From A Temp Job to the Gas Chamber: A Dream In Detail

TEMP JOB

I arrived home from a temp job I knew would be ending soon, but just didn’t know when. Earlier that day or evening (time seems to switch between the two without warning or justification), I had been talking with a friend of mine named Blair Warner who was looking for work. I had told her about these great temp jobs I was getting notices about. I told her mine would be ending soon and I should be getting a notice of the next job available. She asked that I bring her over the information once I received it.

As mentioned, I arrived home and in the mail on the kitchen table was noticed from the temp agency about a new job working in the post office. I thought this is a great job, especially for Blair. My parents were in the kitchen. My father was cooking dinner or breakfast, I don’t know which for time seems to slip between the morning and the evening throughout the duration of my day until the end.

IN A BUNDLE OF MAIL

As mentioned, my father was cooking and my mother was sitting at the counter. I was telling them both about Blair and how she needed a job and I would help her. I also mentioned that I should have received notice from the temp agency about the next up coming assignment. My father pointed to the notice in the bundle of mail laying on the counter next to the sink. When I opened it, I was right; the next job was working in a post office. I was ecstatic for two reasons. The job I told Blair that would be available did turn out to be that job. But also, I would be able to get Blair the job without any worries. I couldn’t wait to tell Blair, but I had to eat first.

I was sitting at the counter next to mother, who didn’t seem to speak much during this time, but my father did. While I was reading the job notice, he told me to read it again. It was like he knew something I didn’t. But how could he when the notice was sealed. I re-read the notice and it said at the top that my assignment had ended. It was a Wednesday. This gave me two days to apply for the new assignment at the post office.

KEEPING MY WORD

I debated if I should tell Blair about this job or not, as to eliminate competition. But I knew this wouldn’t be right, for I had promised her I would share what I received in the mail. I was going to keep my promise and share the information but it was every person for themselves on getting the job.

I don’t remember if I ate or not for the overwhelming thought of having to vie for another job was mostly on my mind, along with getting to Blair in time to tell her and then head the the selection process. Knowing what it entailed and I knew I wouldn’t have issues passing it, but having to stand in a long line, should I get there late, worried me. If I were to arrive late, what are the chances of them selecting someone in the line. These jobs weren’t that often and the process, as simple as it is, didn’t guarantee you the job. What made me confident is I had done such a great job for the company on my last assignment that just ended, I knew I wouldn’t have an issue getting this new one. The year was 2017 inside my house, but was mid 1940’s outside.

TELLING BLAIR ABOUT THE JOB

I did go see Blair as I promised and told her of the job. She was excited and thanked me. I don’t remember if I told her she had to go through the selection process nor what the selection process was or not, but I do remember leaving quite quickly without much fanfare. I wished her luck before disappearing into the day or night. Again, I don’t remember which it was at this time for time kept switching between the two and rather quickly.

I arrived at a building. A rather tall, big building, but was far away from it. It’s like walking to a concert or a show. You are in view of the building but yet still far away. There were people there already, mostly kids. They ranged from age 5 up to perhaps 11. I wasn’t phased by this revelation. I knew they were kids, but didn’t see them as such.

THE KING AND QUEEN

A black limousine pulled up and it was the king and queen. No, not of England, which is the reason I did not capitalize the letter of both king and queen. It was definitely the United States, but they were king and queen instead of President and First Lady and they weren’t our current President and First Lady.. They were of importance but we were not to capitalize king and queen when writing about them. I’m not sure why this is, but it was a rule de jure.

The king and queen looked so happy in the limousine. Smiling and waving at us. I was able to say Hi briefly before they were whisked away. It was OK with me for I didn’t want to waste time with them and lose my place in line. The further back in line you are, the less of a chance you have of getting a temp job or considered for one.

GAME SHOW SELECTION PROCESS

Time seemed to have jumped a great deal for the next thing I remember is being inside the room in which the selection process was to take place. The room was set up like a game show. There was an area in which six people were to stand. Three in the back and three in the front. These six were sure to get the temporary job. In the back of them were more people. These people were in line to get the next temp job to come a long. All others not selected were weren’t so lucky. The person making these decisions was a little girl of about six. I remember she was wearing a light blue dress with light blonde hair that was semi curly.

I had an old 1950’s wool/tweed over coat that had a belt which was tied not buckled in front. I’m not sure why I had on a man’s coat nor where I got it, but I do remember arriving home with it on and leaving with it. And now I was standing in line to be selected for this next temp job at the post office and I had the coat on and it was buttoned and tied.

I was about 20th in line. We were to watch videos being live streamed on various TV’s in this room while we waited out turn. They were particularly pleasant videos, but we were to watch. I remember one video showing the king and queen being tortured. They were in a room, tied up and being forced to drink some concoction. It was being poured down their throats and they were choking all the while. Afterwards they were sent down a shut but I don’t where they ended up. I just knew they were no more.

MOVING LINES AND CONFIDENCE

The line was moving rather quickly and I was confident I would be selected for a job. Since six had already been selected, I would be placed in the back for the next role that would come a long, and these jobs came along rather quickly. It was becoming close for me to walk across the stage, meet the little girl who made the selection and then take my seat among the rest of the potential candidates. As I walked towards her I untied my coast, preparing to take it off and claim my seat. I stood before her for perhaps a nano-second when she made her decision. I was about to walk towards the others sitting behind the six when it dawned on me what she said. She didn’t tell me I was selected. She told me I was going to the gas chamber. I stopped and looked at her and repeated her words for her to confirm, which she did. She then proceeded to the next candidate.

Choosing someone to live or die was nothing to this little girl. This was the game. If you received a notice in the mail about your next possible assignment, you still had to go through the selection process. Those who didn’t get either were sent directly in to the gas chamber. And this is where I woke up.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

As I do with all dreams, I try to remember it for verbatim. But as with all dreams, we can’t remember every detail a few minutes after we wake up. Sometimes not even a few seconds after waking up. However, I didn’t want this to happen with this dream. I felt the significance of the entire time shouldn’t be lost to me. The reason being is I believe strongly in dreams. They tell us what we want to know and we don’t want to know. They reveal to us what we are hiding from ourselves.

