Monday, February 23, 2015

Interview with Casey Bond

This week, I was honored to sit down with Author Casey Bond. Let's get to know her!

BGP: Please introduce yourself to the readers.

CLB: I’m Casey Bond (not the actor). I’m a Taurus, live in West Virginia with my hubby, kids, dog and cat and I love the color teal.  I write a little bit of everything young adult and new adult and am an avid reader.

BGP: Do the things that your kids say/do or anything in your surroundings, make it into your books?
CLB: Absolutely! A few of my books are set in my home state of West Virginia, or in the region surrounding it. Life experiences and everyday things make it into my books.

BGP: What first inspired you to become a writer?
CLB: I’ve always loved to write. But when I started writing and considered making a career of it, I’d have to say my mother was a driving force. She encouraged me to craft a unique story. I read Twilight and enjoyed it so much, I thought that I could write something that people might like. The rest is history.

BGP: What was it about Twilight that inspired you?
CLB: I thought it was very imaginative and loved the romantic elements of the story.

BGP:  What do you do to prepare for a story?
CLB: I think about the characters and consider what positive and negative personality traits they might have, what they look like, what motivates them, etc. Setting is important. I write dystopian and fantasy so world-building is huge for me. I usually think for a long time about the entire story from beginning to end and then start writing.

BGP: What steps do you go through to build your worlds?
I just think about the setting, sensory details, everything I can imagine about it. I try to put myself in that world and think of what I can see and smell, etc.

BGP: How do you come up with your names (for worlds, people etc)?
CLB: Sometimes names just come to me. Sometimes I use baby name finders! LOL!

BGP: Do you use outlines or do you just write as your go along?
CLB: For the most part, I have a general idea of the plot but don’t worry about the details. Sometimes, your characters take you for a ride you didn’t expect.

BGP:   Who is/was your biggest support for your writing career?
CLB: My family supports me and I’m very blessed. My mom is probably my biggest cheerleader and fan, though! Love you, Mama!

BGP:  What genre do you write and what lead you there?
CLB: I write young adult fantasy and dystopian and new adult romance (though all my books have romantic elements).  I write what I like to read. So, you know what books are likely on my Kindle! LOL!

BGP: What books are on your Kindle? (Just give us a few titles to show us what you like to read)
CLB: I just read Kyland by Mia Sheridan, Breeder by Casey Hays and Kaleidoscope Hearts by Claire Contreras.

BGP:  Tell us about your books.
CLB: Short version? LOL J
Young Adult Titles:
Winter Shadows (YA Christian/Dystopian)
Pariah (YA Fantasy)
The Harvest Saga (Reap/Resist/Reclaim-YA Dystopian)
Fractured Glass (Novel Anthology)
Light in the Darkness (Anthology)

New Adult Titles:
The Sin Serial Series
Devil Creek
Shady Bay
Crazy Love (Dystopian)
Dark Bishop Serial Series (co-written with Rachael Brownell releases 4/29/2015)

On the Horizon:
Paradox (YA Fantasy)
The Temptation Serial Series
Water Witch (YA Fantasy)
And two super-secret projects! J

BGP: For the readers that might not know the difference, please explain what New Adult is and what the difference is between New Adult and Young Adult.
CLB: Most people assume that the labels Young Adult and New Adult refer to the reader, but it actually refers to the age of the main character(s). If the main character is 16-18, high school age, it’s considered a YA novel. If the character is college aged, regardless of whether they attend college or not, it is NA!

BGP: Which is easier for you write?
Honestly, I don’t know. If the story is right, I don’t seem to have trouble writing it. The rest depends on having the time to do so! J

BGP: I noticed that one of the books is Christian. Does your faith find its way into your books a lot?

CLB: It depends on the book. That is the only Christian book I have available and Winter Shadows isn’t what some would all “preachy.” The main character has grown up in a religious family. So, Christianity is a part of her, though she struggles with her faith due to life circumstances.

BGP: Since your Dark Bishop series is the next to come out, why don’t you tell us a bit about that?
Dark Bishop is a serial series, releasing in parts, or episodes that are around 15,000-20,000 words each. It’s sort of like television episodes. Each part builds upon the last. I’m writing from Jake Bishop’s perspective and my bestie, Rachael Brownell is writing from Sydney Coder’s perspective. It’s dark and dangerous: an NA romantic suspense with quite a twist.

