Last Book Read

Prompt: Tell us about the last book you read (Why did you choose it? Would you recommend it?). To go further, write a post based on its subject matter.

My Response:

The last book I read was Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender by Steve Miller. Actually, I read it twice. I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by the story of Sarah Pender, a young woman who was charged (with her boyfriend at the time) of murdering her two roommates.

The blame went back and forth between Sarah and her boyfriend for the murders. He even went so far as to have a friend of his forge Sarah’s handwriting and write him a letter confessing to the crimes. The letter was later found not to have Sarah’s fingerprints on it. Sarah had, however, purchased the murder weapon.

Sarah was convicted and sentenced to 110 years in prison for acting as an accomplice to the crimes. After filing several appeals and getting them denied, she broke out of prison (8 years into her sentence) with the help of some friends, ex-cons, and even a security guard at the prison.

She had used and manipulated them all to aid in her escape. She was finally caught a few months later and was returned to jail, and the friends who helped her received prison time for aiding a convicted felon. One ex-con was sentenced to 7 years, and the prison security guard was sentenced to 8 years.

I think I find this story interesting because of Sarah Pender. She was a smart person who had somehow gotten her whole life turned upside down. She maintains she is innocent but no one really knows if she was the mastermind behind the murders.

She wanted the roommates out of her home because they were selling drugs and stealing her money, and causing problems all around. I’ve tried to make up my own mind about whether or not she was behind the killings, but the book doesn’t reveal much in the mystery. It only becomes more mysterious and strange.

Sarah was featured on America’s Most Wanted while she was out on the lam. She was in the top 15 of that list, and the only woman featured on the list. She was able to outsmart the U.S. Marshall, buying phones for one time calls to her friends that could not be traced.

She evaded capture for 136 days. During that time, she met a wealthy businessman who helped her get a job (under the table) and set her up in an apartment and paid for her expenses in exchange for sex.

Before the murder conviction, she was working a serious, Monday through Friday, 8-5 office job and saving money to return to college where she wanted to major in physics. She managed to charm everyone around her.

And some say she made others commit crimes for her by some amazing control she was able to exert over people. One attorney in the book refers to her as ‘the female Charles Manson’ because of the way she was able to seduce, control and use people in order to get them to do what she wanted.

Sarah is now in solitary confinement and will not be released until she is 75 years old. The show Snapped did a feature episode on her, but focused more on the crime details than on her time after escaping prison.

Sarah is a strange character, showing emotion when feeling sorry for herself at the end, but showing no real remorse about the deaths of her roommates (in the interview portion of the Snapped episode).

She writes a letter (mentioned in the book) to someone and states that ‘killing people is no big deal, people die all the time.’ So I have to wonder if she honestly realized what she was writing, or if she really was unstable or evil beneath the surface.

Sarah presents herself as sweet and innocent, but that’s also how she likely lured people into her traps and got them to go along with her plans and do her bidding, even at the risk of themselves and their own freedom.

I think feeling as socially inept as I often do, I find it so interesting that a young woman could have so much control over others, know how to quickly gain love and trust and friendship, and absolute loyalty from people she meets and befriends. I would definitely recommend this book.

I chose to read this book after watching the movie that was based on the Sarah Pender story, called She Made Them Do It. It aired recently on Lifetime. See official page-


March 19, 2014. Tags: , , . books, writing. Leave a comment.

Time as Money

(Entry below was handwritten on 3/5/14)

It was another half day of work missed. I had to clock out at around 2:25 because my internet connection kept dropping. So I called my cable company and they sent an emergency technician out to my home to resolve the issue.

His name was Elvis, and when he called to let me know he was on his way, he greeted me with “Buenas Noches.” I guess he thought I only spoke Spanish when he looked at my last name.

He was here for a long while, connecting a new, separate cable line for me. Mine had been split with the cable line going to the apartment upstairs. He also replaced the modem I had with a new one.

I hope this fix corrects the problem, because I really don’t want to go into the office to work. Working at home in the wintertime is just so much better.

Elvis left at 7:30pm, and it was just in time for me to watch In Time on television. It’s the movie with Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried that takes place in a future where time is used as currency instead of money.

It’s an intriguing concept, but kind of a boring movie. I read a review online which stated that people really are living by the currency of time, except that we don’t know when our time will run out.