When I have a dream in which I remember certain things from it, I immediately look up the symbolism on a site called Dream Moods. I’ve been using this site for quite some time and so far it’s been accurate in decoding my dreams. If there’s a site you use, please let me know what it is so I may explore it as well.

I will post the meaning to this dream tomorrow. In the meantime, what vivid dreams have you had and what were the meanings, if you believe in dreams. If you don’t believe in dreams, why? I would really like to know.

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The Barkley Marathon [Documentary Review]

Courtesy of Netflix

“We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.” Emil Zatopek, winner of four Olympic gold medals

DON’T GIVE ME THE RUN AROUND

Running around the track is enough for some. Running in a short race will be OK. But for some, running a marathon is a goal they want to reach and complete. But what if that marathon is also an obstacle course and the time is 60 hours?

MARATHONS

I knew someone who does the Bay To Breakers every year (a marathon race held in May in San Francisco). She also participated in Triathlons (swimming, running and biking). I don’t mind the biking part, but will pass on the swimming and definitely, the running.

OFF THE RACES

Today, as in current times, running a marathon isn’t enough of a challenge. People seem to want to take themselves and their bodies to the next level.

There are a number of obstacle races that provide what someone is looking for.

Tough Mudder – s an endurance event series in which participants attempt 10–12 mile-long (16–19 km) obstacle courses that tests mental as well as physical strength. It was co-founded by Will Dean, a former British counter terrorism officer, and Guy Livingstone, a former corporate lawyer. (Wikipedia)

Spartan Race – is a series of obstacle races of varying distance and difficulty ranging from 3 miles to marathon distances. … The series include the Spartan Sprint, the Super Spartan, the Spartan Beast, and the Ultra Beast. (Wikipedia)

CrossFit  – this how Crossfit is defined describes its strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains,” with the stated goal of improving fitness, which it defines as “work capacity across broad time and modal domains.” (Wikipedia). Now take that definition and put it in a competition – a grueling competition.

Each of the races requires the participants to push themselves to the limit and beyond, should they desire to do so.

I recently learned of a new race called The Barkley Marathon that’s held in Wartburg, Tennessee every year either in late March or early April.

HISTORY IN THE ESCAPING

The Barkley Marathon was formed in 1986 by Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell and Raw Dog. Gary, who goes by Lazarus, heard about the 55 hour escape attempt by James Earl Ray (1977). James Earl was convicted of assassinating Martin Luther King in 1968 and was serving his time at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.

After 55 hours on the run, Ray only covered eight miles. Lazarus felt he could do much better. Instead of actually doing it, he created the marathon, which is named for a friend of his Barry Barkley. And Lazarus wants people to know the race is no means a tribute to James Early Ray.

WHO IS LAZARUS LAKE?

To get an idea of Lazarus’s personality, he and the director (Annika Iltis) were leaving Lazarus’s place in a old blue truck. Probably from the 1950’s or 1960’s.

Annika noticed the fuel gage was close to E and she asked him if it was broken. In response, Lazarus said no. He continued with “E is for excellent and F means you’re fucked”.

He’s the one that does the talking in the film. We see his co-founder, Raw Dog, a few times. I believe it’s due to the fact that Lazarus founded the marathon and basically runs it.

THOSE WHO CAN CAN AND THOSE WHO CAN’T CAN’T

Hundreds of runners from the around the world apply for the marathon but only 40 make it in. And those that make it in, find it difficult to finish. And if you’re one of the lucky few, you have to bring your state’s license place with you.

Sometimes, Lazarus will require other items to be given to him such as white shirts, sox, and at the 2015 event, flannel shirts.

KEEP ME IN THE LOOP

The race is a grueling one which starts between midnight and noon. And to give you an idea of how grueling, here’s what I learned from the film. By the way, I was tired just hearing it.

There’s five loops (circular routes). Each loop is about 20 miles, according to Lazarus. The runners see it differently. They feel it’s really 26 miles.

Daytime consists of two loops going clockwise. Nighttime consists of two loops counter clockwise, with a total of four loops. For the fifth loop they send them in opposite directions. One goes clockwise while the other goes counter clockwise.

Three loops is considered a ‘fun run’. By whom, I have no idea. It takes five loops to finish the race which is 130 miles.

MAPPING, NAPPING AND TAPPING (OUT)

There are check points at each route, or loop in this case. At these check points are books in which you have to tear our the corresponding page to your assigned number. This is the prove you ran the course. Once you reached the starting gate, which is also the finish point, you give Lazarus the page from the book. You also have a choice of taking a nap (resting) or continue on. You also have the choice of quitting. If you quit, taps is played for you…literally.

Some of you might think you could run this marathon, but you might want to think twice. It’s not just running up a hill and down a hill. The routes have actual names, just to give you an idea of how brutal this race is.

Pillars of Doom (yes, there are real pillars you have walk across)
Checkmate Hill
Son Of A Bitch Ditch
Testicle Spectacle
Raw Dog Falls
Danger Dave’s Climbing Walls
Pighead Creek
Rat Jaw
The Bad Thing
Zip Line
Big Hell

AT THE DARK END OF THE STREET..ERRR MARATHON

There are those that go up to 48 hours without sleep just win this thing. One participant ran on just one hour of sleep. Remember, the race is 130 miles and 60 hours long. There are no rewards handed out. No cash prizes and ticket tapped parade waiting for finishers, which there aren’t many. This is a test people place upon themselves. There are those that do different marathon courses such as this and say The Barkley Marathon is most intense one they’ve endured.

THE TAKEAWAY

I enjoyed this documentary a great deal. There were no voice-overs, no fancy lighting, music scores or anything else to make this documentary great. It was great on it’s own. From Lazarus Lake to the participants and definitely, the obstacle course.

As a history buff (and useless knowledge seeker) I liked the history of the race. Oh, by the way, one of the course does require the runners to go through the North East of the prison where there’s a stream coming from a tunnel. The tunnel is how James Early Ray made his escape. The only concern for the runners are the screws (guards) near by. And you definitely should to get to the tunnel before dark.

