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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/1207864-Be-the-Change
by spidey
Rated: 13+ · Book · Biographical · #1207864
If you don't have a dream, how are you going to make a dream come true?

2013 Goals

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This item number is not valid.
#1837381 by Not Available.

Write 52 Reviews / current = 27
Read 40 books / current = 9
Enter 12 Contests/Activities / current = 4
Host/Judge 2 Contest/Activity / current = 2

Other goals:
*Bullet* Be patient
*Bullet* Let go of anger/negativity
*Bullet* Monthly blogging

Some other places you can find me:
The Uprising  [18+]
this is the resistance
by spidey

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January 14, 2013 at 8:48am
January 14, 2013 at 8:48am
(I posted this in my journal, but I'm putting it here, too, in the hopes that more people see it and can maybe help me out.) *Smile*

I want to read Les Miserables, but I can't figure out which translation to read... I should have bought it when I saw it at Barnes & Noble this weekend. It was only $5! But it was hardcover and 908 pages... I'd rather have it on my kindle so I don't have to lug around that huge book...

The problem is that there are soooo many translations. Some are abridged, which have good reviews from people who apparently don't like to read and poor reviews from academic elitists. I don't know where I fit in... I mean, I tend to like unabridged versions better; I'd rather read what the author intended, but there are several translations... *sigh*

I mean, I don't mind reading about the Battle at Waterloo. I thought it was one of the most emotional parts of the story. I love stories of revolution! So far the translations I can find for the kindle:

*Bullet* Norman Denny - $10.64 - 1236 pages - modern, British translation
*Bullet* Charles E Wilbour - $13.99 - 1280 pages - first American, more traditional translation
*Bullet* Florence Hapgood - $2.99 - 962 pages
*Bullet* James K Robinson - $.99 - 1729 pages (One reviewer says Fantine is completely absent from this version)
*Bullet* Bookcaps - $2.99 - 2211 pages - described as "in plain English," and includes study guide, historical context, character index, etc.
*Bullet* Public Domain Books - $0.00 - 959 pages - the free, abridged version

Here is something I found:

Here's a little comparison of...three modern versions along with the old Wilbour version. It involves a short description of the character Tholomyès:
“a thirty-year-old, ill-preserved rake” (Denny)
“a high liver, thirty years old, and in poor shape” (Fahnestock & MacAfee)
"a wasted high roller of thirty” (Rose)
"a good liver, thirty years old and ill preserved" (Wilbour)

From these, Denny sounds more the style I'd like to read, I think... I've read that Rose's translation is more modern, which I'm not sure I'd like and it's not available on the Kindle, anyway, so it's out. From what I've read, I'm leaning toward Denny's translation, as he has said it's important for a translator to capture the "spirit" of the original.

Now that I look at the list, the 908-page book I saw at B&N was probably one of the abridged versions, so I'm glad I didn't buy it...

Can anyone help me here? Have you read any version of the story? What do you recommend? I'm definitely leaning toward staying away from the free/cheap ones.

This is horrible but funny: A video of someone's parents' reaction to seeing the film. No spoilers here because they can't stop crying long enough to actually talk about the film...

That's kind of how I felt watching it yesterday. There were moments where I felt totally overcome with grief and just a strong emotional connection to what the characters were feeling, their motivations and fears and love, and just everything. It's so weird that the first time I watched it, I didn't feel that as much. I came home and said to Mr. J, "I liked it, but I doubt I'd watch it again. It was just so sad..." And then the next morning, I was already feeling like I wanted to see it again... *Laugh* Now I can't wait to buy it and watch it all the time!

January 4, 2013 at 9:10pm
January 4, 2013 at 9:10pm
I'm terrible at updating this blog...

