A Book Review: “Outliers” By Malcolm Gladwell

The Outliers
Photo Image/www.oprah.com

Outliers, non-fiction, published in 2008, with great insight on how we as humans learn and become successful. It’s not about how to gain success, but explores how much success is about timing, and who you know. It has a timeless relevance because of how it lays out its idea as it debunks popular cliche’s and theories and focuses on how success really happens. It is a cohesive book even though each chapter is very different from the last, as it doesn’t flow like one might be used to when reading a book. Which is why this book is such an interesting read, as it jumps around and then travels back to points it was making earlier in the text.

It looks deeply at the causes and effects of how one is raised, and what the parents did to encourage the success with basically one decisive parental decision. As it also looks at others with similar backgrounds but didn’t have the same success or any success at all. Finally, this book get’s my vote for a tenacious and fascinating read about the complexities of the human experience and just how subjective success really is!!!

Becoming A Senior Isn’t A Great Feeling

Here's the proof of my discounts that I didn't use or need!!!
Here’s the proof of my discounts that I didn’t use or need!!!

So as of May 6, 2015 I officially joined the senior class, and can I say right now it was an uncomfortable feeling for sure! Talk about humble pie, I got mine yesterday, WOW!!! I took the woman I care give for to the casino which she loves, and since I don’t gamble I read a book and surfed the net on my phone while she played the slots for a while.

As I walked up to the rewards desk to get a player’s card (even though I don’t play) the only good thing which came out the experience, is the woman at the rewards desk informed me of my discount because she did the math on my ID. Well thank you very much for math, for goodness sake!!! I couldn’t believe how much that affected me. All I kept hearing echoing in my brain is, “Well I need to inform you, that you qualify for the senior discounts because you’re 50.” Wow, thanks senior discounts, for rubbing my 50 years in. What’s weird is I don’t really think it’s that bad being 50, but I’ve lived half my life and haven’t done a lot of things I want to do yet. So now I feel a little pressured to get that stuff done, which is travel, I need to travel. So this is what I’ll be working toward this side of 50. So that’s what’s really going on!!!!

Hey Everyone I’m Finally Back!!!

Wow, so much has happened in the last few months since I’ve been away from my blog. I’ve lost 40 lbs, my daughter and son-in-law both are working.  Matt (son in law) is graduating from Jr. College shortly.Read More »

The Ladybug Chronicles, (Matt Got A Job!)

I’m so proud of my son-in-law, because he did the work and got himself a job! He is now a paid intern for a engineering company, and he did it rather easily. He took care of business and is doing the business of taking care of his wife. Wow, what a proud mama I am now. It’s so nice to know they did things in a good order, first they finished their trade at job corps, and now finishing Jr. college and then starting state college, and working and looking for work, and then hopefully starting a family. I’m a huge fan of godly order.Read More »

WPC: McDonald’s Wallpaper & Floating Roses

McDonald's wallpaper.
McDonald’s wallpaper.

Trying to take pics of depth conjures up many things in my mind, and from the examples of other blogs I’ve really got nothing substantial here to work with. Although, it’s the trying I guess that counts, at least that’s what I’m telling myself right now…

Thai restaurant floating roses.
Thai restaurant floating roses.

Coconut Rice and Black Eyed Peas

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 cup basmati rice or brown rice
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup vegetable stock or chicken stock
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 can black eyed peas or a half a pound of peas from scratch
2 tablespoons freshly minced cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Directions

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot add the minced garlic and the chili flakes, saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the white wine and stir. Add the vegetable or chicken stock and the coconut milk. Give the rice a good stir and bring to a gentle boil. Once the rice just begins to boil, lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, (45 minutes if using brown rice) until the rice is cooked and all the liquid has evaporated. Fluff with a fork and stir in the black eyed peas and the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri, 2008

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/coconut-rice-and-peas-recipe0.html?oc=linkback

Put Down That Mouse and Pick Up That Book!!!