I found the entire process fascinating. The participants who come from all walks of life from a physicist to a grad student. They come from California, Pennsylvania, Utah and even Belgium.

You saw the good (those who continued without taking a break), the bad (the scratched up legs and feet) and the tired (those who tapped out), but through it all, you saw will power and determination.

AND THE WINNER IS…

I’m not going to say who the winner was in 2015 for it was anybody’s game. You should experience the documentary and story for yourself. And, after watching, and you’re feeling brave, sign up for the marathon. Oh, and good luck finding the application and passing the exam. Yes, there’s an exam you have to take and send in.

THE BARKLEY MARATHON
Directed by Annika Iltis and Timothy James Kane
Released 1 October 2016 (Neatherlands)
Run time is 1 hour and 29 minutes
Filming location: Wartburg, Tenn at Frozen Head State Park
Where to watch: Netflix

IMDB rating: 7.8
Rotten Tomato rating: 67%

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OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS

Fittest on Earth 2015: The Story of the 2015 Reebok Crossfit Games
Released 2016
Netflix (Streaming), Amazon or iTunes (rent or buy)

Fittest on Earth: Decade of Fitness
Released 2017
Amazon, iTunes, Google Play (rent or buy)

Rise Of the Sufferfests
Released 2016
Amazon, iTunes (rent or buy)

The World’s Toughest Mudder
Release date 2016
This takes you through the 24 hour race that took place in 2015
https://toughmudder.com/mudder-nation/blog/introducing-worlds-toughest-mudder-2015-documentary (can only be viewed online)

 

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Stalker’s Prey [Movie Review]

courtesy of John Doolan (writer of Stalker’s Prey)

FROM THE MURDER PACK TO STALKER’S PREY

As someone who enjoys LifetimeTV movies and have become a fan of both Colin Theys and John Doolan (both involved in The Murder Pact), I was excited to learn of their new collaboration Stalker’s Prey. Stalker’s Pray aka Hunter’s Cove centers on a high school student who loses her boyfriend to a shark attack. Shortly afterwards, she is stalked by the man who saved her from being attacked by the same shark.

THE SET UP

Laura (Saxon Sharbino – Touch [TV series]) sneaks out of house to meet a friend of hers and they drive down to the docks where her boyfriend, Nick, is supposed to meet her. Laura soon learns that her boyfriend has a surprise for her. A boat ride into the ocean.

While swimming Laura and her boyfriend feel something on their leg. Each blame the other for the antics. It isn’t until Laura sees the shark’s fin and then the shark, does she realize that they are imminent danger. It’s too late for Nick who gets attacked by the shark, but not for Laura who is rescued by a stranger.

We learn that the stranger is Bruce Kane (Mason Dye – Flowers In The Attic), the son of a politician in their town.

LET THE STALKING BEGIN

While in the hospital Bruce visits Laura three times. Two she’s aware of, and one she’s not. Bruce visits her in the middle of the night while she’s sleeping. When he visits her at night, we learn that he’s had his eye on her for a long, long while.

While at home Bruce visits her again and asks her to a dinner party his parents are hosting. They do end up sleeping together.

Laura is at the beach when she gets a phone call from Bruce who is there as well. She tells him she needs some space and she didn’t mean for last night to happen. He complies with her wishes and head to his car. This is where we see him lose it.

At school Laura learn her substitute English teacher is Bruce Cane. We did learn earlier in the movie that Bruce not only volunteers at the hospitals pediatric unit visiting the kids, but he’s a substitute English teacher.

There’s another little thing we learn about Bruce. He used to date someone named Allison, who he refers to as Allie.

It’s not long before Bruce begins showing up wherever Laura is and physically hurts Laura’s friends Parker Lowe (Camerus Johnson – Luke Cage, OA) and Bre Hendricks (Gillian Rose – in her first role).

Bruce will go to any length to be with Laura and mean any length.

THEYS AND DOOLAN DO IT AGAIN

I’m not sure what history Theys and Doolan have but Theys does a great job of directing Doolan’s scripts. And if it wasn’t for Doolan’s great writing, Theys wouldn’t be able to bring it to life.  My first introduction to this team was The Murder Pact (2015). I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a LifttimeTV movie as much as I did with The Murder Pack. 

You know a movie is good when two hours go by and it didn’t feel like two hours. Stalker’s Prey holds your interest from the time Bruce shows up until the very end.

Mason Dye (Bruce Kane) is an excellent actor. I remember watching him in Flowers In The Attic and automatically thought of Ricky Schroeder. Not only his is looks but his acting as well.

As for Saxon Sharbino (Laura), I hope to see her in more dramatic movies. I wasn’t too sure about her when the movie first started, but once she got to show her acting chops against Bruce, I knew she would be someone I want to keep an eye on in future roles.

WHAT’S NEXT?

I hope we don’t have to wait two years for another collaboration from @ColinTheys and @Johnny_Doolan. These two bring out the best in each other.

I highly recommend checking out The Murder Pack after you have viewed Stalker’s Prey. It’s currently on LifetimeTV.

Stalker’s Prey – Synthetic Cinema International

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The Murder Pact [LifetimeTV Movie Review]

Originally posted on 13 September 2015

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Thank you Matthew Llewellyn (@MoreTritones) for the use of the picture

SATURDAY MOVIES, SUNDAY VIEWINGS

I just finished watching The Murder Pact on @LifetimeTV via DVR since the movie was Lifetime’s Saturday night movie (last night, 12 September 2015) and it’s Sunday. The movies are recorded for I enjoy watching them on a Sunday and last night’s movie was not exception. I absolutely enjoy this movie and these type of movies is the reason I watch and love movies on LifetimeTV.

THE PLOT

The Murder Pact centers around four college friends who partake (one does) and witness (the other three do) the death of classmate atop of a roof of a building.

