Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Can we change our personal ethical beliefs?

What happens if we were not taught to be what others deem to be ethical in our youth? Is it too late or can we change?

I think that we are constantly changing in tweaking our minds, sometimes in large ways, usually in small ways.  As we grow and experience new things, and acquire new information, we are able to process this in our minds.  Once the new information has been analyzed we can decide (subconsciously or not), whether or not it is something that we wish to align with our values or ethics.  Surviving a horrific car accident with a drunk driver or being hit by a drunk driver may alter your ethical view of the situation.  You may look at drunk driving, road safety rules and even car safety rules in a new way, or you may hold onto the same ethics.  If you find yourself or someone close to you in an abusive relationship, you may have a new look at the situation.  If you are raped and have to look at possible pro-choice options, it may change your views again.  As someone in a hostile or wartime environment, the experiences you are immersed in are always evolving your ethical view of the world.  We are given a basic ethical blueprint as children, but each layer of life expounds upon and at times changes the ethical values that we hold dear. 

I know that I personally have a strong ethical view of different things to do with women; specifically topics such as abuse, alcoholism, codependence, lack of standing up for oneself, parenting values, marriage, etc.  Living with certain experiences within my own families and of those of close relatives shapes my ethical values of basic things.  I saw a lot of people doing things or not doing things when they should be that felt wrong to the core of my being.  Witnessing this and living through first-hand accounts largely shaped my basic core of ethical values.  However, someone experiencing the exact same things may have come up with completely different ethical values.  While my father is a recovering alcoholic, he did go to treatment and remained in remission for decades, I attended AA meetings with him and learned a lot about the disease that he fought, this helped me know the dilemma in an intimate way.  I could have instead become desensitized to this issue if handled or viewed from another way and not have seen alcoholism as an issue, but rather as a way of life.  There are very few things in our society that do not, in one way or another, include alcohol.  Does that make me anti-alcohol, no, but it could have for someone else.  Our personal ethical beliefs are comprised of the totality of our personal experiences, knowledge and our perception of such.

Friday, September 11, 2015

How Should We Live:?

I believe that we should live in a way that we can live with ourselves knowing about and claim responsibility for all accomplishments and mistakes alike.  We should learn and grow from our mistakes and problems instead of running or hiding from them.  We should become stronger due to adversity; use it as a stepping stone to greatness.  We should treat every being humanely.  The color of one’s skin should merely be a feature, such as red hair or brown eyes or freckles, but not a label to treat them lesser or greater than anyone else.  We should treat people, animals, and the earth with kindness.  We should show respect to others for believing or thinking differently and learn from their views to help further solidify our own beliefs.  We should not push what we believe onto others oppressively, but rather share and invite what we think and feel and have to say in an open and comforting discussion environment.  We should push each other to be their best version of themselves, and help lift up any who have fallen along their journey.  We should each contribute and pull our own weight whenever physically/mentally possible.  We should give up on growing weeds (grass) for show and instead grow crops and vegetable/fruit/herb gardens.  We should eat more fresh food and stop reliance on medicine as a first defense.  We should live the way that we would be proud to see our life play out for the world at the end of our lives, to be left without regrets, and a wealth of knowledge from all of the experiences, good and bad. 

I do not believe that we can be completely free of conflict, nor do I think we should be.  Without conflict there is no growth.  My proposal of a way that we could live is plausible, but not something that would happen overnight.  Small mindedness and fear/anger unto others would need to be rectified. 

Question: Why does fear drive many people to respond in a negative manner?  At what point does fear become anger?

*Leave your thoughts and answers in the comments below

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Failed by the Education System

Last month I took my Level II C++ class, and it was the worst experience ever.  I will post more about this, but for a bit of background, I am taking 5-week online classes at the University of Advancing Technology out of Tempe Arizona.  My online instructor disappeared from the class for 3 of those weeks (later we found out he had a death in the family), we didn't get a new instructor until about 9 days left of the class, and were still awaiting grades and answers to questions from Week 1 on through.  In the end I had to chalk this one up in the loss column and even decided to change my major to Web Design and Development: 
Comment below any of your horrific class experiences you have lived through.