My first New Year's resolution book/image; rainbowresource.com
My first New Year’s resolution book/image: rainbowresource.com

I was listening to a sermon the other day, and the pastor said, My father was an avid book reader and always had something interesting to talk about to his children and grand children,” and I decided this is something I should start doing with no looking back. I want to have something interesting to talk to my future grand children about, and the only way to make this happen is to do more reading. Why? Because non readers, only tell the same stories over an over again, and drive their relatives crazy repeating, washed up, boring repetitive stories, they forget they already told you because of their dementia. So, if I open my mind I will have something new to say in my old age. Since I caregive for someone who doesn’t read and should have read when they were younger, I now see why reading is truly important.

Also, because I’m turning 50 years old in a little over a week, I need to get started, being from the era of the television and not being encouraged to read more as a youth. Which I regret, but I’m going to change all that now and by golly, I’ve started already. So the first book I started reading last year that I’ve just picked up again to finish is, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard, this book is an allegory. I will probably review it as well but not sure if I will on my blog yet, I haven’t decided. I’m also simultaneously reading a daily devotional by my old pastor, John MacArthur, called, Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, volume 2.

Simultaneous reading/image: amazon.com
Simultaneous reading./image: amazon.com

This is a heavy undertaking but I’m going to do it. For my future grand kids sanity.

Big Eyes*

big-eyes-5
A. Adams as Margaret, and C. Waltz as Walter/image: variety.com

 Amy Adams is a very gifted actor with lots of little nuances about her technique which keeps her acting fresh. She can keep the audience invested even if the role she’s playing is somewhat weak, withdrawn, non confrontational, and lacks confidence. And in this movie she articulates this beautifully. She’s hesitant, restrained, and yet, somehow in your face all at the same time and makes this role Oscar worthy. It’s interesting when an actor can pull all this off, while convincing you she’s not acting. 

The Premise…

Margaret Keane's work/image: writtenignition.com
Margaret Keane’s work/image: writtenignition.com

Centered on Margaret, Adams, a young woman with a daughter that she takes with her, leaves her first husband in the early 50’s something that wasn’t very popular or looked very highly on if the woman was the was the one leaving. So in desperation she moves to San Francisco near her single girlfriend, DeeAnn, Krysten Ritter, for moral support. There she meets a man, Walter Keane, Christoph Waltz who is very chipper and a fast talking fellow artist. And as she seeks to reinvent herself they become fast friends and she begins to gain confidence to pursue her painting talents, by his urging. Then Walter asks her to marry him and begins selling her work, as he tries to sell his own, but the problem is he’s a fly in the ointment and not after her best interests but his own.

With the ubiquitous chauvinistic 50’s women felt pressure to have a man define them. And it’s intriguing to note how wolves know a sheep when they see one and pounce on it, and in this scenario, Margaret is the sheep and her future husband is the wolf. Which is a sad commentary on the 50’s since women were even more burdened down when they were a divorc­ée. So with that the story took off from there.

The Sum Up…

The real Margaret Keane now/image: usatoday.com
The real Margaret Keane now with Amy Adams to the right/image: usatoday.com

It was refreshing knowing that Tim Burton directed this movie and Johnny Depp wasn’t in it. It was unusual to not see special effects and eclectic costumes, which made you forget you were watching a Burton film, and I appreciated his restraint and maturity in his directing style. Keane, Waltz, was somewhat convincing as the fast talking, con man. But this movie was all Adams, she played this role in such a way that all you could think of was, less is definitely more. So my score for this film is, B ~ NOTE WORTHY, see either in theaters or on DVD but see it. The reason I didn’t give it an A is because, Waltz was too over the top and he seemed like he was acting and Tim should have used a different actor to play the single girlfriend, DeeAnn, Ritter was terrible, and thank goodness her scenes where short and few. No Safety Alerts here, but this movie is not for kids under 12. With good directing, and decent writing it’s a go see. This movie is rated PG13.

Exodus: Gods and Kings

exodus-gods-and-kings-movie-poster-9
The chase scene/image: apnatimepass.com

The last few movies I’ve seen, like Birdman, and Horrible Bosses 2, seemed like such a chore to review, because of the silliness of the movies, so I didn’t. Unlike this movie which was a chore because it was so bad. With its huge budget, spectacular costumes, and special effects, and my too high of expectations, the movie gave very little for the $5 I spent to see it and thankfully this is all I spent.