It’s not like in the movie where you can check your wrist and see how much time is left for you. The ‘poor’ people in the movie live day by day, they are risk takers and need to make the most of their allotted time. The ‘rich’ people are cautious, trying not to do anything risky because they want to be immortal and not die by mistake.

It made me wonder how differently I would live my life if I knew how much time I actually have left. I guess people with terminal illness are the ones who really face their mortality and force themselves to create lists of what they want to do and experience, all before death takes them out.

There are so many paths out there for someone like me, someone who isn’t tied down to a husband or kids, or a house. So I have to wonder why I continue to play it so safe. Maybe because of how I was raised- very sheltered and in fear and suspicion of others.

Men have so many more choices and freedoms than women. Men can go out and drive to an all-night diner or bar, hang out there for a while and then go home, without the fear or risk of getting raped or kidnapped in the parking lot.

Women don’t have these kinds of freedoms. I envy women who have the guts to travel the world alone. Travelling alone is a fear that I hope to overcome before it’s too late.

In the movie, In Time, Amanda’s character is rich and always has body guards surrounding her. They advise her, ‘You can’t be too careful’ when she is simply staring at a man, a stranger. She replies with ‘Are you sure?’ I think there is such a thing as being too careful, it keeps you away from living the adventure that is your life.

March 7, 2014. Tags: , . movies. Leave a comment.

Favorite Character

(Entry below is an excerpt from an entry handwritten on 2/1/2014)

I just finished reading The Help the other night, and one of the reading group discussion questions at the back of the novel is: Who was your favorite character? Why? My favorite character was Eugenia Phelan, nicknamed Skeeter. She was my favorite character because she was akward and insecure of herself at first, but by the end, her true character reveals itself.

She felt strongly about a topic, and decided to interview maids and write a book about it. This decision was very brave and very dangerous, (considering the time period in which the book takes place) but Skeeter was determined to complete her project and write her book. She even worked around the clock at the last minute in order to get the manuscript to the publishing house in New York in time for the deadline.

Skeeter lost her friends, her social status and acceptance, and her first boyfriend. All that did not deter her from reaching her goal. She decided to write something extremely controversial, yet important, with the hope that it would open people’s eyes and create change. And the book she wrote succeeded in creating a dialogue between the maids and the families they worked for.

I admire Eugenia for withstanding so much criticism from her mother for not having found a husband, and for everything about her appearance that was criticized as well. And then for later dealing bravely with her mother’s serious illness and failing health. Eugenia is a strong character. She is patient and empathetic, as well as blunt and honest.

Eugenia published her book “Help” anonymously. She didn’t do it for recognition of accolades. She did it because it was an important topic to her, and it was something that no one else had ever written about before.

It’s hard to believe that The Help is the debut novel of Kathryn Stockett because the characters are so alive and the scenes are all so vivid. She has a great imagination and way with words. I was thinking the other day, how awful it would be to get to the end of my life having never written or published anything substantial- without having left behind some sort of creative legacy.

I hope that one day I find my own story, and finally get it written down, committed to paper and published.

February 2, 2014. Tags: , , , , , . books, writing. Leave a comment.

Quote Prompt

Prompt: Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?

My Response:

I don’t have a quote that I return to again and again. But I recently watched the movie Castaway and there was a quote in it that really struck me. It’s something that I think I was supposed to hear at this time in my life. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone, so if you haven’t seen it, don’t read any further.

Near the end of the movie, Tom Hanks’ character is rescued. He is speaking to someone and explaining how much pain he’s in because his fiancé from before his plane accident has remarried. He has lost her because she assumed he had died. He says that after he was stranded, he told himself he had to stay alive on the island and simply keep breathing, and one day, the tide came in and brought him a sail. (He used that makeshift sail to escape to freedom and be rescued).

He compares his current hopelessness about the relationship to that moment. Although he feels empty and alone without the woman he loves, he know he has to just keep breathing and stay alive because “Who knows what the tide could bring?”

There is so much truth to that quote. I was moved by this moment in the film and the sincerity with which he spoke the line. There have been many times in my life when I’ve felt hopeless, but then something happens to turn my whole mood/day/life around, and it’s usually something that I could never see coming.

So I don’t think there’s any sense in believing that the future will be a continuation of the past. It only will if we don’t allow our minds to expand and see the real possibilities out there. It’s like that line from a Garbage song, “Nothing in life is set in stone, there’s nothing that can’t be turned around.”

