Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

It's that day of the year when everyone makes a list of goals to achieve in the upcoming year. I actually like New Years resolutions. It's good to have goals, both short and long. The way I look at it is yes, it would be awesome to achieve everything I list in my resolutions, but even if I only complete a few, that is still a success. So here's to a brand new year. I just know that 2014 is going to be an amazing year. It's going to be my year! I am starting my life, and I am starting it now. 2014, look out! I am coming for you!

1. Fit into a size six dress by New Year’s Eve and WORK IT!
2. Blog at least once a week.
3. Read, read, read. Usually my goal is 100 books which would be amazing, but my more achievable goal would be 75 books which would beat my previous years. In addition I would like 20-30% of the books I read to be on my own-to-be-read bookshelf.
4. Get my first kiss. Yes, you read that correctly. I am 24 years old and still haven’t got my first kiss. Most of the people that read this blog already know this because I am an open book. So whether this means meeting someone and having it go somewhere, or picking a total stranger and making out, I am getting this done before I turn 25. For reals.
5. Start my career. Seriously. It’s time for me to stop making excuses and start really putting myself out there. If this job happened to mean moving to California, I would not be sad about that at all.
6. Get a dog so my soul will stop being broken.
7. Talk to my friends. This seems like a no-brainer, but I’m serious. Growing up, nobody tells you how hard it is to keep friends when you're an adult. Newsflash: it is. How often do I pick up the phone and call a friend just to chat. Let me answer that – never! This is not acceptable. I need to be a better friend and put forth the effort to keep my friends in my life.
8. See my friend Jenna graduate from Grad school. What an achievement! I can’t wait to see it!
9.Visit my friends in Vegas. I need a vacation and someone to quote Spongebob with me.
10. Write letters. Like real ones with a pen instead of a keyboard. One each month.
11. One drink soda once a month. I can pick a special occasion and that will be my time.
12. Pay off a debt. This will be tough, but I want to do as much as I can to make it happen.
13. Save up $2,000+ for something.
14. Save up to buy myself something special – class ring, artwork, language program, etc…
15. Take a class – hip hop, French, painting, etc…
16. Make time each day for daily devotion and prayer.
17. Donate a sizable chunk to charity.
18. Finish reading the Bible.
19. Make time to have some fun – like playing video games, which I love, but rarely play.
20. Create something.

I hope you all achieve all your goals and have an amazing 2014. 

Happy New Year!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Dear No One

Oh. My. Gosh. I have been catching up on Ellens (I am almost through October. Yes, I am THAT behind) and Ellen had a guest musician named Tori Kelly. She played a song that is so beautiful and SO FREAKING ME! Honestly, it's my new theme song. I am in LOVE. I hope you love it too. I think she has a gorgeous voice. Enjoy!


I like being independent
Not so much of an investment
No one to tell me what to do
I like being by myself
Don’t gotta entertain anybody else
No one to answer to

But sometimes, I just want somebody to hold
Someone to give me their jacket when its cold
Got that young love even when we’re old
Yeah sometimes, I want someone to grab my hand
Pick me up, pull me close, be my man
I will love you till the end

So if you’re out there I swear to be good to you
But I’m done lookin’, for my future someone
Cause when the time is right
You’ll be here, but for now
Dear no one, this is your love song

I don’t really like big crowds
I tend to shut people out
I like my space, yeah
But I’d love to have a soul mate
God will give him to me someday
& I know it’ll be worth the wait


So if you’re out there I swear to be good to you
But I’m done lookin’, for my future someone
Cause when the time is right
You’ll be here, but for now
Dear no one, this is your love song

But sometimes, I just want somebody to hold
Someone to give me their jacket when its cold
Got that young love even when we’re old
Yeah sometimes, I want someone to grab my hand
Pick me up, pull me close, be my man
I will love you till the end

So if you’re out there I swear to be good to you
But I’m done lookin’, for my future someone
Cause when the time is right
You’ll be here, but for now
Dear no one, this is your love song

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Closed Minds. Closed Hearts.

Need to rant for just a second. Tonight we went and saw Spamalot at the Zigfield Theatre, a small community theatre just down the street. For those of you who don't know what Spamalot is about, let's just say it's not rated PG. There is swearing, sex, and other general bits of hilarious naughtiness. At one point in the second act the group in front of us stood up and walked out. Here is why I am mad.

It wasn't:

The Lady of the Lake's boobs spilling out of her dress,
The guy in his underwear with a D over his penis,
The naughty word spelled out with the shields,
The graphic descriptions from the French taunters,
The cursing,
The sexual innuendos,
The jab at the Jews,

or anything else that made them get up and leave.

