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text 2017-11-07 20:10
16 Tasks for the Festive Season - Task 14 - Dies Natalis Solis Invicti & Quaid-e-Azam

Tasks for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti:


Image result for sophia picture it gif


Picture it, a small town in Pennsylvania in June 1988 or maybe it was 1989. I was either 8 or 9 when this happened. Forgive me for not recalling my age. I just recall my sheer terror. 


My neighbors down the street decided to hire a horse and trainer for their grandson's birthday. FYI, this kid was spoiled. I follow him on Instagram and Facebook now and he goes to the casinos most weekends and has four BMWs. No, I don't know why. 


I had never been up close and personal to a horse before in my life. Cows, yes. Pigs, yes. Heck, I have even chased chickens at that point in my life. I can honestly say that I was not enthused at all about being near a horse. And weirdly enough I had not read any books at that time in my life about horses. 

Huh, do I have some issue with horses? I know that most young girls or horse and or princess crazed and I was neither. Though I would fight you to the death if you talked crap about Sebastian in "The Never-Ending Story."


I digress. 


My mother in one of her millionth attempts was trying to get me to agree to wear a dress and mary jane shoes to this party. I perhaps flung myself under the bed and was protesting dressing up since I knew that most of my friends would be in shorts and possibly a moderately cleaned shirt. Usually during the summers we went riding all over on our bikes, played in the forbidden creek, or played in the woods or old cemetery so believe me I was dressed appropriately for this. 


I was eventually convinced (i.e. threatened severely) to go to the party and my mom made me put on long pants. I do recall that I had on the shirt I was wearing before though, so winning.


When my younger brother and I arrived, most of the party was huddled off to the side watching (redacted) ride a horse. He had on a whole cowboy outfit with a cowboy hat that didn't even fit him. He also, being the jerk he was at the time (possibly still is) was complaining cause he wanted to "ride" the horse and the horse was all, yeah dude, I'm good. The trainer was a sweaty older man who was trying (failing) to keep an upbeat attitude. 


Seriously though, we stood for maybe 30 minutes watching (redacted) on a horse while people took pictures. I recall one of my friends at the time complaining we were missing playing Hide and Go Seek for this (swear word). Still cracks me up years later.


Eventually realizing they were about to deal with a mutiny (redacted) grandparents offered to have each of the kids placed on the horse and get their pictures taken too. Of course the parents would have to pay for that. I recall my dad rolling his eyes about that later cause the pictures ended up awful as could be. I think that maybe my head eventually was barely in the picture. 



One by one, each kid was placed on top of at the time it seemed the world's tallest horse. Guess what happened? One kid proceeded to scream himself into blacking out. Another cried and tried to crawl up his mother's skirt. I do think one of my friends peed himself. I was freaking out when placed on the horse and recall trying to not fall off. My heart was beating so fast I was scared I was going to pass out. But, I didn't want to embarrass my mother or have my younger brother making fun of me. And I pretty much clutched onto the horse for my dear life. 

The horse smelled like a horse. I can still remember the smell of food in the air, the sun on my hair and on my back and the horse underneath me. I maybe fell a bit in love at that time. So much so that I protested having to get off. 

So that's my first time ever seeing a horse and my significant encounter with one.  


Tasks for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: Find the sunniest spot in your home, that’s warm and comfy and read your book. –OR–

Take a picture of your garden, or a local garden/green space in the sun (even if the ground is under snow).  If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, take a picture of your local scenic spot, park, or beach, on a sunny day.  –OR– 

The Romans believed that the sun god rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds.  Have you ever been horseback riding, or did you otherwise have significant encounters with horses?  As a child, which were your favorite books involving horses? 




For me, I would have to go with Sojourner Truth. She ended up becoming one of the most noted African-American women speakers discussing issues of civil rights and abolition.

Her poem "Ain't I a Woman" still gives me the shakes in a good way. Here it goes down below. 


Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about? 


That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman? 


Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full? 


Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him. 


If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them. 


Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.


Tasks for Quaid-e-Azam: Pakistan’s first leader – Muhammad Ali Jinnah – was a man, but both Pakistan and neighboring India were governed by women (Benazir Bhutto and Indira Gandhi respectively) before many of the major Western countries.  Tell us: Who are the present-day or historic women that you most respect, and why?  (These can be any women of great achievement, not just political leaders.)


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text 2017-10-13 23:07
Reading progress update: I've read 57 out of 448 pages.
What the Hell Did I Just Read - David Wong





Without any explanation, here’s a picture of the first sentence:



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text 2017-10-01 17:03
A mini-project: Capital Crimes
Murder in the Museum (British Library Crime Classics) - John Rowland
Capital Crimes: London Mysteries: A British Library Crime Classic (British Library Crime Classics) - Martin Edwards
Lord Edgware Dies - Agatha Christie
The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham

I decided to do a little mini-exploration of vintage mysteries set in London, to go along with my read of Murder in Piccadilly! I snagged this one, & also bought the "Capital Crimes" BLCC anthology edited by Martin Edwards.


I already own Lord Edgware Dies, which takes place in London, so I'm going to give that one a reread as well, and possibly Margery Allingham's The Tiger in the Smoke, also mentioned by Edwards in the chapter on murders set in London, to round out the group.


In the middle of this, I'll also still be joining in the buddy read for Murder of a Lady late this week! Can't wait!

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review 2017-09-13 03:24
Review: John Dies At The End
John Dies at the End - David Wong,Stephen R. Thorne

This book was an exercise in insanity!  This is not the first time I've said this about a book, and considering there are two sequels to this, it won't be the last!


Sometimes I'm not sure if I'm too generous with my book ratings, or if I just have superb taste and amazing luck at picking great ones. I'd like to believe it's the latter...so I will.


My hubby and I, on a late night Netflix binge, saw this movie and were intrigued by the title--hello, spoilers!  So we watched knowing it would be my kind of flick.   It was bizarre and yet good.  Bizarrely good.  Horror/comedy with a bit of camp.  Everything you need to make a future cult classic.  And of course the moment I found out it was based on a book, it went on my wishlist.   And let me tell you, it is surprisingly hard to get a used copy of this book!  (I was on a budget and trying not to give Amazon any more of my money.)


And after I finally got a copy, I didn't read it right away.  Big mistake! Huge!  If I could kick my own butt for waiting so long, I would.


The whole thing is told from David Wong's point of view (yes the author is also a character).  I normally hate first person stories, but this was great.  It's about David and John and their ridiculous shenanigans.  It's like they get into the kind of situations that you just can't make up.  I had a friend like that once. She would get into the craziest stuff, and I was there half the time, so I know she wasn't making it up.


In the story there's this drug called 'soy sauce' and it's pretty much a gateway to hell--or so Dave and John think.  Crazy things happen when you're on the sauce, a whole new part of your mind is opened up to you.  And once it's opened, there's no closing it!


John takes it on purpose, and Dave is accidentially stabbed by the needle he confiscated from John.  Now they are seeing things they would have never wanted in a million years, ever wanted to see.  And they're able to do things--almost supernatural type things.  They get caught up in some serious mess all because of this 'soy sauce', and no matter how hard Dave tries to pull them out, John keeps dragging them in deeper.  It's almost like their [undisclosed] town is situated on a hellmouth!  And John and Dave are the 'slayers' poised to save the world.


Everything in this book is just insane. It's the right amount of dark, creepy, crazy and funny.  It's like Evil Dead with two good Ashes.  I loved every minute of it.  And now I'm about to dive into the sequel as soon as I post this.


...Why does it always have to be spiders?!



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text 2017-09-12 15:42
Reading progress update: I've read 306 out of 466 pages.
John Dies at the End - David Wong,Stephen R. Thorne

So much insanity!  The movie was pretty on the nose, but this book is soooo much more. 

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