Friday, May 20, 2011

Reading & Work

After the lackluster that was Dexter in the Dark, I'm trudging onward through the pages (though not really, as there aren't any physical pages) of the fourth book, Dexter by Design. Half way through the novel, I'm still waiting for Jeff Lindsay to take another stab at the series to veer readers away from ever touching these books again.

Oh well, in other news, spring training for the Edinburg Roadrunners - a local baseball team belonging to the North American League (independent) - has kicked off. This year, however, our home stadium is also housing a rival team, the McAllen Thunder (formerly Coastal Bend Thunder). My schedule is erratic as both teams have to share the field for spring training. As usual, I'm working double duty this season as well - first and foremost as the main clubhouse manager - i.e. babysitter - and as head of clean up - i.e. babysitter. I joke a lot about the jobs, but I love this line of work. Especially because it keeps me busy. Not to mention, it also keeps me reading.

Because clubhouse managers only work before and after the game - we do things during the game, as well, but it's not enough to encompass the entire three to four hours - we tend to have a lot of free time on our hands. Last year, I spent that time taking naps because I practically lived on the stadium. This year, as I'm now head of the clean up crew - which doesn't really involve me doing much work other than making sure these guys don't break things - I'm gonna be doing less work at night. In fact, the manager already told me he doesn't want me doing the late night stuff like I used to. Which translates to, I'm gonna have to figure some shit out.

On a given day, I plan to get to work by at least 6:30am. Wash the rest of the stuff that I have to wash - and the visiting team's stuff - clock everyone in by 8am for the cleaning crew, return to the clubhouses to finish my work and then call it a day when everyone is finished doing whatever it is they're doing. Afterward, I'll make myself a bed in the training room and sleep. If sleep won't come to me - and believe me when I say this, it won't - I'll spend most of my time with my nose in a book or shoved against my Kindle, because that phrase doesn't really work with the electronic book age.

So what does this mean to you, fellow readers? More posts? Maybe, but it's not likely. I am stuck at work, without Internet access. Le groan. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book(s) to Consider

More and more people are “waking up” spiritually. And for most of them, the question becomes: now what? “Information about life after awakening is usually not made public,” explains Adyashanti. “It’s most often shared only between teachers and their students.” The End of Your World is his response to a growing need for direction on the spiritual path.

Adyashanti begins by describing the “I got it/I lost it” phenomenon that perplexes so many of his students—the fluctuation between what he calls “nonabiding” awakening and the ultimate state of “Abiding” enlightenment. With straight talk and penetrating insight, Adyashanti points out the pitfalls and cul-de-sacs that “unenlighten” us along the journey, including:

  • The trap of meaninglessness
  • How the ego can “co-opt” realization for its own purposes
  • The illusion of superiority that may accompany intense spiritual breakthroughs
  • The danger of becoming “drunk on emptiness.”

“Full awakening comes when you sincerely look at yourself, deeper than you’ve imagined, and question everything,” teaches Adyashanti. The End of Your World is your invitation to join Adyashanti for an honest investigation of what you really are—and how to live once you discover it. (source)

I've never heard of or read anything by Adyashanti until a couple of minutes ago, so he's a new writer in my world. He is the author of Emptiness Dancing (2006) and True Meditation (2006), both of which sound really interesting. Hopefully I'll acquire a copy of The End of Your World either in hard copy or on Kindle. Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Relaxing at Coffee Shops

Guest post of the week by Deangelo Spencer

In life, we all need to take a break and simply relax. For a workaholic such as myself, a coffee shop is the perfect place that I can unwind and truly put work off for a while. Some of my favorite activities at a coffee shop are talking with my friends or talking with a romantic interest. I love reconnecting with people that I value in my life at a coffee shop.

It is truly a blessing to have people in my life that I can hang out with at coffee shops. I am always so intrigued to hear about the lives of other people and hear about their successes in life. I love hearing how a person's week has went or what new romantic interests a person may have. There is just something fascinating about hanging out with people that I value! and understanding them in a coffee shop atmosphere that I love. Coffee shops truly do act as the place where people can offer an insight into their souls. It is the place where people reveal truth about themselves that is uninhibited and free.

While I enjoy my time out at coffee shops, there are a few tips any person should keep in mind before leaving the house. Simply setting a home security alarm with Adt security pulse is something that anyone should do before leaving a home.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Disappointing Dexter

I'm not even sure how to even begin this entry. What can I say? I've already noted how I've liked Dexter the television series over Dexter the novel series. It's probably because the Showtime series deviates significantly from the Jeff Lindsay novels greatly. For instance, lovable, foul-mouthed sister Debs doesn't know that her adopted brother Dexter holds a terrible secret passion. And Rita's kids - Cody and Astor - don't have homicidal tendencies. And after reading Dexter in the Dark, the show also deviates from bringing mythological entities into play.

Unlike Tess Gerritsen's placement of new age, mythological, JudeoChristian legends in her novel, The Mephisto Club - which were only used a plot device, and not as an actuality - Lindsay uses the Moloch myth as an actuality. He also turns Dexter's Dark Passenger from psychological entity - the reasoning behind Dexter's need to slice and dice - into a "bastard child" of Moloch's. 

