Day: June 7, 2017

365 Challenge: Day 87 – Dancer

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Dancer: a person who dances or whose profession is dancing [to move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps]

dancer.jpg

In yesterday’s post, I hinted that I’d blog about being a dancer at some point in the future. Well that day is today, for a few reasons: (1) I spent 8 hours cleaning the apartment, grocery shopping, running errands and doing the laundry — my brain cannot think anymore, so this was the first word to come to mind, (2) If I don’t do it now, I’ll forget and (3) I still have Dirty Dancing on my mind from over the weekend….

And you correctly guessed, that picture above is… not me. Nor is my professional, hobby or exercise routine that of a dancer. So why you ask, am I blogging about a dancer? It’s simple. I sorta-kinda-wanna be a dancer — in a totally re-invented-different-universe-way. I don’t want to do it now in this life… it’s too late, but I think I would have been a really good if I had started as a child.

I have no idea what kind of a dancer I’d be. I’ve never once — not a single day — taken a class or lessons in dancing, nor have I been to many ballet or other dance performances. My interest in dancing is really just this kinda fun thing I would like to do. A little bit of history… and probably way more than I should reveal at this point, as you will see a very different and shameful proud side of me.

Prior to going away to college, I thought fraternities and sororities were awful things. I said I would never be friends with anyone who was in one either. Fast-forward a little bit. Fresh year, fall semester… away in school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. I am feeling a little out-of-my-element being far away from home, not quite making a lot of friends at that point. For some lucky reason, I won the room lottery and got a single dorm room, so I didn’t even have a roommate to latch on to. I had a few friends that were girls, and they took me to a party at a sorority house, where they thought they might pledge in the spring semester. While there, I met some fraternity brothers who actually seemed kinda cool and they convinced me to come check them out in the spring semester when I returned to campus after the holidays. So… I did. But first, I went to a sorority formal early that spring with one of the girls I mentioned earlier.

So… another thing I should have mentioned. I rarely drank before I went away to college. Not only was I under 21, but I just wasn’t friends with any frequently drinking chums. When I started going to these parties, I would taste a little bit of someone’s drink each time. I still wouldn’t have a whole drink. I wasn’t a goody-two-shoes, but I wasn’t keen on doing something when I still didn’t feel like I had close enough friends I could trust to watch out for me. Fast-forward to the sorority formal… I had several drinks and got extremely wasted for the first time in my life. It just happened that at least 20 of my soon-to-be fraternity brothers were there too, as they dated a lot of the girls in the sorority. My big brother in the fraternity was struggling with choosing a Pledge Name for me, as part of the period before you become an official member. Well… I got my name that night.

You see… I’ve had a good reason for not drinking in the past. Apparently, another personality comes out. Someone I had never met in my first 18 years. His name was Wild Boy. I have no memory or recollection of this particular event, except for a few pictures which make me remember getting very very sick that night. It seems… whenever a song that I liked came on, I danced in the middle of the floor in front of everyone — Mr. Quiet & Shy — and whatever the words in the song were, I sang them loudly and also tried to mimic the actions on the dance floor. The song that put everyone over the edge and gave me my fraternity Pledge Name was KC & The Sunshine Band’s “Get Down Tonight.” And when that 3-line chorus repeated itself, so did I:  “Do a Little Dance, Make a Little Love, Get Down Tonight.”

And I did a little dance… I made out like a little — no better word — slut, and when the third line came on, I dropped to the floor and tried to break-dance, but I was so drunk, I kept falling over. Hence…  my fraternity name became “Saturday Night Fever.”

*** Pause for laughter… go ahead… I have no shame and I told you of my own free will and volition. ***

Years later, brothers still text and call me, asking for Saturday Night Fever. It’s probably the single most embarrassing moment of my life, and I’m so glad I truly don’t remember it happening. I just suffer through everyone else’s memories. But my friends… the story doesn’t end there. As I said earlier, when I drink a lot… I want to dance a lot. Another time, which I have a very vivid memory of… was going to my first NYC club after I officially “came out.” I was 25 years old. I was single. And I went out with a group of new friends who just liked to party every weekend. Within an hour, I had 3 or 4 drinks and I was quite relaxed. No inhibitions. Lindsay Lohan was a popular singer back then, you see… before all the crazy jail stuff. The song “Rumors” came on… and somehow, I made my way up to the stage. Front and Center. Standing on a box. I just started dancing in front of a huge crowd. And after a little while… the shirt came off… and I completely let loose, dancing and grinding and whatever else felt like the thing to do at that moment. There’s a dancer in me trying to make his way out… bursting with awesome moves and a sync’d rhythm with the music.

