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What the movie The Public got right about libraries

The Public, a new independent film directed by, written by, and starring Emilio Estevez, came out in select theaters in early April 2019. The film takes place in a public library in Cincinnati where many itinerant city dwellers spend their days making use of the facilities. On a particularly cold night, Cincinnati residents without homes decide to stage a peaceful protest by choosing not to leave the library at closing time, leaving city officials at a loss as to what to do.

Excited at the prospect of seeing a film set in a public library, I attended a screening of the film. Although the film contained some groan-worthy elements and perpetuated some librarian stereotypes, here's a list of things the movie The Public got right.

Crowds waiting for the doors to open. Although it didn't happen every day, many times I would look out the window before opening time and see a crowd of eager faces, ready to access all the library has to offer. It sometimes struck me as funny, seeing w…
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Yes, You Can: Buy a House by Yourself, Part 1

This is part of my Solo Living: Yes You Can series. Click here to find the intro and all the topics.

My journey to buying my first house alone is a long meandering one, but it's worth telling and makes me proud that I was finally able to take the jump. Buying a house is one of those things that can seem daunting and impossible. The first step you have to overcome is just overcoming the negative thought in your mind that it's impossible. Once that bridge is crossed, it's really just a matter of putting the pieces into place. Often to reach this place, you have to reach a pain point where your current situation is so heinous and unbearable that the pain and struggle of buying a house seems the lesser of the two evils. You might think of this as the tipping point, or the point of no return. It's the point where going back is harder than moving forward.

When I became an adult, I moved to North Carolina alone with no previous connections to teach at a private school. I was…

Yes, You Can: Buy a House by Yourself, Part 2

This is part of my Solo Living: Yes You Can series. Click here to find the intro and all the topics.

Continued from part 1. Although I was nervous to think about buying a home alone, the thought of continuing on my present track was unbearable. My thought track went something like this: I am turning 40 years old. I'm a working professional. I can't keep living like this. I had managed to pay off all of my school loans, and I knew plenty of other people who were now home owners and somehow managed, even though they made less money than me. But much of my block was mental. I always thought of buying a home as something you do when you are married and ready to settle down. I had heard you should not even think of buying a house if you weren't prepared to stay in it at least 5 years. I had never lived anywhere longer than 2 1/2 years.

At this point, a friend of mine gave me the name of a realtor. I called him and started asking questions, and the impossible began to seem possi…

After She's Gone by Camilla Grebe: A Scandinavian thriller makes for a chilling read

Whether you call it Nordic Noir or a Scandinavian thriller, After She's Gone by Camilla Grebe does the job of creating that icy, chilly, somber mood that fans of this region's fiction love.

Ever since Stieg Larsson's iconic Millenium series came onto the scene, I have been fascinated with Scandinavian thrillers and books by non-Scandinavian authors that provide the same experience. After reading all of the Millenium books, I next read Tom Smith's brilliant novel, The Farm, where an adult son has to figure out which of his parents is lying to him about the other's intentions. It's a riveting novel that continues to linger in my mind as one of my most memorable reads.

Although I enjoy American thrillers such as Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn and British thrillers like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and anything by Clare Mackintosh, there's something about thrillers set in Sweden. Maybe it's the setting itself,…

Yes, You Can: Take a Vacation by Yourself

This is part of my Solo Living: Yes You Can series. Click here to find the intro and all the topics. Solo vacationing can be one of the most freeing and relaxing ways to travel. I'm sure you can think of at least one time when you took a trip only to have your getaway ruined by your companion.

I love a good vacation. There's nothing better than taking a few days off to decompress and get away from the stress of life. In my family, even when we didn't have a lot of money, it was considered important to have these little weekends. Sometimes we stayed with a family member. Sometimes, we would drive an hour away to the closest big city and spend a night in the Holiday Inn Holidome (remember those?). We thought that was big stuff. There was an indoor pool and a video game arcade. Sometimes Mom and Dad would go out for dinner, and we three girls would get to order pizza and watch TV ALONE.

It wasn't always easy sharing a hotel room with 5 people, 4 of them being female. We …

Solo Living, Yes You Can

I was once interviewed on a podcast and given a list of question I should think about to prepare. One of those questions was: What is something you think you do better than most? At the time, I struggled to think of an answer. I could think of a bunch of skills I have, but something I do better than most means I can offer expertise to others that is sound. I finally came up with my answer: I can do life alone better than most.

I am 42 years old, have never been married, and have no kids. This isn't entirely by choice, although I've made choices along the way that contributed to my single status. I truly wish I had a marriage partner, but for me, it hasn't happened yet. One of the things that makes it bearable is my ability to do things alone and not allow my solo state to hold me back from living the life I desire. I have decided to start a series of posts about solo living.

The reason this seems worthwhile is that I purposefully didn't do things for many years becaus…

Peele's Us (2019) Movie Review

Although Jordan Peele's Us makes use of tried-and-true horror tropes, he repackages them with some very powerful imagery, an intriguing scenario, and a mostly black cast to paint a creepy tale with an interesting blend of gore and suspense. 
I am very fond of Stephen King's novel It, and the cold open gave me that feel with the 1985 carnival, where we meet young Adelaide and her parents. As she walks off alone and towards the beach, I half expected to see Pennywise with a balloon. The whole first scenario with her foray into the "Find Yourself" fun house and the cut to the wall of rabbit cages with the opening track from the soundtrack, Anthem, playing was pure gold. 
The well-know Us trailer showed everyone that a family of four gathering for a cozy coastal vacation is surprised to be invaded by a group in red jumpsuits, who just happen to look exactly like the family. But it doesn't show much more than that. I went into the film unsure of what to expect. I enj…