The friends:
Will LaSalle (Beau Mirchoff, Awkward, I am Number Four, Scary Movie 4)
Camile (Alexa PenaVega, Spy Kids 1 and 2, The Middle, Nashville)
Annabel (Renee Olstead, The Insider, The Secret Life of the American Teenager )
Rick (Michael J. Willett, Faking It, United States of Tara)

The classmate:
Heidi (Madeleine Dauer, The Cobblestone Corridor)

THE PLOT THICKENS, THE CAMERA CLICKS

Will comes from money; a lot of money and he’s poised to take over his father’s business once he graduates from the prestigious college he and his friends attend. Camille is Will’s girlfriend but does not come from money. This information is important to know.

One particular night Heidi goes looking for Will. She finds him on top of a roof of a night club. When she finds Will, Rick and Annabel are there as well. Camille has yet to arrive, but does so shortly after Heidi arrives. Heidi tells Will she needs to speak to him alone, emphasizing “alone” to his friends but they don’t leave. Shortly thereafter, Heidi threaten to tell Camille that Will was stepping out on her.

Will, not wanting to lose Camille, pushed Heidi (in an attempt to keep her from leaving).  Will was not aware the railing was broken and Heidi’s death was an accident. But there’s a fifth witness. The fifth witness is Heidi’s friend and roommate, Lisa. Lisa was outside the building with her camera taking pictures of Heidi and Will and when Heidi fell. She got a picture of Camille as well who is now looking on to the pavement where Heidi is lying. It isn’t until a class that Will, Camille and Lisa are in that Will and Camille learn that Lisa was there.

The instructor of the class wanted the students speak about the feelings of what has taken place. A few people say a few words. When it’s Lisa turn she begins hypothesizing on what could have happened. Her theory is so on point, only someone who was there could imagine such a possibility. Will and Camille feel they might be in trouble. After class Will pulls Lisa aside and asks her how much does she want for the pictures. She claims she doesn’t want any money and tells Will that he can’t buy himself out of everything and walks away. Camille tells Will that she can get Lisa to change her mind and she does for Lisa shows up at Will’s house and is asking for $4 million to be transferred to an account and that’s when everything goes down hill and fast.

I’m not going to give away the rest of the movie for I really hope this was enough for everyone to want to see it if you haven’t done so already. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing and the end..well the ending you will never see coming. I don’t mean the final ending, right before the credits, but the part where everything comes to a head.

LIFETIME TV MOVIES AREN’T THE BEST..UNTIL NOW

LifetimeTV does get a lot of flack for it’s movies, mainly for two things: bad acting and plot holes, and I agree at times. But I still find the movies enjoyable and I look forward to them every Saturday night and the days in between. However, LifetimeTV can put out really good ones, and as I said earlier, this one was really good. Not only did it have a good story line, nice twists, but it also had good actors and actresses.

It has been asked if this movie was based on real events and the answer is no. I can see why the question would be asked because it did play like a “based on a true story” type of movie due to the plot being so realistic.

Written by John Doolan and Directed by Colin Theys. Both Doolan and Theys worked together on Remains, Remains: Road to Reno, Dead Souls, and Banshee!!!

Download the soundtrack and movie from iTunes. Music by Matthew Llewellyn. Make sure to check out the song Deadly Romance below:

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The Girl At The Bar [Book Review]

Courtesy of Nicholas Nash

CREATURE OF HABIT

I’m very much a creature of habit when it comes to most things in life. This applies to the books I read as well. Not so much the genre, but the author. I usually like to read from authors I already know such as Ann Rule, Patricia Cornwell, M William Phelps and Margaret Atwood. Getting used to another’s form of writing is something I avoid. This is causing me to miss out on a lot of good books. But this time, I decided to veer off the beaten path and hit the road less traveled, by me at least.

TRUE CRIME IS MY TIME

I mostly flock to true crime books by Ann Rule or M. William Phelps (see my review of Obsessed here). I also enjoy fiction crime books such as those by Patricia Cornwell (All That Remains, Postmortem, Body of Evidence – these are her best works).  This is all before I met (via Facebook) and read Nicholas Nash’s The Girl At The Bar.

LOCATION, PLOT AND TURNING PAGES

The Girl At The Bar is a mystery thriller set in modern day New York in which “Rebecca, a brilliant cancer researcher, disappears after a one-night stand with a neurotic man with a questionable past” (Amazon). As mentioned, I met Nicholas Nash on Facebook after friend requested me. I could resist accepting realizing he’s an author. It became more appealing when I learned this is his first book and it’s a mystery thriller. After obtaining a hard copy of the book (I normally prefer e-readers to adjust the font size – old eyes here) I began reading it straight away. I have to say, it’s been a long while since a book had me rapidly turning pages as this one did.

BACKSTORY

Rebecca Chase is a brilliant researcher who worked with Dr. Gupta on finding a cure for cancer. One night while in New York for a conference she meets a man at a bar and the next morning she disappears. Here’s an except from Chapter 6:

Day 5, Monday

East Village, New York City

Ragnar heard a loud knock on the door. It was a Monday morning and he wasn’t expecting anyone today. He had stopped the deliveries from FreshDirect, a popular online food delivery service in New York City, last month. As he started to cut back on his expenses, the grocery bills were now on the chopping block. Ragnar would walk several blocks to a neighborhood grocery store that stocked cheaper unbranded versions of the basic stuff, cornflakes, bread and the like.

“Mr. Johnson?”

“Yes, that’s me.”

“I am detective Timothy Burns and this is detective Roberta Lopez. We’d like to ask you a few questions about Rebecca Chase. She was last seen with you on Thursday night leaving the King & Duke bar. The bartender gave us your address. Said you were a regular there and left with her. Can we come in and ask you a few questions?”

Timothy Burns was a tough and built middle-aged man with red hair and a faint Irish accent. Roberta, on the other hand, was a delicate looking woman with a petite frame but a very determined face. Her hair was tied back in a no nonsense style and she looked ready to engage in hand-to-hand combat at a moment’s notice.

“Sure, come on in. Did you say last seen? Is she, like, uh, go… missing?”

My mind began racing about Ragnar, until more characters were brought into the picture.

