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I give it 2 stars so far

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/daily-prompt-four-stars/

My review on the first 16 chapters of the book, Courtland’s Life:

The opening was shocking. A couple, the wife pregnant, was in a car wreck, causing the protagonist’s mother to go into labor. After that, it was pretty crappy for awhile. (get it? Crappy? Because diapers..)

Chapter 2 was just terrible. (Terrible twos? Anyone? That also makes TWO terrible jokes…)

The first several chapters of this book were horribly boring, I don’t even remember much before chapter four.

Although as a whole, the first 10 chapters or so didn’t carry much excitement, there were little happenings that kept me reading. For example, in the fifth chapter, the protagonist (who we have now learned to be named Courtland) is sitting at his Kindergarten class waiting for his mother to pick him up, when he poops his pants. This is pretty funny in itself, but it gets better: Courtland has a crush on a girl, who he is sitting by when he poops his pants. The girl moves when it happens, but he follows her. At least three times. This is nice use of foreshadowing as to what is to come, and what is to come is a very painful couple of chapters: Chapters 12 and 13.

I’d hate to skip 7 chapters like this, but nothing particularly interesting happened between chapters 5 and 12. Not entirely sure why I kept reading, to be honest, but I did. Chapter 12 was very interesting. This was when Courtland started to REALLY get into girls. Courtland also became a pretty major attention-seeker around this time, often pretending to cry in class in order to get attention. A risky move from the author, if you ask me, but it definitely serves to develop some tension in later chapters, by estranging his peers. He also liked to pretend to be asleep at his desk, and moan/hump as if having a wet dream. I feel that the author took it a bit too far with that one. But it got him a great place to have his peers think he was really odd, which was obviously his goal.

Courtland also developed his first major crush in chapter 12, which is where the fun really began. You know how sometimes, tv shows or movies with have a stereotypical “super creep?” Well, Courtland was that, but 12 years old. He would always stare at her, sing her love songs, tell her how much he loves her– and he didn’t even know her! (I’m a few pages into chapter 17, 5 chapters later, and these troubles have only gotten a lot better: They’re definitely still there.) He even used his birthday money to buy her a $100 ring, which was just painful to read. Chapter 12 was when I started questioning how much I REALLY wanted to continue reading, but that wouldn’t become prominent until chapters 14 and 15.

To begin chapter 13, Courtland moved across the country. My initial thought was “Good! A fresh start, this is how the whole ‘everyone thinks he’s a f**king dork’ thing will be resolved!” Oh, how wrong I was. He had a better idea of how “not creeping girls out” works, but he was still of the opinion that girls like it when less-than-attractive guys stare at them, which contributed greatly to his new peers still thinking he was a major dork. That, and him still being a major dork. At this point in the book, readers have not been enlightened as to what makes him such a weirdo. But he’s started to notice it as the case, so he should soon start to figure out why, an fix it, right? Wrong. After he figures out that staring is bad, he moves on to posting about eight statuses a day to Facebook about his crush, referring to his crush as “she.” Very painful to read, but Courtland is only slightly aware that this is inappropriate behavior at this point in time.

Now we get to chapter 14! Courtland is now in high school, and things are no better for him socially. He has stopped doing all the super weird stuff, to very little, if any, benefit. This is where the urge to stop reading really became severe; but I didn’t, because people kept reassuring me that the book would get better. His social life pretty much stagnates for the next couple of chapters, but he does get his first girlfriend and first kiss at the beginning of chapter 15!

This relationship ends after two months, and the book starts to get painful to read again, without anything worth reading happening, leading me to become tempted to stop reading very often for the rest of chapter 15, and almost all of chapter 16.

I recently started chapter 17, and its really starting to look like it’ll be worth reading again pretty soon. After therapy and antidepressants, Courtland has started to gain..some..confidence, he finally has a good friend, and the book isn’t focusing nearly as much on his situation with girls.

Overall, I give it 2 out of 5 stars so far, but I haven’t finished reading yet, and it definitely has the potential to become a 5 star book.