BGP: What’s it like writing with a co-author since you’ve been doing it on your own for so long?
CLB: Teaming up with Rachael was easy. We click completely, not only as friends, but our writing styles complement one another’s as well. It’s been very fun! Love that girl!

BGP: How long does it take you to get a book done?
It depends. My fantasy books are very long and take forever! HAHA! Some of my romance novels didn’t take long. I think I finished the Sin serial series in two months last summer. It was rapid-fire, but I loved it!

BGP: Are you with a publishing house or self-published?
Winter Shadows and Pariah were with a traditional publisher to begin with. I entered the Facebook world and met so many wonderful self-published authors that I decided to try it on my own with Devil Creek. Then I kept going and I loved it. Ultimately, I pulled my books from the publisher and self-published them all.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t want to be traditionally published, but I do enjoy being indie and having control over pricing, covers, etc.

BGP: Would you/Do you allow your children to read your books and if they do – what do they think?
My kids are very young. So, at this point I would allow my oldest to read Winter Shadows and Fractured Glass with help. Anything else may be above her head at this point but not for much longer. When she’s old enough, she can read all of my YA titles. And when she gets MUCH older, she can read my NA works. I do not write graphic sexual scenes, but there is some steam and some language that I wouldn’t want her lil eyes to see. My youngest is just a toddler, so she isn’t there yet. LOL. J

BGP: What advice would you give other writers?
So many people are so pressured, in life and in their writing careers. Most people will tell you to write X number of words per day, not to ever skip a day, not to stop until you reach your word goal. Well…I do not agree. Life happens. I want to enjoy writing. I think you should enjoy writing. If writing a certain amount per day makes you happy, then by all means, go for it. But if you have a bad day, if you want to binge-write on weekends so that you can spend time with family during the week, if you only feel like writing a paragraph…do it. Do what makes you feel good about the craft. Do what you want to do. And don’t ever give up or give in.

This is a tough industry. Will every review you get be five star? Nope. Guess what? Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice has a four star rating on Goodreads. Yep. Look it up. FOUR stars.

Am I as good as Austen? Not in the same hemisphere. But I love to write, I love my stories and I will not stop striving to be better.

We’ve reached the part of the interview that I call rapid fire. Or at least it would be if we were actually face to face. So I’m going to ask you a series of questions that have nothing to do with anything and I want you to give me the first answer that pops into your head:

Favorite book villain: Brennus in Amy Bartol’s Premonition Series

Favorite music to write to: Country (anything new)

Chocolate or Vanilla: Vanilla

Three things on your bucket list: See the Egyptian pyramids, take my girls to Paris, and take them to Hawaii! I want to see a Volcano! LOL!

What would you want your last meal to be if you were on death row: Spaghetti with meat sauce.

What animal would you want to be and why? A bat and I have no idea! LOL!

Please give the readers access you to and your books (post any links you want).

You can learn more about my books at

I’m on Facebook at

Twitter @authorcaseybond

I’m also on Tsu, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google+ and!

Anything else you’d like to say?

CLB: Thank you so much for this amazing interview. It’s been so much fun and I appreciate your time and getting to know you! J

Friday, February 20, 2015

Owls are the new trend. Why?

In the last two weeks, owls are starting to pop up everywhere. Jewelry, shirts, pillows, charms... owls seem to be the new "it" accessory. I wanted to know why, because they seem to come out of nowhere. So, I started researching. And I found some interesting things about them... even that they're a symbol of the Illuminati... Read on... and tell me what you think...

Hollywood loves owls. So do I!

It's no secret that the popularity of owls in fashion, clothing and cuteness has exploded over the past few years. There's a ton of Pinterest boards dedicated to cute owl designs, as well as Etsy pages and many, many crafty folks making the cutest owl-based creations.

So where did this craze start? It's hard to say.

Where will this craze end? We've seen a ton of cute owl shirts, owl pillows, owl blankets, and of course owl necklaces. The popularity still seems to be growing, with even celebrities wearing the feathered cuties.

