Review: The Touch of the Master's Hand

The Touch of the Master's Hand by Myra Brooks Welch, Illustrated by Greg Newbold
Genre: Childrens, Inspirational
Published: August 15th 2007 by Stellar Books
Rating: 5

The best children's books are the ones that teach lessons, have some sort of allegory, have an easy to follow rhyme scheme, and have beautiful illustrations. It's even better if it doesn't make the parent want to jump off a cliff after reading it over and over and over and over… This is that kind of book.

This has to be the sweetest most touching book I've read in a long time. It is the gospel in a child's poem that will speak to a parent as much as it will engrain truth in a child's mind. The illustrations are breathtaking and the story is one everyone needs constant reminder of. I cannot recommend this book too much. Honestly it nearly made me cry the first few times I read it.

Recommendation: Ages 3-Adult

Thieves of Darkness

Michael St. Pierre thinks he has left his days as a master thief behind him.  He's just started dating again following the death of his wife and has embarked on a new relationship with a beautiful, smart woman named KC.  But then, he gets word that his best friend, Simon, is being held captive in a brutal and isolated middle eastern prison, sentenced to death.   For the first tim1416598979.01._SCL_SX125_e, Michael must break into a prison, this time to rescue his friend.  Imagine his surprise when he finds KC in the neighboring cell.  After a thrilling rescue, the three journey to Istanbul to complete the mission that led to their incarceration.  

Simon and KC are on the trail of a map that holds a secret as ancient as mankind, a secret that has roots in the foundations of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.  In order to get their hands on the map and save Simon's life, Michael and KC must complete an amazing series of stunts and thefts, outwitting the authorities and a ruthless and equally skilled enemy.  Old family secrets and loyalties come into play as they race through the secret underground tunnels of Istanbul, and eventually travel deep into the Himalayas to a mysterious land that might be the legendary Shangri-La itself. 

Thieves of Darkness is published today! Look for my review coming soon.

Interview: Buzzy Martin

  Today I have Buzzy Martin, author of Don't Shoot! I'm the Guitar Man!, visiting The Life and Lies!

This is the story of lifelong musician Buzzy Martin, music teacher to the hardened criminals inside the walls of San Quentin Prison-and what he learned, note by incredible note.

This interview is reprinted with permission.

1. Buzzy, I know after reading your book that you didn't  set out in the beginning to write a book about your experience working in San  Quentin   Prison, so can you tell us why it became so important to share your experience?

  After teaching and working in Juvenile Hall with at risk youth who want to go to prison, I felt it was very important for me to bring back real information about prison.

2. When you visit juvenile halls or detention centers now,  and you share the stories and the reality of what it is like behind bars, do the
  kids listen? Have you ever thought, that one of the kids in class actually "got  it"?

yes and yes

3. What can parents and guardians do? Or, are the children  who are most affected by this the children who don't have anyone? If so, what  can
  educators do to help these children?

Get in involved and show them guidance.


4. How did you manage to go into San Quentin for 3 years?

The power of helping people


5. Did you ever have one of your juvenile students come into the "Q" while you were there?



6.  From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

6 years

7. How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

I didn't look for one, they came to me.


8. What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?

Self-publish your own book, believe in your self and never give up 


9.  Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you
  and your work?

yes, Facebook


10. Do you have another book on the works? Would you like to tell
  readers about your current or future projects?

Yes, I'm writing another book right now and I'm involved with the movie that is being made based on my book.

11. As an author, what is your greatest reward?

Having my book available around the world. 


12. Anything else you’d like to say about yourself or your work?

I'm living a dream.  Education Not Incarceration

Build A Sign

Recently I got some awesome window decals and car magnates from Build A Sign. If you're familiar wit Café Press and Microsoft Publisher, you'll know how easy it was to create my signs. I uploaded an image, added text, resized it and put it where I wanted it, easy as pie. The website was easy to navigate, and my order came quickly.

If you need signs of any kind for your business or event, I recommend Build A Sign.

Here's what my window decals look like:


If you'd like one, leave a comment and e-mail address and I'll e-mail you for your address.

Giveaway and Guest Review: Can You Survive The Zombie Apocalypse?

