ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.

Monthly Archive: August 2016

Wednesday

24

August 2016

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COMMENTS

What Does A Word Cost?

Written by , Posted in Random

About six months and a whole lot of money, if you’re Hope Solo, and the word is ‘coward.’ US Soccer has terminated its contract with Ms. Solo for the comments she made after losing to Sweden during the Olympics, and suspended her for six months.

On the one hand – she isn’t what some people seem to want in a female athlete. She gets in trouble, she doesn’t always apologize, and she has an attitude. I like her more than I like Clint Dempsey, but that seems to be a comparable player. Both are really good, both seem to have giant chips on their shoulders, and both don’t seem interested in apologizing for who they are.

On the other hand – really? Six months for that? It seems … excessive.

(Maybe those are both the same hand? I don’t know.)

Also, as some others have mentioned, it’s super convenient that she was only suspended for 30 days after the van borrowing DUI / fight with her nephew , which meant she missed no real competition. But now that the world cup and Olympics are over, US Soccer cares about her attitude?

That’s a bit rough to even pretend to believe.

More info here: http://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2016/08/24/uswnt-hope-solo-suspended-us-soccer-six-months-olympics-sweden-cowards

 

Sunday

21

August 2016

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COMMENTS

Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Two Stars

Nerve

I usually reserve two stars for really bad books (the coveted 1 star remains, I believe, only awarded to that Cinderella mess from a couple years back). But this year when I look back on the books I’ve rated as three stars, they are all better than this one. So keep that in mind.

I picked this up because the Pajiba review of the film that came out earlier this year was pretty good. I’ve just gone back and re-read the review and it looks like the filmmakers took the names and premise from the book but changed pretty much everything else. Probably for the best.

In case you don’t know the premise, here it is: there’s a real-time live action game show that involves individuals signing up to complete recorded dares for prizes. Vee, tired of being outshined by her best friend, decides to sign up.

But let’s back up. The book starts out with a prologue that – spoiler alert – is never resolved. I mean, we figure out (sort of) what happens, but still. Not great writing.

Anyway, you don’t know the prologue never gets resolved until the end of the book. So yay for that. But the next glaring problem is that a 17-year-old in Washington state would be able to sign up for this game without parental permission. Moving past that, the naiveté of the main character is sort of mind boggling. I suppose it’s necessary for the plot, but I’m not sure.

It all takes place in Seattle over the course of I think three days, so the action is compact. The dares increase in difficulty / awkwardness / danger, until the ‘grand finale’ dare, which is so ridiculous. Like, I get that some young people make poor decisions, but come on.

Also, there’s this weird storyline about how maybe the main character tried to kill herself at some point, which doesn’t really totally get resolved.

Then the book ends, there’s an epilogue sort of (which again doesn’t address the prologue at all – it’s like it never happened), and then it’s over. I read it in a day, and I’m not mad I read it, it just wasn’t good.

Thursday

18

August 2016

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New Adventure

Written by , Posted in Uncategorized

Tomorrow is Friday, and I don’t have to go to work. If you know me, then you know that isn’t that odd; for the last few years I have worked a flex schedule. By working eight nine-hour days and one right hour day, I could have every other Friday off. Most of the time those Fridays involved chores, movies, and seeing friends.

A few months ago, Austin and I talked about how I didn’t really have enough time or energy to write. Not enough time to work on my book proposal, and not enough time to put together other essays, or pitch articles. So we agreed I would ask my boss for a reduced schedule.

My boss knows I write. She is supportive, which is awesome. She hesitated at my proposal of an 80% schedule, but gave the go ahead to 90%. So starting this week, I work 36 hours, and get every Friday off. It’s only an extra four hours, but coupled with evenings on occasion, this will give me the chance to get even more into my writing. To really try to make a go out of it.

I’m lucky we can afford to cut about 5% on our income to let me try something different. I’m also proud if myself for trying to get my life to match more what I want it to be. I didn’t know working FL time but only four days a week was an option; I’m pretty stoked to make it work.

Of course it means i have to REALLY focus at work the days I am there, but knowing I have three days off coming up will make that pretty easy to do.

Fingers crossed this works out!

Sunday

14

August 2016

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COMMENTS

I Used To Run Half Marathons?

Written by , Posted in Adventures

This morning I ran my first race – a 10K – in four years.

I used to run a lot. Starting in late 2008 I began training for half marathons with some friends. I wasn’t a runner, but my friends convinced me that with training, anyone could run 13.1 miles. I mean, I wasn’t going to WIN any half marathons, but I could train myself to finish one.

My first race was a 10K in the middle of training for that first half marathon. If I’m recalling correctly, it was in October, and I finished right around an hour. That was followed by a drizzly Long Island half, followed by one in Brooklyn that ended on the Coney Island Boardwalk.

I’ve run the NYC half (in damn near 80 degrees – never again), the Royal Parks half (about a week after moving to London), the Birmingham (England) half, the Vancouver half (where I set a personal best and finished under 2 hours!) and two in Seattle (the Seattle half the day after Thanksgiving, and the Rock and Roll half the day a good friend had her baby).

I also ran a half marathon in Paris, which was freaking amazing. Seriously, running past the Bastille, and ending in a gorgeous park? Amazing. But it also had it’s challenges, and that one toenail hasn’t really ever properly recovered.

The only time Austin and I have raced together was at what I think was my last half marathon, in Portland. Austin had some training issues due to injury, and switched to the 10K last minute. During the race his knee really acted up, and although he did manage to finish, it wasn’t what you’d call fun. Since then, injuries – and life – have kept me from pursuing another half.