You know what it was? You guessed it.

The gay one.

The song where Lancelot figures out that he is gay makes the woman in front of me stand up and usher her four kids out of the show. These "kids" are high school age or older. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD!? I mean seriously!? I don't understand how these people's minds work. These are the type of people that - whether they mean to or not - encourage bullying, encourage judgement, and encourage hate. The LGBT community and their supporters (me included) often blame closed-mindedness for their behavior. But I think it goes deeper than that. Is it their minds that are closed or is it their hearts?

How can anyone see a human being and think that because they are different from you that makes them less of a person. That makes it okay to taunt, torment, and torture them often leading to suicide? How can anyone look at my friend Payden and see anything but a beautiful and talented performer with a huge heart? How can anyone look at my friend Bryan and see anything but a hardworking individual with the biggest smile and the best hugs? How can anyone look at my friend Ryan and see anything other than an ambitious man who never gives up on his dreams and conquers everything he sets his mind to? How can anyone look at one of the most famous LGBT of all time - Ellen Degeneres - and see anything other than the most giving, big-hearted, beautiful, inspirational, and truly kind person in the whole world? Most importantly, how can anyone look at these individuals as anything other than a human being who deserves respect?

I can't and I won't.

Rant over...

at least for now.

We still have 35 states to go, after all.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

In Your Facebook


I have been wanting to write this post for over a month now and just haven't had the energy to sit down and write it down...until now. I'm sure you all recall a certain furlough that happened about a month which caused quite an uproar on The Facebook. Now, don't get me wrong, I love me a little Facebook time and seeing what all my peeps are posting, but occasionally I just get fed up! Don't you!? I mean, seriously, on one of my friends timelines he had six Obama/government bashing posts in one day. I think we get the point.

Now I'm not saying that the furlough didn't suck, because it totally did! And if I had been directly affected by it, I would have felt like complaining too; however, what good would it do me? When you see all these people posting complaint after complaint and whine after whine on Facebook it's enough to make you go crazy. The only thing they are accomplishing by all that complaining is pissing off half of their Facebook friends. I know during the furlough I hid all post from three different people on my feed because I had just had enough.

I think the difference between me and the people who shared all those anti-government posts is that I always try to spin things in a positive way. You know that saying that someone always has it worse than you do? I take that saying very seriously. So yeah, it sucks that a huge portion of our country was out of the job for a few weeks. They probably had to rework their budget and cut out a few things like movies, or eating out at restaurants, or buying a book they've been wanting to read. But even with all the crap things going on in our country and with our government at least our country doesn't look like this:


Granted, the US has its own poverty problems, but the fact of the matter is that our 16% rate of poverty doesn't even come close to the 77% in countries like Haiti. Or the 60%-70% in nearly every country in Africa. Yeah, America's got it's problems, but I still feel pretty blessed to live here.

Don't you hate it when people judge you, or stereotype you, or assume things about you? I know I do. How do you think President Obama feels, or the members of congress feel, about all the hate that has been hurled toward them recently? Believe or not, those people are human, and they have feelings. I try my very best not to judge anyone. Sometimes it's hard, but I try. Every post that someone put on facebook, or shared, or liked is just perpetuating hate. I'm not okay with that. The God I believe in is a God of love and not hate, so I try to live my life loving others instead of hating and judging them. I have no idea why they have made the decisions they have made, but it's not my place to judge them for those decisions. My place is to accept the decisions and try and make the best of them or to get behind a legitimate cause in the hopes of changing those decisions for the better. Complaining won't do any good, so why bother?

Politics aren't the only thing on Facebook that are causing arguments and un-friending to happen. Another one is the R word. That's right - Religion. GASP! Now, I am a religious person. Everyone who knows me already knows this about me. It is something I am very open about, very vocal about, and very serious about. However, I know that not all of my friends on Facebook feel the same way as I do about religion, so I try not to overload them with too many "spiritual posts" because I don't want them to unfriend me. Some may say that that means I am stifling my opinions or hiding who I really am, but I don't see it that way. I am trying to be considerate of my fellow Facebookers by respecting their opinions. I only wish they would do the same for me.

As I said I have a few friends on Facebook who don't believe in religion which is fine with me, but when they start posting anti-religion posts, that really gets to me. Just like with politics I am overwhelmed by the judgement that these people are perpetuating. Particularly because many of these people left their religion because they were feeling judged. Now they are returning the favor. On one of my friend's posts someone commented, "If anyone posts more than two religious posts, I unfriend them." I like to think that my friends would respect me enough to just block me from their news feed rather than unfriending me like a twelve year old would after an argument. 

