In the best possible way.

Time for a

Book Breakdown

(like they’re watching you. [Right now.])

Little Brother

It seems that quite a bit of dystopian sci-fi these days aren’t really plausible or even possible. In Little Brother, Doctorow builds a world that’s real enough to cause paranoia before you turn the lights out at night.

Cory Doctorow takes us inside a world of high school hackers. After a terrorist attack, San Francisco is under martial law. Everyone is monitored, everyone is watched, the Department of Homeland Security is off its leash.

Marcus Yallow uses all the technology at his disposal to mess with the government. When Big Brother is watching, who watches back? Little Brother. A wonderful, appropriate homage to George Orwell’s 1984.

While the political message is there, Doctorow tries to focus on the technological side of Yallow’s revolution, sometimes in long, meandering passages of techno-speak.

Some chapters got off point a time or two, and a few moments seemed out of character.

Little Brother is solid, disturbing, and deep. Not a light read, by any means, in the best possible way.


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Books, GoodReads, and Why I’m Still Awake

Aight, peeps, here’s the lowdown, the skinny, the 411, the…you know, whatever.

All of a sudden, I have insomnia all the freakin’ time. I wake up the same time every morning (9am), but it seems like I can’t get to sleep any time before 3am.

What do I do with all this time?

Besides obsessively changing my web page theme in an attempt to find something that doesn’t make me gag; besides listening to hours of New Age music on Pandora; besides applying droplets to my eyes because of all these backlit screens…

I read.

A lot.

Like, 13 books in the last 17 days. That’s non-fiction, adult, YA (no picture books).

What does that mean for you?

I don’t always review books, but, when I do, it’s because I liked them.

I can’t review everything. But, trust me, if I make it through the whole book, that means I liked it.

So, for those of you interested in following my eccentric/eclectic tastes, I’ve decided to be a good little social networker and keep my GoodReads profile updated.

Is this some sort of underhanded, sneaky way of encouraging people to read?

Yes.

But, it’s also some sort of underhanded, sneaky way of encouraging people to talk about books, consider what they like, and find more books that they will like just as much.

Heck, if you see something on my list and trust me for a recommendation, I’ll tell you what I thought.

In private. Because I just might know the author who wrote it :/

Stay thirsty, my friends.


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Book Breakdown: Mistwood

Libraries. You can’t live without them.

No, seriously. The success of cultures and societies can be directly linked to the flow of information. What made Rome so awesome? Roads.

You know, and maybe some other stuff, but it was mostly the roads.

I’ve been hunting the shelves for the past couple months. I’m actually very impressed by my local library’s YA collection. A whole room dedicated to the genre.

I picked up this little number on one of my expeditions. Without further ado, I give you:

Book Breakdown:

(like you’re lost in the stacks)

Mistwood

I started this book, got to a chapter break, went online and started following Leah Cypess immediately. 

For centuries, the kings of Samorna have depended upon the immortal Shifter for protection. When the Crown Prince Rokan ventures into the Mistwood to find the Shifter, she allows herself to be caught and brought back to the castle to begin her servitude. She becomes known as Lady Isabel at court to hide her true identity as the prince’s all powerful bodyguard.

The Shifter cannot remember anything of her previous dealings at court. Her memories begin to return, and her allegiance is torn.

This isn’t a werewolf thing, let me be clear on that. The Shifter can shift into anything, or part of anything. Say the hall’s too dark: she can shift just her eyes to a cat’s. This breaks away from the werewolf/shapeshifter idea from the beginning.

For some reason, I love incredibly powerful characters that are suddenly made helpless or ineffective against the dangers they must face.

Or, maybe I’m a sucker for memory loss. The reason for the memory loss is heartbreaking.

Either way, this book was a great fantasy piece in a well-developed world. I wish there were more.

First Ten:

In the first ten pages, you are thrust into a broken mind. You are stalked and hunted , injured, and trapped.

None of this is confusing. A great accomplishment, considering you enter without any information.

While some stories have a difficult time building empathy by starting with an action scene, this was brilliant. Confusion, terror, submission.

Wonderful.

You should check it out.


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Fake Busy

I’m that sort of busy that’s all kind of fake.

I’ve built up the illusion of busyness, and, it’s so good, I’ve even faked myself out.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  1. I remembered that I have a library card. This is not a good thing. When I go to the library, I usually have a list already made. Then, I start browsing. What ends up happening is I check out 10-12 books I can’t possibly live without right that very moment. Even though I know I’m at the library and they will be there for my next visit.

    I end up starting this pile a week late and have to scramble to read every book before it’s due. I’ve done this thrice in two months.

  2. I got into Pottermore. While I’m not sure what this entails, I’m sure it will be exciting. For at least fifteen whole minutes.
  3. I turned 25. Hurray.
  4. I started watching X-Files on Netflix. I’m not really interested in the alien parts, but I find the paranormal stuff pretty awesome. I’m a big Fringe fan and definitely see the similarities. Just because I have a special place in my heart for multi-verse theory doesn’t mean I can’t like Mulder and Scully. The history of television owes them thanks.
  5. I saw a slew of movies, none of which are worth mentioning.
  6. I broke 50,000 words on my current WIP.
  7. I received 22 rejection letters in 38 days.
  8. I have listened to Evanescence’s new single “What You Want” far too many times.

So, that’s it. Oh, yeah, and I have a job and volunteer and nonsense like that. So, you know, maybe I’ll pick one of those things and start blogging again.

What have you been up to?