Silver Linings

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/01/daily-prompt-silver-lining/

There aren’t many things I can think of uglier than ignorance. Scientific ignorance, especially. I heard today that 10% of Britain thinks that it takes the Earth a month to go around the Sun. (Don’t quote me on that percentage, I may remember it wrong, but its something like that) That’s a very disappointing lack of knowledge, but it isn’t ignorance. Scientific ignorance is when you try to get our public schools to “teach the controversy:” evolution and intelligent design. I won’t go into my beef with creationism right now, it is fine-ish as an idea– but it is not science. Evolution has been peer-reviewed, using observations and experiments (usually observations, I’m sure) dealing with DNA and fossils and other things which are above my pay grade to explain. Intelligent design is just a bunch of people like “ya know, I think this is what happened.” Which is fine and dandy–but it is not science and it does not belong in my science classroom.

A lot of people don’t seem to like evolution because it is “just a theory,” failing to understand that a theory in science is very different from a theory in everyday conversation. Which, again, is only a lack of knowledge, not ignorance– until you try to argue that to people who do know what they’re talking about.

But, I can talk at more length about this later; this is about silver linings. While there is no doubt that ignorance at its current level is bad; I feel that it results in higher esteem being placed on those of intelligence. Such as myself. Just kidding. Like, say, Carl Sagan. I mean, of course people like him would be held in high esteem anyway, but I feel like they’re held higher as a result of the “escape from the ignorance of your peers” factor.

Or maybe not, who knows.

How Something Small Made a Very Big Impact

Sometimes when you’re in a very bad place, reassurance can come from the most unlikely of places. For me, that place was Pocket Planes, a Tycoon-type game I play on my Nexus 7 tablet.

For those that don’t know, Pocket Planes is a game that originated on Apple, then made its way to the Android market. The premise of the game is simple: You own a small airline, and you have to turn it into a big airline. If you’re interested, there is more info here: http://www.polygon.com/2012/11/14/3590214/pocket-planes-guide-how-to-build-the-best-airline

In the game, you can be part of a “flight crew:” There are certain events to fly things to certain places, and your flight crew is the group that you participate in these events with. In the menu, you have access to your flight crew’s ranking against other crews, and your personal ranking within your crew.

Now for why this matters to me: As I only got the game a few days ago, this is the first event I’m participating in. My crew, Reddit, is number 7 in the world, currently with 4,691 jobs done. I am number 15 in my crew, with 108 jobs done.

“So why does this matter?” I hear you muttering to yourself. Well, it probably doesn’t. However, the number 8 flight crew in the world has 4633 as I write this, meaning that without my 108, the Reddit flight crew would be number 8 in the world, instead of number 7. Is this a huge deal? No. But as someone who lives his life with clinical depression, who feels like he doesn’t really matter to anyone a lot of the time, it becomes a huge deal.

Those 108 jobs I’ve completed, and my being the difference between my team being number 7 in the world, and number 8, are not terribly important. However, in a world where I spend a lot of my time feeling completely insignificant, they are a big deal; and are just one more thing working with me, when it feels like most things are working against me.

So, my challenge to you, the reader, is this: If you see an opportunity to make someone feel important, in no matter how big or small a way, be sure to take it. I’m not saying to go out of your way to make every single person you meet feel extremely important, though– as great as that would be, it would start to become time-consuming and stressful, and the things you want to do would start taking the back seat. This would not be good, because we as humans need to put ourselves first, (evolutionarily, this is because food was scarce for almost all of the evolutionary life of Homo Sapien, so for awhile, if you let another person get the food, you probably didn’t eat for awhile) else we’ll get super stressed and our mental health will suffer. I’m just saying, try to make it a goal to make at least one person per day feel important. You never know how much of an affect that’ll have, even if it was something very small.

Thank you Mobage, developers of Pocket Planes among other games I haven’t played yet but plan to, for providing this opportunity. Consider me a loyal customer, although you already could have, because Pocket Planes is my favorite game right now anyway.

Short school paper on why we don’t kill humans who are suffering

When an animal suffers, humans see it as our responsibility to end this animal’s misery. This is not the case, however, when a human suffers. Why not? Because humans still have potential value while suffering. All animals are good for, according to many people, is to do work. Even pets have the job of making their owners happy. Most of the time, suffering (such as a broken leg or a tumor) makes their job significantly more difficult, sometimes impossible. Humans, however, can still be productive whilst suffering. Humans still make conversation, and sometimes still provide for their families and employers, while suffering. This, along with the moral view that a human life is exceedingly more important than an animal’s life, explains why most do not condone the killing of a human because of that human’s suffering.