This hurts more than the political posts because these are directed at me whether they mean them to be or not. They are. Some of the things I see are hard to stomach and even though those people don't believe in God, I do. And believe it or not, I don't pray for the world to believe in God, I just pray that the world would find it's own humanity and stop the madness that is happening all around us. I will probably post a more in depth post about religion and my views on it in the future, but for now, I want to leave you with one thought.

"The only thing we have to HATE is HATE itself."


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hello. I Am Alive.

Since my last posting I have been on Vacation, baking for a bake sale, working, seeing Odyssey Dance's Thriller, making posters, attending Disciple class, working, playing bells, reading for Monday Night Book Club, working, reading all six Gallagher Girls books, working, celebrating brother's birthdays, dieting, working, going to the gym, watching the Biggest Loser, watching CSI, watching Ellen, and working.

So...I've kind of been a little busy.

BUT I'M BACK!

I have a post that will be coming out soon that has been rattling around in my brain for about a month now and I am very excited to get it out of my brain and in front of all of you.

STAY TUNED!!!

Also check out the new music and art featured now!

And now please enjoy these cat memes to hold you over until my next post:






Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An Outpouring of Life

I want to apologize for ignoring this blog. Recently I have had a whole lot of life poured all over me and it kind of got in the way of blogging. I want to take this time and explain what has been happening in my life recently.

1. First things first. Since mid-July I have been trying to get a job with Disney. It started off with me sending my resume to the head of Technical Services at Disneyland. He called me back and told me to wait until the fall when the job posting would appear on the Disney Careers website. I checked the site every day. When September came it was about five times a day. Finally on September 13th the job appeared. I sent in the application. The next morning I took a web-based interview and after that I immediately had to set up an in-person interview at Disneyland. Mom and I drove to Las Vegas on the 21st, drove to Anaheim on the 22nd, had my first interview with casting on the 23rd, had my second interview with the head of Technical Services on the 24th, then hopped in the car and made the twelve hour trip home that same day. Never. Again. I was so tired on/after that drive.

I was told that I would hear one way or another whether I got the job by the end of the week. Friday came and went. Saturday came and went. So did Sunday and Monday. Yesterday I finally decided to get some answers and called the casting center and Jerry (head of Technical Services). I got voice mails. Luckily Jerry is pretty good about getting back to you quickly and he called me shortly after I left the voice mail. I didn't get the job, but he encouraged me to keep in contact with him and they have my information on file for the next round of hiring in December. I wouldn't have to fill out another application and I wouldn't have to come back for another interview. Jerry told me to keep him up to date on any changes to my resume. I am going to send him an email today to thank him for the opportunity and to see what I can do in the meantime to beef up my resume and give me a better chance the next round.

When I heard the news these were my initial reactions:




So I am through all those emotions and now I am moving forward. Yeah, it sucks, but it's actually kind of a relief too. Had I gotten the job I would have had to be in California by the end of the month for training. That's extremely fast and I didn't know if I could get me and all my stuff moved and a place to live and a car (more on that coming up) in time. I think Disneyland is still in God's plan for me, it's just his plan for me a little later. Now I can be home for one more Thanksgiving, one more Christmas, one more TSO concert, and one more lots of things. And until the next round of hiring starts you can be sure that I'm going to do everything in my power to make me the top applicant. As my dear friend Jenna reminded me recently that whether or not I got the job I am "mother f****** Holly Pierce!" She's right and I plan to show the world that I do not give up because of one bump in the road!

2. The next reason life has been crazy lately was because the transmission finally died on my car. Mako was a great car and I loved her. I was sad to see her go, with all my bumper stickers for a measly $450, but at least it was something. AND she's going to go to a 16 year old girl for her birthday all fixed up and shined up and I hope she'll lover her as much as I did! This also meant that I had to take out a loan which I swore I would never do after taking Dave Ramsey. Luckily my parents didn't have to co-sign because I have really good credit. I have been spending all of my free time scouring KSL and autotrader and finally found something to go and test drive. It's a 2006 Chevy Malibu and it's black and in amazing condition. I signed for it last night. The dealer has some things he needs to fix and get checked on it and then it's mine and I have plenty of bumper stickers to replace the ones I lost. :)

Saying Goodbye

Saying Hello

3. We are leaving for California and Disneyland AGAIN on Friday, but this time it's for vacation. YAY!!! So needed. I get to see lots of my favorite people like Laney and Ryan and Pluto! It's going to be so much fun, but I am not looking forward to that drive again! Plus with everything going on I haven't had much of a chance to get ready for the trip. Oh well, I've got two more days right?

