Paris, je t’aime…

Paris, je t'aime... by Luke A. Bunker
Paris, je t’aime…, a photo by Luke A. Bunker on Flickr.

I miss Paris so much and can’t wait to go back. I reflected in detail in writing for the first time for an essay and have really been feeling the travel bug! 🙂 Yes, the essay will of course be shared soon once it has been edited/revised!

Via Flickr:
It’s true! This is the Eiffel Tower and Parisian buildings as viewed from L’Arc de Triomphe.

Review: NBC’s "Smash" lives up to its name

UPDATE:  After watching several episodes into this show, the magic has been lost.  The music is good, but it’s actually kind of boring and is trying to be shocking, and it takes more to shock American viewers now, so I don’t think it works.  I’ll keep watching, but I no longer race home from night class to avoid missing it.

Friday evening on the way to a quiz bowl in Concordia, I watched the pre-premiere release of Smash, courtesy of NBC offering it for free on iTunes.  As I have been looking forward to this show ever since I saw the first commercial for it, I was super excited to get my eyes and ears on it!

The show follows Ivy Lynn (“The Experience,” played by Broadway vet Megan Hilty) and Karen Cartwright (“The Talent,” played by Katharine McPhee – love her!) as they both audition for a new musical about Marilyn Monroe.  The show takes us behind the scenes of the creation of a Broadway musical, from the creation of music and financing of the show to auditions and the cutthroat industry that is Broadway.  The show’s producers, directors and writers do an excellent job of making us like Karen right from the start, while still letting us see another side to Ivy, who it appears we are supposed to be against for the role.

Overall, the writing and dialogue are spot-on; the pacing is good; the setting, premise and music are fantastic; and the acting is wonderful and believable (Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston also star).  To conclude, I look forward to seeing if Smash can live up to its potential and the pure awesomeness of the pilot episode.  I hope and think it can.  NBC has invested a lot of time and money in promoting this show, so that has to mean something, right?!

Preview of Smash :: Starts after the Super Bowl on NBC

Lifeguard Chair at Barcelona Beach

Oh, how I long to be back at the beach (hopefully with a slimmer me!)…

I really regret not bringing my camera with me to the beach in Barcelona the one afternoon we were there… (You’re probably wondering how I took this picture, then, am I right?  We did go the ice bar in Barcelona on our final night in town, so I was able to snap a few pictures – yahoo!!)  I lost out on several photographic opportunities (sailboats and yachts on the marina!!), but I also had never taken my nicer camera to the beach and was afraid I might damage it.

I’ve since learned that my camera is fairly durable, and if I take caution and care, it will be fine. Moral of the story? When I am on vacation, I will never, ever, ever leave my camera at the hotel!!

A Question of Etiquette…

I luckily haven’t had to face this issue in a while, but it does come up.  I’d like to throw a situation out there for my readers to chew on and think about!  Let’s say you have something important at work that you would like to discuss, inform about, etc. with your boss.  The question I so often face with these more major kinds of situations is how to contact them – email or face-to-face.

First off, my thoughts…  I prefer to email (and this is, of course, a case-by-case call) for a variety of reasons:  a) it is less awkward for me, b) it allows my boss some time to process what I am asking for rather than just springing it on them, and c) I think I am better at getting my point across through writing than verbal communication.

However, I think that face-to-face works best for very serious questions and concerns, or when the issue is so convoluted that you can’t get it across except through a conversation.

So…  What do you think?  Is emailing or face-to-face the best way to contact your boss about an issue, or does it depend on the situation?

Where the Gold Bees Dream…

This picture was taken in Arizona, and I feel it necessary to tell my readers that right after I snapped a couple pictures of this feller, he started to buzz off in my general direction, and therefore I ran off (in the other direction, of course!) like a little girl! 🙂

Via Flickr:
This photo is an homage to my awesome friend, Laura George, of LKG Photography. She and her blog, wherethegoldbeesdream.blogspot.com, are an inspiration to me to live life better, learn more about myself and my world, and truly live life positively and to its fullest. She attributes this quote – "Where the Gold Bees Dream" – to Oscar Wilde.

Sometimes all you need… is a change of pace

I’ve taken a slight (OK, not so slight) departure from what I normally read (thrillers, mysteries, memoirs, etc.) and settled into the popular town of Mitford.  When I say this, I am of course speaking about “The Mitford Years” series by Jan Karon.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen these books at garage sales, in flea markets, in traditional book stores, etc., without really giving them a second glance.  While at the library book sale this last weekend, I saw a copy of the first book in the series, “At Home in Mitford,” and did give it that second glance.  And I’m glad I did!

I’ve been reading a paperback version of the book (turns out I already had one – lol!), and I feel the need to write a post about it because it’s a nice change of pace.  The characters are kind of homey, you can relate to and appreciate the town and its people, and it provides a sort of calmness to my day by reading it.

