summer

TAG: Would You Rather (Summer)?

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I was tagged for a combination of the “Would you Rather” And “Summer” blogging tags. I’ve combined them together since all three were about summer and choices. I thank the three great bloggers who nominated me:

lifesfinewhine

coffeelovingbookoholic

tvaddictedbookworm

tagaga

Would You Rather Questions?

  • live in a tree house or a castle?
    • castle
  • be able to sing beautifully or dance beautifully?
    • sing
  • ride a horse or a camel?
    • horse
  • know a fairy or a unicorn?
    • fairy
  • have a backyard that was a huge bounce house or a huge ball pit?
    • bounce house
  • travel or stay home?
    • travel
  • be able to fly or be able to breathe under water?
    • fly
  • know where you’re going or have it be a surprise?
    • know
  • be on a boat or on an airplane?
    • boat
  • be able to see in the dark or be able to never get tired?
    • see in dark
  • go on a vacation to the beach or to the mountains?
    • mountains
  • have picnics in the forest or in the park?
    • forest
  • swim in the ocean or swim in a pool?
    • pool
  • be a dolphin or a cheetah?
    • cheetah
  • be able to make people laugh or be able to make people trust you?
    • laugh
  • be surprised by a present or be able to pick what you get?
    • pick
  • eat popsicles or watermelon?
    • popsicles
  • go camping or stay in a hotel?
    • hotel
  • do art or read?
    • read
  • experience an epic waterslide or an epic zip line?
    • water slide
  • Have an unlimited money for Ebooks, or a 5,000 dollar B&N giftcard?
    • unlimited
  • Meet any deceased poet, or J.K. Rowling?
    • Rowling
  • Write the world’s most famous book, or visit the world of your favorite book for one day?
    • write it
  • Choose  Jack  or Peter?  (Insert characters from your favorite fictional love triangle)
    • Ummm…. I will never choose! hahaha
  • Experience Hogwarts in a very realistic and accurate virtual reality, or travel around the world for a year, at no cost.
    • Travel the world

***

Summer Books

1.) what book cover makes you think of summer?

Rocks, Roses, & Riptides (Ravenwood Cove Mystery #7)

2.) what book has brightened your day?

 

Lord of the Pies (A Kensington Palace Chef Mystery #2)

3.) find a book cover with yellow on it

 

W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone, #23)

4.) what is your favorite summer beach read?

 

The Forgotten Garden

5.) what action book had you running for the ice cream man?

 

Prayer for the Dead (Inspector McLean, #5)

6.) (sunburn) what book has left you with a bad and/or painful ending?

 

Into the Water

7.) (sunset) what book gave you the happiest feelings when it ended? 

Love, Secrets, and Absolution

8.) what book cover reminds you of a sunset?

 

A Taste of Chardonnay (The Napa Wine Heiresses, #1)

9.) what is one book or series you hope to read this summer?

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

Nominees

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read 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 find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also 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. 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. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Outside In by Doug Cooper

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Why This Book 
In early 2017, I had drinks with a former colleague when we discussed my goal to publish a novel that year. She had grown up with someone who published a book and offered to introduce us. I said ‘sure’ and never actually contacted the guy. Months later, I signed a contract to publish my book, then realized I never followed through, so I sent a message, we chatted a bit, and I thought… I should read Doug Cooper‘s book: Outside In. I got hold of a copy, it sat on the shelves for a bit, but I decided I wasn’t allowed to buy/download another book in 2018 until I finished everything I already owned… hence how this one got picked for January!

outside.jpg
Plot, Characters & Setting 
Brad Shepherd is a middle school teacher whose student overdoses in class. As part of the Administration’s way to handle the student’s death, Brad’s out of a job. He heads to Put-in-Bay, Ohio to meet a friend and have a summer off, where he can party for a little bit and find his new life path. When he arrives, a life he never knew, or perhaps had forgotten, begins to surround him: he’s quick to fool around with a bunch of women, drink himself silly and experiment with a range of drugs. Over the course of the summer, he makes several mistakes and finds himself going off into a darker oblivion. His family re-surfaces, and a friend has an accident, which helps re-structure his course, but life is definitely going to be different in his future.

Key Thoughts 
For starters, I’ll say the book is a very realistic portrayal of what could happen in this environment. It’s not something I’m familiar with, but based on tons of movies, other books and conversations that touch on these subjects, I’d comfortable stating it is accurately written. That said, it is not an environment I would ever want to be in, nor did I like ANY of the characters in the book. They were a mess, indulgent, immature and frustrating. BUT — that’s the point and they belonged being that way for the story. Cooper brought out my inner ‘angry man’ attitude over people who behave like this, so major kudos to him for a brilliant portrayal of his character set.

