Monday, November 26, 2012

Death at SeaWorld - A Review

A few weeks ago I posted about meeting David Kirby, author of Death at Sea World and Naomi Rose, the book's "main character".  If you missed it, you can find that post HERE

Due to the craziness of the holiday season and the start of the Ocean Advocates blog, it has taken me a while to finish reading it.  

Death at SeaWorld chronicles Naomi's life, from her childhood up through her current work.  Naomi is responsible for much of the research known about orcas in captivity.  David explains much of her research in the book, including her dissertation on the social dynamics of male killer whales.  Her first job working with Humane Society International started with the push of bringing captivity issues into the public eye following the release of the popular Free Willy movie.  Naomi has also been pivotal in other work including the eventual release of Keiko (AKA "Willy"), advocating for the SeaWorld whales and the recent OSHA hearing.

Death at SeaWorld then alternates to take an amazing look inside the horrific world of captivity and the history of many of the orcas kept there and other parks.  The book delves into the behind the scenes "off behavior" episodes that not only never made it into the public eye, but were often kept hidden from the very trainers that risk their lives every day working with the whales. 

Former trainers including Jeff Ventre, Samantha Berg and Carol Ray give an inside look at some of these incidents behind the scenes.  Missing information in incident reports and animal profiles, SeaWorld's pressure and pursuations, etc.  As a former season ticket holder who dreamed of becoming a whale trainer at one time, these stories were appalling! 

Of course, the main story in Death at SeaWorld is the horrific death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010 by Tillikum, AKA Tilly.  The book details Tillikum's capture from Iceland, as well as his aggressive past.  Tilly was first held in Sea Land of the Pacific where he killed his first trainer, Keltie Byrne, in 1991.  He was brought to SeaWorld Orlando via an emergency importation permit in January 1992.  Trainers were not made aware of how dangerous he was.  They were taught or programmed to think that it was their fault any time any whale went "off behavior".  Details of Daniel Dukes, the second fatality caused by Tilly in 1999, were also included.  

Death at SeaWorld exposes some awful truths and the research behind them.  It will definitely change your mind about ever going to see another whale (or dolphin) show again, at least I hope it will.

For more information, check out David's site HERE

Monday, November 19, 2012

Breaking Dawn Part 2

I don't go to the movies at the theater very often.  I average about one movie per year, usually something in 3D that can't be watched at home without the fancy TV.  Ticket prices are too high, crowds are too loud, and it's much more comfortable to watch a movie in my living room.  

I can't remember the last time I went to see a movie on opening night either, but I broke down and did it Friday night.  My best friend and I went to see Breaking Dawn Part 2.  

When the Twilight series came out, I refused to read it or watch the movies.  I didn't understand what the big deal was and I refused to give in.  I'm not sure what changed my mind but as soon as I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.  

As soon as I finished the first book, I made a late night run for the second, then the third, etc.  There was just something unexplainable that I couldn't let go.

I had read the entire series before I saw any of the movies and I was highly disappointed in the Twilight movie.  The interpretation of the director was entirely different from what I pictured.

New Moon was a little better, although the story of New Moon was depressing to me.  Eclipse finally brought it together and by the time Breaking Dawn came out, I found myself a fan of the movies too.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 starts where Part 1 left off.  Bella is a new vampire trying to realize her new strength and gifts.  Kristen Stewart made a much better vampire than human in my opinion.  There was a new intensity in her red eyes that wasn't there in her human form.  There is also a mature, motherly way about her as she cares for Renesmee, her half human/half vampire daughter.

It has been a while since I read Breaking Dawn but the movies did seem to follow the book closely.  There is an awesome battle scene toward the end between the Cullens (with extended family) and the Volturi - Alice's vision.  

Without giving any spoiler alerts, I just have to say this was my favorite of the series by far.  
It was also a lot of fun to be in the theater with so many Twihards, most of whom were Team Jacob.  

Have you seen Breaking Dawn Part 2 yet?  What did you think?

