Saturday, December 14, 2013

I'm Not Dead

Hello, friends and family! 

A lot has happened since April which was the last time I posted on this minuscule corner of the blogosphere. I went on deployment with my ship, read a lot of books, saw many parts of this world, learned a lot of new things, and met a lot of really interesting people. The navy has proven to be quite the adventure.


I drove to San Diego and stayed at TPU until they were able to fly me out to my ship, the USS Higgins, which was steaming around in the Persian Gulf. It was quite the trip out there. I had never flown so far away from home. I slept on the plane and it was all really a blur. Once we arrived in Bahrain they put us up in a hotel then the next morning we were shuttled to the base and then a helicopter took us to the ship. First time riding in a helicopter and it was amazing. Also, it was my first time setting foot on a real US Navy ship. 

It took me awhile to get accustomed to ship life. Everyone was really nice, however, I got frustrated real quick because everyone had this attitude problem. It was hard for me to understand it because I was so in awe with everything. That feeling is fading away now which is sad because I don't necessarily like to be jaded. 

After Indoc I was sent to the Supply Department as a Food Service Attendant which is a nice way of saying "cranking." It's a rite of passage in the navy that is supposed to help sailors appreciate just how much the cooks go through to make our food. I was posted in the ward room, serving the captain and the other officers on board. It was an eye opening experience as well as one of the most challenging things I've had to do. 

Once we left Bahrain and the Gulf, we headed to Thailand. I liked Thailand. It was absolutely gorgeous there. But it felt very dirty and everyone just wanted my money. Everything was cheap and that was great, but it wasn't my favorite place. 

Next we went to Japan for two weeks. I loved Japan. Absolutely loved it. I liked to get away from the Navy traps where all the bars are and where people take advantage of military because they know we can pay for whatever they offer. My favorite place was Kamakura where there were temples, shrines, and a Buddha from roughly the 15th century. 

Guam was our next stop. I would have rather just passed by it and gone to Hawaii. It was pretty but everything was so spread out that it was necessary to have a car to really enjoy it even though it was an incredibly small island. I also went to a strip club with my friends and they said they owed me. I've still got to call in that IOU. 

Our last stop was Hawaii. I had a lot of fun in Hawaii. We rented a car and got to ride around to see the Tropicana Pineapple farm, beaches, and we went into Honolulu. 

After that we went on home to San Diego. It was really cool to be standing on the forecastle of a destroyer in my dress whites, pulling into port, and seeing the joyous welcome from friends and family waving signs and a band playing for us. 

Once we got home, I went on leave. I surprised my family and friends and drove home without telling them that was what I was doing. I showed up at my mom's school with flowers. It was probably the coolest thing I've done in a long time. 


I really can't remember all the books I read on deployment. There were so many. I'll give you some highlights. 

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare: Final installment in this trilogy. It was quite riveting and did not disappoint. The ending was really great and satisfying. However, that being said, I'm beginning to think Clare is only writing these because she's comfortable with the world and the characters. There's not as much excitement pulsing through the pages as there was in her first installments. Maybe it's just me. But maybe she really is getting tired. I'll see how it goes with the sixth book of the Mortal Instruments.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion: I watched the movie in Pensacola and was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it. The book was even better (duh!) because it didn't shy away from being cerebral. I loved the play with Romeo and Juliet that was definitely tooled up more in the movie than in the book. It is, all in all, a commentary on human nature and what it means to be alive. 

Requiem by Lauren Oliver: Third installments in trilogies are hard because you have to tie everything together. I think there's as much, if not more, pressure to make this one just right than there is with the first book. I'm betting the second book is the most fun to write because you have so much room for activities and you can play as much as you want. However, you have to pay for that in the third book. It's hard to satisfy everyone. Oliver's third installment was good. She didn't necessarily drop the ball. What she did is she twisted all of the plot into a commentary on human society which I applauded. The ending is open (small spoiler) but it ends with such a call to arms that I felt goosebumps while reading it. Plot-wise, she sticks to her guns. There's no denying she is a master of character and plot development. It did not feel thrown together. 

That being said it didn't sit right with me still. Maybe that's what she wanted. She may have wanted her reader to leave kind of uncomfortable. You can't make a difference in the world if you sit by all comfortable. 

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult: I was revisiting a reliable author who I knew could provide a thoughtful and interesting story. Lone Wolf was no exception. It has trademark Picoult-isms. She writes magically and weaves her story nicely, putting in twists and turns in just the right places. I'd recommend this one if you just want a quick read that doesn't make you feel like you're reading trash. 

The Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin: I finally plunged in. Talk about a soap opera. Everyone is out to get each other. I still haven't gotten to Dance of Dragons because I needed a little break, but I will return to find out what happens. Don't root for anyone because everyone in the story is in danger of dying. 

The Adventure Continues

Well now I am back in San Diego and life is good. I got an apartment, the ship is in the yards, and I've met some really great people. I am sort of seeing someone but it is up in the air. Once it is more solid, I will tell you all more about it. While on deployment, I came out as gay to everyone over Facebook. In April I had told my parents and they were pretty supportive, as much as they could be. I lucked out. Some family and friends have been less than supportive or nice about it but I can't control what they do or say, and I don't expect them to be okay with it. It's not their life. It's mine. I'm in the best place I've ever been in my life so far. 