The writing has quality and brings to life both the background and the tone you need to be successful in a book like this one. While there are some plot points, e.g. the death of the student, the move to the island for the summer and the results of some of the drug overdoses, it’s essentially a story about a group of experiences people have while drinking and taking various drugs. It’s of course larger than just that simple observation, but you have to be comfortable reading about this side of life to enjoy the book. It’s not going to be ideal for everyone, but it definitely has a large audience to work with. Once you get beyond drugs/drinking, you start questioning how we make choices, our fears, what makes us fall for another person, how does someone guilt you into doing things…

The dialogue and narration provide all the details readers need to know what’s going on in the main character’s head; you will hear his voice, see his actions, know the reasons (most of the time) and follow along on his journey. Sometimes you’ll think he’s stupid and full of fault, others you’ll know he’s suffering from a tragedy and just floating around without any anchor. For those reasons, it is pretty obvious that this has happened and continues to happen to people going through this stage of life. The sum of the parts equal the whole for me with this book. It’s a solid read, full of a wide range of situations and thought-provoking ideas. I think if I had gone through something like Brad did, I’d probably like the book even more. I ended up around 3.75 stars.

Summary 
I’m curious to read his other novel, The Investment Club, about a group of people in Las Vegas going through some life experiences at the Blackjack table. It seems this is the realm the author writes in… that space where the group of people interact in ways we can all relate to, but not nearly as far into the depths… and I’m confident when he hits on topics that are more pertinent to me, I’ll be really invested in the novel and have an entirely deeper connection to the author and his work. For now, I’m glad I read this one and look forward to reading more.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read 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 find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also 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. 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.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

365 Challenge: Day 154 – College Jobs

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College Jobs: jobs I held during college years to pay for tuition and have some spending money

college.jpg

Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived

The current set of 5 Sundays covers the major groups of roles / jobs / positions I’ve held over my career. Though I have had about fifteen titles over the years, when I broke it down into smaller groups, week two is all about the jobs I held during college.

  • Day Care Worker
  • Waiter
  • College Department Office Clerk

First semester students were not permitted to work in lieu of having time to adjust to being on your own, away at a college campus. It’s probably for the best, as it not only gives you the ability to sort out your friends, schedule and identity, but it also lets you focus on looking for the the right kind of job. When I enrolled at Moravian College, I knew I wanted to major in English and Education, so I talked to both departments. The Education Department had already hired someone for the spring semester, but the English Department wanted to see how I did in the first year writing course before I started in the Writing Center as a tutor. I needed a job! I had a phone bill to pay. And needed cash to go on dates. To buy books. Whaaattt??

By luck, I met and chatted with the Catholic Chaplain at mass each Sunday, as I went to church back then. Father Pete was a great man. We talked for hours about life, pursuing hopes and dreams and figuring out our connection to God and others. I worked in the on-campus seminary office for a few months, helping as a clerk with various responsibilities until he moved on in the beginning of my sophomore year to a different school. I chose not to return to that office as a student worker, as the only reason I had taken the role was the friendship with Father Pete. At that point, the English Department hired me as a tutor for 10 hours per week.     Thye sed i culd right wel!    I worked with first year students to offer advice on papers, help them understand basic grammar rules and provide guidance on research options for their course topics. I was also offered 10 hours in the Education Department, helping to coordinate the senior year student teaching program with all of the local schools. Both were fantastic jobs, but I had to quit the Writing Center position in my junior year because the Education Department’s office manager had become sick. She was taking a 3 month leave of absence and the Department Chair hadn’t wanted to hire anyone else. I ran the office with another student, taking on about 25 hours per week, which was the maximum for any student worker.

All of these experiences taught me essential and critical office and business skills, eventually preparing me for my future in post-college jobs — an upcoming post. I made several great contacts, learned the art of negotiation and developed ways to build relationships and trust, beyond that of a professor and a student. It also helped push me towards obtaining teaching certification, which I ultimately stopped just before the final stage. After a year of student teaching, I had realized that if I taught children all day long, I might not be such a great parent at night, needing a break from it and wanting the opportunity for adult conversation. Ultimately, though I love the concept of teaching, I would not handle the politics in grammar and secondary schools these days. I finished out college with a minor in Education, added in Spanish and Business courses, and obtained a degree in English with two concentrations in writing and literature.