However, the mercy killing of a human, should the human so desire, should absolutely be legal and condoned. No human being should be forced to suffer more than that person wants to because of the moral code of other people. Accordingly, each person should keep a will regarding what action to take in the event that this person should become otherwise incapacitated, such as slipping into a coma. Presumably, in the absence of such a will, either it would be assumed that this person wants to live, or the closest family would decide for him/her.

Self-Pity

Self-Pity

First off, I’d like to apologize for the absence of a post yesterday, December 31st, and the extreme tardiness of a post for today, January 1st. (I guess it’s the 2nd now, haha) Next, I’d like to talk about the comic I’ve posted here.

This is a comic about self-pity, hence the title of my post, haha. Though, it didn’t start as a comic, if I’m not mistaken– its a quote, by British actor Stephen Fry. In this quote, (that doesn’t sound like the best way I could have put that… Oh well) Fry says that a person’s most destructive vice is not pride, the number one cardinal sin, but self-pity. He says that it destroys anything good in life, fulfills all of its prophecies and leaves only itself. He says that it’s easy to view yourself as the victim: That you’ve had a bad life, by no fault of your own. He says that he once wanted to publish a self-help book, simply stating “Stop feeling sorry for yourself and you will be happy.” He also admits that while it seems so simple to stop feeling sorry for yourself, it is, indeed, a “bloody hard” thing to do.

This quote really speaks to me. Probably more than any other quote I’ve ever heard, in fact. I have struggled with self-pity for years. (I’m getting there, this blog was actually my first step in actually doing something worthwhile!) I’m not going to assume anyone’s age that is reading this, but if any of you, guy or girl, are after high school age, I’m sure a lot of you can remember a similar experience. (Or maybe I just tell myself that to feel less abnormal 😛 ) There was probably a specific aspect of your life that your self-pity was focused on– maybe your athletic ability, your weight, or the amount of money in your parents’ bank accounts– for me, its girls. Social life in general, really, but mostly girls. Which I can’t imagine is a very rare scapegoat to pin one’s self pity on, haha.

I know I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself. I know there’s probably a lot that I could do to help my situation. I know I’m a great guy, and that at some point, I’ll find myself a nice girl. (The feeling of abnormality because of my inexperience is a big part of it too, but that could be a whole post of its own) I know that I’m not the only guy in the world that can’t seem to find a girl. But that’s the tricky thing about the human mind…

You can logically know the hell out of something, while feeling something completely different. Logically, I know I deserve a great girl, and that I’m not the only one who can’t seem to find one. But emotionally, it truly feels like I must not deserve one, and it truly feels like I’m the only guy on the planet that can’t find one. Another, smaller, example: I almost quit at McDonald’s, because I’ve been asking them to train me on front counter since at least late September, and they had not yet done so. (this being about a week and a half ago–They started training me on it yesterday, and I loved it so much I almost can’t accept their money now!) Logically, I knew there was almost certainly a good reason they had not yet trained me on it, but it felt like I was just being ignored.

I feel that this is what Stephen Fry meant when he said that it’s “bloody hard” to stop feeling sorry for yourself: No matter how well you know something, its damned difficult to transfer that knowledge into feeling differently about it, sometimes.

Do you have a story about self-pity, or similar life trials? Feel free to share in the comments, if its something you’re willing to share!

[credit for finding the comic (not sure who made it, don’t believe it was him) goes to user kyles0623 on Reddit.com, posted to http://www.reddit.com/r/GetMotivated 4 days ago]

Playhouse Ponderings

Before I start, I’d like to clarify that by “Playhouse,” I mean the ones found in some McDonald’s, Burger King, etc., locations. (Or at least I think I can say etc. I don’t remember seeing them anywhere other than those two, but I’m sure there are others)