4. Finally I have been working extra hours to make up for the time I will be missing next week. I realized that I kind of don't mind it. I think since I didn't get the job at DL I'm going to talk to my new boss (3 managers all rotated stores this week) about possibly becoming full time. My old boss is trying to get me a raise because of my amazing related sales (36% last month! Holla!) and if I got full time too I would be in a lot better shape financially. We'll see what happens! 

Happy October everyone and I have a few other blogs floating around in my brain I just have to find the time to sit down and get them out of my brain and onto the internet! Stick around!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Unbreakable

I'm sorry I've been so inactive for a while. There is so much life happening right now it's absolutely crazy! But today I was on Facebook and ran across something that I knew must be shared.

It's called Project Unbreakable.


Grace Brown, a photographer, started a small project that grew into something unstoppable. She took pictures of sexual assault victims holding posters of what their attackers said to them during the assault. Her project became so much more than what it was originally intended to be. Project Unbreakable is now a place for victims to speak out. It is a place of hope for those who have been attacked and others who will be attacked. The statistics are horrific. The posters are unthinkable. But this is not a dream. It is real and we need to wake up.

Many of the quotes are from family members and friends of the victims saying that it was somehow their fault. Rape is overlooked and commonplace. Project Unbreakable shows people what rape really is. It gives power and a voice to victims everywhere. It gives perspective to those of us who (thankfully) have never had to deal with that kind of abuse. It is a powerful tool that I believe has the power to make a huge change in this world. I plan on donating toward the cause.

I encourage all of you to take a few moments and visit Project Unbreakable and read the stories. These men and women are some of the most courageous people I've ever seen. They refuse to be victims any longer. They are fighting for change and for justice. They are survivors and they are

UNBREAKABLE.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Will Never Forget

Today is September 11, 2013.

Twelve years ago today, something happened that would change history.

We were attacked.

Let me make something perfectly clear:

The Twin Towers were not attacked.

The city of New York was not attacked.

The state of New York was not attacked.

The Pentagon was not attacked.

Not even the USA was attacked. 

What was attacked was:

HOPE

FAITH

ACCEPTANCE

PEACE

and

HUMANITY

itself.

While it was our great country and the great state of New York (as well as Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.) that was attacked physically - Osama bin Laden and the Al Queda attacked something much bigger than ourselves. That day was a blatant attack on all the values we should be striving for in this world.

They attacked our hope for a better world.

I continue to hope.

They attacked our faith because they thought theirs was right, and ours was wrong.

I still have faith.

They attacked acceptance of other races, religions, and nations.

I still strive for acceptance.

They attacked the idea of "World Peace" with four jet-sized bullets.

I still want World Peace.

They attacked humanity by throwing away human life for their pride.

I still believe humanity will prevail.

On days like 9/11 it's hard to see the good, but good can always be found. Twelve years ago, when tragedy struck, our nation came together like never before. We really were the UNITED States of America on that tragic day. That day will be etched in my memory forever. I was in the sixth grade. I walked to school that morning. When I walked in my homeroom, I was confused because the TV was on. Usually the TV was only on for the school news and that didn't happen till later in the day. I asked the first person I saw what was going on. A boy named Dallas said, "That plane just crashed into that building!" He didn't seem sad or scared. I think he sounded impressed, like it was some cool action movie. I don't blame him. Neither he, nor I, nor many of my classmates (I assume) really understood what was happening. I was more confused than anything. I'm sure the only one in that room who really got it and was horrified by the images flickering across the screen was my homeroom teacher, Ms. Eisler. I don't remember this now, but based on the timing of the attacks, I'm guessing my class watched as the second tower was struck. After that, I don't remember much. I don't remember what we did in each class, but I'm pretty sure the TV's were on in every classroom, all day long. I'm pretty sure I went home and my parents and I sat and watched the news that evening. They probably explained to me what was going on. I probably cried.

I was not directly affected by the events on that day like other were. I didn't know any of the victims and I'd never even been to New York, but that day affected everyone in this country as well as many across the world. The events of that day still bring a lump to my throat twelve years later, as well it should. Many people like to argue about the repercussions of 9/11 and the war and violence that followed. I don't care about any of that. The events of that day were a tragedy regardless of what happened afterward, which is why I choose to never forget. I choose to remember the victims that day and what they must have suffered through before their untimely death. I choose to pray for a better world where there is no hate, only love for every other human being on this planet. Even the terrible ones! I believe love is the one thing that will conquer every bad thing in this world.

