The Seahawks' Spittle Shocker!

Two Super Bowls after the Seattle Seahawks poor showing in Super Bowl XL, fans are still bitter, and immature. At least he was arrested for this... oh yeah, and throw in a marijuana charge for good measure:
A 24-year-old South Kitsap man — and self-proclaimed Seattle Seahawks fan — was arrested Sunday for allegedly spitting on the hamburger he prepared for a man wearing Pittsburgh Steelers attire, according to Kitsap County Sheriff's Office reports.

Deputies said the 37-year-old man in Steelers garb took his daughters to a Mile Hill Drive fast food restaurant Saturday evening, and "began trading friendly barbs about his team and their victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL," reports said.

One employee told the man that he'd "better not say that to the guy that's making your food," but the man thought it was a joke, reports said.

That is, until he opened his "clamshell-style" hamburger container and discovered what he called a "loogie" on his hamburger.

The 37-year-old told his daughters to stop eating, demanded a refund and called the restaurant's district manager.

A deputy was informed by the manager that the person responsible may be a 24-year-old South Kitsap man who was near his quitting time when the incident occurred.

Eventually, the man confessed to spitting in the 37-year-old's hamburger container to "gross him out ... because he was a Steelers fan," deputies said.

He was booked into the Kitsap County jail for fourth-degree assault and possession of marijuana and released.
This is too hilarious to even be mad about, well, unless someone spit in my burger, of course. I think this Steelers fan can take one for the team.

Water for Elephants: A Review

Sara Gruen's story, Water for Elephants, takes readers back to the Great Depression, circus style! Alright, so it isn't all fun and games, as it might sound. Gruen bluntly relays the cruelties and ugliness of the circus during the Great Depression, and not just to the animals.

Told by a male protagonist, Jacob, in extreme old age (90 plus years, he can't remember exactly), a story of horror, romance and grief unfolds. Reeling from the death of his parents, Jacob drops out of Cornell and runs off to join the circus, sounds like a familiar plot, right? However, this circus is one of odds and ends gathered from dying circuses around the country. In the Great Depression, money for entertainment is not readily available, making circuses a dying cause that era. Jacob quickly falls in love, the catch? She's married to a man who possibly has bi-polar (my own diagnosis after analyzing his erratic behaviors) and shows immense cruelty to both humans and animals alike. Enter Rose, the elephant. A smart and mischievous and therefore utterly lovable elephant who quickly becomes the center of the story. With a violent climax, Gruen tries for the big reveal ending, which worked for some according to a couple of girls in my book club, but for me I predicted it halfway through the book.

Added to the blunt realities of the circus, Gruen does not shy away from Jacob's confinement in the "old folks home." Written with stark realism and contrasted with Jacob's younger years of freedom and independence, Jacob's present life in the home is depressing and extremely well written. I actually liked the chapters of Jacob in the home better than the exciting flashbacks because of how well written they were and also for the fact that it's easy to make a story about the circus interesting, but to make chapters about an old man sitting around in an old folks home interesting, now that's good writing. I was touched by those chapters and found extraordinary understanding and compassion in Gruen's writing. And not that I'd culturally ever do so anyways (Asian cultures tend to take care of their own elderly with reverence and respect), but I know for sure now that I'd never let my mother's feet touch the floor of any nursing home.

I wasn't exactly sure of Gruen's purpose of making the story a flashback, however. A mutual consensus of the book club was that there wasn't a "bigger meaning" easily gleaned from this book. The best I can come up with is a comparison between freedom and confinement in many different contexts. First, with Jacob having the freedom of running off to the circus with his whole life ahead of him and then contrasting that with the confinement of a nursing home where he's not even allowed to use his walker without permission. Also, the confinement of the animals and later their freedom which reeks havoc on the circus. And also the illusion of freedom with the circus folks, although many of them were trapped in the circus due to their unusual appearances or out of fear of being redlighted. And of course Marlena's confinement in an emotional and verbally abusive marriage, when she'd thought she was freeing herself from a boring and tedious marriage when she ran off with August. This does seem like the most consistent theme in the novel, however it did not strike any "aha!" cords in me or move me deeply in any way. More so, this book seemed like a light, enjoyable summer read (despite the cruelty in the book). The ending felt a little bit too convenient and tied up with a pretty red bow, and some of it was not so much believable to me, but it was fine because by the end I didn't expect huge aspirations for the book. It was more of a good story just for good stories sake, and that's just fine by me. The characters were memorable and the story was interesting.