Look chic on the cheap

Fashion Week has proven that the T-Shirt is coming back, which is fantastic news for those of us who wish to be part of haute couture without the normal uncomfortable extravagance, and the owl has proven the flagship of the smart and the trendy, and the marriage of the two makes a powerful statement of both comfort and class.
The rise and popularity of the Owl is a thing of modern age embracing the wise sayings of ancient pasts. Through history the Owl has always been portrayed as the flying creature that is all seeing, all knowing ,and all wise. With eyes as big as saucers the ability of the Owl to see has always been the prime focus of Mr Owl. Mr Owl has been glamorized as a creature that has extraordinary vision, as a matter of fact Mr Owl can see right into the very thoughts and dreams of those it chooses. Another factor that has made Mr Owl so popular is the fact that the Owl is often never seen in till it is right over the top of its prey.

The Owl is a true bird of prey. In the natural world of the Owl the testament about the Owls abilities are partly true. As an animal the Owl ranks as one of the most smartest birds of prey. The Owl survives by knowing when and were to find its prey in the dark. Besides having the extraordinary vision the Owl is a real hunter. The hunting abilities of the Owl come from the deep rooted character nestled between those big eyes. In a Owls genetics there is the truth that the animal comes from a time when animals adapted to their environment by modifications of the genetic make-up of the creature. An example is that the Wise Owl has learn to hunt in pure darkness. The owls eyes being large take in the light and allow the owl vision that is so accurate that a mouse is visible at 100 ft with pitch darkness.

With all these qualities it is not hard to see that this majestic bird that is seldom seen in the daylight hours, is so well immortalized. Fashion is also embracing this bird like never before. Clothing with Owl symbols label the wearer as wise and all seeing. People have come to know this creature as a symbol of power, wisdom, vision, In the movie Harry Potter the owl is pictured as a immortal animal that is full of magic and power that helps Mr. Potter with his quest to become a warlock. In times of old the Owl was referred too in nursery rhymes as,” The Old Wise One”. Much respect has been granted the Wise old Owl. History and American folklore has driven the status of the Old Wise Owl for over three hundred years.

As history continues to draw fame to the Old Wise Owl the chances of this bird being made immortal with tales of courage and new adventures treated by Hollywood and any other film company that wishes a honourable and wise symbol. The Owl is definitely taken its rightful place in the history of American culture.
Owls are Illuminati symbols.....

And here is the more well known Illuminati symbolism encoded in our US $1dollar bill. 

But back to the owl, again, it's a big part of what goes on at Bohemian Grove. Besides the secret discussions about who gets elected president or what next big war or event (like 9/11) they are going to plan, and the male prostitutes and homoerotic filth that goes on, they do this mock human sacrifice to this forty foot owl statue whose name is molech. 

Now if you research molech in the Bible, you will find references in the Old Testament to moloch which is basically a rendering of molech. You will find references specifically in 1 Kings 11:7,Lev. 18:21, Lev. 18:21; 20:2-5; 2 Kings. 23:10; Jer. 32:35, 2 Ki. 23:10 and Je. 32:35.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ways to Live a Healthy LifeStyle

Healthy Living: 8 Steps to Take Today

Healthy living starts right now. Experts tell you how.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Healthy living is within your reach, starting today. Sure, healthy living is a long-term commitment, not a flash-in-the-pan fad. But there are steps you can take right now that will make today healthier than yesterday and pave the way for healthy living tomorrow, too.
Here's your checklist of practical healthy living tips that are ready to go. Let's get started.

Healthy Living Step No. 1: Take stock.

Your first step toward healthy living is to get a handle on your health status right now. Here's your to-do list:
  • Make appointments with your doctor and dentist. Catch up on your routine screening and immunizations, and take the opportunity to ask your doctor any questions you might have.
  • Gauge your girth. Measure your height and weight to check your BMI, and measure your waist circumference to see if you're overweight and if your waistline is putting your health at risk.
  • Assess your activity. How much physical activity do you get in a typical week? How intense is that activity? How much variety do you get in your activity, and how much do you enjoy it? The CDC recommends that adults get at least two and a half hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week.
  • Keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat for a day -- and no fair skipping the items you're embarrassed about. "The idea is to write it down ... without judgment," says Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD, a nutritionist, wellness coach, and personal trainer with Cafe Physique in Atlanta. "You can't change what you're not aware of or don't acknowledge."
  • Check your mood and energy. Healthy living includes emotional wellness and adequate rest. How has your mood been lately? Are you experiencing any symptoms of depression or anxiety? Do you usually sleep well for seven to eight hours a night?
  • Consider your social network. How strong are your connections with family and friends? Are you plugged in with social or spiritual groups that enrich your life? "People have a fundamental need for positive and lasting relationships," C. Nathan DeWall, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, tells WebMD.

