Review: Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

I finally went and saw this one. I didn’t want to fight opening-weekend-rush but I also wanted to avoid spoilers (I mostly did). So my Balance was waiting a week and going at 9:30 on Friday morning. Firstly, there’s a rumor Disney fired (or is about to fire) the head of Lucas Arts (the Star Wars division). GOOOD. I don’t know if this person just doesn’t understand multi-movie franchises (you’d think they could just go talk to some Marvel people about it…) or if they just don’t understand plot. Or character development. Or you know…. storytelling. That is my non-spoiler review of The Rise of Skywalker. You have been safely warned that the rest of this review is probably going to have spoilers. Because I am going to approach this a little differently than a normal review. And I might “spoil” something from this latest movie in the process. The plot between Kylo Ren and Rey make me wonder (like

read more Review: Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker

Review: Anna Karenina

The TL;DR review for this book (since this is such a damn long book): I wouldn’t have minded an abridged version. That is the first time in my life I have read a book and wished for the abridged version. Ok, maybe I would have liked one for Prince of Tides too, but I had to read that for school. This is the first time for a book I read by choice. (Again – Tale of Two Cities I might need abridged. That thing is just my Achilles heel). To begin with, I am very confused why Anna is the titular character. The book begins with Constantine Levin and ends with Levin. Why isn’t he the name on the cover??? It is like 10 chapters before Anna is even introduced! And then it isn’t like most of the rest of the book follows her. I am sure if I went and counted the chapters about Levin and the chapters about

read more Review: Anna Karenina

Manners: Social Justice Warrior, Christian, or other…?

This is at least attempt #3 to write this post over the past 12 months. I keep starting it, writing a few hundred words, and deleting it all again. Because this is a tough topic – how to live a socially conscious life. And I am going to start by saying, we all probably doing it wrong. That is really the conclusion on the manners of it that I’ve come to. It might be possible to live a truly “socially conscious” life, but not everyone can manage it. Because it isn’t easy. Beginning: Defining the Problem Let me begin by defining “socially conscious life.”  This entire post was inspired about a year ago when my LBGTQ friends began (again) to boycott Chick-fil-A. Hell, SCOTUS just heard oral arguments to determine whether LBGTQ employment will be protected or not. It’s not like we got marriage equality and suddenly all the issues LBGTQ people face were magically solved. As a straight person,

read more Manners: Social Justice Warrior, Christian, or other…?

Memories: Milk

Every November I remember the gallon of milk a strange bought for me. This year it somehow feels poignant all over again. The reminder of how vulnerable we actually are. How impermanent things actually are. It might be increased anxiety speaking right now, but every time I begin to feel overwhelmed I remember – when I desperately needed it, a complete stranger bought me milk so I could eat.

Politics: Quid Pro Quo

There is something interesting in all the discussions of “Quid Pro Quo” I haven’t really seen addressed, something which I think has people confused. It isn’t excessively subtle, but it’s a stupid point. So quid pro quo means (Google defines it) as “a favor or advantage granted or expected in return for something.” And yes, Mulvaney was technically not wrong that the United States used quid pro quo “all the time.” It isn’t all the time, but it is really frequent. Here are some examples (both good and bad) that I know of: We will not give aid to Nepal if their doctors talk to women about abortions We will lift sanctions on Iran if they allow nuclear inspectors in Remove a corrupt pro-Russian prosecutor from office and we’ll give you military aid. I didn’t want to make a massive list, we do use quid pro quo regularly in our foreign affairs. Hell, Congress (well, they used to) trade votes.