Suffice to say that the following is merely the class review that I wrote and posted: 

This class has been the worst class I have ever taken in my education career, and considering that throughout the past 14 years of my post-high school education I have attended 3 professional colleges, and multiple military training courses that is saying something.  We didn't even get access to our Pearson book until almost week 2 and even then content was missing and out of order.  It is now week 5 and I still have unanswered questions from week 1. 

I am very sorry to hear of Professor Gardner's loss but I don't see how the college can expect and entire class to pay for the way this class has gone.  I was originally told that if I filed for an incomplete that I would be provided with 4-5 additional weeks to complete the coursework and given the lack of grading, feedback, instruction and responses I felt that this would be necessary for me to even get close to grasping how to successfully complete my assignments.  Now that I have realized that I will only be provided with 1 more work with an incomplete after not having instructor assistance for practically 3+ weeks, I know that I just don't have the knowledge, experience or know-how to successfully accomplish these tasks, to sit here and say that I truly do not have the tools for success in this course honestly has brought so much stress and many tears of frustration.  We have been set up for failure in this course and I commend those that have been able to pull out a win.  I have slept no more than 2 hours a night for weeks now to try to make it through this class and to also stay on top of my other class that I have been taking at the same time.

Disappointment doesn't even come close to what I feel for the way that things have gone in this course.  I had to have extensive talks with scheduling, my advisor and other school officials due to this course.  I have even made the hard decision to step back and put myself backwards in my education to change my major because this is just now an acceptable way to gain an education for me.  I am paying a lot to attend UAT and I had to get an additional personal loan to pay for the difference between FAFSA and I have to work additional odd jobs and second jobs on top of being a single mother just to afford to go to school and then to have an experience like this is truly very frustrating for me. 

I have given so much to this course and I was failed.  I understand that Professor Coddington is not to blame for the previous issues, and I have had wonderful results working with her in other courses.  Unfortunately by the time that she has come in to this class it was just too little too late for me.  The damage was already done.  I have had to stand here in defeat to know that I must take a loss for this course.  It is very hard for me.  I have never failed a college course before in my life.  I have never felt so inadequate and so utterly deserted by an instructor.  I have lost the trust that I had in my education here.  I have busted my butt to have the 3.9 GPA I have on top of life and this kills me inside.  I honestly don't know what else to say in reflection of this experience. 

I wish all of my classmates the best as they make many additional life altering changes due to this experience from withdrawing from school completely to changing colleges to changing programs of study and to pushing through somehow.  We have definitely put our blood, sweat and tears into this, and I am drained.  Thank you to anyone who has offered advice, explanations and assistance.  I treasure all of the votes of confidence and apologize for failing in my own part of the effort.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My new buddys

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest is written by Melanie Dickerson and paints the picture of rising from the ashes of life.
The story revolves around the character of Odette, a girl adopted by her rich uncle who experience poverty after the death of her parents.  This leads her to illegally hunt deer to feed the hungry and poor.  Odette is an eligible bachelorette, but has the good fortune of not being pressured by her uncle to marry.  She has not yet found someone that she can see herself spending her life with, but one festival she finds herself attracted to a man she has never met before: Jorgen.  Jorgen is the hunter is this Robin Hood-esque tale.  The attraction is foreboding of what will come in the future. 

Unfortunately a lot of the story is disjointed and has the flow interrupted with the repeated injection of a few words like “ja” that take away from the story.  (Think of Save the Last Dance and the horrid overuse of the word “Aight”).  I have nothing wrong with adding in accents or other languages, but when it is limited to a few constantly used words it begins to grate on my nerves and become annoying in the reading, making me want to skip over dialogue. 
The redeeming qualities of this novel were the ancillary characters.  I wish I had the chance to get to know them more, as they were described well and felt as though they had more depth and life than the main characters.  I love the independence and strength that Odette stood for, but as the story progressed the dialogue was not developed in a believable manner.  The mystery element was interesting, but it would have been nice to have more misdirection.  I enjoyed being able to read the story from both Odette’s and Jorgen’s eyes.  It added an element of duality from the male and female polarity.