My book was sent to my home address instead of my school address, and my dear mother got her hands on it, so she read it and sent me her review to share with you guys.

Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier

Genre: Zombie?
ISBN: 9781451607758
Published: February 8th 2011 by Gallery Books

(review by Shelley at Journey of an Artistic Mom)

The book arrived in the mail just in time. I had Zombies all over the house and I needed to learn something about them. Quick! But my frustration mounted as I discovered this book really didn't tell me how to survive an attack at all. Max Brallier's book Can You Survive The Zombie Apocalypse gives you a blow-by-blow description of zombies attacking New York City. You are the main character and when you finish reading a section, you are given two or more scenarios to choose from. You then go to the page number that coincides with your choice. Along the way you do learn a little about zombies. Interesting fact: they can't swim, but that doesn't matter, they just walk along the bottom of the river or ocean. At first, the idea is kind of fun. I felt as if I was sort of participating in the story by my choices and therefor identified with the main character more (who was supposed to be me anyway, right?) But after making what I thought were pretty level-headed choices and ending up dead anyway, I felt a little betrayed. So I went back to the beginning and changed my tactics; several times. It turns out that some of the stupidest choices end up being the ones that help you survive or at the very least, have fun on the way to being killed. Some of the endings were vague in that I wasn't sure whether I survived the apocalypse or not. Aside from the unsatisfying endings, there was a lack of practical help here. Are there any foods that kill zombies? I don't know. Does fire scare them? I don't know. How about wooden stakes through hearts ( a la vampires; or is it werewolves? I don't remember)? Can zombies be poisoned, reasoned with, or tricked? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know!  So much for a survival guide. 

As far as plot lines, let's just save time and explain that there really are only two plot lines, with a few variations on the details. You either live or die. Who lives or dies with you changes from choice to choice, but basically that's about it. Now what the author lacks in imaginative plot lines, he more than makes up for with lots of foul language. It's one thing to be hit in the face with the "F---" word in movies over and over again. Usually the foul-mouthed  character is the one with a less than stellar brain and you don't like him anyway. But in this case YOU are the one using the language usually reserved for high-school drop outs and acid heads, making it that much more offensive. Oh, and speaking of drugs: there are numerous references to drugs that include details that were quite educational. I am led to believe that the writer knows more about illegal drugs than he should. He definitely puts illegal drugs in a light of complete acceptability, giving yet another reason why those who are immature or exceptionally prone to suggestion should avoid this book. 

So, the question that begs to be answered: Can you survive a zombie apocalypse, indeed? The answer depends on which pages you turn to. Luckily, there are no rules about how many times you can try your luck at this little game. There are quite a few humorous moments, if you are willing to look past the language. My 13-year-old wants to read the book to find out if my review is accurate. (Huh. Good try) Although the title of this book led me to believe I would learn something about how to survive a massive zombie attack, I am still quite ill-equipped. Meanwhile, I'm keeping them happy with vast quantities of pizza, alien marathons and unlimited YouTube videos. This is hard-won wisdom that every mother with four teenagers should know. Maybe I should write the survival guide?

Thanks Shelley!! Shelley blogs her pottery, homeschool, and small business owner adventures over here at

Giveaway: I have 2 copies to give away! Fill out the form below or click here to go to the same form in a new window.


a few quick reviews

Fashion File by Janie Bryant: 4

This book has so much information. There are sections about accessories, suits, dresses, fabrics, bras, makeup, finding your own style, and so much more. The drawings and photographs are wonderful and incredibly inspiring. This is a must-have for the fashionista of the house.



Dragonfly by Ed Pilolla 4

I instantly loved this book. It's a collection of love poems with the feel of free-verse poetry. Some of them are sad, others are sweet, still others are affectionate. But all of them resonate with passion and intimacy. This would be a perfect valentines gift for that special someone!

Just Received

Books/things I've gotten in the mail over the past few days:

  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Touch of the Master's Hand
  • How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf



Review and feature: Chunky Bling

Palace Green Swarovski Crystal ring: 4 stars

I'm pretty picky about rings. They need to be comfortable, noticeable but not too gaudy. I received a beautiful Palace Green Swarovski Crystal ring from Chunky Bling and I'm very satisfied. I am always wary of rings made on stretchy chord because they sometimes feel insecure, but this one feels strong and secure, and I'm not worried about it breaking off my finger. Because it's stretchy, it fits perfectly. When I close my fingers, the beads don't get stuck between my fingers. And, it's really sparkly. I have a soft spot for sparkly. 