Now, before I get into my thoughts related to the playhouse, I have a semi-entertaining story to share: (If you didn’t read my first post, I currently work at McDonald’s) When I got my job at McDonald’s, one of the biggest things I was excited for was getting an excuse to go into the playhouse for some reason or another. A couple months passed, and I forgot about this dream of mine. But then, around my third month of employment, it finally happened: an excuse to go into the playhouse, and clean it. So I grabbed my towel and sanitizer spray, and went into it. My first thought was, “Wow, this place is a lot smaller than I remember.” So, I guess they shrunk it for some reason, or something. So much so, in fact, that I got stuck for a good two minutes in a certain place. There’s also this place that is connected by netting, and meant to shake when you go across it. (its supported by beams, there’s no real danger, but it sure as hell feels like it) I have a horrible fear of heights, but I thought I’d at least overcome that. Nope. Had to abort that leg of the mission because I was scared to death. On my way out, I somehow managed to spray myself in the eye with sanitizer. Got all over my glasses, as well as in my eye. Thankfully, I am not dead, and I can still see out of that eye, haha. So, yeah. Not nearly as fun an experience as I thought it would be. Now on to my thoughts 😀

Today at work, while talking to a couple who’s little daughter was playing in the playhouse, I had a few thoughts about it, some of them involving metaphors for life:

1. The playhouse is a scary place at almost any age, though for different reasons: when you’re little, its big and you can get lost easily; when you’re grown up, its small and you can hurt yourself or get stuck. I think there’s a sweet spot at around 8-11 where its not scary for either reason.

2. When you’re little, its both scary and a learning experience. You learn how to find your way around places, persistence, and a little bit of courage. When you’re big, its just scary, there’s really nothing to learn.

3. Today, the couple’s daughter was right by the entry to the exit slide, but she couldn’t find it. I feel that this is a metaphor for life: Sometimes the answer is right under your nose, but you can’t see it.

That’s all, thanks for reading! 😀

Have you ever learned a life lesson from an extremely unlikely place? If so, share in the comments! 😀

“I was just in the drive-through, and I didn’t get…No, I left my receipt at home”

So, I work at McDonald’s. (Until the 7th anyway, haha) Almost all of our customers (or “guests” as they like us to call them) are good, nice, honest people. But every now and then, we get some not-so-honest people. Take last week, for example: This guys comes in three days in a row; each day smelling like major marijuana, and each day saying he just came through the drive-through, ordered a large Dr. Pepper, (Almost embarrasses me to be Pepper drinker myself!) didn’t get it, and left his receipt at home.

The first day, we didn’t say anything, because people come in without their receipts all the time, having honestly ordered and paid for something they didn’t receive, Also, in my town, people smelling like marijuana isn’t a rarity either, (though its never as strong as this guy, he’s not a very smart stoner) so we didn’t really think twice about it. Its best to give the benefit of the doubt, anyway. The second day, we got kinda suspicious, obviously. But we didn’t say anything, because we figured he might have just gotten very unlucky. The third day, however, was when we could tell something was afoot. I didn’t do anything, cause I just clean lobby, but the behind-the-counter people tried to give him carbonated water (kind of a dick move, but come on? Three days in a row? He kind of deserved it) but he didn’t go for that. Which wasn’t surprising– had he ordered Sprite, it would have been better.

Which brings me to the second happening: The other day, this girl walks in. I happen to know her, and know she isn’t exactly the most honest person around. She goes to the counter and says “I was just in the drive-through, and I didn’t get my Big Mac, two 20-piece nuggets, three Dr. Peppers, a Coke, and large fry…No, I forgot my receipt at home.” Ok. So, I’m not saying she definitely wasn’t being honest, but that’s a pretty extravagant claim, someone would have had to have messed up big time for that to have happened.

Now, I don’t mean to say that any extravagant claim in this context is automatically dishonest–a guy came in yesterday, (It was a gentleman in a green shirt, if I recall) saying that he ordered 3 20-piece nuggets (That’s 60 nuggets) and didn’t get them. I’m sorry to admit that I believed him, mostly because he was a larger gentleman. Then I got skeptical (didn’t say it, because I wasn’t talking to him anyway) until he pulled out his receipt. And also, we did end up finding out that someone messed up in a pretty major way.

So what’s the point of this, you may ask? Don’t be dishonest, and try to always bring your receipt when saying you didn’t get something, especially if you were skipped out on a lot of stuff, or this is the third day in a row this has happened.