On Saturday night we went to a concert up at Weber State University. The concert was "A Night with Audra McDonald" who is a big Broadway star. She sang many beautiful songs that evening, but one in particular really stuck out. It is from a new musical called Ordinary Days and as she sung it our faces began to mirror each other as tear after tear streamed down both of our faces. After the song was over we both had to take a moment to wipe away the evidence of the pain that song caused us as, as well as (I'm assuming) many other audience members. I sat in the front row and I saw every tear she shed. I hope you will take a moment and listen to the song below.


I hope you will take a moment today to remember - to pray for their victims and their families. Because even though twelve years have past. The pain still hurts like it happened yesterday. I hope you choose to never forget. 

I know I never will.



Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rain


Rain is poetry.

Rain is art.

Rain is music.

Have you ever noticed how much art is based on the rain?

Music

Poetry

Paintings

Maybe that's because rain can be anything you need it to be.

Rain is versatile.

Rain is change.

Rain is infinite.

Rain is an expression of so many emotions we feel every day.

Good

Rain is love.

Rain is joy.

Rain is faith.

Bad

Rain is depression.

Rain is hate.

Rain is fear.

And everything in between

Rain is peace.

Rain is comfort.

Rain is truth.

Whether you love or hate the rain, you love it or hate it for a reason.

Rain is the past.

Rain is the present.

Rain is the future.

Rain is something different for everyone and it can mean something different from one day to the next.

Rain is life.

Rain is death.

Rain is hope.

Take that leap. Step into the downpour and find out what the rain is for you.

Rain is anything.

Rain is everything.

Rain is God.

Blog Swap!

I had an idea the other day that would spread the love to other blogs and maybe get more people to check out this blog as well. I'm calling it Blog Swap! I took some ideas from the Liebster Awards and contacted my friend Kelsy over at Up in the Bibliosphere. She was game! She told me some random things about herself and answered some questions I threw her way. Check out the results below and make sure to head on over to her blog and give it some love!


Name: Kelsy
Subject: Books

I have an unhealthy obsession with the written word. I have read over 500 books in the last three years. 

I am a Mormon Feminist (and general feminist). 

That scene in The Avengers where Bruce Banner epically turns into the Hulk and then punches the alien worm in the face and kills it MAKES ME CRY EVERY TIME. 

The Catching Fire trailer also made me cry. Apparently I have a low emotional tolerance for awesome. 

I am a huge Marvel geek, but i have never read any of the comics, for which many people would disqualify me from Marvel geekdom, but the amount of time I have spent on Wikipedia reading about the Marvel multiverse says otherwise. 

I am a crazy cat lady with a pair of Siamese kittens named Dr. Quinn and Medicine Woman. 

I am descended from Scottish nobility. We have a family castle and everything. Hunter Clan all the way! 

As a general rule, I love animals more than people. 

I write YA fiction, and hope to begin the query process at the beginning of 2014. 

I have my own library, aptly called the Kelsbrary. 

I dream (like those things that happen when you're asleep, not a metaphor for goals) more often than anyone I've ever met. 

Here is the Q&A with Kelsy:

1. I know it’s like choosing a favorite child, but if you could only pick one favorite book, what would it be? Ah! Ask me something easier! That is an unbelievably hard and really unkind question to ask, but if I HAD to choose I guess my favorite book would be Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

2. What would you do with one million dollars? Buy all the books on my Amazon/Goodreads wish list, pay off my debt, pay off my family's debt, go on a few fun vacations, donate a portion to my favorite charities, and stick the rest in savings. Woot!

3. If you could be any book character and live their life in their world, who would it be? I don't know that I would ever want to be a fictional character, but like countless other children across the world I maintain in my heart a dream to attend Hogwarts.

4. What is your favorite quote? Ooh that's a hard one too. The first one that comes to mind is, "I would always rather be happy than dignified." - Charlotte Bronte.

5. If you could have a lunch date with five people, alive or dead, who would be joining you? Jane Austen, Jesus, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Colin Firth, and J.K. Rowling.

6. What is your biggest fear? Mediocrity.

7. What is your biggest goal in life? Becoming a novelist. 

8. How many pairs of shoes do you own? Probably somewhere around nine.

9. What would your Patronus be if you were not a Muggle? Obviously a cat. 

10. If you had an endless appetite for one meal, tell me everything that would be on the menu. Coconut Crunch sushi rolls with ginger, a strawberry vinaigrette spinach salad, pepperoni pizza from Little Caesars, Andes mints, and an iced chai latte. Man, now I'm hungry!

11. What is your favorite movie of all time? The Avengers and When Harry Met Sally are currently brawling over this title. There is no clear victor. 

Thanks for letting us pick your brain, Kelsy! Don't forget to go see my answers to Kelsy's questions as well as a few random things about myself here! Kelsy has also asked me to send some book reviews her way so I told her she can feel free to write about whatever she likes and I'll feature it here on The Crazy Shark Lady. Keep an eye out for fun things to come!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Chill Out and Have Some FUN.