There were times when the story was great, but other times it left me wanting to toss the book aside and never bothering with the novels ever again. I mean, what's the point? If the writer is going to throw something like this out of the blue, why should the readers take it seriously? It's a rule, isn't it? You can't introduce something fantasy in a world that was created in actuality? I don't know. 

Also, what's with the return of Doakes? I understand - unlike season two - he didn't die in the second book, but his presence really necessary? Returning half the man he used to be serves no actual purpose. I understand the intent was to compare Dexter's old nemesis with his new one - the cult did want to end Dexter - but it failed to do that. 

If only there were some realistic explanation of the events in the novel, I may have liked it better - like a guy who thought he was Moloch and drug poisoning to explain the concert in Dexter's head. Still, the book might be something to take a gander at. If you're bored. And if there's a sale. Or you buy it cheap. Or check it out in the library. Or borrow it from a  friend. Or, you know, not at all.

Until next time, keep on huntin'.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tunes You Need to Listen To

Anomie (Deluxe)
Industrial music fans can sleep safe tonight, their savior has risen after a 15 year - though not really - hiatus. Tim Skold - who has worked musical acts such as Shotgun Messiah, KMFDM and Marilyn Manson - has returned with his second solo album, the first since the 1996 self-titled LP, Anomie. And he does not disappoint.

After the release of the first single, Suck, in April, I've been on edge waiting for the album's release. It dropped Tuesday and I've been playing it since I got home from work. The sounds of raw guitars mixed with his - indescribable - voice leaves me shuddering with a musical orgasm - that's right, I said orgasm on a book blog, wanna fight about it? Then I just hit play again and I'm ready for more. 

Jyg asked me to figure out three songs that I favor the most from the album, but where do I start? As cliche as it sounds, I love them all. The moment "(This Is My) Elephant" blasts in my ear to last garbled fade out of "Deserve" (available in the Deluxe edition), I'm in the throes of his majesty. Of course, there are songs that stand out, that get me moving feeling. "Suck," of course, is one of them. Then there's "Tonight," which would be perfect for the goth club - even though I've never set foot inside it - with its lyrics like, "It's too late for suicide, we've been dead for quite a while" and "Dance with me, strip away the pain/You know the world is ending here tonight/So dance with me, strip away the pain/Don't you let me die alone tonight." 

Of course, my personal favorite is "What You See Is What You Get." With a melancholy tone and lyrics that hint at rage, it's just the perfect combination of the two and the perfect song to end an album on. That is, unless, you got the deluxe edition, which offers two extra songs - "Polka dot Dress" and "Deserve."

Anomie is the best album to start the summer and coupled with KMFDM's WTF?! and Ohgr's unDeveloped, it seems that 2011 is the year of industrial.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Currently Reading

I don't know why I set goals for myself. Last year, I decided to partake in the 100+ Reading Challenge; I only managed 50 books. So you know what I did this year? I decided to not partake in the 100+ challenge, but set a goal on Goodreads to read 50 books. Watching my list grow slowly only convinces me that when I set goals, I do everything in my power to not achieve them - which explains my lack of book enthusiasm. Currently (as of this posting), I'm at 15 books, and that's because one is an essay and five are short stories.

My 16th book of the year is Jeff Lindsay's Dexter in the Dark, the third book in the Dexter Morgan series. I attempted reading it after finishing Dearly Devoted Dexter, but my mind needed a rest from America's favorite serial killer. So far the read's going good. 

In other book hunter news - shouldn't I call it Observant Reader news, considering that's my "handle" on the blog? - I was offered a chance to review Grundish and Askew by Lance Carbuncle, which is now available as an e-book. Let's see if this one pans out better than that offer from Quirk Publishing - remember how I was offered the chance to review that new Pride and Prejudice and Zombies novel, Dreadfully Ever After? That never panned out, so I'm not going to overexcite myself with this opportunity. 

Finally, Saturday was an adventure in book hunting. The downside was, I couldn't find the book that was supposed to be my gift to my mother - Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. My mother loved the film, so I decided it would be a great idea if I purchased the novel for her. No luck. It's all good, along with the red velvet cake, I made her lasagna and bought her a Sara Lee strawberry cheesecake.

Because I didn't find anything for my mother, didn't mean I didn't find anything that could be added to my library. Every good book hunter knows that it's not just book stores that act as our hunting ground. Because Dollar Tree's motto is "Everything is a dollar," one should scope them out. I found Richard Belzer's - better know as John Munch on Law & Order: SVU - I Am Not A Psychic and Fiber by Rick Bass. There were more books to look at, but an annoying group of idiots scared this hunter away. Oh well, there's always next time. And until then, keep on huntin'.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A book I'm looking forward to this summer

I fell in love with Rizzoli & Isles last year, after Amazon suggested I check out the first novel of the Rizzoli series, The Surgeon. It was a hard sell at first. Somewhere in the story muddled with romantic subplots was the heart of a beast waiting to be released. Of course, at the same time I decided to pick up The Surgeon, I learned TNT was releasing a television series. The series, in my opinion, failed miserably. I wasn't expecting gold - they can't all be Dexters, can they? - but was expecting something that was worth my while. 

On 5 July 2011, the ninth novel in the series - The Silent Girl - will be released and this reader is giddy with excitement. After the twists and turns of the last novel - Ice Cold - I can't wait to see what Tess Gerritsen has in store for us. 

More Rizzoli & Isles