I will be taking the rest of the week off from blogger as I spend time with friends and family.  Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Miss You

Today is the Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest hosted by none other than Alex CavanaughMatthew MacNish, and Andrew Leon.  Thanks Guys!

So, here's the deal:
Do you have a couple blogger buddies who aren’t posting as often? Those who’ve pulled back and seem absent from the blogging world? Do you have blogger buddies you are grateful they are still around and would miss if they vanished? Now is your chance to show your appreciation and spotlight them!

Click the link in my sidebar to join in the fun.

Now for a few of my favorite bloggers that haven't been around as much lately:

One blogger that I miss hearing from, although he continues to post 3 times per week in recent months, is DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0.  DL has taken on the hugely successful task of creating and hosting WRiTE CLUB.  If you haven't already checked it out, you MUST!  WRiTE CLUB is now in the final rounds and the competition is intense.  
In the meantime, though, DL you are missed.

Another one of my favorite co-hosts from the A-Z challenge last year was Tina at Life is Good.  Tina was incredibly helpful to a new blogger who didn't have a clue (Me) before the challenge and was a constant support during the challenge.  Life is Good, but also hectic, so I have missed having Tina around as often.

With that being said, there are many bloggers whom I look forward to reading their posts regularly.  

I don't think any of us would no what to do without our fearless Ninja Captain (and blogfest co-host), Alex Cavahaugh.  I'm still trying to figure out how he has time to do everything he does.  Thank you Alex, for everything you do.

Another blogger that has been a constant supporter to me since the beginning of my blog is Gossip Grl at Whatever.  Her hilarious way of looking at life is always entertaining.

There are way too many more to list, but each one of you who have read my ramblings, commented, and followed mean the world to me.  Without you, I would be writing to myself, which is a very lonely existence.  

As for DL and Tina, I hope to see you again soon.  You are missed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

This Day in History...

Today is my birthday.  Yep, exactly 9 months after Valentine's Day.  Hmmm...

Not only is it my birthday but it is my 40th birthday.  For the past few months, I told myself and everyone around me that I was going to skip it this year, but apparently you can't.  The only thing I can do now is to embrace it.

Did you know that other than this brilliant mind coming into the world on Nov. 14, 1972 (HA HA), the Dow closed at above 1000 for the first time on that day.  Yea, I don't care either but that's the story.

I do share a birthday with some interesting people though:
Claude Monet - born 11/14/1840
Aaron Copeland - born 11/14/1900
Prince Charles - born 11/14/1948
Yanni - born 11/14/1954
Josh Duhamel - born 11/14/1972 - the same day as me!

I wonder how Josh is celebrating today.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Blogger News

Don't forget to vote for a winner of Mina's Resurrection Blogfest from last week.  She has chosen 7 finalists and voting is open until 11:59pm.  VOTE HERE to choose your favorite.

Also this week is the Oh, How I Miss You Blogfest.  Click the link for more.

What else are you up to this week?
How is NaNo going for those of you who are participating?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


For Resurrection Blogfest post, CLICK HERE

Insecure doesn't even begin to describe how I have felt over the past few weeks!  I have had difficulties posting even the shortest post lately, much less work on any WIP.  The only thing I have been able to do was continue with Whale/Dolphin Wednesday posts.  

I enjoyed writing these posts but it got to be that there was much more that I wanted to write that I couldn't fit it all into one weekly post.  For that reason, I decided last week to start a new blog, Ocean Advocate

Starting a new blog took up all my time and energy because I did a good bit of self-promotion.  I have never felt good about self-promotion, so that has been difficult for me.  I have done some shameless plugging of the new blog lately.

The good thing that has come out of this are:
1.   Ocean Advocate   allows me to write about issues that are very important to me as often as I'd like.  It gives voice to the animals that I feel strongly need to be "heard"

2.  I can go back to regular blogging here also (time permitting) in all it's "randomness"

3.  Ultimately, it cleared my head from feeling overwhelmed and not doing anything about it.  Now I'm overwhelmed with two blogs but at least I'm making progress

The questions are:

Is it too much?  Will I be able to keep up?
What shameless promoting have you done?  Did it work?