I've updated my goals for 2013. For the last two years, I've tried writing 365 reviews in one year, and I've never gotten even close, so this year my goal is to write one per week. To help me, I've created this contest/activity:

Resolve to Review Contest  (E)
Let's see your best in-depth review! Weekly Review Contest
#1905847 by spidey

I already wrote my first one! I have to say that "Good Deeds Get CASH! and the new *Dollar* Random Review tool are huge motivators to review, too! *Bigsmile*

Good luck to all of us with our 2013 goals! One of my goals is monthly blogging, so hopefully I'll check in more often here! *Smile*

December 27, 2012 at 4:37pm
December 27, 2012 at 4:37pm
The Best (and Worst) of 2012
My goal was to read 52 books this year and by December 31st, I expect to have finished 54! I had some great ones (and some terrible ones) this year, and I wanted to share the highlights!

ASIN: 1400080797
Amazon's Price: $ 15.69

The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet
One of the most interesting reads of the year. It had been my intention to read more non-fiction and this was my start. What I liked most about this book was that it wasn’t an argument of science vs. religion/spirituality – instead it was where the two meet, where they overlap and where each can perhaps find answers within the other realm.

Amazon's Price: $ 0.99

The Count of Monte Cristo
It’s rare for books to affect my emotions. Sure, I feel excited during a chase scene or a murder investigation, but this book was on a whole different level. The Count of Monte Cristo was on my list for years and I put it off mostly due to its length. I can say now that I wish I had read it sooner! Absolutely one of my favorite reads of all time!

Product Type: Kindle
Amazon's Price: $ 17.99

The Handmaid’s Tale
Dark, gripping and frightening. Loved this classic story!

ASIN: 006177975X
Product Type: Book
Amazon's Price: $ 13.28

Sacre Bleu
This one automatically makes my list because I met the author at a book signing and he is just as funny in person as he is in his writing! (Even if I wouldn’t have met him, this would make my faves list) A great book for anyone interested in art, particularly the Impressionists.

ASIN: 0000000000
Product Type:
Amazon's Price: Price N/A

One of my free/cheap kindle e-book risks. You really take a chance on these because they could be a waste of time, or they could be really good. This one was good!

Product Type: eBooks
Amazon's Price: Price N/A

Awesome short story! Definitely had an early Stephen King feel to it. I loved it!

Amazon's Price: $ 5.99

Wool Omnibus
Absolutely my favorite read of the year (and it topped some really, really good ones). What is also amazing about this book (in addition to the fact that it’s a well-written, enthralling post-apocalyptic dystopia) is that it’s an indie book! I (and over 2,500 reviewers on Amazon) believe this will be a classic along the likes of 1984 and Brave New World! You can get the first story free for the Kindle or the 5-story series for $5.99. It will be released on paperback in March 2013.

Overall, I had some good reads, but a lot of just so-so (and some pretty bad) ones. My focus in 2012 was to see how many books I could read in a year. For 2013, I’m back to focusing on content. I want to read books that I want to read. No more picking books just because they’re short! *Laugh*
The book I just started and won’t finish until into 2013 is The Book Thief, which was a gift from my sister-in-law who teaches middle school grades. Her family has an interest in the Holocaust and so found this historical fiction book which is narrated by Death (aka The Grim Reaper). I’m about 100 pages into it, and I love it so far! Just the right kind of book to start my new year of reading!

I've yet to come up with the rest of my goals for 2013, but as to reviewing, I came up with this activity to help myself and others to reach our reviewing goals:

Resolve to Review Contest  (E)
Let's see your best in-depth review! Weekly Review Contest
#1905847 by spidey

October 26, 2012 at 7:08am
October 26, 2012 at 7:08am
We've all seen really bad, and I mean bad films. I saw probably the worst film I've ever seen last night:

Birdemic: Shock and Terror

Here's the official trailer:

Actually, the trailer is about 100 billion times better than the film... (I don't know what's with the screamo music at the end of the trailer... that wasn't in the film. The soundtrack in the trailer is actually way better than the soundtrack in the film! I think the budget for the trailer was higher than the budget for the film...)

