The confusing points of “Lady Gone Bad”..

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I have recently finished Sabine Star’s first western romance novel “Lady Gone Bad”. While this novel had occasional strong points, their were some scenes that just had me confused. Some of this confusion comes from Starr who brings in historical context at weird times and one is never able to find out all of the back story of Lady Gone Bad aka Sharlot.

(spoiler alert) Well lets start with the end of the novel in which Lady Gone Bad is pardoned because she helped catch a group of thieves along with a traitor to the government with the help of Rafe and her horse Copper. The problem is that once this all resolved all we really learn about is how the horse thieves Zip, Lampkin, etc. stole her prized horse and killed her parents, but we never hear of her journey after that point. I think this would be worth mentioning given that by the end of the novel most people have become invested in the main characters.

Now, to go off a tangent sort of another confusing point in this book is when Sharlot begins lecturing Rafe in a way about the civil war heroes from thirty years ago. She explains to Rafe that some outlaws are “Confederate heroes, or sons of the heroes, still engaged in the conflict, taking back what the union stole and giving it to the needy like they did during the war”(Starr 183).  I think the point that is she trying to make is that not all supposed criminals are guilty men or women and some people have to get involved with outlaws in order to gain justice. Sharlot is an example since she woos outlaws in order for her own agenda. Also, I think she is trying to get Rafe to realize that “there are always two sides to every story”(Starr 186). She also emphasizes that “People aren’t black, white or red. They’re grey”(Starr 187).  She is trying to get Rafe to realize that maybe the situations for outlaws, confederate soldiers are more complicated than they seem. The issue with this is Rafe is a law man and for him people fall into the two camps of “guilty” and “not guilty” with very little room to be anything else in the middle.

Their being two sides of things can also be seen through the female characters in this book. I say this because of the female role models in the book are Belle Starr and Lady Gone Bad. These women represent strong, independent women who take care of themselves and who do not want to be dependent on men. For instance Lady Gone Bad is able to support herself through singing and helping others. The other side of this coin is woman like Angel Rafe’s sister who are demure timid woman who will do whatever they can to win over a man it seems, even if these ladies are their idols.  This can be seen when she tells Lady Gone Bad “I’ve been working on this look with you in mind. She winked, chuckling. Angel Gone Bad”(Starr 212).  Rafe does not approve of this off course, but Angel does not seem to care in this situation.  When she explains to Rafe that she must stay with the VIking “long enough for him to understand I am his own true love”(Starr 213).

The book “Lady Gone Bad” by Sabine Starr shows to me that romance novels are more than just bad sex scenes that leave something to be desired.  I say that because to my recollection their is only one sex scene in the beginning of the book in which there is foreplay. However, I do like how she attempts to provide some historical context to these characters in her western romance novel, and shows two interesting perspectives of women gender roles through Lady Gone Bad and Angel.

 

 

What has happened with movies lately?

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Alright, I know I am not the only blogger who thinks this but what is wrong with some of the movies coming out in theaters for the past couple years. We are either seeing remakes of movies or sequels to a hero or animated franchise that is very popular for example Xmen, The Avengers, Thor, Spidermen, etc. I have to ask has Hollywood ran out of ideas? Are they just sitting on their buts thinking what can we make that will take very little effort but make us copious amounts of money. I am sorry about this rant but this has been bugging me for a while.

I think part of this started when production companies decided to make remakes of teenage mutant ninja turtles, and dirty dancing. Also, as part of the annoying millennial generation I speak for some of us when I say that we want to see something original and not pay 8.75 to see a new spin on an old movie. I am sure this annoyed plenty of baby boomers potentially if their were remakes of the old movies they used to watch were coming out in the 1970’s. I mean no wonder people loved Star Wars at the time at least it was different and exciting and in space. This too me is a one trick pony that movie theaters need to stop using, unless they have a really kick ass idea to make the movie better tell then I don’t want to hear it.

Also, this makes it even harder to for one to figure out if you want to go to the movies because you don’t if it will be a sequel or a remake. Also, you spend some time debating with your loved ones on which movies to see because trying to find something new and different to watch is hard. This could be why television shows are giving movies are run for their money because their you have too much to watch if their can be such a thing and it’s hard to decide. I will say that like 25% to 50% of it is good and I am leaving reality television out of the equation because that is just scripted drama in most cases these days. (and a rant for another day)  So to all you readers out there I have to ask do you think movies have gotten worse or better? Furthermore do you think television is giving the movie business a run for their money through such means as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Direct Tv, etc?