I've missed you all and I look forward to catching up soon.  Have a very awesome November!

To visit Ocean Advocate, CLICK HERE

Resurrection Blogfest

If you are looking for IWSG post, CLICK HERE

Today is Mina Lobo at Some Dark Romantic's 1st blogger anniversary.  Happy Anniversary Mina!

In celebration, she is hosting the Resurrection Blogfest

Here are the rules:
1.  Sign up at the link above
2.  Upload one of the three blogfest badges to your sidebar and link it to this announcement
3.  Follow her on Twitter (@GothMomLite) and re-tweet anything from #ResurrectionBlogfest.
4.  On November 7, your blog post should prominently feature the blogfest badge as well as something from your first year of blogging that you believe deserves some TLC, or that you're especially proud of and with to showcase, or simply has sentimental value to you

AND...there are prizes!

So, here is my post, originally posted March 2, 2012

Today I finished teaching another training of Person Centered Planning for my peers at work.  It has been a very good two day with many fresh ideas.  Such a refreshing change from the daily grind!

I started this training two years ago when I was asked by our state agency to co-train with the state trainer.  Although flattered, I am by NO MEANS a trainer but the material speaks for itself so I am more a facilitator.

The premise is to write a PERSON CENTERED plan for the individuals that we serve.  The different sections include:
What I want in the next few years
What I want this year
What I want now

What I want in the next few years would include your dreams for the future.  Ponder this thought for a minute...  When we hit a certain stage, so many of us become stagnant and comfortable.  How boring! 
When I first started training this class, my goal was to write a book.

What I want this year would be the "baby steps" towards achieving that goal.  The current baby step for me would be to complete the A - Z challenge.  That would give me practical writing experience to improve my writing skills.  (Since I completed the A-Z challenge this year, this has changed to publishing a short-story, newspaper article, or something along those lines.  I'm also trying to get my new blog Ocean Advocate off and running)

What I want now could be something that has been needed for a long time and never seems to be happening.  For me, that would be quiet time.  Am I the only one that stuggles for this?

Non-negotiables could be anything in our life that we cannot live without.  For me, one thing would be COFFEE.  You aren't going to get much out of me without coffee.

So here you have it.  A two day training in a single post.  If someone were to write a plan about you, what would it include?

For the original post, click HERE

For Whale/Dolphin news this week, CLICK HERE

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Words Aren't Enough...but Thank You

Today, I'm celebrating Thanksgiving early with the help of Vikki and Tara Tyler.  THANK YOU ladies for hosting this hop!  

I wasn't going to post for this hop on both blogs, but I wouldn't even have two blogs if nobody read my first one, so I felt it was necessary.  To visit my other blog, Ocean Advocate, Click Here

Entering the blogging world in the beginning is scary.
Will anyone read anything I write?  Do they care what I have to say?
How do I:  post a picture, post a video, add a badge...
I don't have a clue!

Soon after I started blogging, I got involved with the A-Z Challenge last year.  I didn't know how to do anything, but with the help and encouragement of the A-Z Team I muddled through.  Tina at Life is Good took me under her wing and guided me through.  Thanks Tina!

Later I found RomanticFridayWriters, another special group of writers.

In the past few months, I started posting Whale/Dolphin Wednesdays on this blog.  I got so carried away that I started a second blog just for those issues.  I'm not sure if I'm enthusiastic or just plain nuts.  Time will tell, but I am grateful for anyone who supports either, and both, blogs.  

There are too many bloggers that have helped me along the way to point them all out individually, but

For anyone who has visited, commented, and followed...THANK YOU
Your advice, support, encouragement and inspiration mean more than words can express

Monday, November 5, 2012

You've Got the Look

WOW!  I've been tagged by Nicki Elson and The Armchair Squid in U Got the Look.  Thank you both!
In order to participate, I'm supposed to take my current manuscript, search for the word "look" and post the surrounding paragraphs.  Then, I'm supposed to tag 5 more "writer-ly" bloggers.  Oh the pressure!