Man, oh man, I love a good concert. But what makes a good concert a great concert would have to be the person/people you share it with. Like this one right here!

How adorable is she? Am I right?
On August 23rd Katrina and I went to the FUN. concert at the Great Saltair. It was amazing! So much energy and singing and jumping and laughing and LIGHTS!!! Obviously we had a blast!

I'm just so clever!
See! I told you! Pretty lighting!


We had to do something to pass the time, so we started face dancing. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, face dancing is when you move your face all about making all kinds of weird faces and then you snap a picture in the middle of it all. The results are often hilarious. Let me show you:




We also saw this little gem during the concert:


While the concert was amazing, the best part was spending time with one of my best friends, catching up, and having some girl time. Just being together was the most FUN. part of the entire evening.


One more reason to love FUN. and then I will let you go. I knew that FUN. support LGBT rights, but I didn't realize how much they did. Nearly half of their merchandise was all about supporting gay rights including a particularly awesome shirt that said, "It's all FUN. and Gay until someone loses their rights." Awesome right? AAAAANNNNNDDDD. One dollar from every ticket went to the Ally group. So keep on rockin' on FUN. You've got a fan for life in me.

P.S. I heard on the radio today that their next album will be released by Christmas......2014. 


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review: Inferno by Dan Brown


Inferno by Dan Brown
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Doubleday
Rating: 5 Stars
Synopsis: In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date.

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.


Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.


~

Wow! Dan Brown delivers again. I’ll be the first to admit I am biased here. I love me a good Robert Langdon novel anyday. That synopsis isn't lying either. This is by far the highest-stake that our old pal Robert has ever had to deal with.

You know in the second Harry Potter movie when Neville is hanging from the chandelier after the Pixie incident in Lockhart’s class? He hangs there and looks at Harry, Ron and Hermione and says, “Why is it always me?” I feel like Robert Langdon should have full ownership of that phrase.  Longtime fans of Langdon know that in every book he somehow gets pulled into an impossible situation that is always on the precipice of life or death. Inferno is no different; although there is quite the twist, in this case, which you will discover in the first chapter.

Like all Langdon novels Brown sends you on an epic adventure with beautiful artwork, architecture, symbology, and literature along the way. This novel is based around Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy which has three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio(Purgatory), and Paradisio(Paradise). The bulk of the novel centers on Inferno, but you do get little bits of the others. While I have not read Dante’s Inferno, I do know the basics. Dante wrote about nine circles of hell, in each level a different type of sinner is paying for their crimes. Reading Dante's Inferno is NOT mandatory to understand Brown's Inferno. You will be just fine if you delve in without any prior knowledge. Of course Robert Langdon knows much more about it than me, which is a good thing considering the fate of the world is in his hands yet again!

We all love Langdon’s female counterparts (he sure does go through them, doesn't he?) and this time is no different. In fact, this particular female might be my favorite out of the four novels so far. She is a very complex character and she has her own internal struggles throughout the novel in addition to the external struggles Landon and she face together. I love her too because she is a versatile character that cleverly helps Langdon through some impossible situations.

While you’d expect a twist or two in any Dan Brown novel, I would say this one takes the cake for the biggest plot twist yet. I won’t give anything away, but I will say that in Inferno, like all the others, you just never know who to trust.

One thing we know for sure is we have a villain. Oh and what a wonderful villain he is! Quite possibly my favorite part of Inferno is that Dan Brown, like never before, forces us to see things from the villain’s perspective. He brings up a real world problem and pushes us to face the reality that this problem is not just another great plot line in a story. It is real. It is happening. It is NOW. This is something our world is facing and we don’t know what to do about it. That is why even though the villain’s actions are extreme, you almost find yourself siding with him half the time. Inferno is not a black and white world where there are good and bad people with nothing in between. This whole novel is one big old gray area where you can find yourself being pulled in two different directions; unsure of which way is the right one and which is the wrong.

I should warn you that unlike the other three Langdon novels this one ends with a cliffhanger. Not to worry, it’s not like, oh, a Hunger Games cliffhanger. It’s more like a, “Wow. I have to sit and think on that for a while before I can anticipate the next book.” Was I the only one who was ready to start rioting and burning things for the Hunger Games sequels? This ending is much calmer than that, I promise.


All I can say is that fans of Dan Brown and Robert Langdon will not be disappointed, and if you are not yet a fan then it is high time to start! What are you waiting for!? Easily 5 stars in my book!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Do It Anyway

Wise words from a wise woman.