While school was out for the summers, or had minimal classes, both departments cut hours for students, which was fine for me. I ended up searching for jobs and took one related to my field and one unrelated to my field. Let’s start with my job as a waiter, perhaps one of my favorites. My father’s cousin owned an upscale Italian restaurant and hired summer workers. I had been there a few times, helping her with setting up menus on the computer and the screens for the cashier registers. She gave me a chance working as a waiter on the lunch shifts, a sort of test run to see if I could hack it. Apparently, I could! She soon put me on the schedule for Friday and Saturday nights. Despite being shy, I had a different persona when I was a waiter, one in which I was super friendly, slightly flirty and extremely attentive. I never dropped any food or drinks, rarely got abused my rude customers and usually came home with a really good amount of tips. I learned a lot from the kitchen staff, how to order food from suppliers and how to make drinks. Another great set of skills to pick up when you are 19 / 20, as I did this for both the summers after freshman and sophomore year.

Additionally, during my sophomore year, and then again during my junior year summers, I worked for 35 hours per week at a day care nursery school. I was assigned the first year as the helper in a room for two-year-olds, and then I was given primary responsibility for a room of 3-year-olds. Knowing the kids were much younger than I planned to teach, it wasn’t a perfect fit; however, it was much better than working inside all day in a job that felt claustrophobic over the summer. I had two fifteen-minute breaks, plus 30 minutes for lunch. We took them to the gym for 30 minutes each day, plus 30 minutes outside for a walk around the property. We played games, read and tried to teach a few things around nap schedules. It was a really fun job, as I love children. I’m usually the one crawling on the floor, acting like a child myself.

It was a little awkward at first, as some of the two-year-olds needed their diapers changed, which although not something new for me (I had tons of younger cousins I often babysat), it felt weird to do that in public in a room with other kids and adults, knowing I was the only guy in the entire school. I think I might have been a ‘diversity’ hire — I mean no offense by that in terms of race or ethnicity, simply a little humor in that the owner was overly-thrilled I wanted to work there but also nervous what the parents would think. I wasn’t out to anyone during college, nor very obvious, but they must have known. Some of the girls flirted at first, but either I gave off signals or they realized their bark was climbing the wrong tree! I had to go through an extra interview process to meet all the parents at a drop-off and pick-up prior to being approved in the classroom. It was right at the height of all the laws changing to be more protective of children (rightfully so) and still at a time when it wasn’t quite normal for a guy to work in that field. It probably helped that at 20, I still looked 14 (just like at 40, I still look 18 21 27 33, and keep your mouth shut if you feel the need to say anything else), and although I was quite smart and adult-like in everything I did, I always came across as quote young and innocent.

I don’t think I could or would do that job again now. Not because I don’t love children, but because parents and schools are nightmares when it comes to all the do’s and don’ts in the classroom. I understand the policies and different teaching methods, but I have little tolerance for all the BS politics. I also probably wouldn’t want to be a waiter again, not because of the tasks or the duties, but because people are so rude on their cell phones to wait staff, it doesn’t feel worth it anymore. Whenever I’m a patron in a restaurant, I ensure I know the server’s name and find a connection point to keep dialogue moving throughout the time (s)he is serving us. That’s sorta the issue for me… they might be ‘serving’ us for that 90-minute period, but seriously, let’s all be friendly and open-minded about it. If the waiter is a jerk or difficult, then I just let them be cold and distant and won’t connect. Always their choice in the beginning…

How about you? What did you learn from your college or summer jobs after graduating from high school? Or what are your kids thinking about doing?

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Karen @ Run Wright. I don’t exactly recall how or when Karen and I connected, but it was a good thing it happened. She’s a published author, has a fantastic personality and a bit of a fun quirky humor in all our conversations. We’ve chatted about everything from TV shows to running to what to do if your date showed up wearing a romper or a jumper matching the one you’d chosen. Yikes! We both live in NYC and might meet up one day, which could just blow the whole blogging world up — as there are many of us here (I already met one lovely lady). We could all start a club. Karen is a delight to chat with, interacts frequently and always pushes you to think outside the box a little. I’m very curious to see if she’d take over a 365 post one day, simply to see what kind of angle she’d pursue. I’m also very curious about this accent she tells us about. When I read her comments, I try to think about her typing it out on a mobile phone while hopping on the subway three cars down from me — wouldn’t that be ironic! If you want to learn more about her, check out the below blurb from her About Me section and then go visit the site yourself:
    • “I’m Karen but people who know me through the blog now call me Run Wright. It’s always funny for me to hear that but I love the validation.I’m a published author and my collection of stories, It’s Complicated: Short Stories About Long Relationships is now available on Amazon. I’m Jamaican but I’ve lived in New York City almost long enough to have lost my accent (not really)… My accent is most distinct when I’m excited (at least once a day) and always when I talk to my mom. I love running even though I’m not very good at it. I am a Chemical Engineer by training but my true passion is writing – it’s how I express myself best and it’s how I share my dreams with others. I write fiction, poetry, articles, short stories and I have a several novels on my computer that are almost ready to be published. I blog about running, fitness, goals, lessons learned, books, food and balanced living. I’m passionate about being a Christian and live to reflect God’s character.”