I think we hear the things we are meant to hear and they affect us in ways to make us learn, open our eyes and all senses and simply observe. There are always messages coming to us. Every day is a new chance to start over.

Below is a fuller version of the quote, along with another quote from this film that has stayed with me:

“I had power over *nothing*. And that’s when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that’s what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in, and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I’m back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass… And I’ve lost her all over again. I’m so sad that I don’t have Kelly. But I’m so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?”

 “The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.”
-Main character reading from a birthday card

January 6, 2014. Tags: , , , , . writing. Leave a comment.

Currently Reading ‘The Help’

Prompt: What was the title of the last book you read?

My Response:

I recently started reading The Help by Kathryin Stockett, and I’m finding it very enjoyable and entertaining. I saw the movie first, but always wanted to read the book because I liked the story and watching movies about writers.

And this is a book/movie of how a writer wanted to write something important. She was more interested in writing than in getting married. Her mother is constantly criticizing her and pushing her to find a husband, while she feels that the more meaningful thing for her to do was to write something that would be read someday by people.

I find the way that Kathryn Stockett writes to be very engrossing, very detailed and realistic. The stories are told with chapters narrated by different characters, so the reader gets a peak into how they live their lives and what they experience. I’ve read chapters so far narrated by the characters: Aibileen, Minny, and Skeeter. Each of their voices is distinctive, affecting and deeply honest.

Each chapter and point of view is so clearly defined that you feel that you know these characters intimately right away. The story never drags and I find it hard to put the book down.

It’s been challenging to try to read it since I’m also in the midst of moving to a new apartment. But I try to get back to it every night because I just can’t wait to get to the part of the story when Skeeter starts to write the book detailing the experiences of the maids.

I’m only up to chapter six, but I would definitely recommend this book. The writing is crisp, real and humorous and it’s easy to imagine each moment as it is vividly described by the characters. I’m excited to read further on and see how the rest of the book is shaped. It’s already better than the movie.

November 25, 2013. Tags: , , , , , . books, writing. Leave a comment.

Annie on Broadway

Last weekend I went to see the play, Annie on Broadway. I went with my sister, my little niece who’s only 2, my cousin and my aunt. It was a nice time since I haven’t been to see a Broadway show in forever. We were up in the second row of the balcony but luckily for me I have good eyesight so that didn’t bother me. I was glad we weren’t at the very top because then the height tends to make me dizzy.

The show was very cute and entertaining and the audience was full of little girls. While I was waiting outside the theater for my family to arrive, I overheard a young girl talking to her mom. She said “The girl who plays Annie rides her scooter here!” I thought that was so funny. I forget what it’s like to be a young girl of 9 or 10 years old without a care in the world.

My niece loved the show and sang along to songs like “Tomorrow” and kept pointing out Annie to my sister. It was her very first trip into Manhattan and by the last two songs of the show, she had fallen asleep. I was struggling to remember the movie Annie while watching the show, but barely could.

The storyline was changed a little bit for the play, but I didn’t notice because I could barely remember the original. It’s amazing how time and experience passes and makes you forget things. My sister and I used to watch that movie repeatedly as kids, and now I can only remember bits and pieces.

When the show was over, another little girl behind me called out “I want to be an actor!” I laughed and asked my sister and my aunt if they had also heard. My sister said, “Well, that’s how it starts.” Who knows, that little girl may be a big star one day, having been inspired by watching a young girl like herself play the lead role in a Broadway show.

The actress who played Annie was perfectly cast, her singing voice was soaring and perfect and just right. Those songs seem difficult to sing, but she never once faltered or lost her poise. It was very impressive.

November 15, 2013. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Run Away

Prompt: Running

My Response:

Running can mean many things. People run for health, to feel better about themselves, to live longer. People run because it makes them feel good. I remember feeling great when I was a child and I ran around all the time with friends, cousins, whoever.

It’s something that some people forget to do enough as they get older. Playing a game of tag with kids is a great way to run. Getting a little out of breath every now and then is good for anyone.

Then there is metaphorical running. Sometimes you find yourself running and running away, trying all kinds of different things, but then ending up in the same place. You can try to outrun yourself but you are always the same person.

Running away isn’t always a solution. It’s better to face yourself and your problems head on. Running away from life and issues is not an option. They are always going to be there, no matter how far away you try to run.

I’ve never taken up running as a workout. But maybe it’s something to consider. I want to experience that ‘runner’s high’ that many runner’s describe. That feeling of euphoria after completing a strenuous, vigorous activity and involving the whole body in the effort.