THESE CHARACTERS ARE CHARACTERS

Ragnar Johnson – last person seen with Rebecca
Julia Fizpatrick (used to be James Fitzpatrick = founder of Atticus Biopharma – another research company seeking the cure for cancer
Nancy Mulligan – fellow researcher of Julia’s and a former flame of Julia’s when she was James. Nancy still has a thing for Julia/James
Gustev Henrikson – fellow researcher who worked with Rebecca’s and former boyfriend
Chrissy Cassidy – fellow researcher who worked with Rebecca
Iain Thorne – former fiance of Rebecca’s
Dr. Steven Gupta – researcher who Rebecca, Chrissy and Gustev worked for
Dr. Matheus Faust – founder of Faust Biopharma (named after his favorite book Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) – a major competitor of Atticus Biopharma

Nash does a great job of bringing out the personalities and thought processes if each character.

Nancy is still in love with James, now Julia and will do anything to for her. Gustev is a researcher just trying to make a name for himself by any means necessary. Chrissy just enjoys what she does and was very close to Rebecca and has become heart broken of her disappearance. Iain is a cocky bastard who has cheated on Rebecca numerous times. The two doctors are determined to find a cure for cancer and make a name for themselves. All these characters become suspects, either by the detectives or by the reader.

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGH YOU KNOW, THEN COMES THE TWIST

There were a few times I thought I had it figured out. But once I figured who did it, another twist arrived and changed my thought process. This was the great thing about this book; just when you think you have it figured out, you don’t. Just when you though all the characters have been introduced, Nash introduces more. Some are connected to Rebecca and some aren’t, but each makes you wonder if they are behind her disappearance.

THE DETECTIVES

Timothy Burns and Roberta Lopez – both hard hitting detectives who pull no punches and hold nothing back. With Burns’s in-your-face attitude and Lopez’s instincts you’d think they would have this case sewn up lickity-split. But just when they think they have found their perpetrator, they get thrown a curve ball and start chasing new leads.

END RESULTS

STUTTER ISLAND

I had a few issues with the book, but I had to remember I had an edition of the book which was not the final copy. Once I kept that in mind when reading, I was able to ignore the idiosyncrasies in the book. For instance, Ragnar has a stuttering problems when he’s nervous. Constantly displaying this every time he talked was unnecessary. Mentioning he has a stuttering problem while introducing the character and giving examples of that is fine in the beginning. However, reading it throughout the book drove me nuts. I asked Nash if he kept this in the final copy and he said no. He toned it down. Thank you Nicholas. Whew!

SCIENCE FICTION DOUBLE FEATURE

In the unpublished edition there was a lot of science talk in the book. I don’t care for science. I had the same issue while reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skoot:

The book is about Henrietta Lacks and the immortal cell line, known as HeLa, that came from Lacks’s cervical cancer cells in 1951. The book is notable for its science writing and dealing with ethical issues of race and class in medical research. (Wikipedia)

Again, I had to remember this is an unpublished edition I’m reading and hopefully a lot of science has been removed from the final version.

WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAYS

I might be getting picky here, but there were times I didn’t know who was talking. Dialogues between people was not made clear as to who was saying what; and sometimes to whom. As mentioned, I might getting picky here. Also, the edition I have is not the final copy. I keep saying this because the copy someone might be reading may possibly not have all the idiosyncrasies I ran into. OR the person reading the book may not be as picky as I am when reading.

FINAL RESULT

I loved the book! Nichalas Nash has a new fan and I am so looking forwarding to reading his next book.

I also have had the honor of forming a friendship with Nicholas via emails we exchange and via Facebook. Nicholas Nash has begun working on his next book in which he has two chapters written.

I highly recommend the book; you won’t be disappointed.

THE GIRL AT THE BAR

  • Print Length: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Fireflies Publishing, LLC
  • Publication Date: February 3, 2017
  • Sold by: Amazon and Barnes and Noble as a hard copy and ebook

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Kat Von D vs. Jeffree Star: Private Feuds Made Public

KAT VON D VS. JEFFREE STAR

Last year, the tabloids (I’m just lumping all entertainment magazines and articles into one item) have been reporting that Kat Von D announced she’s distancing herself from Jeffree Star. I never read any of the articles about this situation either. I only became aware of the issue via Facebook’s trending links. Apparently, the issue between Kat and Jeffree had been going on for sometime now, but lately Kat announced her distance from Star. I’m not sure why she feels the need to announce this to world, but I guess that’s how celebrities act – by putting their business in the streets. I can understand them wanting to do it themselves, as to keep things from being misconstrued, but it still amazes me.

WHAT I KNOW

From what I’m gathering by reading headlines and the first line of the articles (this is why I get in trouble a lot, I don’t read entire articles – my attention span isn’t that long), Kat and Jeffree have been friends for years. I guess she helped him with his make-up brand and other things. I’m not sure where the break down started between those two, but from Kat’s video (which I have posted for I want to help her get her business in the street to more people), it started when Kat referred an artist friend to Jeffree to design a logo for his brand, but Jeffree never paid him. Again, I’m only guessing. It might have been over the fact that Kat would not invest in Jeffree’s make-up business. I’m not sure, and yes, I did watch Kat’s video, as I did Jeffree’s counter-video.

You’ll note that Kat says she isn’t making the video to bash Jeffree, yet she does. She does in a classy way, but she does bash him. Apparently, the current video was in response to not only her “feud” with Jeffree, but also to clear up her previous post (which I can’t find, but I’m not looking that hard for it either) in which she said some harsh things about Jeffree. Jeffree, on the other hand, does not bash Kat. Jeffree’s purpose to the bring out what he considers the truth of what took place. However, as the say goes, there’s three sides to every story: his, hers and the truth.

IN NO WAY IS MY VIDEO NOR MY POST MEANT TO BASH ANYBODY

Kat Von D’s video commentary on the Jeffree Star issue

After watching Kat’s video, I was impressed by how she handled herself. As mentioned, she did bash Jeffree a bit, but so be it. She was not rude, condescending or anything else. She spoke, what she considered the truth.

I posted this video on Facebook in which a friend posted Jeffree’s response video.

I DON’T NEED CLAP BACK OR MAKE A VIDEO

Jeffree Star was active on Twitter regarding the whole Kat issue he and her are having.

