I Mustache You Some Questions

I was tagged by Picture Us Reading last month to answer some questions. Yes, it takes me a month to get to things some times. Spring break brought several visitors to my doorstep, which was awesome but took away from blogging time. I thought this post would be a good catch up and fun! Thanks for tagging me Alisa!

*It took me three days to write this and then I didn’t feel like editing it. I had company, interviews, and started a job within the last two weeks. Plus, I found out about this game called SimCity Build It and I’m totally addicted and my little city needs my attention. So, yes, that is more important to me than editing right now. Sorry.

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Four Names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name

1. Jamers

2. J.Z.

3. Pajamas

4. Honey Bumpkins (OK, just my husband calls me this and still lives, but I think it counts)

Honestly, nicknames don’t really last for me (except for Jamers). I had to dig into my memory bank for a few of these.

Four Jobs I’ve Had

1. Like Alisa I worked as a circulation student assistant at my law library and shelving books is tedious. But it can also me very meditative. I also was able to get a lot of homework done at the front desk because I worked nights in a law school library where other overachievers would hole up in their nooks and study all night and not bother the circulation desk.

2. I’ve worked as a bookseller at two different book stores. This is not as glamorous as it sounds. It is also a lot of book shelving and in one store dealing with screaming idiots every single day. Unfortunately not everyone who comes into a bookstore knows how to read, especially not signage.

3. Barista/Server/Grill Cook. I’ve worked in the food service industry for almost ten years. Never again. Never again.

4. I worked as an attorney for the City of Chicago. This also was not all that glamorous. While I have my “fun to tell at parties” stories, it was mostly just a lot of paper work, filing, and making phone calls. No Perry Mason moments and no one dressed half as nice as in The Good Wife.

Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once

Goodness. I rewatch movies alllll the time. In no certain order or importance:

1. 50 First Dates

2. Serenity

3. Fargo

4. Boondock Saints

Four Books I’d Recommend

1. Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane (and the entire Chess Putnam series)

2. Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson (and the entire Queen Betsy series)

3. Storm Front by Jim Butcher (and the entire Dresden Files Series)

4. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (and the entire Fever series and don’t be misled by the covers this is not just some steamy romance series, though it is also that. It has one of the best character arcs that I have ever read.)

Four Places I Have Lived

1. Copenhagen, NY (a place that got 21 feet of snow this year)

2. Goshen, IN (where I spent most of my childhood)

3. Chicago, IL (where I went to live near my mom and ended up going to law school)

4. Mt. Crawford, VA (where I lived during my tweens and teenage years also where one of my favorite authors currently lives)

Four Places I Have Been

I haven’t been out of the country much. I did visit 1) Israel and I have been to 2) Canada. I’ve traveled the US a bit. I’ve been coast to coast. I’ve visited 3) San Francisco, CA and I got married in 4) Virginia Beach, VA.

Four Places I’d Rather Be Right Now

1. Hogwarts

2. Rivendell

3. Aboard the Farscape or Serenity

4. Narnia

I am really happy with where I am right now. I would like to travel in the future, but if I could be transported somewhere right this second, I would go to one of my top fantasy/magical worlds. You can check out the Top 10 Fantasy Worlds here.

Four Things I Don’t Eat

1. Spicy foods. I don’t have a sense of smell so I can’t taste except for the five areas on my tongue. This means spicy foods just set my mouth on fire and don’t add flavor to foods.

2. Dairy foods. I am lactose intolerant. If I take dairy aid pills I can handle small doses, but that’s about it.

3. Curry. I’m allergic to some curries and therefore avoid all of them.

4. Avocado. Again, it doesn’t taste like anything and it is really really slimy. Gugh. I don’t even eat guacamole. Blech.

Four of My Favorite Foods

1. Snicker Ice Cream Bars

2. Toasterstrudels

3. Chocolate (FOR THE WIN!)

4. Skittles

TV Shows That I Watch

1. The Vampire Diaries

2. Supernatural

3. The Office (my husband and I watch this at night. It is hilarious.)

4. The Blacklist (SOOOOOO good!!!)

Four Things I Am Looking Forward To This Year

1. I started a new job! I’m looking forward to a new place of employment and greater career opportunities. I’m working at an insurance group, which doesn’t sound glamorous, But I do think it is the right fit for me.

2. Trips to King Spa and Sauna a wonderful place for a staycation.

3. A possible real vacation to Virginia Beach for our anniversary.

4. Celebrating our first date anniversary by going to the Medieval Castle here in Dallas. This time we will go prepared with an Uber driver and extra money for booze.

Four Things I’m Always Saying

1. I know, right?

2. Insinuendo (insinuate and innuendos)

3. Flay-g instead of Flah-g. One place where my northern upbringing shines through is when i say, bag, wagon, flag, or dragon.

4. Holy Cats (I picked this up from my father, so you can blame him!)

Four People I Tag

*Please don’t feel you have to, but I’m tagging you in case you want to.*

Meet TrendyTracy who is traveling the world now with her husband. She has a fashion blog and is someone I know IRL. She is just as sweet and amazing in person as she is in her photos. Check out her website.

The ladies at The Book Wars. If you aren’t following them you should. They do some amazing collaborative posts that are just awesome reads. Luckily there are four of them and each could answer the question once. I mean I had to come up with four nicknames going back to when I was in high school!

I’ve just recently started following The Book Stop. She also does book reviews so you guys should check her out as well!

And I’m not sure she even does these sort of tagging blog pieces, but you guys should really head on over to Deidra Alexander’s Blog. She writes these amazing pieces of art that are at times laugh out loud funny, but sometimes more reflective and they always feel true and honest.

Happy Holidays from Us to You

I hope whatever you are celebrating  today, means a day full of love and laughter.

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Pierce Gets His Dream Job Only if You Vote

My friend Pierce is trying to get enough votes to have an amazing opportunity to work as an Official Tour Reporter for Nitro Circus “the greatest live action sports show in the world.” Pierce won a Redbull Challenge once and got to fly a jet, he produces videos, and is a professional triathlete. His personality is even bigger than his 6’7″ frame and I think he would do an amazing job as a Tour Reporter. But he needs votes.

The site is not that easy to vote on, I’m not going to lie. They make you verify that you are human AND confirm your email address, but lets see if we can UP his votes! You can vote from as many emails as you have every 24 hours. If nothing else go watch his video and see him water-ski as a gladiator!

He only has 22 days left and 171 votes. Yikes! Go. Help. Send him to New Zealand by voting here.

“THE VERSE” a Firefly Fan Film

I just found this awesome fan film for Firefly this morning on Pinterest. It is amazing, well acted, and fun. It looks like there is a tie in online game as well.
[http://youtu.be/B24h1SYIxEc]

Book Review: Embrace

My library has this little off shoot room called Teenscape. It’s full of wonderful YA books and shuffling teenagers. Chicago had a room like this in its library, but the room was huge and the one here in my local village could fit four times over in it. I hate going in those rooms. For one, it is usually full of teenagers. Secondly, I carry into the room with me the belief that people probably think I’m a teenager because I’m in the teenage section, and don’t realize that I have actually graduated high school, college, AND law school. Because in spite being a decade older, most people think I’m at most 22. In Chicago, I used to just put the teen books on hold and pick them up on my weekly trip to the library because the hold section was in the adult area. Here, I have no time excuse not to just pick out my own damn books and plus I wanted to browse. 

I walked by the room twice, double checking to see if there were any lumbering lurking teens hidden in between the three aisles. Seeing none, I held my head high and snuck inside. Then I got down to business and starting with the A’s and going through the entire alphabet I browsed to my hearts content, even when I was interrupted twice by shuffling feet and downward glances. There seems to be an unwritten rule of teenagers in the Teenscape land not to look anyone in the eye. It’s unnerving. 

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In my browsing I found a really pretty cover and after reading the back decided to check out Embrace, by Jessica Shervington. I haven’t read a lot of the demon/angel subgenre, but what I’ve read has been entertaining, and so I thought I would broaden my knowledge of that area of YA fiction. Embrace is the story of Violet Eden who is turning 17. Every birthday is a reminder of her dead mother and absent father who ignores her in his continual grief and workaholism. Luckily, Violet has lots of money, big boobs, a quirky best friend, and a sparring partner to keep her busy. And …. some …. of this is about to change. Not the dead mother, or the absent father, but Violet’s seemingly normal rich teenage life is interrupted by the revelation that she must choose whether or not she will embrace (see what I did there?) her Grigori heritage. Grigori are half-human half-angel hybrid, and protect humans against the exiled angels wrecking havoc on earth. 

While and interesting and rather light reading that kept me page turning, Embrace had a few pitfalls that would land it in purgatory at least. Violet is yet another, “I don’t want to be what I clearly already am” character, and that is not the only YA trope to grace the pages. However, Violet at least reconciles this part of herself by the end of the book. For me this is passable. It’s when the warring within the self goes on for several books that I have an issue.

There is of course the triangle of good boy versus bad boy. Each male character is rather underdeveloped and of one note, there is always hope that further character development will happen in the rest of the series. But it would have been refreshing for the male leads to be fleshed out full characters the first time around. One non-YA trope was that Violet has sex in the book. Then yet another trope as unfortunately, as her sex life (or as much as someone who is 17 and UNDERAGE! has a sex life) becomes a thing of shame and gossip. In fact, her sexual advances mean that Violet is emotionally connected to someone who preys on that connection to the extreme. More disturbingly, Violet was sexually assaulted in the not too distance past by an adult figure in her life, which factors into why she is learning to spar, but is not brought up in the context of her sexual development as a woman.

Violet needs some counseling, in fact, a lot of fantasy characters do. Why is this a thing? Why can’t we have our favorite characters learning how to be emotionally healthy so that they can deal with all the weird stuff that happens in their lives? One review I read suggested that this series should have been given an older protagonist and I agree. If Violet was just a bit older both parents could be dead and Violet living on her own rather than a dead mother and absent, except when needed to further the plot, father. Furthermore, an older protagonist would have had some time to work through her sexual assault and be better ready for exploring her sexuality.  

Despite all the tropes, Embrace was an interesting read. Shirvington writes with a fresh and uncluttered voice. So while there is no real plot twist, and it is a trope filled story, I kept reading to see what would happen and how Violet would react. Embrace is simply (perhaps too simply) a coming of age story of Violet, a half-human half-angel girl. While, I’ve more than a few quibbles with the book, if you want a light consume the book in a day down by the pool read, it has enough going for it that you might not want to come inside right away for dinner. 

Read a review by The Book Smugglers, who points out a few more plot holes and also is a bit more spoilery than my own review. 

In My Element

This weekend Chris and I went to an estate sale on a whim since we both had the day off. While there the car overheated, which waylaid our plans and so we found a shady spot and walked around for a bit. Once we finally got back on the road it was really bad traffic so when we saw the Forth Worth Montgomery Antique Mall we pulled over and spent some time wandering the aisles. It is MASSIVE! I’ve been to many antique malls over the years and this was by far the biggest store I have been to. I would guess it was the size of a football field. But my favorite little shop (the mall is divided into several shops) was a book corner I found. The book I’m holding was worth $40. Unfortunately, I forget the title.

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Cigarette Zombies

Razor sharp teeth, mouth agape, lips stretched wider than a human’s mouth should go, a monster that was once a man rushed past me. I threw my arm out and caught the child by my side, pushing us up against the wall hoping the oncoming swarm would pass by and leave us alone.

It all started earlier while I was stocking shelves. The last of summer’s water toys were going up for clearance, the bright colors out of place next to all the decorations for Halloween. Holidays arrived earlier every year. My co-worker next to me was peeved, “I just don’t understand.” He mumbled.

“CVS and Walgreens merged, they are now one company.” I explained again. “We have to get inventory ready for the merger now that we work for Walgreens.”

“I can’t believe we work for Walgreens. I just don’t understand.” She mumbled again.

I noticed a wiry man with long stringy graying hair shuffle pass me, looking around out of the corner of his eyes. Checking to see if any of us employees noticed him. Suspicious behavior requires excellent customer service, so I went over to him and offered to help him find something. My co-worker peeked around the corner to see where I had gone, his brown bangs swinging in his face, hiding his eyes. The customer didn’t need my help and shambled away from me. “Surprisingly”, I found work to do near him, watching for more suspicious behavior.

He was looking at cartoons of cigarettes which for some reason had been temporarily moved because of the merger and were no longer locked up or put out of reach. He piled his arms full of them and headed toward the checkout counter. I kept “fixing” the items on a shelf watching to see what he would do. Suddenly he darted toward the automatic sliding doors and ran outside with his stolen loot. Fast on his heels was a old woman, her arms also full of stolen cigarettes.

I stood up from where I was shelving lotions, and watched as the man and woman flung cigarettes into the air, liberating them for the masses. Quicker than I would have dreamed possible, hordes of tobacco starved people began to pile onto the street grabbing at the falling cigarettes. I caught movement in my right peripheral and saw a gaping mouth, spread too wide, full of inhuman teeth running toward me and realized I was in the way of the zombie and his cigarettes.

I reached out for my co-worker and pulled her back against the wall next to me, hoping that we would not be bitten by such horrific teeth. His mouth loomed closer and closer. Something wasn’t right. How was the child next to me also a man and a woman? Why would  a cigarette zombie even exists?

I woke with a start and rolled over pushing my face into the pillow. Ugh, zombie interrupted sleep. Again.

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Picture by Chris who also suggested the ending, and wants credit for it.