If this book were to be truncated into a short story, I think it would have taken off a lot better.  It had enough of a plot to last through a short story.  Instead it felt stretched and thin in content as if there was a lot of filler instead of actual story development to turn it into a full-length novel.  I would say that Melanie Dickerson has great potential as an author, and I would check out a book of hers that was more recently written.  Hopefully with more editing in story development, as she definitely has a grasp on story telling.  Less filler, more story.
Overall I give this book 3/5 stars.  It had great potential, but I felt let down.  The combination of stories such as Robin Hood/Swan Lake/Romeo & Juliet were present, but fell flat. You may be interested if you enjoy reading romance, fairy tales, young adult, fiction, retellings, etc.

*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Slip is written by David Estes, and is the first book in the Slip Trilogy.  It is a fast paced dystopian sci-fi thriller geared for a young adult audience and older.

The book opens up to a view of the now Reorganized United States of American.  After natural disasters have changed the landscape of the country and the scare of food shortage has been numerically assessed, the government has determined an exact population number that can be supported by the current country.  Procreation can only occur after a birth authorization has been purchased and following the receipt of a death certificate.  In short, in order for one to be born, one must first die.  Death certificates can be issued for a terminally ill person, but if that person does not die as planned, than a birth cannot occur. 

Pop Con, short for Population Control, is the government agency responsible for ensuring the enforcement and regulation of such laws.  In the event of unauthorized births/beings or UnBees, they are tasked with tracking down and terminating the unlawful child.  Any child that manages to go undetected past their 2nd birthday is henceforth referred to as a “slip” and is deemed a national security threat. 

Pop Con is heralded for their ability to terminate unauthorized births before a slip occurs.  However, one boy finds himself hidden and protected long past his 2nd birthday.  Being raised by a father and a woman who cares for him he finds himself wondering why he cannot be outside with other children as he gets older. 

This child without a name in his youth starts to figure out that things aren’t right in his life when events lead to his father injecting his eyes to change his identity as he becomes instead Benson and is sent to swim in hopes of survival sent off to a futuristic St Louis.  Benson is left alone and outside of society, having no true knowledge of what is going on.  Many questions and theories lead him to suspect that he may in fact be a slip. 

In this book we get to know many exhilarating characters to conclude the head of Pop Con, Michael Kelly: a man who must make ruthless determinations, while in constant battle with his conscious.  Harrison Kelly, his son who finds hatred in his father for missing so much of his life due to work.  Lucy a street savvy friend and romantic interest of Benson’s who fights to protect her little brother.  Janice, the wife of Michael Kelly, who went from eccentric to mental break and now lives in a mental institution; constantly hallucinating about things that may or may not have been.  Domino Destovan is the sadist you love to hate; his evil endeavors grow throughout the book as well as his thirst for death and acknowledgment. 

The first part of the book is told in First Person POV from a young nameless boy and his views in the world.  News headlines and blurbs are interjected to keep the reader alert of the state of affairs in the country.  Then the book moves on to a more third person POV after the nameless boy becomes Benson.  In the initial naming of Benson, I had a little trouble keeping track of the fast paced character change in the story, but once the narratives became more detailed, it was easy to go back to the flow of the book.

Overall I give Slip 5/5 Stars.  David Estes can create a world like no other, and his ability to bring it to life is commendable.  With a slightly rocky character transition, this levels out enough to not detract from the story.  By the time you get over the transition from unnamed boy to Benson, it is practically impossible to step away from as the action is fast paced.  It very readily flows into a desire to want to know MORE about what happens next.  Although this is a young adult novel, it is definitely on the mature end of the spectrum as there are some themes that may be sensitive to include sexual and physical violence.  If you are interested in dystopian, young adult, population control, futuristic, sci-fi, fiction, action, etc., then this book is definitely worth a read. 

*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Don't forget to also check out my review of David Estes' Fire Country.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Super Liam!

Liam got the opportunity to have a superhero session and he decided he wanted to go as Superman!  Courtesy of Jeska Bailey Photography!  Theses are amazing!