And the last little bit of evidence… taking my shirt off in public is not a one-time occurrence. I have several incidents / occasions / memories / WTF-moments where when the music is right, I somehow get myself into situations where I take some of my clothes off and start dancing… and on two occasions, there were bills stuffed in my pants. Hence why I kinda love the Magic Mike movies. Part of me wanted to be a stripper, I think. I find it very intriguing… not that I’d ever be able to do it while sober or around people I know well. These things have all happened at times or in places where I was either drunk or mostly a stranger to those around me. And I did my best to keep this post clean, as I have friends reading it, who don’t need to look at me funny the next time we see one another.

I also think it would be cool to know how to dance normal everyday routines at weddings, cocktail parties, New Year’s Eve, etc. It’s not all about the “dirty dancing” with me… I am still that nice, good and quiet guy. It’s just every so often, the devil comes out and you either want to run far away, or if you like that kinda stuff and want to see the crazy side of me, then let’s go out to a NYC club. It’s been a few years for me. But give me at least 4 weeks of notice, so I can put in a little more time at the gym and a little less sugar in my diet!

And seriously… for someone who constantly says he is shy, I have no idea where this part of me comes from… where it hides… or why I am always both extremes of a personality trait! What about you? Any professional dancers out there? Strip-Teasers? Ball-Room aficionados? Great bar dancers? Only when you drink? Any time there’s music? Please don’t leave me hanging out here alone… although a secret part of me sorta likes knowing the bad boy is still hiding in there somewhere.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: You

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You4 out of 5 stars to You, the first of a two-book thriller and suspense series, written in 2014 by Caroline Kepnes. All I can start out with is wow – I loved it! I’ve tried to pull out all spoilers, but I do give a little bit of the high-level plot and antics away, as I think it will make you want to read it more.

 



Why This Book


My friend Medhat asked if I’d be interested in a buddy read with him and proposed 5 different books. I’d read 1 already, didn’t have an interest in 1 of them, and 2 were a re-read for him, which left this one as something new for both of us. So we went with it… I knew nothing about the author or the novel prior to him bringing it up, and I’m grateful he did. I had been in a slight reading slump and this book was extremely refreshing and strong, directly in my sweet spot as far as genres and styles go. Please go check out Medhat’s profile and look at his review of this book.



Plot, Characters & Setting


Joe runs a bookstore on the Lower East Side of NYC, sort of inheriting it from the man who basically adopted him as a boy from parents who weren’t doing a very good job at raising him. Joe’s witty, sarcastic and on the edge of being a little psychotic for his 25-30ish years. Guinivere Beck, known simply as Beck, stops in his store to make a purchase, and Joe immediately falls in love…. No that’s not the right word… obsession, yeah… falls into an obsession…that’s the right word… with her. He stalks her social media profiles, learns everything he can about her, then engineers the downfall of her on again / off again jerk of a boyfriend. He tries to isolate Beck from her friends and create situations where they keep running into another until she finally decides to pursue him. They begin dating for a few weeks and have a very peculiar relationship where they take steps to get closer, then she pulls away and looks for her ex-boyfriend. After a few weeks of the back-and-forth, some major event take place that show Joe’s true colors… and eventually we learn just how broken Beck also is. When one of them attempts to break off the relationship, the other goes berserk and takes the situation to an entirely new level of crazy. As the book comes to an end, a dramatic conclusion forces a major plot change and probably begins the focus for the second book in the series, which as a nice little teaser for you… is called Hidden Bodies. {Phew… this is a hard one to describe without giving any spoilers}

Beyond Joe and Beck, you’ve got an ex-girlfriend of Joe’s and an ex-boyfriend of Beck’s. Beck’s psychiatrist enters the picture for a good chunk of the book, as well as her friend, Peach. Peach is an annoying and pompous witch (I have another word in mind but I’ll be nice today) who is almost more psychotic than Joe. Joe’s got a few workers at the book store who interact from time to time, as well as a cop intervening for a few chapters.

