April 27, 2015

A Game of Thrones


TITLE: A GAME OF THRONES
AUTHOR: GEORGE R.R. MARTIN
NARRATOR: THIRD PERSON ALTERNATING, MULTIPLE CHARACTERS
PUBLISHER: BANTAM SPECTRA, 1996
GENRE: EPIC FANTASY
SOURCE: WILSON'S BOOK WORLD
REVIEW: 5 STAR OUT OF 5

For several years I would see the books of A Song of Ice and Fire series lined up neatly beside each other at the bookshops and each time I did I would tell myself that I would read them eventually, yet not any time soon because I had other books that I wanted to give my attention to. I finally purchased A Game of Thrones at Wilson's Book World last year during a trip to St. Petersburg. I didn't begin reading it until this year and I actually finished reading the book on my Kindle. I knew that I wanted to read this book series long before I began to watch the HBO show, before I even knew that I would begin to watch the show at all. I had known of the theme and the setting. Dragons, knights, kings, conquests, wars, and the like. I just didn't know the specifics. I never thought I would have read the first book in the series as soon as 2015. The only reason this happened was because last year during autumn I began to watch HBO's Game of Thrones and I fell head over heals in love with the show.

Because my style of book reviewing does not involve spoilers nor much of a summary, I will keep this short. A Game of Thrones is a magnificent book! I adore Martin's style of writing. This book was more than I previously hoped it would be. The story grabs you at the collar and pulls you in, much like the show. It's such a multi-layered piece of work. It's overwhelming. All of the characters I love on the show (examples: Eddard Stark and Jorah Mormont), I love more in the book and all of the characters I hate on the show (examples: Joffrey Baratheon and Tywin Lannister), I hate more in the book. I am oddly happy that my love and hate are consistent between the two. I am also glad that I watched the show before I read the book, otherwise it may have been a bit difficult to read and keep up with the motives and thoughts of each character. I don't necessarily think this book is for everyone, I must admit. If you know you don't like epic fantasies with medieval settings, you will not like this book. Also, unlike most epic fantasies, you won't find many heroic "moments" within the pages of this book. It's cruel, bloody, and heads will roll.

CHARLENE ZALE

April 26, 2015

A Lovely Sunday


Today was a delight. This morning my fellow Starbucks partner, Gabby, and I went to her church. It was my first visit. Everyone I met was kind and welcoming. South Tampa Fellowship's sermon for today was on Ephesians. After the morning service was over we went upstairs and I helped the middle school aged children sign in for their Sunday class. It was refreshing to see a group of children get excited about God. As I watched them I realized how much I miss working with their age group. After the class was over we went to Moe's Southwest Grill for lunch. Two of Gabby's friends joined us, Jessie and Wade, and I really liked them. We talked for quite some time as we ate our burritos. Later I went home, but then I decided to go to the bookstore to write and discover new reading material for my Kindle. My last trip of the day was to Trader Joe's to buy a few groceries for the week. And that was my Sunday in a nutshell.

CHARLENE ZALE

April 23, 2015

A Vow That Endured

My maternal grandparents were married on October 12th, 1957 in Holguin, Cuba. They had a traditional Roman Catholic wedding at the Church. When I was a child, there were many times when my grandmother found me with her wedding album on my lap, gazing with awe at her beauty and the sunshine in my grandfather's eyes. As an adult, these photographs elicit more of a elegant and spiritual image. My grandparents were married up until my grandfather's death in 2002, a horrible disease stole him from us. Forty five years of marriage endured through the chaos of a revolution, immigration, one daughter, two granddaughters, three cancer diagnoses, years of disability, and ultimately the tragic death of the most beloved. My grandmother is truly one of the strongest people I know and I'm proud to call her mine. I wanted to share these photographs and a short description to serve as a reminder to the modern world of the sacramental duties and tradition of marriage. Much of which have been lost in our narcissistic society.









CHARLENE ZALE

April 22, 2015

Facts About Me


May 15th is my birthday.

I am the daughter of Cuban immigrants, however my family lived in Europe prior to 1900.

My family was originally from Spain, Basque, and France.

I dream unbelievably vivid and emotional dreams that I perceive as reality until the moment I wake up.

History is my favorite field of study.

My favorite color changes with the seasons, but if I had to choose one it would be blue.

I am prone to wonder and wander.

My hair is naturally curly.

I enjoy exploring alone.

I'm a believer in autodicactism.

I am one of the most unlovable humans I know.

Autumn is my favorite season.

I'm an advocate of liberty, small government, and individual rights.

My favorite thing to wear is a camera.

I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida.

I met my best friend, Ana, in the 8th grade and she made me the godmother of her son in 2014.

I have never been in love and no one has ever been in love with me.

Instrumental music keeps me sane.

My first legal drink was a homemade piƱa colada.

Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie.

I've been drawn to the Authurian legend since childhood.

I don't care for brands nor do I follow current trends, I like what I like regardless of its popularity.

I'm a simple woman with a complex mind.

I do not skip the first slice of bread in the package.