Once I got home I also bought a new car. Phoebe was an amazing car but I traded her in for a Mini Cooper which I have named Killian Bradley Cooper. So far, I'm in love, however I will never forget Phoebe and how well she treated me. 

That is all for now! Expect more book reviews and updates. I'm going to keep writing Tales of the Unluckiest Lucky Girl because Olivia's story is not finished and she has been begging me to tell it all. I only aim to please. 

See you anon!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Been Awhile!

Hey, all you people out there in the blogosphere! It has been awhile and one of my beautiful redhead friends reprimanded me for not updating my blog. So here I am.

I have been in Pensacola, FL for training with the US Navy since October. In February I graduated from "A" school at the top of my class which awarded me accelerated advancement at my next command. On March 25 I graduated "C" school and got my orders to my next duty station which is:


I will be serving in the USS Higgins, a destroyer stationed in San Diego. This was exactly what I wanted, so it goes without saying that I am ecstatic!

Things I'm loving lately:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: they sing "Thrift Shop" and "Same Love"
Cynthia Hand: Author of the Unearthly series
InstaGram/PicStitch/InstaQuote: Yup, I've become one of those people.
CrossFit: Not new. I've just been really getting into fitness and have some crazy goals. Well, others would think they're crazy. I think they're awesome.
Being in the Military: Basic sucked. Not gonna lie. And parts of "A" school sucked as well. But it is just getting better, and I'm getting into the swing of it. San Diego will be an awesome PCS. And I've found confidence that I didn't realize I was lacking.

Books I've Read:

This is kind of unfair, but I'm going to do quick book reviews to catch up and hopefully get back to being good at updating this.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: One of the most messed up books I've read in a long time. Both the characters are just awful. I've never read a book that made me hate both protagonists. I don't even know if you could call them protagonists, but they're not antagonists either. However, Flynn is genius and her prose is spot-on and moody. I highly recommend it.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore: Totally a chick book. If you love sappy romance, you'll love this. I'm usually good with romance. I consider myself a hopeless romantic. But this was almost ridiculous. I kept expecting it to turn out to be a joke. But no. Cashore was serious. Also, if you like kick-ass heroines, this is great. But it wasn't my cup of tea. I recommend it for young teenage girls. Or fans of Twilight.

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh: Such an extraordinary and disturbing story of a young girl who learns how to love through the language of flowers. It explores several different types of relationships. The main character is hard to love at times, but it turns out to be all right. The language of flowers theme carries through the whole book and is interesting enough to keep you going. I recommend it to anyone who likes a thinking book with emotion.

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan: So fun! Loved it. Read it. That's all.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: Pretty mundane in the writing. The movie made the characters come to life for me more than the books did. I'm not sure why that is happening so much lately. The story is fantastic though, so I would highly recommend it as a young adult novel to read. The love story is good and doesn't seem too forced, but it is also very undeveloped. Like, they fall in love for the sake of falling in love regardless of chemistry. In the movie, I understood the attraction. In the book...not so much.

Crewel by Gennifer Albin: An intriguing dystopian novel about Spinsters who can actually control the thread of life. The story line is creative and I liked that, but it doesn't get explained well enough. The main character is strong but her personality is too finicky. She's strong and makes quips at unexpected times and gets sheepish when it is more convenient for the story. Of course there's a love triangle and it is actually a good one. Somewhat. As far as triangles go. I'm thinking this love triangle business is tired. Let's try a love octagon for some real intrigue. Oh. And there was the agenda for gay and women's rights that rippled throughout the book. It was too obvious a schtick.

Sever by Lauren DeStefano: This woman is a genius. Her writing is impeccable. I just cannot get enough of her. This is the conclusion of the trilogy and it was sad to say good-bye to the characters. I take comfort knowing I can re-read and visit them again. The conclusion does not disappoint, but I don't think it's the best installment of the three books. As far as trilogies go, though, DeStefano managed not to drop the ball which seems to be the latest trend in YA books these days. I highly, highly recommend this series. It has a weird premise, but I love when authors are willing to stretch the boundaries, push the envelope a little. Go get it. Now.

Boundless by Cynthia Hand: Fantastic trilogy. Again, a third in a trio of books that I really loved. I was sad to say good-bye to these characters as well. Hand managed to, like DeStefano, not drop the ball on the third installment. The love triangle (another one) is still going strong, but you get the feeling throughout it all that you know how it will end up. There are beautiful scenes and humor and plenty of intense moments. When you go get Sever, go get this one too.

That catches you up to where I'm at right now. I don't get a whole lot of time to read and when I do finish a book I don't have a lot of time to sit and write a review, but I will stop making excuses and keep this thing up.

I'm leaving Pensacola on 03 April, going to Idaho, then reporting to San Diego in mid-April. I'm excited for my future and the great adventures the US Navy has ahead of me.