 

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 27 – Warm-Blooded

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Warm-Blooded: (1) ardent, passionate, or (2) relating to or denoting animals (chiefly mammals and birds) that maintain a constant body temperature, typically above that of the surroundings, by metabolic means; homeothermic

I’ve wanted to blog about this topic for a few days, but I was mulling over whether to call it “warm” or “hot” blooded. I only intended to cover one of the two definitions, but figured I’d list both, since education is a good thing. “Hot,” to me, speaks to ardent and passionate, whereas “warm” speaks to the body temperature, which is what I want to discuss. A reader’s first thought is likely… “what does body temperature have to do with a trait about you or your personality?” And you’d be correct to let that thought cross your mind. But by the end of this post, it will become more clear.

The weather’s been getting warmer here in NYC where I live. I had a few days this week where I needed to pull out shorts, not only to lounge around my apartment, but also when I left to run an errand around town. And I’m not happy. I much prefer the cooler weather of early spring and late autumn; even winter is better than the temperature during the summer. But why, you ask, I’m sure… do you care so much about the temperature? That’s simple… I seem to feel temperature more than most others; my body seems to register on high alert anytime the temperature goes above 60 — and it just makes me uncomfortable, miserable and a sourpuss.

Our normal body temperatures are supposed to be 98.6 degrees. We’re all taught that when we are youngsters. Some people float a little low or a high, which is normal. My average body temperature tends to be 97 degrees. I’m not exactly sure what this means (any medical professionals out there know?), but I believe it has wrecked with body’s reaction to the change in external temperature.

Once it hits 60 degrees outside, I sweat! I will often wear one shirt to work (walking to the subway) and change when I arrive at the office — not because I look sweaty or smell (don’t even go there) — but because it irritates me, I feel sickly and my positive outlook on the day just drains away. I almost shut down when I get too warm or sticky, unable to focus or think. And it makes me a bit miserable to be around. I know it. I admit it.

On the flip side, if I trudge through snow to get to my destination, I arrive all happy, optimistic and ready to get the day started. How odd…. go ahead and say it… I often think the same thing to myself. But being comfortable is essential to being happy and productive throughout the day. I’m sure some folks feel the same if they are shivering and unable to focus because it’s too cold, so you surely must understand my predicament.

It’s much worse during the summer months (mid-June thru mid-September) where I barely function. I can tolerate it for a little while longer, but I know it’s coming and I am not thrilled about sweaty, hot, smelly subways, stagnant and moist (yes, I used that word…) air you feel all around you… perhaps I should move to an environment where the weather is much more amenable to my body temperature needs. Back to the topic.

So warm-blooded applies to us all, as we’re mammals, but to me, warm-blooded means I am always warm. I generate an inordinate amount of body heat. Everyone loves to cuddle with me. I hate it because they don’t take the body heat away from me. They just give me more of their body heat. Ugh. I rarely feel cold or chilly, and if I am, it usually means I’m catching a cold.

Being warm-blooded is probably a good thing, tho, and I shouldn’t complain about it. But because of it, and my body’s reaction to external temperature, my entire personality is affected when I hit my pressure point… which unlike most people is not just at the extremes, given it’s anything above 60 degrees. Hence why I said this is more a characteristic than it may have sounded like at the beginning. If the temperature goes up, you know what to expect when you see me. I’ll complain about it right away. I’ll only travel so far to meet people for dinner or drinks. Selfish… irritable… short-tempered… whiny… that’s what I become. And if those aren’t annoying traits, I don’t know what is!

A friend brings me an Evian mister spray when we go out during the summer. It’s kinda amusing, but it helps.

At least people know this about me and try to work with me on it. Perhaps I’m exaggerating a tad, but in all seriousness, the weather has a huge impact on me. I love rain. I love snow. I hate heat. I abhor humidity. There, I said it. No beach vacations for me.

So what do I do with this knowledge: move to the mountain tops, find a job as a sleigh driver in the Arctic Circle, buy an air-conditioned suit? Or learn to live with it, push the boundaries a bit each time and hope for the best. Eh… A LOT OF SHOWERS too… coincidentally, how cute is that graphic below! 😛

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and 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.