I’m only about 100 pages in right now, but, so far, I enjoy the author’s keen ability to describe settings and people, and give the characters a dialogue that makes sense and sounds good and appropriate.  To those of you who follow my reviews, you know that if dialogue sucks, then in my opinion, the rest of the book does, too!

I’ll be sure to post a full review once I’m finished with the book.  But, I suppose the main thing I’m trying to get across here is that we should never judge a book by its cover or targeted audience (I’d always thought Mitford was for older women who were lost in life – lol).  The same goes with the radio (on the rare occasions I don’t have my iPod plugged in) – I have found myself switching more and more frequently to Air1 (a Christian radio station) as opposed to Top 40 stuff, and I am not even very religious.  Sometimes we all need a change of pace, and Mitford (and Air1!) has provided that for me.

Happy reading (and listening!)!
Luke

A January cliche…

The beginning of the year couldn’t possibly pass without a post about resolutions, could it?!  I suppose I have already broken some of my goals (I prefer this term over resolutions) for the year, but look forward to a year of discovering more about myself and the world I inhabit with billions of others.

To come up with some of these goals, I used the Goal Setting Workshop app on my iPad.  If you know me, if tech is not involved, the likelihood of me doing it gets lesser and lesser (hence why I now have a Kindle for reading convenience!).  The app got me thinking about the things I wanted to accomplish not only this year, but for the next great while.  Below are some of the things – and the reasons behind them – that I’d like to accomplish this year.

My goals for the upcoming year:
1. Write in my blog or write in my novel at least once a day
OK, so I already lost out on this one; perhaps the goal of making a point to write in both more often is more practical…
To advance and keep sharp my writing skills and to keep my creativity going.
2. Lose 55 pounds
To live a longer, more fulfilled life. To feel better and do more things. To become the me and look like the me I’ve always wanted.  – PLUS, it will make traveling easier and more pleasant!!
3. Cut down to three pops per week
To help me lose weight and feel much better. To keep toxins and artificial sweeteners away from my body.
4. Cultivate a cleaner room
So I can be more presentable, have more space, be more organized, and become less materialistic by letting go.
5. Sleep more
So I can be at 100% each and everyday, to be more attentive and active, to feel better and become healthier.
6. Set up a dream board
So I can visualize my goals and dreams, and through doing that visually, know what I want to accomplish and get out of life.
7. Be on time more often!
Unfortunately for me, my first professor of the day last semester didn’t place a lot of emphasis on being on time, so I wasn’t.  This bad habit of being late everyday needs to go away!!

Outside of the above list, I want to continue to travel (if I can find a travel mate, I’d maybe like to see the Chichen Itza in Mexico – being 2012 and all), learn more Spanish through a class I’m taking at college, learn how to shoot better with manual settings on my camera, be more helpful and understanding with family and friends (and spend more time with each), work out with a renewed frenzy (BIGGEST LOSER!!), and finally get through some pictures and share them!

However, one of my biggest goals which is so far working out, is finding more time using some of my spare time to read.  I’m already halfway through a short novel (“Deadline”) and am in the reading mood.  Let’s hope it lasts!

Here’s to a year of goal-making and goal-achieving!!  Happy 2012 – I think it’s going to be a good one.

Luke

Review: "The Templar Legacy" by Steve Berry

The Templar Legacy (Cotton Malone #1)The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**Warning: This review doesn’t make much sense and was written with observations that changed throughout my reading.

To those that followed my progress in reading this book (having finally completed it after this, my third or fourth try at doing so), my rating of 3/5 may be shocking. However, if half-stars were available, I would probably rate this at 3.5. Why? Because I feel that I owe some credit to this book and its author for spinning a fantastic tale, despite what I consider to be several failings:

One, I thought the premise for the book and Cotton Malone’s involvement in the plot to be weak at best. Yes, his former boss was involved, but it didn’t provide a good segue for his integration into that plotline.

Second, I think the characters, at least towards the beginning of the book, were not well developed. To be more specific, I thought that Stephanie’s sudden wealth of knowledge relating to her husband’s work (that she didn’t even care about until she received a letter/journal), was difficult to believe. Her character also seemed to be the most brash, and I don’t think it was literary device that made her so.

Third, and again this mostly speaks to the first half of the novel, the dialogue wasn’t as good as I felt it could have been. However, true to the rest of the work, it got better during the last half, where the book really picked up.

Speaking again to my third observation, the pace does pick up during the last half of the book, and this is when I did my most fervent reading. I think there was often too much detail throughout the book, which added more to confusion than clarity. I would love to say this book was enjoyable to read, and it was towards the end, but overall it seemed kind of tedious. All in all, though, I felt it was a good book – not great, but good.

View all my reviews on Goodreads