There are lots of clips of the film on youtube, but you can also watch the film streaming on Netflix! If you dare! *Laugh* Oh, and they're making a sequel due out next year!

I watched Birdemic: Shock and Terror through a live {x-link:www.rifftrax.com}RiffTrax showing, which was incredible and hilarious! I highly recommend going to one!

So, what's the worst film you've ever seen?
September 20, 2012 at 6:30am
September 20, 2012 at 6:30am
I saw this on https://www.gamefaqs.com today:

Which classic video game cheat would you most like to use in real life?

Debug Mode - I just want to tweak reality on a whim
Infinite Lives - I'd be the greatest movie stuntman ever
No-Clip Mode - Walking through walls would make life easy
Save Scumming - Bad day? Just re-load this morning's save and try again
Big Head Mode - Not really useful, but it sure would be fun to see

I have a tough time with this question. Save Scumming was the first to come to mind, but what if you can't really change anything? Then I'd have to live the same bad day over again. Or what if I made it worse? I wouldn't want infinite lives because dying over and over would be terrible!

I guess I'd choose Debug Mode, tweaking reality wouldn't change a whole lot, but it could be fun!

Which would you choose?

August 22, 2012 at 4:36pm
August 22, 2012 at 4:36pm
One of the big stories this week is Todd Akin's statement regarding "legitimate rape." In case you haven't heard it, this is what he said:

"It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Now, obviously what he said isn't true and he was called on it. His "apologies," however, upset me even more than the original comment. This week he appeared on various shows, explaining, ""I misspoke one word in one sentence on one day, and all of a sudden, overnight, everybody decides,"

A supporter, Jack Wilke who was the former president of the US National Right to Life Committee said Akins "remains a strong and courageous pro-life leader – and awkward wording in one sound bite doesn't negate that,"

What really irks me is when someone says something that is outright wrong and offensive, and then won't apologize for it! I mean a REAL apology. They need to say, "What I said was wrong and hurtful to many people, and I sincerely apologize."

Not this whining, "I'm being attacked because I said one wrong word."

He just doesn't get it.
July 28, 2012 at 10:54am
July 28, 2012 at 10:54am
My goal for the year was 365 reviews, one per day. We're over halfway through the year, and how many reviews have I done? 42. Yeah, I'm a little behind. (Judging last month's official contest helped me catch up a little)

I have 323 reviews to do in 157 days. But, really, that's 2 per day for the rest of the year. I can totally do that!

I used to review all the time. I participated in marathon reviewing contests and sessions. For some reason, though, reviewing has become more difficult, more time-consuming. I still want to try to reach my goal, though.

Of course, I also work part-time, taking online courses, and training for a 10k race. No wonder I have a hard time finding time to review! *Laugh*

April 20, 2012 at 10:05am
April 20, 2012 at 10:05am
So I went to my first book signing the other day, and met one of my favorite authors, Christopher Moore.

Years ago, my sister-in-law kept telling me that my husband and I had to read this book called A Dirty Job. I remember seeing it in bookstores (back when there were book stores in my county) and others of his. They were easy to pick out as they had a distinct font and bright colors. I don't know why, but I kept putting it off.

Then my sister-in-law started telling me about more of his books. I found one, You Suck, in a clearance section at a bookstore, but it didn't really strike me as anything fantastic (probably because it was a sequel to a book I hadn't read).

Years later, my sister-in-law finally bought one of his books for us to read, Fool. That's when I fell in love with Moore's writing. I had studied Shakespeare in college, of course, so I could really appreciate Moore's re-telling of King Lear. (To be clear, though, you don't need to have read Lear to appreciate Fool)

Just this past Christmas, she bought another of his books for us, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, which is probably the funniest and most inspiring book I've ever read. It made me want to study Buddhism. *Laugh*

At this point, I started telling everyone I knew about this author, and my sister was soon hooked on his writing, too. So when Moore announced a book tour for his newest work, Sacre Bleu (a book about the color blue and the story of how Vincent van Gogh died) I knew I had to go to the signing when he came to my area.

