Zumba for the soul, week 7

Oh, dammit!  I am totally getting on this!  I will be getting up to speed with it very shortly indeed, scout’s honour!

Ehhhh.  Anyhow!  Zumba for week 7 (and we’re only on, *gulp* week 20?  eeeeeeek)…

i) ‘2 hrs in a hammock doing nothing’.

Does the sofa in front of Netflix count?  I think it counts!

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ii) ‘Record yrself acting out a scene from A Wonderful Life.’

Hey, I could do Clarence the angel!  Yeah!  I identify with Clarence…  I don’t know why…  Maybe it’s just that humans are so exasperating…  Or maybe it’s the nœud papillon.

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iii) ‘Find the best vantage point possible and watch the sunset.’

I can watch the sunset from my living-room window…  Sorted!

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image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/slgc/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

image – https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-margie/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

image – Laura Cook on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/63036883@N07/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

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What I’ve been reading – David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling GiantsDavid and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked the biblical stuff about David and Goliath – the interpretation that David’s victory was about the tactics and ruthlessness of the underdog, rather than a heavenly blessing, was very interesting. The chapter about the Northern Ireland troubles was very depressing though. I loved the bit about the Resistance in WWII France – the community that basically said, ‘We’ve got our Jews, you come get ’em if you want ’em, see what you get!’ was – well, almost funny, although you feel bad laughing at something so serious.

I often finish a Gladwell book feeling as if I’ve been entertained, but not sure what I’m supposed to have really learned. This is one of those.

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What I’ve been reading – Still Kicking by Judith Arnold

Still KickingStill Kicking by Judith Arnold

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved it! For a respectable small-town schoolmarm and widow, Lainie is pretty ruthless and willing to fight her corner and give ’em hell, when necessary. And Lainie + Stavik, her blue-collar rough-n-ready lover, = hot! I’m not much into soccer, but I still liked the rounding her love of the game gave to Lainie’s character – a woman with passions beyond the purely sexual or romantic, a full life and a physical earthiness and strength lent by her enthusiasm for the sport. Lainie’s emotions are realistically represented, and while her DIY detective activities may be less credible, they’re still a lot of fun. (And I can easily believe how smart and brave she is in persisting with them.)

A really great beginning to a series, easily 4 stars.

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me and Pam: a New Year project, Week One, Day One

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image – Inga Vitola https://www.flickr.com/photos/360around/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I got Pam Grout’s new book, ‘Art and Soul, Reloaded‘ for Christmas.  Lucky me!  And since it’s structured in the form of weekly projects, I figure I will make a serious stab at them, and at finishing them by next New Year.  Gotta try, right?

The first week’s project, as advised by Ms. Grout, is simply to log amount of time spent on social media for the week.  Then to cut it in half, and spend the freed-up time on creative pursuits instead.  And in addition, to come up with three new ideas a day.  No matter how ridiculous!

Well, we’re already halfway through the week.  So I’ll come up with my best estimate of the time I waste daily – say two hours.  And, yes, make an effort to cut it down.

And today’s three ideas?

i) write a Gothic novel summary with a clown as the hero

ii) decorate a mug to celebrate a national holiday that doesn’t exist

iii) build a ladybug house.

 

What I’ve been reading – Happier Than God by Neale Donald Walsch

Happier Than God: Turn Ordinary Life into an Extraordinary ExperienceHappier Than God: Turn Ordinary Life into an Extraordinary Experience by Neale Donald Walsch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a birthday gift to me, which I was a bit bemused by. (Doesn’t everyone interpret books as subliminal messages, given as gifts?) I found it a bit repetitive – the author certainly has a few mantras he leans on heavily, especially the bit about ‘recreating yourself in the grandest version of the greatest vision’ or something like that. A bit gobbledegooky if you ask me. Oh, and the ‘we are all one’. I do have a bit of a problem with that. Because even if it’s true at a higher level, it still doesn’t seem to matter. Don’t you still have to deal with your own personal little-i self, day to day?

I wasn’t exactly infuriated by this book, and I didn’t even disagree with it. I just find all of the Secret-type books inarguable, in the sense that it’s hard to argue with flat assertions that can’t be proven or disproven. It seems to me that any of the experiments they suggest may or may not be borne out by results. And one incident doesn’t prove much. But it does feel as if there’s always some work-around that explains away inconvenient results. Check out p. 183 for that here.

It’s very heavy on the self-promotion – which is fine, actually, except it takes up a lot of space in the book. I can’t quite buy what it’s selling, and maybe that’s why I’m not happier than God yet.

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What I’ve been reading – The 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Greene

The 48 Laws of PowerThe 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Clever, arguable, entertaining, annoying. Disconcerting, sometimes, when you wonder, but doesn’t everyone do that? That’s just instinct, surely?

More fun than The Art Of War, at least.

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What I’ve been reading – He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt

He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding GuysHe’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are certain self-help/positive thinking/career or relationship advice/LOA books, where you just have to put the book down a minute and stop and think, “Are there really people out there who need this explaining to them?”

Yes, this is one of those. Despite that, it’s funny, quirky, fun to read, and probably serves a useful purpose for the more credulous and easily-gulled amongst us. The movie wasn’t bad, too.

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Random Quest – 08/12/2017

image – Jan (Arny) Messersmith https://www.flickr.com/photos/boogieswithfish/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/, not modified

The inaugural post in an occasional series!  (I was going to call it Random Element, and then I thought no, let’s honour the fantabulous sf short story by John Wyndham.  Excellent, recommended, go forth and read it!)

image – Holly https://www.flickr.com/photos/strangefrontier/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ not modified

In this series, I’ll take a random element – words out of a random word generator online, out of a casually grabbed book, a snatch of conversation on the radio – and interpret them.  Or possibly interpret the results of inputting these few random terms into the searchbox of a website – Twitter or Youtube or any one of a number of others.  Interpret, in the sense of give meaning to them, a nudge from the Universe, a voice in the (tinfoil-hatted) head, a prod between the shoulderblades.

image – John Keogh https://www.flickr.com/photos/jvk/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/, not modified

Hey, it’s every bit as valid as friggin’ astrology, ‘kay?  And it keeps me amused, out of trouble and off the streets.  Where’s the bad?

Today’s random quest – soup, ant, knee.  And knitting.  I always want to add ‘knitting’.

 

What I’ve been reading – Bethany by Anita Mason

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BethanyBethany by Anita Mason

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sly, subtle portrayal of the implementation of cult structures and procedures in a social grouping. Complete with an abusive, narcissistic bully posing as caring commune leader, and submissive devotees serving dual function as enforcers – and all without ever being so crude as to explicitly state the purpose of the narrative. Compliance is rewarded, and consent vigorously manufactured to Newspeak assertions that up is down and the earth is – metaphorically – flat. Resistance and dissent are vehemently discouraged. But will one prospective mug/mark manage to evade the net?

Clever. And unsettling. Not a jolly read, but a memorable one.

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Image – Jenny Mackness https://www.flickr.com/photos/jennymackness/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/