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“Hit him with a rock!”

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These are certain moments in life that define what kind of person you really are. When faced with danger, would you run for your life or sacrifice yourself for the people you love? We all walk around telling everyone that, of course, we’d throw our lives on the line when it came to protecting our friends and family. But, can we all really be that selfless? You would think that a sense of self-preservation should kick in at some point. But when the choice was upon me, I’m proud to say that I didn’t hesitate. I sent my sisters running while I stayed behind to battle… with the geese. 
 
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Now, I’m sure you’re thinking that this situation doesn’t qualify as truly willing to sacrifice my life, seeing as how my life wasn’t actually in danger (I don’t know the numbers on murderous geese, but I feel they can’t be very high). But, I was a child and these were wild, albeit toothless, animals and they were on a rampage. 
 
We were innocently swinging and playing on the playground when we first saw the three geese approaching. All animal lovers, we were pretty pumped. But, they started coming faster and their happy waddle began to look more and more like an ominous death march. Being the oldest, I felt I had to protect my sisters and decided we should probably head back to our parents and the safety of the camper. I just felt these geese weren’t interested in being friends. My suspicions were justified the instant we left the playground. The beasts charged at us, wings flapping and honking their battle cries. 
 
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“Kayla, Maggie, RUUUUN” I jumped between my sisters and the geese- attempting to hold off the vicious animals while Kayla and Maggie scrambled up the hill. The geese leader showed his disdain for my bravery by latching his bumpy beak to my thigh. No animal loving thoughts were near my mind as I grabbed his long neck and shook with all my might. By this point, Kayla and Maggie had reached the temporary safety of the hill top and began pelting the geese with rocks to keep them at bay. Between my frantic strangling and the rocks, lieutenant goose released his grip and I was able to hobble up the hill.
 
We made it back to the camper in record time and immediately launched into the gory battle details. Seeing as how we were out of breath, hyped up after our victory and all speaking at once, my parents probably got something along the lines of-
 
“GEESE!”
“Biting” 
“throwing rocks”
*GASP*
‘WINGS”
“Jac… strangled”
*GASP*
“EATING her”
“Bumpy head”
“ATTACK”
*GASP*
 
To our complete horror, once we were able to get the full story out, we were chastised for tormenting the geese. THE GEESE! We had barely made it out of the playground with out lives and we were in trouble for messing with the animals. There was no convincing my parents that the geese had attacked us- that we were the real victims. And let’s face it, the idea that three geese charged three children without provocation is pretty hard to believe. So we moped about the campsite for the rest of the day occasionally bursting out about how horrible they were and the injustice of it all. I kept pointing to the spot where I swore a bruise was forming on my thigh, but that just reminded my parents I almost strangled a goose and made them angry. Why couldn’t they appreciate my bravery? How could they see us as the bad guys? The truth had to come out.
 
As it turns out, we didn’t have to wait too long for our justice. The next morning while we were having breakfast, we heard the unmistakable honk of a goose on the warpath. We look up to see the three of them heading our way and fast. As expected of three little girls, we began screaming like lunatics. Our parents were shocked at our behavior and chastised us for overreacting. But those feelings didn’t last long. The geese marched right up to the table and bit my mom. All three of them began biting, flapping their wings and honking. “We’re going to DIE” “No we’re not. Hush” But we could see the fear in my parents’ eyes. After a few minutes of goose smacking and screaming, all five members of my family ended up on top of the picnic table. My dad just kept mumbling “I don’t understand” while we moaned about how our parents should have believed us and threw frosted cheerios to distract the geese.
 
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 It was a bit chaotic.
 
“Evil”
“Look at the bump on his head!’
“It’s eating my shoe!”
“Pull your legs up!”
“That bump is gross”
 
“We’re out of Cheerios!!”
“We’re going to DIE”
“We are NOT going to die”
 
My father suddenly realizes what he needed to do. He courageously stood up and left the picnic table despite all our cries of, “Daddy, no!” He began to take giant steps while raising his arms up and down. We were just concluding that he had contracted some crazy goose virus from a nasty bite when he explained that he was making the geese believe he was bigger than them. Sure enough, the geese slowly backed away and went to torture some other unsuspecting campers. They didn’t bother us again for the rest of the weekend. Though, we did spend the whole time looking over our shoulders and having nightmares about flapping wings. 
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“New Year’s Resolutions are Pointless”

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This is a viewpoint I’m hearing a lot of recently. People say that if you want to make a change in your life then you should just do it. Waiting for some arbitrary day to get started is just a sign of weakness and an excellent procrastination tool.

While I understand that thought process, I don’t necessarily agree with it. I think plenty of people manage to change their lives all year round without the extra push of the new year. But, I do believe that the idea of a clean slate, a sparkling new year that’s full of possibilities, can be extremely motivating. It gives people that extra push to go for what they want. Setting goals with clearly defined dates and measurable results significantly increases the likelihood of completing them. And yes, the majority of people don’t follow through with their resolutions year-round. According to the New York Times, 1/3 of people will give up by the end of January and another fifty percent’s resolutions will be a thing of the past by July. But even if you only keep it up six months or three weeks, at least you attempted and you improved yourself that much.

Maybe humanity shouldn’t need this day to jump-start a “getting better” process, but I’m a firm believer in anything that helps or motivates people to do/be better.  So, even though I’ve never actually stuck with one through December 31st, I will always have New Year’s resolutions and I will always approach them with as much gusto as I can manage.

Happy 2013!

“Do you know Phil Collins?” “I don’t listen to new music”

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My grandmother and her sister came to Chicago on a bus tour a few weeks ago and this perfectly sums up the time I spent with them. It was three days of gallivanting around the city with a group of senior citizens exploring the best Chicago has to offer.