Star's tweets

I’m not sure when the tweets went out, but the video by Jeffree was uploaded to YouTube on 20 July 2016. So much for not needing to make a video in response to Kat.

Jeffree Star’s response to Kat’s video.

TEXT MESSAGES MADE ME QUESTION EVERYTHING

I was with Jeffree while watching the video and until…UNTIL he started showing the texts between himself and Kat. Now, it wasn’t the showing of the texts that bothered me, rather, his final text to her that bothered me.

STar's text to Kat

As mentioned, I was with Jeffree until that final text message he said he sent Kat.

THERE’S A DEEPER UNDERLYING ISSUE HERE

People, now-a-days, it seems, can fall in and out of friendship like nobody’s business. There are three people I’ve known for eons that I still keep in contact with, and lot of the thanks go to Facebook for this. Everyone else, I wouldn’t know if they are alive or dead. Then there are those I’ve met on Facebook and have been Facebook Friends for five years to two months. Unfriending someone on Facebook is no big deal to a lot of people. I’ve had it happen to me over the past few days. But I’m digressing.

I don’t know the history of Kat and Jeffree and how they became friends. I’m not sure if Kat was unknown when they became friends or she was well known and had clout when they met. I am going to guess the latter. Although I don’t know either one personally, I am going to take Kat’s side on this one. I have a feeling that Jeffree was hoping Kat would use her clout and connections to help him with his endeavors, what that may be since he’s been in to everything under the sun, and when she wouldn’t do that, it pissed him off. I could be completely wrong, but that’s my guess.

Also, there could be a deeper underlying issue here that we aren’t privy to, and shouldn’t be privy to.

I’ve recently come to learn that they have yet to make up. Apparently, Start is up for speaking with Von D, but I don’t believe she wants to speak to him. I personally feel that Star should push the issue with Von D.

 

Some people come into your life a reason and some for a season.

 

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Fictiophilia: The Attraction to Fictional Characters [Fangirl or Fanboy]

FICTIOPHILIA

Fictiophilia is the attraction to fictional characters (urban dictionary) is more commonly known as fanboy or fangirl or fandom. There’s something about fictional characters that we grasp on to, whether they are villains or the good guys/girls. I, personally, like to grasp on to the villains (movie, story, and even video games). And as with anything else,  I have to attraction to three fictional characters: The Joker (The Dark Knight’s Joker) and Master Sargent from Halo. My recent Fictiophilia has been with Joan Ferguson from Wentworth TV Series as well as Joan Ferguson from Prisoner: Cell Block H. But what draws us to these fictional characters?

WHY FICTIONAL CHARACTERS AND NOT REAL PEOPLE?

I feel the number one thing that draws us is the mere fact they are just that, fictional. They aren’t real and therefore, they can’t hurt us as real humans can. Those of us  who have built a wall to the real world and real people find comfort in letting fictional characters into our lives. We know what they are about and if need be, we can discard them at any given moment without the guilt. The other thought is we can live our fantasies through them, whether they are good fantasies as in saving the world (Master Sargent) or destroying the world (The Joker). And even those out to destroy people (Joan Ferguson) who get in the way of our goals, even if we don’t know what the goal is.

Master Sargent. What attracts me to Master Sargent is he looked upon to help save the world from alien invaders. He is given a body of armor and excellent weapons to use, yet, he’s not indestructible. He gets killed time and time again, but he is able to do the mission as many time as needed. Why? Because he’s a fictional character in a video game called Halo. Once he gets killed, I, the player, am able to do the mission again. Master Sargent, in a sense, never dies. Through Master Sargent I can control where he goes and who he kills. I become Master Sargent, a hero for a few minutes in time.

HEATH LEDGER’S THE JOKER

The Joker. What attracts me to the Joker (and I’m speaking of the character played by Heath Ledger and might be adding Jared Leto once I see Suicide Squad)? I like his nonchalant ways when speaking to one person or a group of people. He likes to changes his story on how he got the scares on his face. First, the story was he did it to himself because his wife wanted him to smile more. The next time the story was told, his father did it to him when his father was drunk.

The Joker is he doesn’t let anyone get under his skin. He does, like any villain, get under your skin and the more you resist the more the drive is for him to accomplish his goal. And once the goal is achieved, he will find more ways to get under you skin. Which leads me straight into Joan Ferguson.

WENTWORTH’S JOAN FERGUSON

Joan Ferguson was a bent screw (another word for prison officer or guard) in the TV series Prisoner: Cell Block H. She not only got under people’s skin, but she bullied the prisoners into giving her their money. Ran a numbers ring inside prison and making moonshine down in the boiler room to sell to other prisoners for a profit. Runners were used to do her dirty deed for all activities she conjured up. She also had what was called her “mid-night” walk in which she would do body searches in the middle of the night which were really ways for her to touch the prisoners in in appropriate places. This was one aspect of Ferguson I obviously didn’t care for.

PRISONER’S FERGUSON

Prisoner touched on this part of her character very briefly and focused more on her ability to bully people, beat up people, steal from people, all under the noses of other guards and the Governor (aka Warden – depending on which side of the pond you’re from). Enter Wentworth’s Joan Ferguson. She didn’t run a numbers game or create moonshine in the boiler room, but she did bully people, or tried to, so she could take over the prison. For both Fergusonses, it’s about control, by any means necessary and for Wentworth’s Ferguson, if it meant making someone so scared of her that they peed their pants each time they saw her, then so be it. Is this what attracts me to Ferguson, the ability to scare the piss out of someone? Or is it the uniform?

I’ve thought about Ferguson and what the attraction is and yes, a lot of it is the uniform. If Master Sargent was out of uniform I would not feel the same for him. If the Joker did not don his suit and make up, I would not have an attraction to him either.

HIDING BEHIND THE MASK

So what is it about the clothes and make up? Is it the hiding behind a mask while revealing out true nature to the world? The ability to be something we are not while being exactly who we are at the same time? Is this what we want for ourselves? To be ourselves while hiding behind a custom and make-up?

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Is the Golliwog Doll a Symbol of Racism or Just an Innocent Child’s Toy?

RACIST OR INNOCENCE?