The Premise…

Since most know the story of Moses, Christian Bale, and his humble beginning, this film picks up at the pinnacle of the story, where we see Moses as a very successful second to the newly reigning king of Egypt, Ramesses 2, Joel Edgerton. Since Ramesses is a hardened prideful Egyptian man, he’s easily influenced by and trusts Moses’ loyalty completely, as Moses on the other hand, is fast becoming a man of God and is finding he loves the people of God more and is disdainfully aware that his allegiance lies with those enslaved by Pharaoh. So as he becomes more of an ally to the Jews, he escapes Pharaoh and is the catalyst to freeing the Jews and leading them out of Egypt.

The base story was all there and should have been strong enough to make for a good movie but unfortunately nothing could help this movie. Not the actors, with the lackluster hodge podge of a cast, some British, some Australian and some American, but all wrong. It made a big hot mess, even the messenger of God a young boy, Isaac Andrews, who was a good actor, just seemed mean and angry.

The Sum Up…

An uninspired 2½ hour messy mess. There however were some moments of brilliance, the breathtaking cinematography and beautiful horses. The horses acting was exceptional and more interesting to watch. As were all the scenes with Ramesses, riding in his chariot. I will say the most interesting actor to watch was Edgarton, but the writing was really bad, and I’m getting a bit bored with Bale, he’s starting to play the same guy in every role. So my film score is, D ~ DON’T EVEN BOTHER, not worth the time and effort to even put the DVD in the player; or click to stream on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone!! This movie is rated PG13

Black Mirror, Netflix Original

Black Mirror
T. Kebbell as Liam in The Entire History of You, series 1 episode 3/image: vulturehound.co.uk

Black Mirror a British TV series I stumbled upon on Netflix. Something I kept seeing pictured and finally decided to give a try, as I’ve also in the past enjoyed watching the actor Toby Kebbell pictured above. I also like the synopsis because it had the words sci-fi, and The Twilight Zone, in the description, two-word phrases that could make any TV watching experience more clever, and interesting. Also, in my opinion, since British acting, and writing is some of the very best, I thought, “yep this series could be worth my time.” And it was!!!

The Premise…

With its six episodes, three in 2011 and three in 2013, the show does have a Twilight Zone vibe to it, minus the narrator. The stories are futuristic and focus on social media and how it could affect us in our interaction with one another. It takes some clever liberties with what might be our lot in the future and shows us some cautionary scenarios that could be terrifying in a “what if,” kind of way, and shows how important it is to pause, and think about how far we could take this whole social media thing and how easily it could stunt our lives.

black mirror 3
Liam in Black Mirror/image: spin.com

For instance, in series 1 episode 3, The Entire History of You, we see how having a memory chip installed in our brain, can make it very difficult to get away with lying to each other. Especially since the chip allows you to download, rewind, fast forward, and re-watch your memories. Memories of what just happened a few moments before or a very long time ago, on a screen which pulls up in any square frame so anyone can view with you with your permission, or if looking at memories inside your head on your own, you don’t need a screen your eyes just go cloudy. The device is something a parent can have installed in the child as a baby and something you can only opt out of with surgery. Which can cause you to be treated like an outcast because you don’t have the chip, not to mention it’s a painful difficult surgery to remove.

The Sum Up…

With cleverly themed episodes, the series really had legs, using very familiar British faces, and great writing, and directing, you are kind of bummed when you’ve watched all the episodes, wanting to see more. The creator Charlie Booker has his stamp on each episode reminiscent of Rod Sterling, and shows us how easily this fast social media blitz can get out of hand. This show also has, a huge SAFETY ALERT warning, because as I’ve mentioned in other posts, British TV doesn’t have the same parental advisories as American TV, so their’s a lot of language, sexual content, and adult themes being exposed here! Which means, take heed parents when letting your children watch Netflix! I give this show a score of A for creative TV writing, acting, and directing, this show is not rated.