People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Mother Teresa



Monday, August 26, 2013

A Word About Passion and Following Your Dreams

One of my favorite things in the world is singing. I do it all the time. At the risk of sounding conceited I am pretty good too. My voice is good, I have a good range, and I have awesome breath support! My one downfall is that I get stage fright. Really bad. When I was younger it was terrible. My entire body would turn hot except for my hands which were as cold as ice. My throat would clench and although I would power through whatever I was singing, my voice would be tight and shaky. I've gotten better over the years and can usually sing in front of my friends without any problems. But the one who knows my voice the best and all the amazing possibilities it has would be my steering wheel. When I'm in my car I sing without inhibitions. I belt out loud and I. AM. AWESOME. (I promise there is a point to this post and it's not about how awesome my singing voice is.)


Why can't everything be like that? Why can't we do what we love without holding back? I graduated with a BFA in Theatre Design and Technology with an emphasis in Lighting Design. This may not have been the best career choice for me to be guaranteed a job when I graduate, but guess what? I don't care! I went to school to learn more about what I love. I'm one of the lucky ones. I knew exactly what I wanted to go to school for and I stuck with it for the four years I was there. If you have no idea what career path is calling you then I would encourage you to dabble in a little bit of everything until you find it. Wouldn't you rather spend your life loving your job and excited to go to work every morning rather than going for the money and the benefits? I would.

Lighting chose me. In high school we didn't get to experience lighting design at all because we had someone come in and do it. But that was my favorite part of the process. I loved the hang and focus and seeing the stage transform into a piece of art with brush strokes of light and color and shadows. I would stay till three or four in the morning helping out with this process because I loved it so much. Even though I knew nothing about the design aspect of lighting, I knew that's what I wanted to do. And that's exactly what I did. I could have easily gone into business or communications as my major because I'd have a better chance of getting a job, but I didn't care. I'm glad I followed my heart instead of my head.

I remember when I did my first lighting design in college, I was terrified. What if I chose this major and I can't even do it!? What if my design is horrible and they have to have someone else completely redo it? Luckily I had an amazing mentor helping me and encouraging me along the way. He had a few suggestions (Blue is not sexy) and even more praise for my work. When the show opened everyone thought I had done a great job and I felt so relieved and so happy. I could do this, and I would do it.




I'm not saying it's always easy or fun, but when you see the end product it is always always worth it. For someone who isn't particularly fond of the dark I certainly spend a lot of my time in it. Some shows/dances write themselves, but others you have to make deliberate choices for every single cue. I love what I do. When there is a beautiful dance onstage without lighting, that's all it is, a beautiful dance. When I add lighting to it, it becomes a performance. It becomes art and it completely changes the entire mood of the piece.

There is an amazing book called The Alchemist by Paul Coelho that I would encourage everyone to read. I probably have about 50 dog-earred pages in this 177 page book. I want to share a passage with you where a king is talking to a shepherd about destiny:

It's what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny. It's a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your destiny. It prepares your spirit and your will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth. The Soul of the World is nourished by people's happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy. To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation. All things are one. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

So as Aerosmith put it: Dream On! Make your dreams come true! Believe me, I know sometimes they take longer than you want them to, but work on it anyway. I'm working in auto parts right now while I fight my way towards my dreams. Don't Stop Believing because even Crazy Dreams can come true!



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Scared for Sharks

I hope you all enjoyed Shark Week as much as I did! First of all I want to take a moment and thank my friends, the Millers. These guys let me come over to their house every night and steal their TV in addition to stacking up shows on their DVR when I had to work. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This Shark Week wouldn't have been possible without you! It amazes me that no matter how much I already know about sharks, I always end up learning something new every year! So now it's time for what I like to call...

SHARK WEEK WRAP-UP 

I hope you all read that in a game show announcer voice. I did. :) Here are just a few things I have to say after watching Shark Week 2013.

1. What the what!? Megalodon may still be out there!? I love sharks, but I really don't want to go in the ocean, like ever, if I know there is a 60 foot "great white" out there! Seriously though, Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives was a really interesting show. There is a lot of sketchy evidence to suggest that maybe the Megalodon didn't go extinct, but it's not really conclusive. I guess we'll all just have to wait and wonder until the Shark Week when someone rediscovers a living Megaladon...DUM DUM DUM!!!

2. Chris Fallows and Jeff Kurr are one big helping of awesomesauce. I'm so thankful for them. Otherwise I never would have seen this:


3. One day I am totally going to have a Shark Week party and we are all going to play the Shark Week drinking game! We will be drunk in seconds.