The Sandman - Dream Country: A Review

A small break in the continuous story of The Sandman for a book of short stories in Dream Country. While losing some of the suspense of the other books that was one continuous plot line, it added texture and seemed to give life to many of the smaller interesting ideas that Neil Gaiman had been musing over but had been unable to incorporate into an entire book on its own.

Gaiman keeps with his dark and disturbing ideas in these stories, especially Muse in which a Muse is captured and brutalized by two separate writers looking for fame and fortune. Gaiman also brings fun twists of perception as he idealizes a world run by oversized cats. And of course, the charming story A Midsummer Night's Dream, that brings the world of Faerie together with Shakespeare's famed play. The last story, Facade, came off a little flat for me, but all in all, it was an enjoyable read and once again it stretches your imagination.

Where does this crazy man keep getting his ideas?



Eat, Pray, Love: A Review

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert is a book about, well, one woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia. The memoir is a brutally blunt look at Elizabeth Gilbert's "rock bottom" and her way back to happiness. The book invokes strong emotion from those that read it, so it seems, and tends be either loved or hated.

I took to the memoir without judgment, rolling with Elizabeth wherever she was in her journey. I'd been to the point in life where I was crying in the bathroom, unsure of myself and about my place and path in life. Who am I to judge her life crisis or her emotional breakdown? I found some of Elizabeth's methods of coping odd, but was okay with them because I have some odd ass methods myself.

The "eat" section of the book was incredibly slow for me because frankly, I don't care about food. I'm one of those people who if I could get through life without having to eat I'd do it. One less thing to do, after all. I'm also the type of person who can't function if I'm hungry, which really annoys me. I hate having to take care of myself overall, but having to feed myself three times a day, jeez what a pain. I also have fairly simple tastes, I'm definitely not a connoisseur of any sort of food, so in general, Gilbert's continuous descriptions of food fell flat on my tastes and I ended up skimming some of those parts, as much as I hate to admit that I skimmed, I did.

"Pray" was my favorite part of the book. As I'm a recent devotee to yoga and have been attempting to practice meditation, I appreciated Gilbert's frankness with the difficulties in practicing meditation and prayer. I felt that this part of the memoir touched me and met me where I was at spiritually, and frankly I'm more interested in developing countries such as India than any European country. I really felt touched by this section of the book and I admired Gilbert's devotion and struggles spiritually.

"Love" was entertaining and finally there was the juicy sex that everyone was looking for! Hope I didn't give anything big away, but for those frustrated in Italy that Liz wasn't getting laid by some hot Italian twin, fear not, her time will come. But this section also brings up some controversial topics when dealing with developing countries that I also had had some experience with. When someone Gilbert considers a friend begins to try to take advantage of her and get money out of her, Gilbert questions their friendship, but another foreigner to Bali explained to her that this was her friend's only chance to get anything in life and that to her this was survival for her and her daughter. I had a similar experience when in Uganda where a conference participant and someone I had considered a friend had told everyone that he had been robbed, again. Out of compassion many of the American participants gave him money to help him buy the things he'd lost only to find out months later that he had not been robbed at all but had lied to us to get money from us. I was both disappointed and hurt. But after reading Eat, Pray, Love I've thought about the situation a bit different, realizing that this Ugandan was in fact raising his two younger sisters on his own and did not have a job because the job market in Uganda is extremely sparse. It was survival for him, but on the other hand, did he deserve the money from us any more than the other Ugandan participants, all of which had their own individual struggles and family they were caring for, and yet they did not lie to us or ask for a dime from us? I always come back to my dear friend Abramz, whom I look up to and admire. He was helping children affected by the war with his Breakdance Project and paying for it all out of his own pocket, and also had not been able to obtain a job. And yet when I asked if I could purchase a copy of his CD, he refused to let me pay for it because he considered me his friend and would not take money from me. The only way I ended up "paying" for it was giving him a donation to his project in lieu of paying for the CD. So I guess I'm saying there are different ways people in developing countries can approach visiting Americans. One Ugandan took whatever he could get from them while they were there and then basically severed all ties with them since the lie, once revealed, made him untrustworthy. Abramz, on the other hand, decided to value the friendship more than the money, which was meaningful to me because although I know that I'm more well off than most of the Ugandans who were in the conference, I wanted to be seen and treated as a person, not a bag of walking money. And in return I've recently donated a large sum of money to Abramz, money I'd been saving up monthly for him, and that he'd never have dreamed of receiving. I can guarantee you that the amount of money that the Ugandan swindled out of us Americans was even half of what I've donated to Abramz, and I'm happy and feel fulfilled donating this money to Abramz because I have complete faith in his character.