My mixed feelings on Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

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 Well, on my hunt for employment I figured I should try to stay sharp through doing some reading. Also, since I tend to be socially awkward in the beginning so I figured something to help remedy that and maybe help me remedy that was to read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. While, I am sure this book tends to be viewed as a self-help book, my hope was to use it to enhance my approach of talking to people while I look for work. 

The weird thing is that this author sort of reminded me of the nice version of Machiavelli, without the whole wanting to conquer Italy vendetta (am pretty sure about the Italy thing but the last time I read that book was high school). I say this because I am sorry to say some of his tips seem like they are manipulating people.  Some example of this is him recommending to  “Arouse in another person an eager want”(Carnegie 79) and “Let the other person feel that an idea is his or hers”(Carnegie 196). However, even with this one example his compelling argument seems to be the golden rule of treating people how they want to be treated. He exemplifies that by reminding readers to be nice to people, smile, listen to them and appreciate what they do.

His whole book in a way revealed to me how self involved people can be since he mentions getting to talk about themselves and to be sympathetic to their needs, wants and desires. He seems to be showing that people like talking about themselves, which is not a bad thing. One part of the book that I admire in the last section of the book is that he focuses on constructive criticism so that people will become better workers, learners, etc.

Even, with my mixed reviews of this book I will be trying to apply some of the concepts that he has taught me for future social interactions. Also, I think this book would also come in handy for networking because his tips come in handy when you want to help someone out a networking event and expect nothing in return.

 

 

What has happened to customer service?

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I recently have seen blogs and articles everywhere about the Comcast customer service train wreck of a conversation between a call center employer and a customer who was trying to cancel his service. There were so many problems with this conversation. I have learned from past experience working at a call center, won’t say which one, that it is part of our job to try to prevent the customer from disconnecting. But this representative’s attitude was disappointing to me because honestly you are not supposed nag your customer to stay with your company. This will have the opposite effect.

This representative further hurt his case because he had prior talked to the customer’s wife who had given reasons  for wanting to cancel the service and he still tried to persuade her.  Also, a customer should not have to give a reason to cancel a service for whatever reason. I thought the motto of most companies was that the customer comes first. Apparently I was wrong.

However, this is not just a problem with Comcast I have seen it in local fast food places that I have been too. My first example was when I was walking and I decided to stop at Mcdonalds for a smoothie and the person working there forgot my order and then it took ten to fifteen minutes to receive my drink and they did not even apologize for this mistake. I had one item in the que while people in front of me had many more items and yet mine was forgotten. But I have had discussion with people that most customers will put up with this bad customer service because they can’t afford to go anywhere else for food, or their options are limited by living off food stamps or having a limited income which is possible in this day in age where most people are underemployed and working minimum wage positions. ( a blog post/rant for another day)

My thought is that no matter what a customer is paying they should receive good customer service no matter how crappy of day that person has had. People are supposed to try to leave personal stuff at home, barring extenuating circumstances.  I am not saying employees should be treated like robots quite the opposite in fact, which would help if companies would care more about the customers and employees well and less about the bottom line. I think this could be shown through treating your employees well, doing whatever you can within reason to wow your customers and making your work environment a positive one. People will notice that the companies that do try to accomplish this have less turnover, happier employees and customers all because they care about is good customer service.  So I have to wonder which came first the customer service or the egg?

 

http://nepaliaustralian.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/bad-customer-service-2.gif?w=400&h=400

 

cartoon originally from http://www.newslettercartoons.com from Ted Goff so thank you Ted

 

The unknown and gender roles in “Maleficent”

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Well, yesterday rather than spending the day looking for work, or going to interviews only to be disheartened or disappointed I went to the movies instead. Me and my guy went to go see Maleficent since I am all for any movie told through the “villain’s” perspective.  However, since I have been an academic my whole life it feels like I ended up analyzing the film.

The first instance that I thought was worth noting was when the humans declared worry on the fairy people in the moors. I thought this was significant because it showed the perspective of since people don’t know who or what these people are like that they are automatically deemed as marginal and bad.  However, this was contrasted by the coming together of Maleficent and Stephan from being  little kids to teenagers in that it showed that the fairies and the humans could coexist peacefully.