Just a little set-up before I get started...
Josie is the main character in this story.  She's a recent college graduate who can't find a job, so she has returned to her hometown to work at the local diner.  The town is expanding rapidly with tourism and the elderly couple (Bob and Mary), who own an old lodge in town are expanding and renovating to meet demand.  Sam is the cook at the diner and Rick is the love interest later in the story.
I haven't worked on this piece in months because I got lost in what direction to take it.  This is a very rough draft, but as always open for critique.

Here it goes:

“So, how’s the graduate?”, Sam asked, looking at her as if she should look different.  Josie had always been dressed pretty simple.  She was comfortable in jeans and t-shirts, with her brown hair pulled back in a ponytail.

“No different from before.  I’d hate to think I just went through 4 years for nothing.  If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have gone to college”, Josie said, looking down.

“Oh, you’ll find something before you know it.  Just don’t forget about us little people when you do.  We’d miss you around here”, Sam said as he started on Mary and Bob’s order.

“I’m glad you had some biscuits left for Bob.  Ya know how he gets”, Josie said remembering his demanding attitude in the past.

As Josie poured their coffee, she heard the bell on the door ring again.  She carried their coffee to the table and saw Tom and Rick talking to Bob and Mary.

“Hey there, Josie!”, Tom said, looking at her with a devilish grin.  “I’d like you to meet my nephew, Rick.  He’s here working on renovations for the lodge.”

“Hi”, Josie glanced quickly at Rick, then set the coffee on the table.  Rick politely greeted Josie, “Nice to meet you”, then looked back at Tom, anxious to leave.

And now to pass this lovely tag on, I nominate:

Laura at Stranger Than Writing

Laura at My Baffling Brain

Loralie Hall at Apathy's Hero

Nancy at N.R. Williams

Crystal at The Heart of a Writer

Friday, November 2, 2012

Forgetfulness and Unworthy Award Recipient

Mina, please forgive me for forgetting to mention the Resurrection Blogfest in my post of November hops yesterday.  This is a great idea and I hope you all join Mina to help celebrate her first year of blogging.

Linda from Excuse Me While I Note That Down recently awarded me with the Top Commenter Award.  Thanks Linda!  I feel so unworthy, as I have been a slacker lately, but I'm inspired to do better.
I am honored to have so many good friends in the blogging community and I learn from them daily.  This award has inspired me to get back in gear and soak it up.

Lately I have been wrapped up in my new blog Ocean Advocate so I haven't been around as much as I'd like.  Somehow I will find a good balance that works.

In the meantime, I am going to pass this on to a few people who are always there for me to offer support when I need it.  If you have already been awarded or you don't want to participate, no worries.  I just wanted to show some blogger appreciation.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe - my first follower at Ocean Advocate

Empty Nest Insider - my second follower at Ocean Advocate

Medeia Sharif - Ocean Advocate's third follower

Thank you all for your support.  Other special blog friends and regular commenters are...

Suzanne at The Word Is... - always incredibly supportive

Gossip Grl at Whatever - a regular commenter and supporter since my blogger beginning

Thank you so much to all of you and everyone else who visits me on a regular basis.  

Have a Great Weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Month, New Blog, and other Happenings

WOW I hadn't blogged in a while on anything besides Whale/Dolphin Wednesday.  In case you missed Tuesday's post, I am attempting to run a second blog only on Whale/Dolphin issues and go back to using this blog for "Random Writing" the way it was intended.

If you are interested in my new blog, check out Ocean Advocate

So, what are you planning in November?

Have you heard about the "I'm Thankful for my Readers!" blogfest?  Check out VikLit and Tara Tyler for more info

Good luck to all those participating in NaNo this month!

And what's this teaser we are hearing about with the "It's Time to Give Back" blogfest???

The suspense is killing me!

Are there any other blogfests coming up?  How was your Halloween?
Don't forget to check out my other blog.