Either way, I enjoyed reading this memoir. It provoked some thoughts and emotions about myself that I found useful and meaningful. Some of the ladies in my book club did not like this book because they felt that either it hit too close to home or that the author was "whiny." I guess I understand if it hit too close to home it'd be hard to read, but to call the author "whiny" and selfish annoyed me. I mean, um, hello, it's a memoir, it's supposed to be all about herself and her own thoughts. I found Gilbert extremely candid and brave and not whiny at all. Hell, I'd be twice as whiny as she was in many of the situations, so who am I to judge? Really, I had no judgment of the author's personal journey any more than I would of a friend going through a personal journey. Frankly, I'd have more judgment of myself than I did of the author because I respect people trying to figure things out for themselves and having the grace to find humor in it as well. I definitely don't prescribe to everything that she did for myself, but that's okay. Some of it was useful to me, other parts weren't, but it didn't bother me. Whatever I didn't find useful I just found entertaining and moved on.



The Life Of A Social Worker.

I realized that I hadn't posted on my blog for almost a month, and this is my quibbling explanation (or excuse, however you'd like to view it).  Not only do I owe an explanation but four whole book reviews, which will have to be done another night since this is already pushing my bedtime.

But as it is, all the rumors and talk about social workers are true... it is hard work.  Not that I'm complaining.  I've chosen it and I truly love it, but it is exhausting and out of my love and passion it takes up far more than the measly 40 hours a week of any normal job (though, in the USA, that can be argued for many jobs now-a-days).  I've been challenged and filled up more in these months in this profession then in the nearly two years as a Project Coordinator for an IT Consulting Company (god, that just sounds soooo boring and lame, doesn't it?)  There are days I've driven home in tears after sustaining an hour tantrum by a child.  I'm not sure if I've explained my exact niche in the huge social work field, but I'm what's called an Intensive In-Home Specialist, which basically means that I work within people's homes with the entire family for children who are either at risk for an out-of-home placement or are coming back from one.  So when I say that one of my kids had an hour long tantrum, these aren't your run-of-the-mill tantrums I'm talking about.  Either way, there are the stresses of the job that make me come home and tell my husband quite crossly that I don't ever want to have children.  Then there are the days that I come home and tell my husband - making it clear that there is to be no discussion, of course - that if a certain child were to be put up for adoption we'd adopt him immediately.  I've grown to deeply care for the children I work with, even those that most challenge me.  It is great and fulfilling work.

But leaves me really freaking drained and with barely any time for myself!!

Needless to say, I'm still trying to learn the balance of the job.  How much of your time, your heart, your thoughts do you give to the job without completely losing yourself?  I'm toeing the line right now, and am reaching back to those things that are important to me to pull myself back a bit.  Maybe if my loyal and very-angry-by-my-absence readers were to leave me comments demanding my attention back to my blog, I'll be more inclined to give myself the time to blog and write, which truly are important things to me.

Despite shamelessly begging for your love, I do promise to catch up on my reviews and to write interesting and intriguing blogs again about the issues that strike at my heart.  Most specifically all that has been going on in Africa as of late, with Kenya in an uprising and Uganda on the verge of peace, my eyes and ears are pointed towards the news from these countries.

And of course the huge splashes the Steelers are making in free agency... I mean, hello, Mewelde Moore!  Can the Steelers stop stealing from my other team please?  Ahh, when loyalties cross paths, what's a girl to do?

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