I met up with them on Tuesday night to go to Giordanos pizza. Much to my chagrin, my grandma insisted that I meet her at the hotel and ride the tour bus to the restaurant. I’m fairly confident that I now know what it feels like to be an exotic animal in a zoo. My first step on that bus brought all conversations to a complete halt. All 50ish pairs of aging eyes were squinting at me through their 3-inch glasses. Unsure of whether this young creature was real or a new side effect of their medication. I awkwardly shuffled down the aisle to the very back of the bus while they all craned their necks to watch me and my grandmother proudly announced to every single one of them, “this is my granddaughter, this is my granddaughter.” (isn’t she cute?) That evening was spent learning about the long drive from New York to Chicago and the bad weather they had (so much bad weather talk).

The next day I met the group for lunch and the Signature Room of the John Hancock Building. This is when the conversation turned to “life nowadays” and how none of them understand young people. It was like sitting in a stereotypical TV show. “Who’s this Lindsay Lohan girl and how did she become famous?” “What’s with kids and all their texting? Why do they always want to be on the phone?” And my personal favorite- “Do you know Phil Collins?” “I don’t listen to new music.” It took all the strength I had to not to burst out laughing in the middle of the table.  Phil Collins hasn’t been considered new music since my little sister was born.

All in all, it was great to see my grandmother and enlightening to get a much older perspective on things like Kim Kardashian and Gangnam style.

Book vs Movie “The Secret Life of Bees”

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I’ve told you all how I felt about “The Secret Life of Bees.” But, if you weren’t simply glued to you chair over the month of August impatiently awaiting my next blog post and happened to miss that one (how could you!) it’s not too late. You can read my thoughts about this fabulous book here. If you are a dedicated reader, thank you, and also, you probably remember that this book was a wonderful surprise to me. I avoided it for quite some time (despite fantastic reviews and a nagging feeling that I should pick it up) due to it’s horrendous back-cover description. But it was wonderful!

I finally got around to watching the movie last week and I was actually quite impressed. Again, it wasn’t perfect. But I think they did a solid job of re-creating the book. I was, however, very thrown off by some of the casting choices. While I do think Jennifer Hudson’s a fantastic actress, she was waaaay to young for the Rosaleen in my head. Maybe the book doesn’t actually specify her age (I have returned my borrowed copy so I can’t verify) but I pictured this woman to be middle aged and cranky/spunky (Think Minny from “The Help”) Jennifer Hudson was just wrong and it was quite difficult for me to get over that. But, all the actors did a fabulous job and it’s worth a watch.

Book vs Movie: ‘The Hunger Games’

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You already know how I felt about ‘The Hunger Games’ (If you don’t, and are just dying to, read this) so I won’t go into too much detail about the book here. Let’s just say that I was immensely impressed with this book.

Which means, that while I was unbelievably excited about this movie (think 12- year old girl waiting to meet Justin Bieber) I was also very skeptical about it’s ability to please me. But I have to admit; they did a damn good job on this movie. Sure, it wasn’t exactly like the book. But I think they represented most of the characters well, kept all of the major plot points and were great with a lot of the details. I don’t think I said “Ugh, that’s so not how they did it in the book” once.

My issues? Mostly character related. Haymich was far more likable in the movie than the book (though I can’t complain about this too much cause I really enjoyed his character in the movie). My biggest issue was with Peeta. I am, always have been, and always will be a Gale fan. But, in the book, I could at least see why Catniss had some interest in Peeta. He was far too much of a pansy for my liking, but he was sweet. However, in the movie, he was the biggest, whiniest sap and so solidified my distaste for the character overall. Truly, he was not attractive (side note: did you SEE Gale? Yum!) and he became super obsessed with Catniss far too quickly and was just whiny. Did I mention I disliked how whiny he was?

Other than the above, I only missed a few small details, but I understood why they were left out. Read: The final scene on the cornucopia- a large detail was left out to save all the children watching this movie from nightmare for a month. And I get that. Overall, I was so impressed with this movie that I saw it twice in theaters. I would definitely recommend it.

Book Challenge Day 31- Book Turned Movie and Completely Desecrated:

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So it turns out that I actually couldn’t think of any for this (Twilight aside, but I didn’t think that really counted since the books weren’t spectacular literature to begin with). The primary reason for my lack of answer is that I haven’t seen most of the movies based on the books I’ve read. I’m always scared that they’ll ruin the book for me or that they’ll just be a huge disappointment. But, I’ve realized that I could be missing out on some great movies! Which leads me to my next project- watching these movies and reporting my findings back to you fine people.

First up? The Secret Life of Bees.

Book Challenge Day 30- Favorite Book Turned Movie

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There was absolutely zero competition for this post. While I’ve seen some pretty good movies based on books I’ve read, nothing compares to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I honestly might like the movies better than the books- something I’ve never come close to saying about any other book/movie. The movies were just done beautifully. Peter Jackson was dedicated to doing justice to these remarkable books and I am in awe of what he was able to accomplish. There was very little was missing from the films- even the little details were accurate. My only complaint was that he killed Boromir off at the end of the first movie when he actually dies in the first chapter of the second book. While this doesn’t seem like a huge deal, it was a rude awakening to me. Me, who had only read the first book prior to seeing the first movie. Total panic mode set in as I thought the movie was ruined and I wouldn’t be able to see the rest of the films because the director was taking such liberties to kill off characters that didn’t actually die in the books. The whole 30 minutes it took for me to get home and read about Boromir’s death were painful. But that’s truly my only complaint. Not a bad review from someone who goes into movies based on books thinking “this is going to be abysmal- nothing can compare to what I’ve read.”