Is the Golliwog Doll a Symbol of Racism or Just an Innocent Child’s Toy?

While watching an episode of Prisoner: Cell Block H, that was the question I asked myself and to others. A potential resident of the Susie Driscoll House (half house on the show) was looking at some dolls and she picked up this one. It’s called a Golliwog doll. I personally find it quite offensive, but others don’t.

golliwog dolls

THE STORY BEHIND THE DOLL

Here’s the history of the doll:

The golliwog, golliwogg or golly is a black fictional character created by Florence Kate Upton that appears in children’s books in the late 19th century usually depicted as a type of rag doll. It was reproduced, both by commercial and hobby toy-makers as a children’s toy called the “golliwog”, and had great popularity in Europe and Australia into the 1970s. The doll is characterized by black skin, eyes rimmed in white, clown lips and frizzy hair. Though home-made golliwogs were sometimes female, the golliwog was generally male. For this reason, in the period following World War II, the golliwog was seen, along with the teddy bear, as a suitable soft toy for a young boy.

The image of the doll has become the subject of controversy. While some see the golliwog as a cherished cultural artifact and childhood tradition, others argue that the golliwog is a destructive instance of racism against people of African descent, along with pickaninnies, minstrels, mammy figures, and other caricatures, and it has been described as “the least known of the major anti-Black caricatures in the United States“.[1] In recent years, changing political attitudes with regard to race have reduced the popularity and sales of golliwogs as toys. Manufacturers who have used golliwogs as a motif have either withdrawn them as an icon, or changed the name. In particular, the association of the golliwog with the pejorative term “wog” has resulted in use of alternative names such as “golly” and “golly doll”. (Source: Wikipedia).

BLACK FACES ON WHITE SKIN

The doll, to me, reminds me of the days of minstrel shows back in the day. White people would dress up in black face and look like the doll presented here.

Being shocked by such a doll I presented the picture in a Prisoner group am apart of on Facebook. I received a lot of feedback. I wish I had kept that post up so I could post reactions by some of the members. Some were in defense of the doll.

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE…I MEAN DOLL

Here’s the history of how the golliwog came be:

Florence Kate Upton was born in 1873 in Flushing, New York, the daughter of English parents who had emigrated to the United States three years previously. Following the death of her father, she moved back to England with her mother and sisters when she was fourteen. There she spent several years drawing and developing her artistic skills.

To afford tuition to art school, she illustrated a children’s book entitled The Adventures of Two Dutch Dollsand a Golliwogg. The 1895 book included a character named the Golliwogg, who was first described as “a horrid sight, the blackest gnome“, but who quickly turned out to be a friendly character, and is later attributed with a “kind face.” A product of the blackface minstrel tradition, the Golliwogg had jet black skin; bright red lips; and wild woolly hair. He wore red trousers, a shirt with a stiff collar, red bow-tie, and a blue jacket with tails — all traditional minstrel attire.

Upton’s book and its many sequels were extremely successful in England, largely because of the popularity of the Golliwogg. Upton did not trademark her character, and its name, spelled “golliwog”, became the generic name for dolls and images of a similar type.[1] The golliwog doll became a popular children’s toy throughout most of the 20th century, and was incorporated into many aspects of British commerce and culture;[2] for instance, some of Enid Blyton‘s books feature them, often as a villain and sometimes as heroes. Upton’s Golliwogg was jovial, friendly and gallant,[1] but some later golliwogs were sinister or menacing characters. (Source: Wikipedia)

Again, my issue is with minstrel reference, “A product of the blackface minstrel tradition, the Golliwogg had jet black skin; bright red lips; and wild woolly hair. He wore red trousers, a shirt with a stiff collar, red bow-tie, and a blue jacket with tails — all traditional minstrel attire”

MINSTREL SHOWS

The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American form of entertainment developed in the 19th century. It was a form of entertainment that required payment to attend. Each show consisted of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in make-up or blackface for the purpose of playing the role of black people. Minstrel shows lampooned black people as dim-witted,[1] lazy,[1] buffoonish,[1][2] superstitious, happy-go-lucky,[1] and musical. (Source: Minstrel Show)

I am the last person on this planet to be offended. To pull the race card or call someone a racist because they make off-color remark or joke about a race. We have too much of that going on right now. Some justified, some just for the sake being. I try to examine things before coming to any type of conclusion and I tried to do that with this particular doll.

YOU DON’T FIND IT OFFENSIVE?

Why didn’t the people in the Prisoner group find the doll offensive? Prisoner was a UK based show. The golliwog was popular and was not seen as racist.

I think if I grew up with the doll as many Prisoner watchers did as well as others, I would not see it in the light as I do now. And I do not hold Prisoner as a racist show for having the doll. I love the show and am a huge fan of it for many reasons, in which I should write in a blog at a later date. But for now, I hope to get responses to the golliwog doll, good or bad, for we can all learn from each other’s background.


Comments from my post on Facebook:

Jade Smith That’s a tough one… Because, it was not seen as racist when I was little, well I didn’t. You’d see them in shops and stuff and no one battered an eyelid (as the saying goes)… Even the Queen has been seen with one on her handbag, in keyring form. But then you get some people who will use this doll as a symbol of racism

AnonymousIt’s so sad that children’s cuddly toys were made offensive. Just because some adults decided to use the word in a horrible racist way doesn’t make the toys offensive. My friend was selling some vintage golliwogs on ebay and was told to remove them.

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Music by Nikki

A BUDDING MUSICIAN

I am a musician with two CDs out on the market and currently working on my third one. I wanted to share one my songs here that I have  and will continue to post new music on YouTube as well as here on my blog site. Enjoy! As always, feedback and suggestions are welcomed.

Please look for me on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify under the name Nikki Carlyle (Carlyle was my pen name/stage name, now I go by my legal surname of Hoskin)

Song: Pocket Dreams
Artist: Nikki Hoskin
Album: Filigree’s Shadow
Year: 2017
(c) 11 February 2017

Please click here YouTube to be taken to my channel and subscibribe to receive notice of new music that has been posted.