If you're not thrilled with the answers to some of those questions, remember that the point is to figure out where you are today so you can set your healthy living goals. It's not about being "good" or "bad," "right" or "wrong."

Healthy Living Step No. 2: Put out fires.

If you know that you have chronic health problems, whether it's heart diseasediabetes, depression, arthritis, or other conditions, treatment is an obvious priority for healthy living. The same goes for risky behaviors, such as smoking, and addictions of any kind.
Addressing these issues typically isn't a do-it-yourself task. Partner with your doctor. Make the phone call today to schedule that appointment.

Healthy Living Step No. 3 Move more.

Here are Williams' top tips for increasing physical activity:
  • Make it fun. Go on a hike, walk with friends, take a bellydancing or karate class, or whatever you enjoy. "There's no need to stick tocardio equipment in the gym if you're dreading it and you don't like it," Williams says. "Find something that's fun."
  • Keep track of it. Make a note of your physical activity in your date book or calendar. "Put big Xs on the days that you exercise," Williams says. "Keep a visual record that you look at frequently" as a reminder and motivator.
  • Set a weekly goal for activity. To build your confidence, "make the first goal so easy that you say, 'I know I can do that,'" Williams suggests. She recommends weekly goals because if you set a daily goal and miss a day, you might get discouraged; weekly goals give you more day-to-day flexibility. And at the end of the week, reward yourself with a visual reminder of your accomplishment, such as buying flowers for yourself.
  • Work activity into your day. "Ten percent of something is better than 100% of nothing. So even if you have 10 minutes, it's better than zero minutes," Williams says. She suggests taking a 10-minute walk before lunch or walking up and down the stairs when you're feeling drained and tired.
Other ideas include wearing a pedometer to track how many steps you take per day (health experts recommend shooting for 10,000 steps per day) and working with a personal trainer (double up with a friend to lower the cost) to create an exercise routine.
If you're curious about how many calories you're burning, try usingWebMD's Fit-o-Meter, a fitness and exercise calorie calculator. But of course, physical activity is for everyone, whether you're trying to lose weight or not.

Healthy Living Step No. 4: Upgrade your diet.

Williams, a nutritionist for a dozen years, says her diet advice isn't about eating certain foods and avoiding others as much as it is about awareness and choices. Here are her pointers:
  • Replace "I should" with "I choose." So instead of "I should be eating more fruits and vegetables," it's "I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables" or "I choose not to," because it's more powerful language," Williams says. "It shows that you're in control, you're making the choice. So if you choose to or you choose not to, you make the choice and you move on."
  • Skip the guilt. "Usually, whenever someone feels guilty about something, it feeds right back to the behavior that they're trying to get rid of," Williams says. "So if someone is an emotional eater and they say, 'I know I shouldn't be doing this," it implies more guilt and judgment on themselves, they feel worse, and then they end up eating to comfort themselves."
  • Choose to plan. Stock your pantry with healthy fare and bringhealthy snacks with you so you're prepared when you get hungry. "When we're really hungry, our physiology kicks in and that's when we're craving the hamburger and fries; we're not craving a salad," Williams says.
  • Slow down and savor your food. Don't watch TV, work, or drive while you're eating. "A lot of people tell me, 'My problem is that I really like food,' but I think that's a really good thing," Williams says. "If you really enjoy food, sit down and enjoy your meal. You're much more likely to feel psychologically satisfied if you don't multitask while you're eating."
  • Shoot for five to nine daily servings of varied fruits and vegetables. Cover the rainbow of fruit and vegetable colors to get a good mix of nutrients. "If you're not getting the rainbow, you're probably not getting all the nutrients that you need," Williams says.

Healthy Living Step No. 5: Manage stress.

