I am more concerned with going the distance and not so much with how fast I get there.

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Review: The Survivor’s Club

Books, Music, Art, Movies

The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your LifeThe Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life by Ben Sherwood

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really liked the first few chapters. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. I spent all of yesterday reading this book. I have been drawn to stories of survival and have read a few books about people who have survived harrowing experiences (One of my favorites being “Dead Lucky” by Lincoln Hall).

However, I got to the chapter on faith and was completely turned off. According to the author and his research, faith in God is one of the determining factors on whether or not you survive something. His examples were very, very Christian-centric and that really bothered me. I decided halfway through this chapter that I didn’t want to finish the book. However, I did take his “survivor profile.” Ironically, I have the survivor personality of “Believer.” ha! And I suppose this is true. I do believe in something greater than ourselves and have drawn upon this my entire life. When I was younger I viewed this as God. Now that I’m older I have a more universal view of it. I lean more toward Zen Buddhism in my belief at this stage in my life and what I used to call “God” I now see as something bigger and more universal.

Regardless if my beliefs, The question that kept running through my mind as I read this was, “who cares?” Why should I spend my life worrying about whether I will survive a horrifying experience? Is it even important? I find it much more liberating to experience life as it comes and deal with situations as they arise than to spend time worrying about whether I will get impaled by a knitting needle, or attacked by a mountain lion. Or even getting in a car wreck, for that matter. My thought is that if it is my time to die than so be it. Death is a part of life. There is no shame in dying if it is your time.

My thoughts circle around to Doug and his death. He didn’t survive cancer. I read about and personally know cancer survivors and I think it’s really awesome and amazing that they are survivors of such a horrible disease. But thier stories also make me feel a little bit bad too. Doug died. He fought a good fight but it wasn’t enough. The doctors did the best they could but it wasn’t enough. I’ve come to realize that it’s o.k. It was his time to die and that is o.k.

Our culture puts so much emphasis on the survivors (maybe it isn’t just our culture. Maybe it’s just human nature). It’s like you are a better human being because you survive cancer, or a ship wreck, or a plane crash or whatever. There is something to be said for just accepting that death is also a part of living and there is some bravery in facing and accepting death.

I think Etty Hillesum is an excellent example of this kind of bravery. She died in the Holocaust and faced it with grace and courage. If you haven’t read, “An Interrupted Life” you should.

Photography Friday: Chinese Gardens

Photography, Thoughts and Opinions

We had a friend visit from Spokane over the weekend. Actually, at least for Raf, it was a combo work/play kind of weekend. Colonus Publishing is getting a new book out soon and they were working hard on some details.

It was a really fun weekend. Our friend is a writer/small press owner and we talked a lot about writing. At dinner Sunday he pulled a copy of Howl by Allan Ginsberg out of his inside jacket pocket, mentioning that he was reading it instead of napping. I was impressed. I spent a good deal of time studying the beat poets in my twenties and hadn’t thought bout Howl for many years. It made me want to read it again myself.

We went to the Chinese Gardens on Monday and did the whole tourist thing. It was fun. I took the photo above at the tea-house. I wish it was a better photo. The composition isn’t bad but I need to learn a lesson or two about exposure.

Our friend made a very profound statement that I’ve been thinking about the past few days. We entered a building that had a vignette set up that showed people what an art studio in Medieval China would look like. Our friend liked this very much and exclaimed, “Creative spaces are holy places.” I couldn’t agree more. But he said it much more succinctly than I did.

Later on we walked over to Powells and I bought Howl, along with some other poetry books (Billy Collins and Rilke).

Google Chromebook Review

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chromebook

I bought a Google Chromebook last week. When I mentioned it on Twitter there were a few people who were interested in what I thought about it so here is my review.

First of all, out of the box it is very easy to use. All you have to do is open it up. It took a minute to log onto my home wireless network (because we have a few layers of security) but other than that, cake. The first thing you do is log into your Google account. If you don’t have an account you are prompted to create one. That’s it. From there you are in.

At first it was weird to do everything within the browser. I use Chrome for everything so I was pretty familiar with how it works. But, still, strange to be browser-bound. I’ve gotten used to it though. I have installed several really great apps from the Chrome Web Store. Almost everything you would need for a netbook is there, and more.

chrombookI like the keyboard. The keys are larger than on normal keyboards and there are keys specifically designed for tasks one does on the internet. For example there is a key that opens up a new tab, there’s a key that acts as a “back” button, etc. The trackpad is big, which is really nice.

There are lots of ports that should be useful. You can plug in a monitor and it has two USB ports. It has an SD card slot that you can use if you need to upload photos off your card in a pinch.

You don’t save files to local memory on this. Files are saved in “the cloud.” So if I want to create a document I would use Google Docs (which is totally fine with me as I use Google Docs daily).

Bottom line: I really like it. It does what I need it to and it does it really well. It doesn’t replace my computer and I didn’t buy it for that reason. I bought it so I could have a portable device that I could use for writing and for browsing the web. It’s smaller and lighter than a laptop and it has a nice keyboard. It’s bigger than my iPod, which makes my web surfing experience better. I thought about getting and iPad but the one thing that kept me from that purchase (besides the price) is the fact that it doesn’t have a keyboard.

It’s gotten terrible reviews and I think some of the concerns are valid. I have links to some of them below. If you are not into Google this is not for you. If you don’t trust “The Cloud” this is not for you. If you expect this to replace your main computer, this is not for you. You won’t be able to do major photo editing or media storage on this. You won’t be able to store your music library on this (you can stream music from the dozens of internet radio station sites, though). Is the price for it too high? Maybe. I don’t know. I paid $500 for it and I feel like it was worth it. It does what I want it to do, and I can share it with my husband or anyone else who wants to use it without any hassle. I don’t have to worry about annoying updates because Google has that covered for me. It came with some free internet via Verizon if I’m not within a wifi connection. So I do think it’s worth the price, personally.

Dog Mountain

Travel and Other Adventures

My blog’s become a bit stale, I’m afraid. Sorry about that. I’m not in a bloggy, social networky mood lately. I guess I’ve been busy with other things.

But I do miss my little corner of the web so I thought I would post something today.

A couple of weekends ago Raf and I tackled Dog Mountain with some friends. Dog Mountain is a very steep 7 mile hike but totally worth the pain because the views are tremendous. When we went the flowers were starting to bloom in the alpine meadows. It was absolutely gorgeous!

Here are some pictures from that fun day.