It was almost a 2-hour drive, but it was well worth it. Moore spoke for about an hour (telling us stories of how he was inspired to write Lamb - "I was watching something on the History Channel about how none of the Gospels covered Christ's life from his birth to about age 30, and I thought, 'I don't know a thing about religion or history - I should write it!' " and other random things), then took some questions (one woman requested him to sing Happy Birthday to her, which horrified him, and he repeated, "NO!" for several minutes.), then signed books.

My sister and I, because we pre-ordered our books through the bookstore's website, were #23 and #25 in line and we waited about half an hour until our turn. I felt bad for the girl sitting next to us, she was #144. It was going to be a long night! I didn't want to take up too much of Moore's time, since I knew he had a long night ahead of him. I brought 2 of his older books with me, and I had 2 copies of his newest book. (My sister-in-law couldn't make it to the signing as she was too busy with work and I thought it would be a travesty for her not to have a signed copy since she was the one who introduced me to his work!)

I told Moore that my sister-in-law asked me to tell him that she thinks he's brilliant and that I agree. He looked flabbergasted and said something about us being discerning in our judgment and he doesn't think he's brilliant because he often doesn't know what to say. *Laugh*

I'm more than a third of the way through his new book, Sacre Bleu and I love it! Some have been saying it's not quite his style or that they're disappointed with it. I think they're just not interested in the subject matter. As an art history minor, and someone who is married to a painter, I find it pretty fascinating.

ASIN: 0061779741
Product Type: Book
Amazon's Price: $ 16.93

A really cool thing about the book is that the author has provided a Chapter Guide online (https://www.sacrebleu.info) with paintings and photos to enhance the story and provide some historical accuracy.

The book can be purchased for an e-reader, but I recommend the hardcover. It's printed in blue ink and includes color photos of many of the paintings discussed in the book.

And, of course, it's hilarious!

(And an FYI for Moore fans: He's currently working on the sequel to Fool which will combined many of Shakespeare's other plays including Merchant of Venice and Othello. Moore first tried writing it in iambic pentameter, but when it took him three days to write one page, he abandoned the style. Next, he's going to be writing the sequel to A Dirty Job.)

March 24, 2012 at 11:36am
March 24, 2012 at 11:36am
I've found that the music which motivates me may not be typical... I like LMFAO and The Black Eyed Peas as much as the next person, I guess, and the beat is nice to run along with. But when you need that deep down motivation, that voice that cries, "YOU'VE GOT THIS! DON'T STOP!" I just don't get that kind of motivation from most typical running playlists.

Today's run was a tough one. Around mile 1, I just wanted to stop. I wanted to walk home in defeat, but I talked myself into keeping on. And it was worth it! I thought I'd share my personal playlist. I use a long playlist of 75 songs and I put it on random. When I first started running, I needed a structured playlist, but I'm finding now that I like not knowing what song will come next.

1. Newborn by Muse - During my warm-up walk. Muse is, by definition, inspiration. *Wink*

2. Holiday in Cambodia by Dead Kennedys - still warming up. This song makes me think of my husband and how he played it over and over and over on Rock Band, until he got a perfect score on it. I admire his determination.

3. The House of the Rising Sun by The Animals - I loooove this song. I borrowed the CD from my Dad a few years ago because I love this song so much. The song has so much emotion in it, that I can't help but find it inspiring.

4. Spaceman by The Killers - Such a motivational song! Makes me believe in everything!

5. Dance to the War by Hierosonic - a local band that I really, really love. Look them up!

6. You're Not Here by Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill 3 Soundtrack) - Song about being addicted to someone, I think.