The action mostly takes place in NYC, but there are a few short trips to Rhode Island and other parts of the immediate vicinity. It all takes place in current times, where social media and technology are very important to the plot and character actions.



Approach & Style


The book is told from Joe’s point of view, as he is the narrator which means it’s told in a first-person perspective. However, the big difference in this book is that Joe is telling the story as if the reader is Beck, constantly referring to her as “You” throughout the book. As a reader, you start feeling like everything he’s doing, he’s doing to you. And when your character, Beck, makes decisions or reacts in an unexpected way, it’s a roller-coaster of fun trying to balance your amusement and your frustration with your anger and your confusion. All in a good approach. I haven’t really read much else using this perspective, and it was done in a very strong way.
The book is about 400 pages and broken into about 50 chapters, so each one is relatively short but consistent in its narration, style and language. The language is a bit convoluted at times, as they are both avid readers and writers, work in a book store and get quite philosophical. It’s definitely a 17+ book in the sense that there are many 4-letter word bombs and extensive sexual content. Some will find it on the vulgar side, and while it certainly had a few moments where it was on the edge, I thought the author only included such content when it felt appropriate.



Strengths


Due to the style, you are immediately drawn into Joe’s psychotic attraction and dangerous personality. However… there is something so wonderful and charming about him, you want to look past the stalker he becomes, as he has a heart of hold. And when Beck begins to show signs of being venomous, you almost don’t mind some of the things he does to or against her, in spite of their growing attraction and relationship. It’s truly like watching a train wreck, knowing you can’t really stop it, but kinda wanting to see every little gory detail as it unfolds.

Joe is so crystal clear, you would think he’s standing right next you. Beck is almost as real as he is, but given Joe narrates the story, you tend to feel closer to him. For an author to make you almost root for the bad guy, it’s a good book. The interaction, the imagination, the internal thoughts, the passive-aggressive behavior… it’s all so spot-on, I can’t even begin to explain how real this situation seems to play out, with the exception of he’s a stalker and basically invaded her life. If they had just met and gotten into a relationship, everything from that point on felt 100% real – from their fights to their make-up sessions, as well as from the games they played and the way in which their friends took sides. Amazing slice of life to watch play out.



Concerns


The last few chapters felt a bit rushed. It was quite suspenseful and you could see the whole sequence of events unfolding in real-time before your eyes; however, because it’s all from Joe’s point of view, I’m unsure exactly how much Beck knows in those last few chapters. She clearly articulates that she was aware of what he had done before she told him she knew about it. But you don’t know how much of a preview she had into his psychotic mind, or if she was happy or scared with it. {Again, sorry, don’t want to give away any spoilers} For me, I would have loved to read a journal entry she’d written saying exactly what she knew and when she knew it. Otherwise, we’re left guessing a little bit, and having that information may help us decide whether or not she’s a good person or a bad person.

Joe gets away with a lot. He’s sneaky. He’s smart. He’s vengeful. He’s manipulative. But it seems no one picks up on it until too late. I can pretty much buy off on it; however, in the scenes where he is caught, I can’t tell if it’s remorse or anger. I would love to know if he wanted to be caught, if he accepts the consequences or if he is just growing more volatile. It’s a pretty clear ending to the book, so you know when it’s done what is going on in his head, but it would have been fantastic to watch him spiral a bit more out of control in the last 20% of the novel.



Author & Other Similar Books


As far as the way the story is told, I can’t think of anything. As far as the type of story, perhaps Fatal Attraction? Joe also feels like a diabolical version of a narcissistic Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. Loveable and annoying, but be careful as you never know what he’s truly capable of until after it’s already happened.



Questions & Final Thoughts


I need to read the second book ASAP. This is such a different kind of story… one where you may side with the criminal in this story. You see both perspectives. You want him to get everything he deserves – both the good and the bad. And in some strange way, I think I was even attracted to parts of his personality (and that’s scary, given how the book ends up). If you need something to pull you out of a slump, this is the book. It’s still sitting on my brain, as vivid as though I were reading the words on the page. It’s that kind of book… one where you will want to keep thinking about it and talking about it for a long time after you are done.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Blow Fly