This ability to coexist did not last long when Maleficent and Stephan did not last long since Stephan was hell bent on gaining power and becoming king of both worlds.  Stephan in order to achieve this goal had to chop off Maleficent’s wings in the process. These wings that were a part of her identity and her freedom.  She had the freedom to move and travel to other places and spaces that humans could not reach.

I think in the beginning Stephan felt terrible for his deed but soon got lost in all the trappings of being king since he had to prove to be the old king’s successor through “killing” Maleficent , even though the old king had declared war on those living in the moors so she was trying to save her own people and land.  His other reward was that he got to marry the king’s daughter who as a wife to him ends up being an after thought throughout the whole movie. Her only purpose is to bring about the birth of her daughter aurora.  Actually, even when she is dying Stephan is too focused on enacting revenge on Maleficent.

Stephan wants to destroy Maleficent because she cursed his daughter to prick her finger on a spindle and fall into a deep sleep when she turns 16.  This is a curse so strong it can’t even be broken by her when she begins to love Aurora as she grows up in the moors away from castle life.  Maleficent while wicked in some respects still has seems to have some heart as shown by the way she treats her “raven” and Aurora.  But, she is also what feels like the only strong independent woman character in this movie. I think this is because she has too be ,or else she would lose her land, or her people, and the men of the world would attempt to conquer her territory and her. She does learn from her mistakes though, (spoiler alert) Stephan too concerned with enacting vengeance on Maleficent for ruining his life dies in the end of his own doing as far as I am concerned since he took away the one part of Maleficent that gave her freedom, her wings.

I think this movie shows two sides of women through the strong and fierce Maleficent and the after thought of a queen. While, the only concern for the men are power and ambition which leads to their downfall in the end.

 

 

“Veronica Mars 1.2 Credit Where Credit’s Due”

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As I continue the adventure that is the many episodes of Rob Thomas “Veronica Mars” we begin at episode two, which show how class and race make a difference but in various social situations through out this episode. This all begins rather innocently with Wallace finding a flyer about a 09 er party while Veronica explains that the flyer is in code so that “undesirables, which by the way is you and me, don’t show up.” (1.2)

This party that Wallace and Veronica do not show up to is key because here we see Troy the new kid and Duncan (Veronica’s old boyfriend) talking in the car about the party.  One thing I noticed was the language of the these upper class gentleman given that Troy starts the conversation and asks Duncan are “You ready to get this party started? You ready to burn this mother down. Up, jump… the boogie.”(1.2).  Now, I am sorry to stereotype by this language sounds ghetto to me, albeit old school ghetto in this day and age.  Also, it sounds like that for young privileged white men that they are trying to sound like the same peers who despise them for being so wealthy ironically.  This is further enhanced by the fact that the rich boys of Neptune are throwing a kegger in a dog park, filled with cheap booze and make out sessions. I don’t know about anyone else but you would think as being part of a wealthy family of Neptune that the location and drinks at an underage party would be better, also their parents live in mansions so they have prime location spots just waiting to be used.

On the other side of the coin to this episode we have Weevil’s cousin Chardo was using the Echolls credit card so he could buy Logan’s new girlfriend Catlin who I guess he is her mister by treating her in the manner in which she has been accustomed. This manner being buying her a pink vespa, “limo rides, magic mountain tickets”, etc(1.2).  This action to me reveals that Chardo is literally trying to buy his way into the rich class through buying a rich girl toys and well sleeping with her. He is pimping himself to gain access to another class and to their wealth in a way.

Chardo, pays for this decision as the gang of upper class white boys proceeds to beat up him up for stealing Logan’s girlfriend from since he is the designated jerk and leader of the pack.  This beat up stops when the PCH brigade shows up in the good part of Neptune standing out like a sore thumb to stop the fight.  The white boys of the rich side of the town then leave so the PCH gang can than proceed to continue to hurt Chardo for making Weavill pay for this mistakes of stealing the credit cards and pursuing a white rich girl. He was literally punished for his bad decisions, and he lost the girl in the process to add insult to injury.