Today we got up at 6, took the bus to Lake Union, and joined a couple thousand folks for a 10K run/walk. It’s a gorgeous route, circling the Lake and ending at the same start. I didn’t feel any pressure to do anything other than have fun – I’ve been training for three months, so I knew I could finish. And in the end, I did. At just over 1:05, Austin and I ended up crossing the finish together, which was pretty sweet. He’s got a cold though, so who knows if that will ever happen again.

But oof, was I tired. I mean, I know I have been training, but the longest run I’ve done in years is 7 miles. When I passed the 4 mile marker today, all I could think was “I used to run races with NINE MORE MILES at this point?!” That just seems absurd right now.

I don’t know if I’ll run another half marathon. Maybe. But I think these 10Ks are definitely fun ways to see different parts of the Sound.

Next up – Beat the Blerg, a 10K in Carnation that includes cake at each aid station. Yes, you read that right. Cake.

Monday

8

August 2016

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COMMENTS

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Four Stars

I voted for this for the CBR book club, because it’s been on my to-read list for a couple of years and I knew this would be the motivation I needed. And I’m so glad it was selected, because this was really a great book.

I didn’t entirely know what to expect, but I think the chapter early on (was it the second one) really set the tone. He talks about the worst thing about being poor wasn’t being hungry; it was not being able to take the dog to the vet when he was sick. That was just a big slap in the face of reality, and let me know that this wasn’t going to be a generic young adult book (not that I was expecting generic from Mr. Alexie).

The book follows Junior, a Spokane Indian who is motivated by a teacher to get a better education by attending the white high school 20 miles outside the reservation. The book somehow manages to address poverty, racism, opportunity, motivation, success, fear, alcoholism, and relationships with equal parts humor and depth. The book sounds like it could be the inner thoughts of a 14-year-old boy, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Really the only issue I took with it was the liberal use of the gay slur that starts with the letter f. I get that he’s trying to give us insight into how adolescent boys talk, but it was so jarring and I thought wasn’t necessary.

Sunday

7

August 2016

0

COMMENTS

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

4 November 2015; Marie Kondo, Author and Organising Consultant, Marie Kondo, on the Society Stage during Day 2 of the 2015 Web Summit in the RDS, Dublin, Ireland. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE / Web Summit

4 November 2015; Marie Kondo, Author and Organising Consultant, Marie Kondo, on the Society Stage during Day 2 of the 2015 Web Summit in the RDS, Dublin, Ireland. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE / Web Summit

Remember last year, when everyone you know – and everyone they know – was reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? I was one of those people. My husband and I really pared down out belongings at a serendipitous time; not a month later we received notice that we had to move, so it was much easier to pack our two-bedroom apartment up with 11 days’ notice after having taken over two carloads of belongings to Goodwill.

We continue to tidy following this method, for the most part, but we’ve moved into a new house, which came with many more places for stuff to accumulate. When I saw this sort-of-sequel was being released, I figured I’d want to read it. And I *think* I’m glad I did. But I’m not sure.

My hesitation is that I’m not entirely sure this book is necessary. It does have some good tips, and some cute illustrations (the little bunny in the pictures is adorable). But I think that a lot of this could have been worked into the original book. I totally get it; she struck gold, and her publishers likely wanted to capitalize on that. They got me, and as we go for another round of making sure we’re really sticking with only keeping things that ‘spark joy,’ this will probably come in handy.

Friday

5

August 2016

0

COMMENTS

Just Like Us by Helen Thorpe

Written by , Posted in Politics, Reviews

Three Stars

This was another choice for my office’s equity and social justice book club. I’m really happy that it was picked, as it covers the topic of immigration to the US. Specifically, it focuses on the challenges those without documentation face as they make their way out of high school and try to figure out what options are available. I think I would have preferred a book written by one of these women, though, which factors into my three-star rating.

Author Ms. Thorpe is a journalist who was also married to the mayor of Denver while writing her book. This is relevant because much of the book focuses on the broader policy and political issues focused on during the immigration debate, and her husband often found himself (or put himself) in the middle of those discussions. Ms. Thorpe decided to follow four young women from their junior year of high school until they were in their early 20s. Two of the four women had documentation; two did not.

Some of the challenges are ones you could probably imagine – how do you go to college, for example, if you have very little money, don’t qualify for any financial aid, AND have to pay out-of-state tuition since you can’t prove residency? But others might not be top of mind to everyone – like how to handle the stress of knowing your parents could be arrested and deported at any point.

I appreciate the skill and research necessary to write this type of book that covers nearly seven years in the lives of many people, but I also think that people can best tell their own stories. Additionally, I often find myself annoyed with this book as Ms. Thorpe bends over backwards to appear neutral and give time to ‘both sides,’ but the ‘other side’ of the debate is often quite hateful. I do think there are real policy issues to be sorted out about how to address the needs of those who are here without documentation, but so many people who are so vocal about it seem to have really screwed up ideas about immigrants in general, and (in the case of at least one prominent politician), choose to think of their own immigrant ancestors as totally different, since they were European.

I also found myself cringing at times when she would use the term ‘illegal’ to describe the women or their families. I fall firmly in the camp that no person is ‘illegal.’ And of course I cringed whenever the author spoke of or with Tom Tancredo. Because ugh. That guy.

I do think I got a lot out of this book, but reading it also made me more interested in reading Diane Guerrero’s “In the Country We Love.”