As a wellness coach trained in stress management, Williams recommends making two different plans to handle stress.
  • Routine maintenance: Develop positive coping skills, such asmeditation and visualization, and look for activities, such as yoga or exercise, to keep your baseline stress level in check.
  • Breakthrough stress: Find ways to handle stressful situations that flare up without warning. For instance, Williams says that after a stressful meeting at work, you might run up and down the stairs a few times to burn off anger, or retreat to a bathroom stall to take a few deep breaths and refocus.
Williams also shares three other stress management tips that you can start using immediately:
  • Check your perspective. Ask yourself, "Will this matter to me a year from now?" If not, why are you getting so wound up?
  • Volunteer. Helping to meet other peoples' needs may make your own problems seem smaller.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Write down the positive people, events, and things that you're thankful for. "It really switches the focus to, 'Wow, look how much I have," Williams says. "Most stress is caused by wishing things were different than they are now."
  • Breathe. One of the breathing exercises that Williams recommends is to count your breaths for a minute, and then try to cut that number of breaths in half for the next minute.

Healthy Living StepNo. 6: Sleep better.

If you have trouble sleeping, try these tips from sleep medicine specialist Lisa Shives, MD, medical director of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Ill.
  • No TV or computer two hours before bedtime. It's not just because the TV and computer are stimulating; it's also because of their light. "We're very sensitive to the cue that light gives you that it's time to be up and about," Shives says. She recommends light, calming reading lit by a lamp that doesn't shine directly into your eyes.
  • No heavy exercise close to bedtime. Light stretching is OK, but vigorous activity will heat up your body's core temperature, which makes it harder to sleep. "If you're working up a sweat, you're working too hard right before bed," Shives says.
  • Take a hot bath. That will heat up your core body temperature, but when you get out of the bath, your core temperature will fall, which may help you get to sleep. Plus, the bath "relaxes you mentally," Shives says. She adds that having a hot, noncaffeinated drink, such as chamomile tea, may also help.
  • Set a regular sleep schedule. When Shives treats insomnia patients, she tells them that although they can't make themselves fall asleep, they can make themselves get up at a certain time the next morning. And though they may be tired at first, if they don't nap, they may start sleeping better during the following nights. "We're going to get nowhere if they take big naps during the day and keep a very erratic sleep schedule; it's chaos then," Shives says.
  • Don't count on weekend catch-up sleep. If you have chronic sleep problems, you probably can't make up for that on the weekends. But if you generally sleep well and have a rough week, go ahead and sleep in on the weekend. "I actually think that's good for the body," Shives says.
  • Don't ignore chronic sleep problems. "Don't let sleep troubles linger for months or years. Get to a sleep specialist earlier rather than later, before bad habits set in," Shives says.
  • Prioritize good sleep. "This is as important as diet and exercise," Shives says. She says that in our society, "we disdain sleep, we admire energy and hard work and [have] this notion that sleep is just something that gets in the way."

Healthy Living Step No. 7: Improve your relationships.

Healthy living isn't just about your personal habits for, say, diet and activity. It's also about your connections with other people -- your social network.
DeWall, the University of Kentucky social psychologist, offers these tips for broadening your social network:
  • Look for people like you. The details of their lives don't have to match yours, but look for a similar level of openness. "What really is important in terms of promoting relationship well-being is that you share a similar level of comfort in getting close to people," DeWall says. For instance, he says that someone who needs a lot of reassurance might not find the best relationship with someone who's more standoffish. "Feel people out in terms of, 'Does this person seem like me in terms of wanting to be close to other people?'" DeWall suggests.
  • Spend time with people. "There's this emphasis in our culture that you need to be very independent -- an army of one, you can get along on your own," DeWall says. "Most people don't know their neighbors as much as they did 50 or 60 years ago."
  • Build both virtual and face-to-face relationships. DeWall isn't against having online connections to other people. "But I think long term, having all of your relationships online or virtual ... would probably be something that wouldn't be as beneficial as having a mix" of having virtual and in-person relationships.
  • If a close relationship is painful, get help. "Some of my work and some work that other people are doing suggest that ... when you feel rejected by someone, that your body actually registers it as pain. So if I'm in a relationship that's really causing me a lot of pain, then we need to do something, we need to go and seek help," DeWall says.

Healthy Living Step No. 8: Challenge your mind.