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Blow FlyBook Review


3 out of 5 stars to Blow Fly, the 12th book in the “Kay Scarpetta” thriller and mystery series, written in 2003 by Patricia Cornwell. In this book, Cornwell changes the point of view to third person, which is different from previous books. It was awkward at first, but I am usually good with these types of switches. I found some problems with it, but I wasn’t as concerned as several other readers were. What did bug me a little was this felt a bit like the Hannibal Lecter series for a short minute. Kay needs a break and takes off to Florida. She’s pulled into a case from another state. And suddenly, the Wolfman (a killer from previous books) who is still in jail, asks to see Kay. And he’s got information about what’s going on. I was like “wait wait wait…” but then it takes different turns, so it’s OK. Given the interesting changes and confusion, I wasn’t super keen on this book; however the plot and mystery aspects were strong, so I it evened-out for me. It’s not the best in the series, not the worst. But it’s a turning point.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Visions of Sugar Plums

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Visions of Sugar PlumsBook Review


3+ out of 5 stars to Visions of Sugar Plums, the first cross-over book between Stephanie Plum and Diesel, written in 2002 by Janet Evanovich. As part of a marketing approach to launching a new series, this book places Stephanie in a most unusual place right around Christmastime. As she’s trying to get her life on track, a man materializes in her apartment. She can’t figure out how he got in and starts wondering if he’s a vision or a ghost. It’s Diesel… a very hot man… just what she needs, a third one in her life… and he desperately needs her help. Convinced she’s losing her mind, Stephanie tries to ignore him but ultimately realizes the only way to lose him, is to help him find the toy maker who has disappeared right before Christmas. Suddenly, she freaks out when she thinks he means Santa Claus! A very cute story, full of the normal charm in Evanovich’s books… it’s a good laugh. Don’t take it too seriously and enjoy these in between books for exactly what they are – humor, romance and a bit of mystery!



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: M is for Malice

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M is for MaliceBook Review


4 out of 5 stars to M is for Malice, the 13th book in the “Kinsey Millhone” mystery series, written in 1996 by Sue Grafton. When I first picked up this book, as I was far behind in the series and not able to read them as they were published, I got very excited. My favorite type of books to read are about family dramas and whodunits. Well this book combined those two themes and sub-genres together when something was amiss with Malek Construction. Four (4) Malek brothers. And what are they up to. Who’s good? Who’s bad? Which one to trust? While it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, it was still a good cross-over type mystery. Millhone is great as usual. Robert Dietz is in this one… I enjoy the books when he shows up. Overall, this book has some good suspense and thrills, probably in the mid to high end of the whole series, and worth a read. I learned a bit about construction and business from this novel, though not a whole lot. I was just out of college and picking information up from the strangest places. Never thought Kinsey would be teaching it to me! LOL



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Private Life of the Cat Who…

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The Private Life of the Cat Who...Book Review


3 out of 5 stars to The Private Life of the Cat Who…, a short novella written in 2006 by Lilian Jackson Braun. So… this is not one of the normal cozy mystery books in the “Cat Who” series, rather a journal written by the main character, Jim Qwilleran, known as Qwill, about the history of his relationship and the antics of his two Siamese cats, Koko and YumYum. For fans of the series, it’s a cute refresher that you can choose to read or ignore. If you only care about the mysteries, then skip this one. If you love the characters, it’s a quick 2 hour read. For new folks, if you want to see a little bit about the characters or the style, it’s a good intro; however, it’s not a cozy mystery where you solve a crime. Keep those recommendations in mind and you’ll know what to do! Enjoy.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Twelve Sharp

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Twelve SharpBook Review


4 out of 5 stars to Twelve Sharp, the 12th book in the “Stephanie Plum” cozy mystery series written in 2006 by Janet Evanovich. I really enjoyed this book, given its focus on the mysterious Ranger. Stephanie is being stalked. She’s not sure who it is, but the person is scary. She soon learns out this person has a connection to Ranger — it’s his ex-wife. At the same time, Ranger’s daughter has been kidnapped, and someone suspects he’s behind it all. But for what reason? As the book progresses, you learn how much Stephanie Plum is really torn up about Ranger, despite her feelings for Joe Morelli. While the back and forth is starting to bug me (which man will she choose!), given Ranger is my favorite character, it was a strong book full of information and subtle vibes. And sometimes not so subtle! Always a good book to curl up with on the couch, this won’t disappoint. And at least it’s a bit different from the normal shenanigans where Plum is trying to track down a kooky bail jumper. There’s plenty of things happening here tho… between underlying tensions, fear and confusion, she’s still her normal fun mess!



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews