Day: July 17, 2017

AWARD: Liebster #3

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Many thanks to Decluttering My Life for nominating me for this wonderful blogging award. I appreciate it, as it is a very great honor. I’ve been nominated before but with very different questions, so this is exciting! DML (my new name for my nominator) and I met about 3 weeks ago through another blogging friend and are enjoying getting to know one another… so much so that I recommend you go check out the site to see for yourself. Very thought-provoking content and great fun!!! I took a few days to come up with some doozies for questions. Is that the correct spelling of that word? Well, it probably doesn’t matter because you will hopefully be so entertained below with facts, questions and answers that you are focused on trying not to wet yourself instead of verifying my spelling of items in this post. You’re welcome.

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The Rules for the Liebster Award:

  1. Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award
  2. Give 11 random facts about yourself
  3. Nominate 11 blogs
  4. Notify them of the nomination
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer

 

Facts about me:

  1. I wear contact lenses because I am worse than a bat.
  2. I’m the fourth male directly in my line with this exact name, hence the “IV” after my name. Please bow before me. Just teasing. A curtsy is sufficient.
  3. I prefer spelling things the British way. I’m American. They seem better lately.
  4. I have been to Cambodia. I saw the best life has to offer. I saw the worst life has to offer. Don’t ask for details. I am not at liberty to reveal due to a… never mind.
  5. I am a reader and writer, yet I always test nearly perfect on mathematics. Took so many advanced calculus courses, I think I plotted every angle possible. I know the exact angle to send a sling shot towards… whomever deserves it.
  6. The calla lily is my favorite flower. I’d like them at my funeral please. You’re all tasked with making sure this happens or I’ll haunt you.
  7. I was a good gymnast as a kid. I could climb to the top of the rope, walk the balance beam, jump the horse and use the rings to turn myself in every direction. After puberty hit, my balance was so off, I could barely walk a straight line. A few drinks make it much better now.
  8. I used to ride horses, but it’s been almost two decades since I’ve been on one. I love it, but I see no reason to feel like I’m constantly vibrating (in a bad way, to clarify) while the wind is whipping in my face.
  9. My nickname in high school was Tooshie. You can decide why or what it means.
  10. I can’t smell tequila anymore or it will make me sick. Bad college incident. It’s okay in a mixed drink, but a shot will induce projectile, something fierce along the lines of what happened to me in question #8 below (you’re in for a treat!).
  11. I have no self control when it comes to dark chocolate or champagne. None. I will do anything for it.

 

Questions To Me:

1. What does life mean to you?

  • To learn, mentor and educate while encouraging personal growth and collaboration with others. When you have accomplished the right balance, you are free to move on, but your impact stays there forever. That means you lived a good life.

2. What would you enjoy doing 7 days a week?

  • Writing books.

3. What’s your birthday date?

  • March 18th, 1977.

4. Have you ever had a near death experience? If yes pls brief us about it

  • Nope. Choked on a gumball, but I don’t think I was quite near death.

5. Your favourite quote is ?

  • “There’s something I just realized, That I never knew before. I can’t explain the reasons, but I know that I want more.”
  • “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

6. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?

  • Cotswolds in UK

7. What’s your dream house?

  • Do you have a few hours? I could show you the architectural plans I’ve drawn up. 🙂

8. Most embarrassing moment

  • None really. I tend to laugh that stuff off. I do get embarrassed when my aunt would tell a story about what happened when I was a child with a very bad stomach virus. All I will say is that she told anyone she could that “It was flying out both ends!” And that should be enough of a visual for you. I am such a perfectionist and I never let anyone see me weak that they love telling this story as it makes me human. At least that’s what they say. I don’t compute.

9. Your biggest fear?

  • Dying without understanding my life or reaching my potential.

10. Any regret? If yes what ?

  • Not being as aware of who I am or comfortable in my own skin when I was 20. I could have done so much more.

11. Who’s your favorite author or speaker, maybe both?

  • I enjoy Suze Orman for her advice and attitude.
  • I am enthralled by Kate Morton, Agatha Christie, Ken Follett and Henry James.

Questions for My Nominees:

  1. Which body part would you exchange if you could?
  2. How often do you brush your teeth? Honestly, and if you try to lie, your teeth will turn yellow on the spot based on the dust I sent with this post.
  3. If you could inhabit someone else’s body for a day, who would it be?
  4. If you could have someone else’s personality and intelligence, who would it be?
  5. Where are you taking me to dinner tomorrow night? Or if that’s not gonna work for you, what gift are you sending in lieu of canceling last minute on me? Seems appropriate.
  6. Have you ever tried to count the licks to get to the center of the Tootsie Roll Pop?
  7. Did I share too much above? If yes, which item. If not, you’re my new best friend.
  8. If you could hide in someone’s pocket for a day just to see what they really do when you’re not around, who would it be?
  9. If you have an entire cake to yourself, and you know for certain that no one else will eat it nor see you eat it, would you still cut it up and serve it on a plate? Or would you dig in with a shovel? (Assume nothing bad happens to your body as a result of consuming said healthy cake)
  10. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say “bite me” ? Good or bad, let it rip.
  11. Have you met Liebster? If Yes, please describe. If No, please contribute $25 to the charity of your choice in order to successfully have completed this easy and fun quiz. Failure to do so results in an automatic replication of 10 more quizzes a day from me to you as a loving gesture of support.

*** Thank you for playing and have a nice day. ***


 

Note 2: Yes, I know this is out of order. So am I. You must already know that if you’re reading my posts like this one, right?

Note 3: I would love for all my friends to answer the 11 questions I posed… as I think they are truly amazing and would allow us to grow a stronger and more authentic relationship having been structurally honest with one another from the beginning. xoxo

Note 1: I really attempted sarcasm and humor, so hopefully no one was offended by my additional flair and style in today’s award post. If you did feel slighted, I hope all the font colors make your eyes tired enough that you go away sleepy and don’t feel the need to complain to me. I’m busy tonight dreaming up new questions for tomorrow’s posts.

 

My Nominees:

  1. https://yaandwine.com/2017/07/17/little-monsters-review-and-pre-order-giveaway/
  2. https://readingbetweenthepagesblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-7172017/
  3. https://theintrovertedbooknerd.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/i-messed-up-book-tag/
  4. https://nerdnarrationblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/game-of-thrones-book-tag/
  5. https://iartichokeu.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/book-review-the-pillars-of-idrapha/
  6. https://bookloverblogs.com/2017/07/17/that-place-of-knowledge-by-philip-alan-shalka/
  7. https://lifesfinewhine.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/quotes-about-friendship/
  8. https://whenwomeninspire.com/2017/07/17/signs-wearing-wrong-shoes/
  9. https://fitness9555.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/22-push-up-challengeveteran-suicide-awareness/
  10. https://aquibview.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/hey-dear-accompaniers/
  11. https://journeyintobooks.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/burn-rewrite-reread-book-tag/

 

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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Book Review: Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

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3.5 out of 5 stars to Girl in Snow, a new mystery and suspense novel written by Danya Kukafka and set to be released on August 1st, 2017.

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Many thanks to Simon & Schuster, NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to review an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this novel. I enjoyed it and would be interested in reading more by this author.

Why This Book
This is slightly embarrassing, but I’m not one hundred percent certain how I came to read this book. I was awarded the novel on NetGalley in May, but I believe someone recommended it to me, or maybe the publisher reached out to me to take a look at it. I can’t find any emails, which I normally save, or any comments that might refresh my memory… so bottom-line, it was part of a NetGalley list of books I wanted to read.

Plot, Characters & Setting
Lucinda is a teenager in a small Colorado town who is found dead in the snow on a school playground by a custodian. She was hit in the head with a blunt object and left to die. The story follows several people in the town who either knew the girl or knew of her, each having different opinions about whether Lucinda was a good person or a bad girl.

Cameron is the boy who loved her from afar, except someone knows he was stalking the girl and watching through her windows. He’s had mini-breakdowns after his father left town years ago under very bad circumstances. He doesn’t remember doing anything, but people close to him know he was missing, saw him talking to her and believe he’s guilty.

Jade is a fellow schoolmate who did not like Lucinda. Lucinda stole the boy Jade loved, but the boy never really loved Jade. Jade is not upset that Lucinda is dead, but her younger sister is angry. Jade’s mother treats her daughter poorly and seems to be hiding some sort of a secret.

Russ is the cop assigned to investigate Lucinda’s death. He’s harboring a secret about his friendship with Cameron’s father, as well as the reasons Cameron’s father disappeared. He’s also certain the school custodian, who happens to be Russ’s wife’s brother, is guilty. He tries to navigate the situation, but finds himself stuck on the past.

A few other characters intersect, e.g. a couple with a young child that both Lucinda and Jade babysat for. A young school teacher accused of flirting inappropriately with his female students. And the friends and family members of all 3 main characters.

One of these people is guilty. But the question is who… and you’ll need to read the book to find out.

Approach & Style
I read the novel on my iPad through Kindle Reader. It was about 4500 lines, which is about a 300 page hardcover — not that long. Chapters are relatively short and alternate perspective from the 3 main characters: Cameron, Jade and Russ. The language and writing are absolutely beautiful. So much background and description are revealed in the narration and prose. There are limited amounts of dialogue.

Jade tells 2 sides of every conversation — what she wishes she said (through a play she is writing) and what she actually said. For a young and new writer, the author has a firm grip on flourishing language. On occasion, it fell a little too simple, but it balanced out from the lengthy details of everything else going on in the background.

Strengths
The best part of the story is the absolutely beautiful descriptions of the characters and the scenery. Everything feels authentic. The plot is complex in that there are different levels of relationships happening behind the scenes, which readers only see when certain characters happen to stumble on the supporting cast. It’s a good approach to hold interest in the story. The plot has many interesting sub-components, which help reveal who people really are on the inside versus who they appear to be on the outside.

Concerns
I didn’t know enough about nor care much for Lucinda. A lot of details were revealed about her, but she’s dead when the story starts. As a result, I felt like she could have been anyone as opposed to having a real strong desire inside me to want to know who killed her. I felt less of an attachment to her, but if it were written a little differently, I think it would have been an easy 4 rating for me. Also, once the killer is revealed, there is no scene explaining how/why it happened. You have a hint at the reason for the murder, but you never actually watch or hear the scene played out from either the narrator or a confession from the killer. It felt like a bit of a letdown.

Author & Other Similar Books
This is a very typical story about 3 seemingly disconnected characters where you have to figure out how everyone knew each other. There are a lot of similar type stories on the market right now, as it’s a popular genre and sub-genre. In a way, it was similar to “Beartown” in the structure, focus on teenagers and the mystery portion. But it was also like “I Found You” where the 3 stories will intersect somehow, but you just don’t know until the end, but also that this this was about teenagers and “I Found You” was not only about teenagers.

This is the author’s first book. She definitely has writing talent and storytelling abilities. I think with more experience, she’ll flush out some of the areas that felt a bit weak to me and become a fantastic and creative author in this genre. I’m glad I read it and will chance her next book.

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.

AWARD: Versatile Blogger #2

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I would like to thank WakingUpOnTheWrongSideOf50 for nominating me for this award!  She is one of the most funny bloggers I follow, so please give her a chance… I already showcased her last week on my 365 Daily Challenge Recommended Blogger, so this is reminder number two… ahem… and speaking of the 365 Daily Challenge, I already reveal so much, I wonder what I will come up with for the 7 possibly unknown facts about me…

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RULES OF THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD:

1.) Thank the bloggers who nominated you and share their links.
2.) Nominate at least 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.
3.) Also inform them about their nomination.
4.) Reveal 7 facts about yourself that your readers may not know

Here are my 7 possibly unknown facts:

  1. I had kidney stones when I was 12 and 13. My parents thought I was making it up because my dad was getting them and I wanted to be like him. When I was able to prove I had them (no fun for a 12 year old to have to tell his mother he’s peeing blood), I got a puppy as an I’m sorry gift.
  2. I once choked on a gumball in a J.C. Penney’s store when I was about 5 years old. I tried to get the cashier’s attention, but she was busy talking to a customer. Finally I threw myself on the ground kicking and screaming until they looked over. Luckily someone slapped my back. I’ve had an irrational fear of choking since then.
  3. I was once stung by a bumble bee on my eyelid. It swelled up, but I wasn’t allergic to them. It went away in 3 days, but then that same afternoon, I walked into an open window and cut my other eyelid open. I looked like a monster that week. I think I was about 9 years old.
  4. Other than those 3 items I just mentioned, I’ve never really been injured, e.g. broken bones or accidents. I’m lucky, I suppose.
  5. When I was a teenager, we went to a resort in the Catskills for one week every summer. We’d always play “Night at the Races” and bet on previous horse races they would show on big movie screen. I always picked the right ones such that everyone would make their bets after I placed mine. But I could never collect the winnings because I was a minor. So unfair.
  6. I found baby squirrels (three days old) abandoned by their mother in a tree on my property a few years ago. They were covered in ants and screeching. The mother wouldn’t save them, so I did. I raised them for 4 months until they were old enough to go outside again. I had claw marks on my legs and shoulders because they would need to always be sitting on me no matter where I was in the house. They soon thought my dog was their mother and kept trying to cuddle with her. She was not happy.
  7. I always win when I gamble at a new casino for the first time. I’ve been to 5 big casinos and on every single one, I win about a large amount of money on slot machines and BlackJack. If I go back again, I always lose. I should travel the world and visit every casino until I proved this theory.

 

I nominate the following 10 people:

  1. https://littlemayflyblog.com/2017/07/17/500-followers/
  2. https://marjoriesworldofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/fascinating-illuminating-and-moving/
  3. https://authentically50.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/how-to-be-content-with-what-you-have/
  4. https://susanlovesbooks.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/goodreads-monday-17/
  5. https://takeonlifeblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/23/moving-forward-always/
  6. https://angloswiss-chronicles.com/2017/07/17/mundane-monday-challenge-118-a-leafless-tree/
  7. https://cassiopeiasmoon.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/mid-year-freak-out-2017/
  8. https://thebookcovergirls.wordpress.com/2017/07/02/july-2017/
  9. https://lostartofreadingblog.wordpress.com/2017/07/05/%F0%9F%8D%81forbidden-by-f-stone/
  10. https://angiedokos.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/launch-party-mega-blitz-celebrating-indie-authors-blogparty-giveaways/

 

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.

365 Challenge: Day 127 – Linguistic

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Linguistic: relating to language or the study of languages

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I am from the United States of America. I speak English as my primary language. And I have taken for granted how easy it is for me to access nearly everything I need at a moment’s notice. At some point in my life, I have simply just expected the rest of the population would understand me, assuming that my language was the primary one spoken around the world. At one point earlier in my lifetime, it was a true statement. Today, I’m no longer sure if it is a true statement, as people are speaking more than English in many places. But I know I don’t take it for granted anymore. Perhaps English is not the most frequently used language, but that’s not the point behind today’s 365 Daily Challenge post. Linguistics. The study of language. Understanding different languages. Bilingual. Multilingual. Reading… Writing… Speaking… foreign languages. How many of us can truly say we can do it? That’s today’s focus.

Blogging has become a instrumental part of my day for about 6 months. I blog in English. I have followers from over 35 different countries as of this last weekend. Based on a quick look at the statistics, English is the primary language in less than 20% of those countries. How amazing is it that the world is able to understand me… wants to communicate with me… and has made an effort to learn my language so that they can understand me? Surely we in the United States of America have that same sense of camaraderie, right? I’d be shocked if we didn’t all speak at least one other language, right? I’m too lazy to check statistics, and these posts are supposed to be quick and from the heart / mind, so I won’t go verify it… But if I had to guess, I’d say maybe 80% of people in the USA barely know ten words in another language.

There’s no shame in it, as it’s not something we’ve put a priority on over the years. The world has almost always functioned with English as the general primary language in business and communication in recent years for the most part; however, it doesn’t make that fair or correct. It should be a requirement, at least in my opinion, whether mandated by a school or a parent, for children to learn and study at least one other foreign language during most of their schooling. I wasn’t forced to do it, but I chose to. And now, when I find a follower or friend or connection on social media who writes or publishes in a foreign language to me, I don’t skip over it. I go to Google Translate and learn what they said. I’ve also added the translation capability to my own blog site so that it’s a one or two step process for anyone to follow me, rather than force them to learn English.

When I selected electives for my seventh grade courses going into middle school, I chose Spanish. I had a few other options, but I felt like that was the language most other people I knew had spoken. I took classes from 7th thru 12th grade, becoming fairly fluent by the time I was 18-years old. When I was a waiter during college in the summertime, I practiced with colleagues so that I could keep up the skills. When I went to college, I chose to minor in Spanish so that I could extend my understanding of the language, as well as read literature in a foreign language. It was a tremendous benefit, as I’ve been to a few Spanish-speaking countries where it came in handy. I haven’t taken any courses in the last decade, nor read as much as I should have with Spanish as the language of the book. Unfortunately, I’ve probably lost some of those skills, but I am still strong enough to speak, read and write a good amount of Spanish.

As I grow older, I often wish I had learned other languages when I was younger. With my great interest in genealogy, German would have come in very handy over the years. I’ve taught myself some basics to be able to read documents, but I couldn’t introduce myself to a German native using the language. It’s something on my undocumented bucket list that I’d like to accomplish in the next few years. And I will do it not because I need to in order to visit the German towns where my ancestors come from, but because I have German blood and roots in me, and I want to have a connection with people in my culture beyond a basic and simple “hi, how are you?” type of deal.

I have great respect for those who can speak a few languages. You are intelligent and considerate folks who have taken the time to go beyond what you are familiar with so that you can communicate beyond your nationality. Or for those who move to a foreign country and have to learn the language in order to survive. It takes courage and strength to tackle such a feat, and you deserve big props.

For those who live in other countries, I’d love to hear your view points on learning another language other than your own, e.g. Japanese, Portuguese, Hindi, Italian, French… are you encouraged to do it? Forced? Do you learn at the same time as you learn your native tongue? Do you attempt to learn other languages beyond your native tongue and English? What do you think of Americans for often only being able to speak English? I’m not faulting or slighting anyone in America for it. Had I not chosen to do this, I would have been tasked with 2 years in middle school, and then I could have dropped it from my curriculum. It’s not always a choice for some students. Schools can’t always afford foreign language teachers. Classes are sometimes expensive as a supplemental education. I can understand how it happens, or for that matter, doesn’t happen.

But to me, learning another language is the gateway to many things, such as immersing yourself in a new culture, discovering a new society, meeting new friends, having alternative opinions, understanding history… Words are beautiful. Expressions lose their meaning in translations. I’ve always wanted to understand something in its original text. I took literature courses in Spanish and German for those reasons. And I’m sure I barely touched the surface of understanding the true meaning behind such amazing writers and stories. I’ve seen the beauty of the world outside of the languages and books I’m familiar with, and I want to experience more of it. And for those reasons, I consider myself someone with a linguistic mind. How about you?

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Susan @ SusanLovesBooks. Susan and I connected about 4 months ago via our WordPress blogs, but I don’t remember exactly what started our friendship. She was definitely one of the first ten people I followed or who followed me. And we immediately bonded over a few things we similarly shared an interest in, but we also laughed over how I absolutely hate the heat and she was living in Arizona. I’d complain about the temperature hitting 80-something in NY. She’d laugh at me and say “Oh, it’s cool here, only 109 in Arizona today.” Seriously, that’s just wrong. But she’s just right. And even more so now that she’s moving to upstate NY! It’s still a bit away from me, but we’ll be on the same time zone and on the same coast. More fun to be had over her fun book reviews, especially the Throw-back Thursday posts and her upcoming experience with the 4 seasons again. I look forward to her insights into the world and her thoughts on life. She’s friendly with many bloggers I know, which makes it always a fun day when we all get to chatting on someone’s post about something interesting or amusing. If you haven’t met Susan, or you are looking for someone new to socialize with, take a chance on her blog. If you’re a book lover, you’ll find a treasure trove of things to look forward to each day.

 

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.