Thursday, June 16, 2016

Stormy



It’s funny, or maybe sad in a way, how dependent we have become on technology and electricity. I fully admit that I’m an Internet and Twitter addict. I don’t have a lot of friends, so it’s almost my lifeline to the outside world in some ways. We use electricity for everything, including accessing the Internet and other technology. This hit me especially hard on Wednesday night when we had this wild storm come through at around 7:30 pm. One minute it was calm and peaceful. The next it was like a tropical storm arrived, complete with 50-60 mile an hour winds, rain going every which way, but straight, and debris whipping around as trees lost their leaves and limbs. 

I had just finished eating dinner when I heard this massive POP! then lost all of my power. I’m not quite sure if it was the wind alone that did it or some kind of lightning strike combo, but it turned out to be an uprooted tree, which had fallen right on the power line. Did I mention it was the power line that sent electricity to the homes of myself and my neighbor? Seriously, everyone else in the neighborhood had power. Luck of the draw, I guess?


So anyway, it was the first time in a long time I had gone without power all night, and I had almost forgotten how dependent I am on it. Fortunately, I had recently purchased 4 new Bath and Body Works candles during the buy one, get one free sale so I had some decent light. My cell phone wasn’t fully charged, though, so I was only able to use it for a while before I put it down to save the last little bit for the morning. Nearly every other device I grabbed for was pretty much useless after that. “I know! I’ll watch a movie through Amazon or Netflix.” Doh, no power means no wifi. My old Kindle hadn’t been charged recently, and it’s where I still keep most of my books, so that was out. Then I figured I should probably be writing, but I found I had a hard time getting to it in that setting (I know, not a real excuse). 

Ultimately, I did get some good reading in on my newest little Kindle Fire, as it had a couple of recently downloaded options. Eventually, I figured it was a good time to try to get some extra shut eye. Difficult because it was freaking hot! No electricity also equals no AC, and of course it’s a humid ass, 80 degree night. Obviously, there are much worse things in the world, but this has been the most exciting thing in my personal week. 

I did lose all my refrigerated goods in the end, but fortunately having just come home from vacation, I haven’t been out for groceries yet. Winning! I also got a couple of neat cloud pictures, but sadly no rainbow appeared at my house. I saw some really good rainbow pics out there too.

 























In closing, thanks for your weather, Cincinnati! Fun times.

Starting Over Again



When I was a kid, we didn’t have the money to take vacations. We weren’t considered poor by certain standards, but let’s just say there were quite a few times where we had to have garage sales in order to afford groceries for the week. As a young adult, I probably had enough money to travel domestically, but I didn’t really have anyone to go with, and I worked serving tables, so taking off work meant missing out on daily cold, hard cash and not getting even more of an already minuscule paycheck. Eventually, debt became a problem, and going out became rather limited. Presently, I am slowly working on digging myself out of that hole (that at one point in time, honestly felt insurmountable).

As for doing things alone, it’s not really that I have a problem with that. I do enjoy going to the movies alone or taking myself out for the occasional lunch. I also moved back and forth between California and Ohio 3 times alone, before finally settling in Cincinnati for good. And looking back, I’ve actually been to quite a few cities here and there. I’ve taken spur of the moment road trips to attend hockey or baseball games in cities, like Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. I’ve even managed a couple of weekend visits to Chicago, St. Louis, and Nashville. When it comes to taking a true vacation, though, I’ve always wanted to have someone to share it with. Not necessarily a romantic someone, but some sort of companion(s) in which I can share my adventures.

Last year, I finally went on my first mini vacation (Thursday-Sunday) to a city in Michigan called Port Austin. About 13 of us shared the rental of a big house right on the lake. It was during a weekend with a super moon, and it was so peaceful to just sit out on a chair with the water right out in front of you, beer or bourbon in hand. Last week, I finally went on my first “real” vacation; a week-long stay in Ohio’s favorite vacation spot, Hilton Head Island, SC.

I’ve written on this blog on and off. Most off, especially lately. I’ve actually deleted the majority of my posts as I tried to start over each time. Being a perfectionist, I’m nearly always unhappy with how my words turn out, and completely starting over nearly always seems appealing. So here I am starting again. My plan this time is to just share my experiences, whether it be in travelling or life. There will be pictures, of course, and possibly opinions, but mostly my own perceptions, as that's all we can really offer, isn't it? Feel free to join me and add a comment if you wish.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Woman Sues MTA and Showtime for Dexter Ad

Do you ever get tired of other people blaming everyone and everything, but themselves? There is probably nothing I crave more in this world than a desire for everyone to take some self-responsibility. That's why the lawsuit I found here: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140625/midtown/woman-scared-by-dexter-ad-sues-mta-for-subway-fall really bothers me. This woman, Ajanaffy Njewadda, and her husband are suing both Showtime and the MTA for their placement of an ad within a stairwell, which she claims startled her so much that she fell down the stairs and broke her ankle.

Now do't get me wrong. I do believe there can be a time and place to sue. For instance, a plane crashes due to the pilot's negligence? Should you be able to sue the pilot and the airline? Sure. Slipping and falling because an employee just mopped the floor at your local grocer and failed to take any precautions to warn incoming customers of the wet floors? That would be a reasonable lawsuit for medical claims. Your ex-failing to notify you that he has AIDS? I find that to be a genuine reason to sue for both emotional distress and/or potential medical ramifications.

I realize that people share different opinions on world issues, but there is no question that our court system has been hijacked by a number of frivilous lawsuits. I would like to think, though, that most intelligent and sane, non-lawyers would consider this another frivilous suit. I mean, I'm sorry you fell down the stairs like a scared little girl, but come on, what's next? What do you think?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Review of Fracture: Debut Novel from Megan Miranda


By the time Delaney Maxwell was pulled from a Maine lake’s icy waters by her best friend Decker Phillips, her heart has stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. But somehow Delaney survived – despite the brain scans that show irreparable damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be fine, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney now finds herself drawn to the dying, and when she meets Troy Varga, a boy who recently emerged from a coma with the same abilities, she is relieved to share this strange new existence. Unsure if her altered brain is predicting death or causing it, Delaney must figure out if their gift is a miracle, a freak of nature – or something much more frightening…..

As soon as I read that Fracture was a debut novel from a Biology major that formerly worked in biotech, I knew I had to read it. I love the supernatural and the paranormal, but science definitely has a place in my heart and its inclusion in Fracture’s plot made it sound intriguing to me. Plus this was author Megan Miranda’s debut novel and I try to read debuts since I hope to become published one day myself.

Fracture begins almost immediately with the key plot point. Delaney Maxwell and Decker Phillips venture out onto the lake, against Delaney’s better judgment, to avoid taking the long way around to meet up with their friends. Delaney falls, the ice cracks, and she plunges in, trapped for eleven minutes before she is rescued. And oh yeah, during that eleven minutes, she dies. The next time she wakes up, it’s nearly a week later and the doctors can barely understand how she is even alive, let alone coherent. Her best friend, the trusty Decker, has been there at her bedside the whole time.

When Delaney goes home, she begins having these strange sensations within her brain that seem to become stronger when she is around someone who is close to death. She also comes across Troy Varga, a boy who has survived a similar traumatic accident with coma, and experiences these strange sensations too. Troy is a breath of fresh air at first, someone who can relate to what has happened to Delaney, especially as she discovers that her friends and family are not dealing with it so well. Troy is more than he seems at first, though, as Delaney quickly discovers. Ultimately, she wonders if she is just sensing these deaths or if she has become so wrong in the head that she is actually causing them.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story that hasn’t already been offered through other sources, but I would like to say that the best part of Fracture for me was its character development and emotional ride. I found the emotions Delaney’s friends, and especially her mother, were dealing with – emotions that were not always kind and supportive – to be quite believable. The lines that best summed up this point for me were, “He dragged me through the house, and I let him, because I wasn’t sure who I was most scared of at the moment. The stranger I was learning about too quickly, or the woman I’d known my entire life who was quickly becoming a stranger.” I also liked the Decker storyline, as I think it reminds us that sometimes you don’t realize what you have until it’s almost (or is) gone.

The only part that fell short for me was the actual plot. I would say that 90% of the books I read are some type of Urban Fantasy or have an otherwise Supernaturally-based plot, but I felt as though this one could have done without that paranormal twist. This would have been a five star story for me if it had just been a girl that came out of a traumatic accident alive, and was forced to deal with her changing relationships. The paranormal element cheapened that slightly, and also tried to wrap up too quickly. I think if it had been drawn out or if it had reached a more sensational climax, it would have worked. That said, I liked the ending as part of a non-paranormal story, and I thought it made sense.

Overall, I felt Fracture was an interesting and enjoyable read. I would give it four and a half stars based on its writing and character development alone. I look forward to reading more novels from Megan Miranda.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Finnish Independence Day and Angry Birds

You have got to love a lady that doesn't take herself so seriously that she cannot poke fun at fashion. I guess some people believe Teija Vesterbacka, wife of Chief Marketing Officer of Rovio of Angry Birds fame, should have worn something more traditional and classy to the Finnish Presidential Palace in honor of of their Independence Day. I believe, however, that people often take things way too seriously, and having fun with fashion is a great way to to help them get over it. Here is the dress if you haven't seen it:


Still classy, just........fun. I will never understand why so many people insist on feeling as though everyone must share the same fashion sense as them anyway. I find that it makes life more interesting that we have people who dress differently, whether for personal or cultural reasons. I like that when I venture out into the world, I might see a teenage boy dressed in emo or steampunk faire or woman dressed in her own at do it yourself creations. It's not about whether or not I like the fashion personally; it's about how dull the world would be if we all dressed as someone else thinks we should. There is no right or wrong in fashion. Well, there might be some wrong, because this is pretty bad:



But you get the idea. ;)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Magnificent Wine Labels, Horror, Metal, and Cheese

As a wine lover and a collector of all things awesome, I wanted to share some of my favorite bottle labels I have come across, ones that I would be sure to keep after savoring the last drop of bittery, sweetness from my favorite red. The first label comes from Redhead Studio (Austrailia) and was designed by Mash Design:



I completely wish that I had been clever enough to come up with "Night of the Living Red." The wax is melted into blood-like drips, and when the loosely tied label is opened up, one sees zombie related scenes and crime files. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find this one yet, but I will let you know when and where I do!
Secondly, we have this simple, but effective label brought to us by R Wines in Austrailia:


Live, Evil, make it what you will. I think it is awesome. Although it looks to have been a vintage from 2007-08, it seems like it can still be found, and for a steal of a price. I have seen it anywhere from $6.50 to $17 on sites like Snooth.
Next up, is the Cycles Gladiator from Hahn Family Wines:


I like this one so much that I plan to get the poster with the same depiction from their web shop. It portrays the Alexandre Darracq painting of the original Cycles Gladiator advertising poster. The cool story behind this one is that it was banned in Alabama for three years, but has apparently been recently forgiven. From the Hahn Family Wines website: 

"Several years ago the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board took a look at our label and decided that it was a little too wild for the average wine drinker in Birmingham. our beloved Belle (seen taking a casual ride on the front label) was deemed "immodest and sensuous," and banned from all the stores in the state. However, after nearly three years of banishment Cycles Gladiator has been welcomed back in Alabama!"


You should be able to find this one at any liquor store with wine. I can actually find it down the street at my nearest Kroger's, from about $10-$15.

This next one might be my favorite. It was made by Roar Reserve Wines, and I plan to buy the whole line because it's so awesome ($20 each or $110 for the line)! Most importantly, it also benefits Big Cat Rescue, an organization that provides homes for abandoned and abused big cats. You can buy one or all of the wines at a site called Benefit wines, http://www.benefitwines.com/default.asp, and a portion of the purchase will go toward the Big Cat Rescue.



How could a self-professed animal lover not want these?! And the site also has these, which I simply cannot resist as a Bat lover:


The purchase of these would benefit the Bat World Sanctuary. There are many other charities that can benefit on this site from the purchase of a bottle of Vino. Makes a good present too :)

The vintage pin-up girl in me loves these labels from Turn Me Wines in Illinois:



Apparently, the pin-up girls can also be optioned for your establishment on a promotional basis! The Reisling, shown here in it previous and current incarnation, is from a German importer and distributor known as Wein-Bauer, and they attempted to create a drier version of the typically sweetwe Reisling. The Red is a Cabernet from Austria and uses the Zweigelt grape. The Sweet is produced in the Tempranillo La Mancha Region of Spain. I love the polka-dotted dress with the black Tulle embellishment; so fun. All the wines are inexpensive, typically running under $10 or $15.
Another extremely awesome pin-up label is this holiday inspired one from PasoPort Wine in California:


How cute is that?! It runs at $40 per bottle as a limited edition wine, and is listed as a dessert wine. Not too overpriced to give it a try for the holidays.

For the Vintage Horror movie fan, Killibinbin from Brother in Arms Winery in Austrailia offers these great labels from one of their lines, once again designed by Mash Design:


Another vintage themed set of labels comes from Wine by Some Young Punks. This is their Pulp Novel themed line:



 Finally, the brilliant minds who decided to pair Heavy Metal music and wine will always have a piece of my heart. AC/DC labeled wines, from Warburn Estate Wineries in, once again, Austrailia made these:




I mean, "Highway to Hell" Cabernet and "Back in Black" Shiraz?! Brilliant! I cannot find these outside of Austrialia, though, nor can I find anyone to ship them here. I saw that some people were upset that AC/DC would do such a thing to try to make money, which I don't get at all. I think they are great collectibles, and who wouldn't try to make as much money as they could? I never really understood that attitude. The whole "sell-out" thing is a bit overplayed, I think.

And finally, the singer of the Norwegian Satyricon, my favorite band (aside from my all time favorite, Pantera), collaborated with an Italian winery known as Roagna Winery to create his namesake, Wongraven Wines:


There's even a boxed variety, if you're so inclined. Currently, the Barolo Unione Nero di Wongraven 2006 and Langhe Rosso Alleanza Nero di Wongraven 2009 are available. I personally think wine is metal, although many out there, especially within the Black Metal genre might disagree. This one is tough to find, and when you do it get a little pricy. I think partly because it is limited edition. $$65 to $95 a bottle.

One last thought.......I recommend this amazing cheese from Sartori Cheese to pair with any red wine:



It is the Merlot Bellavitano cheese from their Reserve line, and it's amazing as long as you like aged cheese of the smelly variety. Cheers! :)