 

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MTV’s The Challenge: Rivals III (Go on Take the Money and Run)

IN THE BEGINNING

MTV’s The Challenge started in 1998 under the name Road Rules: All Stars, which had members from Real World and Road Rules in a competition show to win some money. In Season 2, the show’s name was changed to Real World / Road Rules, and is currently known as The Challenge with variations on the name such as: The Challenge: Fresh Meat I, II, The Challenge: Rival I, II, and recently, Rivals III, among other names it’s know for.

I started watching it in the early 2000’s and continue to do so til this day. I thoroughly enjoy this show along with The Real World, and Catfish.

THE CHALLENGE: RIVALS I, II AND III

Each season, MTV’s The Challenge tries to mix things up. First it was Fresh Meat and the Rivals. I, personally, find Rivals more enjoyable for two reasons: 1. they are bringing back people the viewers are familiar with, and 2. you know there’s going to be major drama because you have two people in the same house, that dislike each other, if not hate each other.

In Rivals they like to pair Rivals up with each other, which makes for better TV.

THE CHALLENGE: RIVALS III

courtesy of MTV

courtesy of MTV

Instead of giving the whole set up for this season’s The Challenge on who was paired up with whom and their history, I’m going to cut straight to the point of this post.

Friends now Rivals:

Johnny Devenanzio aka Johnny Bananas and Sarah Rice (now Patterson)

Johnny and Sarah from Rivals III

Johnny and Sarah from Rivals III

Quick back story:

Johnny and Sarah had been friends for a long time. I believe they met on the show a while back and from there became good friends. In last season’s The Challenge: Skeletons, Sarah was paired with Jordon from The Real World Las Vegas, and Johnny was paired with Nany, also from RW Las Vegas.

Johnny and Nany

Johnny and Nany

 

 

 

Sarah and Jordan

Sarah and Jordan had won the last challenge in the game before the finale, and had to choose who would go into elimination. It It was discussed, and I believed, agreed between Sarah/Jordan and Johnny/Nany that Sarah would not put in Johnny. Well, Sarah ended up putting in Johnny and Nany to battle another couple in the elimination round, in which Johnny and Nany lost, sending Johnny home without a chance at the money.

This move by Sarah turned her and Johnny into Rivals and a perfect pair to bring back for Rivals III.

I’m So Happy To See You

During the entire challenge, Johnny and Sarah worked great together and won a lot of the challenges, which made them the team to beat. About mid way through the season, Sarah apologized to Johnny for what she did to him in the previous season. Johnny expressed himself, Sarah expressed herself and they seemed to have made up and left the bad blood behind them. They both expressed their like for each other, how much they missed being around each other. Johnny even told Sarah that when she walked into his room one night he was genuinely happy to see her. From that point on, their rivalry was gone and friendship was back on the menu. Or so we thought.

THE FINALE AND THE TWIST

The teams that made it to the finale were:

L to R: Devin, Cheyenne, Johnny, Sarah, Jenna, Vince

L to R: Devin, Cheyenne, Johnny, Sarah, Jenna, Vince (this is at top of the mountain where Johnny and Sarah finished first)

How it normally works in team challenges is the winning team splits the money down the middle, but not this time. TJ Lavin (host of the show) tell the teams the person with the highest point at the finish line can decide to either keep all the money or split it with their teammate.

3rd place: $25,000

2nd place (which is first place loser): $50,000

1st place: $275,000

How the scoring worked: Everybody would complete the same task. The first person first each team that finished the task first got a point, if they choose, they could help their teammate, which all of them did for each challenge. In the end Johnny and Sarah won the whole thing and the $275,000.

Devin and Cheyenne came in third and Devin split the money with Cheyenne.

Vince and Jenna came in second and Vince split the money with Jenna

HOWEVER, when TJ asked Johnny what was he going to do, Johnny gave some BS story about how he may not have many challenges left and needs to look out for his future, thus deciding not to split the money with Sarah.

baby 1

As both Devin and Vince said, if it wasn’t for their partners they wouldn’t be in the finale, so they should split the money. Johnny felt his future was more important than thanking his partner, Sarah, for getting him to the finale. He didn’t get their by himself. Johnny didn’t win all those challenges by himself. He had Sarah with him all the way. As Sarah said in the reunion show, she would have never done that him. No descent human being would do that to someone was their partner an entire season and contributed to them being in the finale and then winning the finale. But Johnny proved to not be a descent person.

FROM JOHNNY BANANAS TO JOHNNY ROTTEN

Somehow, Johnny Devenanzio got the name Bananas and it’s stuck for all these years. Well, after this season of The Challenge, he will be known as Johnny Rotten.

I normally watch these shows with a grain of salt. They are mindless entertainment while I’m doing something else (playing Candy Crush Soda, mostly). But what Johnny did in the finale really had me heated for I really liked Johnny. He had his moments in which the light didn’t shine favorably on him, but for the most part, I thought he had a good heart, and he showed it, especially to the newbies on the show. He’s said some harsh things, but if anyone knows, the older you get the less of a filter you have, and if you know the person well enough, you know they mean no harm. Yeah, there’s a lot of me in those last statements. I have no filter and I mean no harm.

LET’S SPLIT THE MONEY

Splitting the money would have given each $137,000, which would have been more than enough for Johnny to “protect his future”. I’m not sure what the cut off age for the show is, but if he’s still in shape as the years progress, why not keep doing them. Well, hold on…this is how I felt before he pulled a fast one on Sarah. Johnny doesn’t seem to have a real job outside of these shows. He apparently has his own clothing line, but I feel that came about after his popularity on the shows grew. He also is the first contestant to have a bobble-head made after him.

JohnnyBobbleReal1

Yeah, I don’t get either.

 

I’m not sure if the decision Johnny made was last minute or seeking revenge on Sarah for what she did last season. However, like I said on Twitter:

Twitter

 

I’m sure by next season, if Johnny and/or Sarah are on, we might find out something different has taken place. It might be a good something. I think I’m still hoping that Johnny Bananas isn’t Johnny Rotten after all.

I must add, I was glad not see Cara Marie in this season’s The Challenge. But hope to not see her next season or the season after that.

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