I never outgrew my childhood love for dinosaurs and part of me would love to be a paleontologist.

Trader Joe's is my favorite grocery store.

I've never smoked or done drugs, nor will I ever.

I wish I had been a teenager during the 1940s or 1950s.

I believe in extraterrestrial life.

I still love Harry Potter as much as I did when I was eleven years old.

I hate receiving compliments.

I adore orca whales.

I am fiercely loyal, but not very affectionate.

I do not like to experiment with my hair in terms of color, style, and cut.

I don't believe in the concept of soulmates nor love at first sight.

I've never had a condition in which medical attention was needed for my survival.

My given name means "free man".

I wish I lived in small studio above a bookshop or independent coffee shop.

I have one sister, she's less than a year older than me, and I would classify our relationship as estranged.

I wish I had a British accent.

I wanted to name my cat Oliver, but because father had difficulty pronouncing it he called him BoBo and it stuck.

I love reading the histories of fallen civilizations.

If time machines were real, I'd spend more time time-traveling than world traveling.

I hate the generation I live in.

Boy Meets World will always hold a special place in my heart.

Game of Thrones is currently my favorite television series.

I've been through four faith transitions in my life.

I became interested in minimalism in 2013 and ever since I've been inspired to live a simple life.

My favorite number is fifteen.

Christmastime is my favorite time of year.

I have more scars than I can count.

I've never met a single person in my paternal family because they all live in Cuba.

I love European style pubs and retro style American diners.

My favorite school years were 8th and 12th grade.

I love beer, but I don't love overindulgence.

If I was wealthy, I would still live in a regular house to have a sense of normality and humility.

I love spontaneous discovery of new music.

I wish I was raised in a large family.

I would like to teach English abroad someday.

My favorite smells are old books, coffee, leather, evergreen, campfires, lemon, pipe tobacco, and cinnamon.

I have very little in common with my family.

My favorite food is chicken pot pie.

I grew up without Internet in my bedroom and I didn't own a personal computer until I was in my twenties.

I slept poorly the night before my first day in middle school because I was anxious and scared.

Should I give birth to a son, his middle name will be William.

If I could live in a cabin in the mountains, I would.

I like fragrance oils more than perfumes with alcohol.

I love hot and spicy foods. I do not have a sweet tooth.

I love watching movies that were created in the 1990s because it evokes bittersweet nostalgia.

I was once a vegetarian for a year.

My favorite time of day is between 6:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m.

I loathe my voice.

I am shy, but not at a steady level. I go through seasons of being more or less shy.

I do not use body lotions, I use raw coconut oil to moisturize my skin.

Of all the famous people who have lived, I admire Leonardo da Vinci the most.

My dream vehicle is a restored early Ford Bronco.

I support homeschooling.

Baseball is my favorite sport.

If Connecticut wasn't so liberal, I would want to live there.

I feel happiest during the months of October, November, and December.

I want to fill a journal with detailed childhood memories before they fade away.

I prepare all of my coffees with coconut milk or almond milk and raw honey.

CHARLENE ZALE

April 21, 2015

Disgraceful Daydreaming

A few days ago I learned that one of my co-workers lost her memory of the past year due to a concussion. She doesn't remember how to make coffee and has to be trained again. She doesn't remember anyone she met within that time frame, her newborn included. This isn't about her however, it's about me and the fact that I suddenly found myself weirdly jealous of her. It's all I thought about this morning at work between transactions and pouring coffee. I wanted to lose my memory of the past four years, along with the pain it carries.

I began to wonder if modern science could someday advance to a point when it could successfully remove specific memories from the human brain. Sure it may sound like science fiction now, but so did a lot of strange things in history that are now under the category of just plain ol' science. I know this seems a lot like running away from your pain instead of dealing with it. But what happens when you've faced your pain and have tried to cope multiple times with little to no relief?

Granted, I've always been somewhat melancholic, but it's never reached this level. Not even close. I was a different person when I was twenty years old, a better person. I had less scars before dislike blossomed into self-hatred. More importantly I had two things that I no longer have now: hope that things would get better someday and faith in a savior. I still felt like a worthy human being at the end of the day, these days I hardly feel human at all.

I know this is selfish, and probably pathetic, to be jealous of a person who lost her memory, but when you're under constant distress that you have no control over, the strangest of things can seem like a feasible cure. That's my current mindset, I guess. I've learned that on days when I put on a show of being happy, my day ends badly because I know my soul lied. "Fake it until you make it" is a myth.

I personally believe forgetting people isn't the worst consequence of memory loss, it's the loss of acquired knowledge. The way I see, if I like you now, I would have liked you several years ago as well. Relationships can be rebuilt. Knowledge is more time consuming to regain and not everyone has the patience and discipline to willingly absorb knowledge constantly as a leisure activity. Okay, so maybe that is too high of a price to pay. There's a reason I keep journal, I do want to remember my life. Memory loss is not a cure for unwanted human emotions. Yet for a few hours today, it's all I wanted.

CHARLENE ZALE