Running seems like a good way to feel alive, to feel in control, and like you have power over your destiny. I’m sure it’s also a powerful way to relieve tension and stress. Running is starting to sound better and better.

August 24, 2013. Tags: , , . writing. Leave a comment.

Jawbreaker Movie and Soundtrack

(Review below was written on 2/4/2000)

I chose to watch this movie on cable one night because I enjoyed other movies Rose McGowan has starred in, but this movie has got to be her worst. She’s great at playing her nasty role but the movie and plot is not good enough for her. I was wondering what made her agree to star in the movie after reading the script. It’s actually so bad, that it’s good in a campy way.

This movie has been compared to Heathers, a movie which basically has the same premise. Heathers is a much smarter film which is well written and which has characters that are better developed. Jawbreaker may be mildly entertaining to look at, what with its colorful sets and costumes. It’s cartoonish and over the top and that may have been the point.

The popular and unpopular alike will be curious about seeing this movie because the unpopular girl gets a makeover and the popular girl is humiliated at the end. By the way, if you want to see was Liz Purr was like alive, you should watch “The Rage: Carrie 2” where the same actress plays a character named Tracy (a popular girl).

After seeing the movie and hearing all the great music in it, I knew that the soundtrack would fulfill my expectations. The music is simply fabulous, especially tracks like Yoo Hoo, Don’t Call Me Babe, and Stay in Bed. Next to You is another great song.

Some of the songs from the movie are not on the soundtrack. For example, the song that plays while the girls are putting their dead friend, Liz, back into bed. I really enjoyed that song and was somewhat disappointed when it didn’t appear on the soundtrack.

Another song from the movie that was absent from the soundtrack was the song Heartbreaker which was playing when the girls were walking down the hall and deciding that the character, Vylette, needed a boy.

Listening to the soundtrack feels like you’re watching the movie all over again. It is hip and stylish like the movie was. There’s a diverse variety of songs and I’m sure everyone will find songs that they love on the soundtrack. The artists on the soundtrack that I would recommend are Ednaswap, Transister, Letters to Cleo, and Grand Mal.


July 13, 2013. Tags: , , . movies, Music. Leave a comment.

Reality Bites Review

(Review below was written on 5/10/2000)

This movie is very entertaining on many different levels. It’s one of my favorites. The music, for one thing, is really great and fun. The soundtrack is awesome and it really helps you understand the kind of world these characters live in. Anyone attending college will identify with the empty feeling of not knowing what lies ahead and the confusion that comes with trying to make something of your life.

Lelaina is the main character, the valedictorian of her graduating class in college and I like how the movie shows that even someone very intelligent can struggle when making the transition from college into real life and full time work. She works as an intern at first, but knows the work is not really what she wants to do with her life. She tries to juggle new romance with staying afloat financially and keeping her sanity. The character is very real, relatable and Winona Ryder’s performance is natural and endearing.

The movie has several funny moments and you’re sure to laugh every now and then. It’s fun to watch Lelaina get revenge on her mean employer and Troy being witty and reflectively quoting from literature. One of my favorite moments is when he answers the phone with a greeting of, “Hello, you’ve reached the winter of out discontent.” As an English major, I enjoyed these little clever references.

This movie is good for all ages because it gives insight into the grungy generation of angst and the death of idealistic youth.


July 10, 2013. Tags: , , . movies. Leave a comment.

Paint the Sky with Stars

(Review below was written on 5/20/2000)

I always enjoyed Enya’s music but I had never bought one of her albums. I was so happy I decided to buy this one (Paint the Sky with Stars: The Best of Enya by Enya) because every single song is perfectly melodious and rich to listen to.

This album is a must buy for anyone who loves new age music and anything by Enya. Her voice is one of a kind and her vocals soar and flow with every note. This is a wonderful album with songs unlike anything else you’ve heard. Songs like Orinoco Flow, Caribbean Blue and China Roses are among my favorites. They take you to another place, and are great for relaxation and total calm. The songs are deep, slow and contemplative.

These are great songs to put on when you want to take some time to daydream and drift away in fantasy. Whether the songs have vocals or are instrumental, their beauty is beyond compare. Paint the Sky with Stars: The Best of Enya is a great introduction to this compelling artist and many of her past hits that you might not have known about.


July 8, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Music. Leave a comment.

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