7. Kids in America by Kim Wilde - Makes me want to dance! Which is tough when I'm running... *Laugh*

8. The Young Crazed Peeling by The Distillers - I love girl punk bands! They make me feel tough!

9. Don't Stop by Innerpartysystem - Don't Stop! A great message while running! Just keep going!

10. Immigrants & Hypocrites by The Star F***ing Hipsters - another girl punk band

11. Only Happy When It Rains by Garbage - Great timing as it started raining! This song reminds me that being in a state of discomfort is a GOOD thing. If I never move outside of my comfort zone, I'll never grow!

12. Infinity by Hierosonic - Again, one of my fave local bands, and this song inspired my recent tattoo! At this song, I looked down at the infinity symbol on my wrist and thought, "If I could endure a needle poking me over and over for 20 minutes, I can finish this 5-minute interval!" Seriously, look the band up on Facebook! You'll love them!

13. Electric Chapel by Lady Gaga - A great beat. I love running/walking to this song!

14. Ballroom Blitz by Long Tall Texans - I thought I was done my run, but this song came on and I thought, why not run a few more minutes?

15. Firing Squad by Penetration - Another girl band. A good song to listen to just after finishing strong.

16. Mary, Mary by Chumbawamba - An awesome song from the Stigmata soundtrack. Still feeling strong.

17. The End Has No End by The Strokes - Last song during cool down, another of my faves, and reminding me that being healthy and fit is a lifestyle with no end!

The point is, sometimes it's good to find a playlist online and use that, but sometimes it's good to pick what inspires you! Choose songs that have personal meaning to you, that you find motivational and inspiring!

Choose songs that make you think about the reasons you're doing what you're doing.
March 6, 2012 at 7:47pm
March 6, 2012 at 7:47pm
I recently started weight-lifting, following the plan in this book:

ASIN: 1583333398
Amazon's Price: $ 20.00

Previously, I was consuming about 1200-1400 calories per day, running about 3 times per week, and some strength training. My issue is that I think I'm borderline hypoglycemic, and I often felt dizzy from low blood sugar.

Now, I lift heavy (heavy for me, that is) weights twice per week, and I consume 1800-2000 calories per day. I've done this for just over one month now, and my weight has stayed the same (which is my goal) and I lost half an inch from my waist!

It feels awesome not to be dizzy from under-eating! I don't think I'll ever go back to how I ate before!

The book calls for an increase in protein, about 96g for me, and a decrease in carbs. I am in no way a supporter of "low-carb" diets, even for short periods of time. I still get about 200g of carbs (as opposed to 20-50 in low-carb diets), but overall, the percentage of calories from carbs has dropped to about 40%. My diet previously was at least 50% carbs, then 25% protein and fat each.

Personally, switching to complex carbs has helped keep my blood sugar levels steady throughout the day, in addition to increasing my calorie intake. On the weekends, I sometimes slip into my old habits of eating (with white breads, donuts, chips, basically "simple" carbs), and my blood sugar spikes, then drops. I really hate the feeling of being weak, confused and irritable because my blood sugar is too low!

Part of the reason I could never do low carb (in addition to it being generally not very healthy) is that I couldn't give up fruit! One medium banana has 28g of carbs! I can't go without my morning banana! *Laugh*

I've definitely noticed an increase in strength, too. I've gone from using 5lb weights to going up to about 17lbs! The workouts are getting tough, too! I love it! There's such a sense of accomplishment and strength by completing a set of an exercise at a weight I know I couldn't do a few months ago! I love having shorter workouts that are obviously working for me.

I definitely recommend the plan in this book, though it's not for everyone. Women tend to have a problem with the idea of eating more to follow a plan, and this plan isn't necessarily for people looking to lose weight (though building muscle may ultimately lead to a loss of fat). In order to build muscle, you need to consume more calories than you're burning, which means you probably won't lose weight. The number on the scale will most likely go up, and many women can't handle that.

My original goal was to maintain my weight, but build muscle, and I'm finally doing that! I've been talking about building strength every Winter for three years now, and I'm happy I'm finally working on it!

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