Participating in mentally stimulating activities, especially activities that involve other people, may be good for the brain.
There's no downside to including brain-challenging activities as part of your healthy living, unless "you spent $400 on some computer program that makes all sorts of wild claims about brain health," says David Knopman, MD, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Knopman explains that brain fitness is influenced by many factors, including education and opportunities for mentally stimulating activities starting in childhood, and also by the presence or absence of depression, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, and other risks.
Observational studies have shown that people who engage in mentally stimulating activities may be less likely to develop dementia. But Knopman notes that such studies don't prove cause and effect, so it's not clear if mentally stimulating activities protect against dementia or whether people with healthier brains are drawn to those activities in the first place.
That said, Knopman says, "I think that socially engaging activities are particularly important, and that's why I'm somewhat skeptical about the various commercial entities that seek to sell computer games to stimulate the brain. ... If that's done to the exclusion of socially engaging activity, it's probably counterproductive."

Monday, February 16, 2015

Book Vs. Movie: The Perks of a Wall Flower

February's Book vs. Movie discussion is The Perks of a Wall Flower by Stephen Chbosky. We'll discuss the background of the book and the plot and then we'll get to my thoughts.

Here's a little bit of background on the novel and the movie:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age epistolary novel by American writer Stephen Chbosky which was first published on February 1, 1999 by Pocket Books. Its narrator is an introverted teenager known as Charlie, who describes his experiences in a series of letters to an anonymous stranger. Set in the early 1990s, the novel follows Charlie through his freshman year of high school in a Pittsburgh suburb. Intelligent beyond his years, he is an unconventional thinker; as the story begins, the reader learns that Charlie is also shy and unpopular.
Chbosky took five years to develop and publish The Perks of Being a Wallflower, creating the characters and other aspects of the story from his own memories. The novel addresses themes permeating adolescence, including introversion, sexuality, and drug use. Chbosky makes several references to other literary works, films and pop culture in general.
Although Chbosky's first book was a commercial success, it was banned in some American schools for its content and received mixed reviews from literary critics. In 2012, he adapted and directed a film version starring Logan LermanEzra Miller and Emma Watson. The film boosted the novel's sales, and the book reached The New York Times Best Seller list.
Here's the Plot: 
The story begins with a quiet, sensitive, 15-year-old boy named Charlie writing letters about his life to an unknown recipient. He discusses his first year at high school, grappling with two traumatic experiences from his past: the suicide of his only middle-school friend, Michael, a year before, and the death of his Aunt Helen (his favorite aunt) during his early childhood.
His English teacher Bill notices Charlie's passion for reading and writing, and assigns him extracurricular books and reports. Charlie befriends senior step-siblings Patrick and Sam. Charlie quickly develops a crush on Sam and subsequently admits his feelings to her. He is accepted by their group of friends and begins experimenting with tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Charlie witnesses his sister's boyfriend hit her across the face, but she forbids him from telling their parents. He eventually mentions the occurrence to Bill, who tells Charlie's parents about it. Charlie's relationship with his sister rapidly deteriorates and she continues to see her boyfriend against her parents' wishes. As Charlie engages with his new friends he can control his flashbacks of Aunt Helen, who died in a car crash on her way to buy him a birthday gift. Charlie discovers that Patrick is in a relationship with Brad, a deeply closeted player on the school's football team. It is revealed that Sam was sexually abused as a child, and she kisses Charlie to ensure that his first kiss is from someone who truly loves him.
Mary Elizabeth, a member of the group, invites Charlie to the school's Sadie Hawkins dance and the two enter into a desultory relationship. Charlie's dissatisfaction with the relationship grows steadily over the next few weeks, and he begins heavily smoking both marijuana and cigarettes to distract himself. Eventually, the entire group is hanging out together and Charlie is dared to kiss the "prettiest girl in the room;" he chooses Sam over Mary Elizabeth. Mary Elizabeth storms out, Sam grows angry with Charlie, and Patrick suggests that Charlie stay away from Sam for a while. His flashbacks return, so he goes back to seeing a psychiatrist. He discovers that his sister is pregnant and agrees to bring her to an abortion clinic without telling anyone. His sister breaks up with her boyfriend, after which her and Charlie's relationship begins to improve significantly.
Patrick and Brad's relationship is discovered by Brad's abusive father, and Brad disappears from school for a few days. Upon returning, Brad is cold and incommunicative towards Patrick. Patrick's attempts to reconnect with Brad at school over the next few days backfire when Brad derogatorily attacks Patrick's sexuality in a public environment. Patrick physically attacks Brad until other football players join in and gang up on Patrick. Charlie breaks up the fight, regaining the respect of Sam and her friends. Patrick begins spending much of his time with Charlie in an attempt to drown out the lingering negativity surrounding him and Brad. Patrick kisses Charlie impulsively and then apologizes, but Charlie does not resist in an attempt to be a good friend in Patrick's time of need. Soon Patrick sees Brad engaging with a stranger in the park and Patrick is able to move on from the relationship.
As the school year ends, Charlie is anxious about losing his older friends—especially Sam, who is leaving for a summer college-preparatory program and has learned that her boyfriend cheated on her. When Charlie helps her pack, they talk about his feelings for her; she is angry that he never acted on them. They begin to engage sexually, but Charlie suddenly grows inexplicably uncomfortable and stops Sam. Charlie begins to realize that his sexual contact with Sam has stirred up repressed memories of having been molested by his aunt Helen as a child.
In an epilogue, Charlie is discovered by his parents in a trancelike state. He is catatonic and does not show any movement. After being admitted to a mental hospital, it emerges that Helen sexually abused him when he was young, and his love for her (and empathy for her troubled youth) caused him to repress his traumatic memories. This psychological damage explains his flashbacks and derealization phases throughout the book. In two months Charlie is released, and Sam and Patrick visit him. He comes to terms with his past: "Even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there". Charlie decides to "participate" in life, and his letter-writing ends.