This episode to me stood out because we had rich teenagers trying to act like poor teenagers like each other and vice versa.  I also found in funny that the whole time throughout this whole debacle Veronica Mars is trying to not take sides and even trying to defend people from the “wrong side of the tracks” such as Weevil.  However Weevil seems to believe that Veronica “You think you’re this big outsider, but, push comes to shove, you’re still one of them. You still think like one of them.(1.2). I think the issue with this statement is that Weevil has official put Veronica in the box of the upper class people of the 09er zip code when really she is just trying to survive at Neptune High.  I think in this scene she does not want to think the Weevil stole credit cards to improve his motorcycle, etc while trying to get his grandma out of jail. I think her intentions are good, even if her approach needs work. For me she is the everywoman, she is not defined by her class or sex but more by her actions and trying to do good in the Neptune community as we see through out this whole season.  However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I will further delve into the complexity of these characters in the next blog post.

Disclaimer all quotes from the show were received from http://vmtranscripts.com/ so I owe all the credit for these awesome quotes to them

“Veronica Mars” class warfare…

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Well, since I have been unemployed I have been thinking  a lot about the  Rob Thomas “Veronica Mars” series. I think part of this has to do with a show that focuses on the on going battle of the haves versus the have nots. This being something I can relate to given a income disparity that seems to get continuously larger in the US.  Also, when you live somewhere that has been seen as the poorest in the United States, then you really began to feel and see the class differences. These differences are significant in the show given that Veronica herself even states in the “Pilot” that unless your dad “was the ambassador of Belgium like Shelly Pomroy’s” than being part of the popular 09 crowd was not an option. She herself was only gain access to the ivory gates because her dad was sheriff and lily was her best friend.  This changes when her dad accuses the most powerful man in town Lily Kane’s father of killing his own daughter.  This left Keith Mars and his daughter ostracized by the town and causes his own wife Lillian Mars to leave the town. I think that the by the time this show starts Veronica places herself spatially in the middle ground between the upper and lower classes.  I say this because she saves some PCH bike members in the first episode from juvenile hall by winning over the leader of the gang Weavill.  Also, she has some disgust for the rich people of Neptune herself because of Logan Echolls who picks on Veronica for her mom’s drinking habits, leaving her own daughter, and for getting his car taken away when she has a bong placed in his locker. These two events needed to be accomplished so that Veronica could save her new friend Wallace from being tapped to the flag pole again from the PCH gang when he saw them stealing alcohol while he was working a shift at Sac and Pac. One other thing I realized as these events were happening is that both Veronica and Wallace are marginalized for a variety of reasons. Veronica is reduced because she is female, petite and part of a lower class. Wallace is also not seen as significant as much as this is stereotyping because he is African American and part of the lower middle class. These examples show to me that gender, race, and class prevent these two from ever entering the hallowed halls that is being part of the popular group. Which, leaves me the to the 09ers the cream of the crop, their parents are wealthy and they have all the perks that come with it.  Now, Logan Echolls in this first episode comes off as a rich spoiled brat when he complains to Veronica that “my daddy took my t-bird away” (1.1 “Pilot”) because of Veronica putting the bong in his locker. So basically, he treats her badly and then gets mad when he gets some much needed pay back in the situation. He then proceeds to use a crowbar to destroy the tail lights on Veronica’s La Baron car and does not apologize for it. For someone who is rich in this case he exemplifies behavior that is way below his class. While, on the other side of the coin is the guy from the wrong side of the tracks Weevil who tries to get Logan to apologize to Veronica. She then tries to get him to apologize to Wallace for tapping him on the flag pole.  Weevil does not treat Veronica any better prior to this because he basically threatens to go after Wallace again unless she can get the guys in gang off scot free from stealing alcohol from sac and pac. He also gets mad at her for defending Wallace in the first place and thinks with her reputation that she must be sleeping with him. He at one point in the episode overs to show her “his”(Pilot 1.1). Even, if anything this episode showed many no matter what your class some people can still be jerks as shown through Weevil and Logan.  Also, it revealed that me that the reason has so much grit and snark as a female lead is because she has too or else she would never be able to survive in a city like Neptune where their are battles among the upper and lower classes on a daily basis.  Also, she knows is that if she ever picked a side the battle between the haves and have nots would probably just get worse.  Their are plenty of other episodes where class, race, and gender continue to define some of the characters throughout the series,but I will save that for future blogs.        

All the credit for these awesome quotes also goes to http://vmtranscripts.com/ so you guys are awesome