read more Politics: Quid Pro Quo

Politics: the impeachment hearings

I have been trying NOT to just listen to the hearings… it’s awful. For so many reasons, I don’t really want to listen. I feel like it’s important to at least get some recaps each day (this is too important an issue). But if you DO listen and you need something for sanity – I came up with an Impeachment Hearings Drinking Game 1 chug “can the president appoint anyone he wants as an ambassador” 1 chug “Russian collusion delusion” references 1 chug “let her answer the full question” 1 shot “no one is above the law” 1 shot “we should know who the whistleblower is/whistleblower is a coward.” 1 shot “Hunter Biden” 1 water “thank you for your service” (you need it!) 1 water every time an aide gives the representative a correction After I wrote up my thoughts I went to the internet and found Gizmodo had a more thorough list (I still like mine, but theirs is

read more Politics: the impeachment hearings

Reading: 2019 Resolution Nov. Edition

I am behind on my resolution of classics (still). I might not make it. I am going to put in a damn good effort though!! This is of course on top of my annual “I am going to try NaNoWriMo again” attempt. Completed: Frankenstein The Bell Jar My Sister’s Keeper The Phantom Tollbooth The Great Gatsby Wuthering Heights Attempted and failed: A Tale of Two Cities (for the upteenth time in my life!) Started: Kidnapped (Robert Louis Stevenson) audiobook downloaded from the library. The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K. LeGuin) downloaded from the library Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy) been listening to the audiobook (from Librivox) in the car. I am on Chapter 133 out of 238 which is 56%, but it’s on hold since Kidnapped came through. On hold/planned/gotten: Good Omens (Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman) downloaded the ebook from Google Play The God of Small Thing (Arundhati Roy) I am on hold with a copy from the library. Silence

read more Reading: 2019 Resolution Nov. Edition

Work: Interview Questions I Love and Hate

I teach people how to interview.  Recently, this particular article swam through my emails of “hey, you seem to read these” (I do). I hate some of these questions. I tell managers to avoid asking them – and if you DO ask them, be prepared for a well-polished and prepared answer (and be warned if the candidate ISN’T prepared, but better to just avoid). That first question – Tell Me About Yourself – the article says don’t go off on a “personal” tangent. They essentially tell you to summarize your resume. BAH!  BAH I SAY. That is terrible advice – and I actually have always taught managers that if the candidate can’t or won’t get off their resume – it’s a yellow flag. Not a deal-breaker, it could be an act of nerves – but if you are looking for a candidate to build relationships it is a dangerous inability. I almost entirely disagree with this writer on how to

read more Work: Interview Questions I Love and Hate

Musing: Daycare

Remy is six months old. He has been in daycare for two weeks now and I have thoughts. My mother has a brilliant approach to life choices like “daycare vs Stay at Home Mom (SHM)” questions – there are always trade-offs. There isn’t necessarily a right answer, they both can be right and wrong in their own ways. With that said, I think daycare is the right choice for my child. For a variety of reasons, some of which others told me before we signed him up and some which I hadn’t heard from friends and family. An upside-downside is the hit to his immune system.  Now, we haven’t had anything yet (knock on wood) but it’s also only been two weeks. I can 1000% understand when a mom is going “I can’t work from home and my kid isn’t very sick – I need to work and they need to go somewhere, so… Tylenol!” Is that half-day (until the

read more Musing: Daycare

Politics: Returning to Gun Control

I haven’t revisited my stance on gun control since 2015. I still stand by my stance that I want responsible gun owners to be able to keep their guns, but my post from 2014 is now inaccurate. At the time, the latest data was from 2012. Well, the data has updated and I feel it is only appropriate for me to revisit this conversation at least to acknowledge this. In this article, the data from 2017 is out and…. well now guns kill more people than cars. The latest data available for free (you can buy the 2017 report right now) is 2016. And in 2016 the numbers were not good. Just to compare:   2012 2016 PercentileChange: Total firearms (not suicides): 8,855 14,415 163% Total homicide (all weapons): 12,765 19,362 152% Total motor vehicle: 30,800 40,327 131% Now, I’m not happy that all these numbers are rising. That is NOT a good trend line. But the trend line on

read more Politics: Returning to Gun Control