The Differences Between the Book and the Movie

The book needed the movie to bring it to life. I liked the book but reading it first almost made me not want to watch the movie. Being that it's written in 2nd person, the reader is limited in what we learn about the characters. Some of the book drags because of the one sided story-telling. However, I think that it is very relevant to today's kids and that it shouldn't be banned from schools. Today's children are much smarter and need books like this to relate to. 
Admittedly, the back part of the book picked up for me and I became more excited about the story as the plot became a little more clear for me. Though by the end of the book I was still unclear as to why Charlie was having a mental break. The writing was good but the plot wasn't clearly laid out.

I was so excited to find this graphic comparing Perks of a Wall Flower and The Breakfast Club because half way through the movie I thought "This is the Breakfast Club of the new generation" and I am HUGE Breakfast Club fan. Its about kids that are seemingly different but bond in a way that nobody understands. I could do an entire blog on the similarities between the two movies, but I'll keep it between the book and the movie.
I was happy that the scenes I didn't care for in the book were cut out of the movie. The movie ran much smoother for me and it was easier to get into right from the beginning. The characters are written better and much stronger in the movie. And even after reading the book, I love that I didn't see the twist about Aunt Helen coming. 
The movie made me care about the other characters and what happened to them. I didn't see Patrick's character coming a million miles away and I LOVE him. He was breath of fresh air and was probably the most 3 dimensional character in the movie.
The common complaint about movies that are made from books, is that they cut out some huge things from the book. In this case, cutting out some things really worked. They were more clear about Charlie's issues and did a better job of incorporating it in the movie.
It is my opinion that the movie is much better than the book in this case. It gets to the heart of the story faster and much better. Perks of Being a Wall Flower touches my heart in the way only few movies have. I am so happy to have watched it. It makes me happy and I feel like someone else gets me.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day

The nerd girl in me is so excited she's vibrating. In researching Valentine's Day, I found some really interesting things.

Valentine's Day History

Pagan festivals, Christian saints, Chaucer's love birds, and the Greeting Card Association of America

by Borgna Brunner

Roman Roots

The history of Valentine's Day is obscure, and further clouded by various fanciful legends. The holiday's roots are in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15. Pope Gelasius I recast this pagan festival as a Christian feast day circa 496, declaring February 14 to be St. Valentine's Day.

Valentines Galore

Which St. Valentine this early pope intended to honor remains a mystery: according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by that name. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of a third St. Valentine almost nothing is known except that he met his end in Africa. Rather astonishingly, all three Valentines were said to have been martyred on Feb. 14.
Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine of the holiday was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270. At this stage, the factual ends and the mythic begins. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death. Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine." Probably the most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one not focused on Eros (passionate love) but on agape (Christian love): he was martyred for refusing to renounce his religion.
In 1969, the Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar, removing the feast days of saints whose historical origins were questionable. St. Valentine was one of the casualties.

Chaucer's Love Birds

It was not until the 14th century that this Christian feast day became definitively associated with love. According to UCLA medieval scholar Henry Ansgar Kelly, author of Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, it was Chaucer who first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance.
In 1381, Chaucer composed a poem in honor of the engagement between England's Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. As was the poetic tradition, Chaucer associated the occasion with a feast day. In "The Parliament of Fowls," the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, and St. Valentine's Day are linked:
For this was on St. Valentine's Day,
When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.

Tradition of Valentine's Cards

Over the centuries, the holiday evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine's Day had become common in England. Hand-made valentine cards made of lace, ribbons, and featuring cupids and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies. The tradition of Valentine's cards did not become widespread in the United States, however, until the 1850s, when Esther A. Howland, a Mount Holyoke graduate and native of Worcester, Mass., began mass-producing them. Today, of course, the holiday has become a booming commercial success. According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards sent each year are valentines.

Read more: Valentine's Day History

Here's 6 things we didn't know:

6 Surprising Facts About St. Valentine

By Elizabeth Hanes
A man named Valentinus was martyred on February 14 late in the third century A.D.—this much we know. But when it comes to details about the life of St. Valentine, legend often supersedes fact. As you celebrate this Valentine’s Day, find out the truth about the man for whom the day is named, as well as some other intriguing facts about history's most romantic holiday.
St. Valentine
St. Valentine
1. The St. Valentine who inspired the holiday may have been two different men.
Officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270. However, his true identity was questioned as early as A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God.” One account from the 1400s describes Valentine as a temple priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed. A different account claims Valentine was the Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. Because of the similarities of these accounts, it’s thought they may refer to the same person. Enough confusion surrounds the true identity of St. Valentine that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name remains on its list of officially recognized saints.
2. In all, there are about a dozen St. Valentines, plus a pope.
The saint we celebrate on Valentine’s Day is known officially as St. Valentine of Rome in order to differentiate him from the dozen or so other Valentines on the list. Because “Valentinus”—from the Latin word for worthy, strong or powerful—was a popular moniker between the second and eighth centuries A.D., several martyrs over the centuries have carried this name. The official Roman Catholic roster of saints shows about a dozen who were named Valentine or some variation thereof. The most recently beatified Valentine is St. Valentine Berrio-Ochoa, a Spaniard of the Dominican order who traveled to Vietnam, where he served as bishop until his beheading in 1861. Pope John Paul II canonized Berrio-Ochoa in 1988. There was even a Pope Valentine, though little is known about him except that he served a mere 40 days around A.D. 827.
3. Valentine is the patron saint of beekeepers and epilepsy, among many other things.
Saints are certainly expected to keep busy in the afterlife. Their holy duties include interceding in earthly affairs and entertaining petitions from living souls. In this respect, St. Valentine has wide-ranging spiritual responsibilities. People call on him to watch over the lives of lovers, of course, but also for interventions regarding beekeeping and epilepsy, as well as the plague, fainting and traveling. As you might expect, he’s also the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages.
4. You can find Valentine’s skull in Rome.
The flower-adorned skull of St. Valentine is on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. In the early 1800s, the excavation of a catacomb near Rome yielded skeletal remains and other relics now associated with St. Valentine. As is customary, these bits and pieces of the late saint’s body have subsequently been distributed to reliquaries around the world. You’ll find other bits of St. Valentine’s skeleton on display in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, England and France.
5. Chaucer may have invented Valentine’s Day.
The medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer often took liberties with history, placing his poetic characters into fictitious historical contexts that he represented as real. No record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to a poem Chaucer wrote around 1375. In his work “Parliament of Foules,” he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day–an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention. The poem refers to February 14 as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate. When Chaucer wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he may have invented the holiday we know today.
6. You can celebrate Valentine’s Day several times a year.
Because of the abundance of St. Valentines on the Roman Catholic roster, you can choose to celebrate the saint multiple times each year. Besides February 14, you might decide to celebrate St. Valentine of Viterbo on November 3. Or maybe you want to get a jump on the traditional Valentine celebration by feting St. Valentine of Raetia on January 7. Women might choose to honor the only female St. Valentine (Valentina), a virgin martyred in Palestine on July 25, A.D. 308. The Eastern Orthodox Church officially celebrates St. Valentine twice, once as an elder of the church on July 6 and once as a martyr on July 30.