Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Inked in the Bayou Book Reviews: Unique Christmas Gift Ideas for Readers and Writer...

Inked in the Bayou Book Reviews: Unique Christmas Gift Ideas for Readers and Writers...: Need a gift idea for an author or avid reader? Unless you want to get them a gift card for new books or have a few hundred to drop on an e-reader buying a gift for writers and readers can be daunting. Below you'll find some Christmas gift ideas I've cultivated that will please all the literati in your life.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Health, Hair and Happiness

For those of you who don't know, I've been travelling back and forth to the Cleveland Clinic for the past six months trying to get a handle on some serious health issues and have been diagnosed with Graves Disease and Atypical Hyperthyroidism.

I found two bald spots on my head recently. I know things could be worse and I have a good life but I hated finding yet another reminder that I'm not physically well. I knew it could happen, just like my recent hip injury caused by muscle weakness, but I was hoping it wouldn't. In addition to the seemingly endless list of symptoms I have to deal with, the hormone fluctuations from my thyroid cause my hair to grow where it didn't before and fall out where I want it to grow on my head. I was told months ago I may develop bald spots or patches of thick and thin hair. Like I don't already feel gross enough wearing 40 extra pounds, limping like I'm 65 and sleeping all damn day.

When I found these balding spots I was understandably upset. I've been looking at pictures of women with short hair and trying to psych myself into it while telling myself it would be trendy and cool for the past few weeks, knowing this was a possibility. After finding the thinning spots, I finally cut my hair. The first picture is just after I cut it and you can see where it's balding in a line from the part down and toward the front. The hair on that entire side of my head is also considerably thinner than the left.

I had a good cry, then I decided to stop feeling sad about it, put on some make up, and just rock the hair I have left. There are a lot of things worth crying over but my hair isn't one of them.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Elliot Rodger and Our Sense of Entitlement

I don't normally post opinions on social topics, news, politics... But this most recent shooting rampage has me thinking about cause and effect. It has me thinking about the entitlement complex we've been instilling in our children for the past few generations and how it's changing our world. 

Elliot Rodger, an individual who obviously had untended mental health issues, was tipped over the edge because of his overblown sense of entitlement. He felt entitled to receive the attentions of the most attractive women on campus and after numerous rejections he went batshit crazy. Instead of taking the normal route and maybe, say, reevaluating his approach and mannerisms or simply lowering his standards a few notches, he persisted time and again in the same way never understanding why on earth these women weren't tearing their panties off for him. Never comprehending it might be because there was something unsatisfactory about himself or his ability to choose whose affections to court.

What happens when we give every child a trophy instead of just the winners? When every child gets a medal just for rolling out of bed and showing up? They feel entitled to a trophy. Without putting in extra hours training to be faster, practicing skills to become exemplary, they're still told that they're awesome and special when in reality they are simply average. Don't get me wrong, average is absolutely fine. I'm average. Hell, I was shitty at most sports but I knew it because I didn't get a trophy just for showing up on the field. 

When every kid is handed a trophy for doing nothing they learn they don't have to make adjustments, try harder, do better, change their behavior, because there is no need to acknowledge their faults. 

I still shudder thinking back on dodge-ball in elementary school. Dodge-ball was cruel and unusual punishment but being smacked in the face by a ball thrown by a classmate prepared me for being smacked in the face by life when I grew up. 

We force this sense of entitlement down our kids' throats and then when they get to high school or college or the real world they are completely unprepared for the reality that most of them won't get whatever they want simply for wanting it. They won't be the best or attain the best in most areas of their lives even if they're dedicated and hard working. 

I participated in competitive cheerleader until reaching high school and my team lost more than won. It was devastating, it was humiliating, it was heartbreaking. It was also motivation. We didn't come home with a trophy or a ribbon or a medal if we hadn't won or placed. We came home with a hunger to work harder and do better the next time. When we won and finally placed our hands on a coveted plastic monstrosity of a trophy it was like an out of body, euphoric experience. 

I competed in rodeos and barrel racing events all over the tri-state area for close to ten years. I rarely won or placed but when I did it was magic. The other girls were prettier, their horses bigger or more expensive or professionally trained. Sure, I begrudged them their success at times and, though I wanted to be in their league,3 I knew the chance of that happening was nil no matter how hard I trained. 

I'm not saying this tendency to shield our children from life's struggles and protect them from the heartbreak of walking away from a challenge empty handed is at fault for all the bastards out there shooting up our schools and workplaces and malls. There is something inside those people not wired correctly from the start. However, there's also a reason so many people feel entitled to this type of revenge. It's a combination of multiple factors throughout a lifetime, surely. 

Are we making things worse by being so overprotective of our children? 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Little Art Theatre, Yellow Springs

Whenever I discover an extravagant treat so close to home I feel equal parts disappointment and awe. Disappointment because I've lived so near something awesome and never taken advantage of it and awed because I now know of what seems like my town's best kept secret.

When my family decided to take in a movie at the Little Art Theatre in Yellow Springs on Saturday night I was expecting musty smelling, dirty seats in that state of disrepair most small town movie theaters built more than five years ago quickly attain. I expected sticky floors and a bathroom just north of disgusting. What I found was something entirely different.

*Picture from cinematreasures.org*
*Picture from cinematreasures.org*
The Little Art Theatre has undergone an amazing renovation. Instead of stale and dilapidated the lobby was at once both reminiscent of Old Hollywood and modern zen. A theater where you can get bulk candy AND beer on tap? Yes! 

*Picture from cinematreasures.org*
The staff was happy and helpful despite our two small children who were so excited for their first movie experience they were behaving like they'd recently consumed five pounds of candy and had never before set foot inside a public establishment. 

*Picture from cedars.cedarville.edu*
The theater seats, instead of being worn, smelly, nubby feeling cloth were supple, smooth and clean. They were wide enough for extra comfort and the movable armrests with cup holders are great. About halfway through the movie my kids raised their armrests and turned the entire row into a giant comfy sofa perfect for watching the Lego Movie as a family. 

*Avaleigh Drum*
The restroom was incredible. The popcorn and specialty soda, delicious. The price was comparable to any big chain theater but the ambiance screamed "exclusive". If you haven't been to the renovated Little Art Theatre in Yellow Springs, do yourself a favor and make plans to take in a movie there. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Sinful South Series by S.J. Drum

8 books contracted by Ellora's Cave Publishing

Book One: Sinful Southern Ink, Release Date: July 2012

Book Two: Sinful Southern Hero, Release Date: November 2013

Book Three: Sinful Southern Rider, Release Date: Summer 2014