4. Cajuns have some pretty big fish tales. I don't believe in the Rookin one bit.

5. I love hearing stories of shark attack survivors who don't hold anything against the shark. These people are the best! AND many of them become huge advocates FOR sharks after their attacks. You guys rock my world!

6. Paul Walker is an advocate for sharks! And a really hot advocate at that. Hey, you can take me shark diving any day. ;)

7. FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY!!! In this years Top Ten Sharkdown episode, Discovery Channel FINALLY named the Bull Shark the deadliest shark over the Great White! You have no idea how happy this makes me! Bull Sharks are so much more deadly than Great Whites because A) they can swim in freshwater if they choose and B) Their testosterone levels are off the charts! These sharks are much more aggressive than Great Whites and they are also more frequent visitors to places humans like to hang out. Not many people think they are going to encounter a shark if they go for a dip in the Mississippi River.

8. Great Whites and serial killers have similar patterns? Well I guess that makes sense considering Great Whites are one of the most perfect predators in the world. I guess serial killers are trying to copy some of their moves.

9. Sharkpocalypse was one of THE coolest shark specials I've seen in years. I learned that the increase in shark attacks directly relates to the tremendous decrease of sharks due to shark finning. Did you know that when a shark dies it gives off these pheromones that basically tell other sharks to get the hell out while you still can! With all the shark finning going on in the world there are a lot of these pheromones running loose in the water and sharks are being forced to move and find new hunting/breeding grounds. Sometimes those grounds happen to be where we like to swim and surf. Basically every problem we have with sharks is our own fault. 

10. Goblin sharks are seriously creepy. I mean look at that thing!

11. They put the lamest of all the Shark Week specials last. That was dumb. They should have put Sharkpocalypse last. It was the best show of all this year.

12. Did you know Ted Danson is a huge ocean activist? Hey, me neither. Now we know!

13. I ran across this picture while I was googling. It comes in a CAN!? Lord have mercy on our souls.

Shark finning is a HUGE problem, but the good news is there are tons of groups out there fighting against it. With enough support we could put a complete ban on shark finning - everywhere. One organization that is fighting for sharks is Oceana. This is an amazing organization that is doing incredible work. Year after year I talk talk talk about the shark finning problem. Well this year I am putting my money where my mouth is and donating $100 to Oceana. I invite you to join me in my endeavor by visiting this link.

Scared for Sharks


My goal is to raise an additional $500. Let's save the world one shark at a time!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Making a Difference, One Shark at a Time

Shark Photo of the Day


Stunning photo of a Tiger Shark in a state of tonic immobility.

Shark Week Schedule for the Day (Discovery Channel)


Bold indicates New Program for 2013
Times are Mountain Time

10:00 AM - Adrift: 47 Days with Sharks
11:00 AM - How Sharks Hunt
12:00 PM - Great White Gauntlet
1:00 PM - Alien Monster Sharks
2:00 PM - Top Ten Sharkdown
3:00 PM - I Escpaed Jaws
4:00 PM - Air Jaws: Countdown to Shark Week 2013
5:00 PM - Sharkzilla: Sharktweeto
6:00 PM - Return of Jaws: Sharktweeto
7:00 PM - Voodoo Sharks: Sharktweeto
8:00 PM - Spawn of Jaws: Sharktweeto
9:00 PM - Sharkpocalypse: Sharktweeto
10:00 PM - Megalodon: Monster Shark Lives: Sharktweeto


Shark Story of the Day


Two Shark Week's ago I made the decision to make a difference by doing something other than talking. I put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. I donated $40 to Oceana and in the mail I got my cute shark cookie cutter and my adoption certificate which you will see below. But more than that I received the satisfaction of knowing that I did my part, however small it may be, to help save the creatures I love. Recently I've saved up $100 to donate to whichever charity I choose and how could I choose anything but Oceana when sharks are still out there being slaughtered? Maybe one day I'll be able to donate thousands of dollars to this organization, but for now I will do what little I can. I would encourage you all to do the same.

Shark Shirt of the Day


From the Shark Reef Aquarium in Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Shark Object of the Day


This is very special to me. It is my certificate of adoption of a
Great White Shark and I couldn't be more proud!

Shark Fact of the Day


The frilled shark's circular mouth, 
filled with more than 300 spiny teeth, earns it the nickname of the modern Loch Ness Monster.


Shark Art of the Day


My makeup design to imitate Bruce from Finding Nemo.

Shark Meme of the Day


Perspective.

Shark Treat of the Day


Let's all raise a glass to another fantastic Shark Week!
These are called Fuzzy Sharks! I got the recipe from a friend 
for my 21st birthday and they are delicious!

Shark Want of the Day


The world's awesomest backpack ever created!