Check out Chunky Bling Today! Every time you buy something through my link, I get a percentage of the sales. If you sign up through me and become an affiliate, we both get a percentage!

Beaded Watches

You can build your own watch, buy beaded watches, rings, bracelets, and necklaces.

Review: The First-Timer's Cookbook

The First-Timer's Cookbook by Chef Shawn Bucher
Genre: Instructional Cookbook
ISBN: 978-1606450086
Published: Brigham Distributing (April 2, 2009)
Rating: 5

This is not your average beginner cookbook. Most beginner cookbooks have way too much information, are too specific, limited, and selected in the information given, and are mostly just really easy recipes. Remember that old saying, if you teach a man to fish you feed him for life? This book isn't just a bunch of recipes to use for the next six months until you've done them all and gotten tired of them: this book teaches you how to look at food and do something with it. It teaches you how to use food to create your own meals.

It's a small book, only 84 large pages, but it's concise. It's mostly skills: how to cut things properly, how to broil or grill properly, what to do with chicken and fish, how to cut parsley. But once you master these skills, you can prepare a meal without a recipe or needing to take notes from Food Network.

This is a great tool for anyone who doesn't know where to start to learn to cook. It will definitely come in handy for me!

A few quick things:

  1. Jane Austen fans! Austen's few short works that she wrote as a teenager are now available on Librivox. Elizabeth Klett, reader of Pride and Prejudice for Librivox, has recorded one of the sections. She's a great reader, and Austen is wonderful, so go check it out.
  2. Bitch magazine is acting like their name for putting books on their 100 book list, then taking them off. really? why did you put them on in the first place?
  3. I have some reviews to post I KNOW I know they're late. But I am in school. They're coming hopefully by the end of the week.
  4. I've finally managed to find a template that is doing what I want it to! yay! Hopefully it won't act retarded like the last one did… it gave me problems with my images.


Yes I'm still your same old rambling haleyknitz who has nothing truly important to say.

Here's a song to make you happy.


Guest post: Deborah Crooks

Deborah Crooks is visiting The life and lies today. She is a musician who periodically visits India and is currently studying there at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute.

From the get-go, I've been looking at this trip to India as an arts residency of sorts, to recharge my creative batteries as much as reboot my yoga practice. I felt the itch to write something new before I left, though I wasn't certain what that would be. But I figured if I fed my muse with Carnatic lessons, the somewhat random confluence of other musician-yogis here, a regular writing practice group, as well as coconuts, papaya and thali, and all-important kick-ass Ashtanga yoga, something would happen. On my last trip, I formed a little band with a couple of others and had an idea to do the same this go. Two and half months in, no real band has come together and I've missed my musical compatriots in the states dearly..... That said, musical events and inspiration are and have happened that simply wouldn't have occurred anywhere else.

My first month, I was happy to be introduced to an American tabla student, Chris, who'd attended Berklee before moving to Asia to teach English. I was psyched as our Western musical tastes were similar (Townes Van Zandt, Gillian Welch, etc), which seemed highly unlikely given our locale. Plus, he liked to practice. Unfortunately (for me), Chris and his lovely wife moved onto Thailand before we had time to perform. Concurrent with this, I met Bo, a Western Classical singer with amazing pipes. After we sang at Santosha on Christmas, a plan was hatched for a shared bill/benefit performance. While I was prepared to play solo, I wasn't so jazzed about it. The same week, however; Alex, a teacher with an artistic sensibility and a great space for events, hosted a jam where I met both a traveling session guitarist from New York and a piano player who was learning harmonium. The guitarist was fabulous....and also traveling through rather than staying. Nonetheless, I was pleased to find the new harmonium player, coming from piano, had a natural ear for accompaniment. He learned a handful of my songs and ended up performing with me at the benefit show. I should state, that (gasp) I haven't been real big fan of harmonium. Sure, I appreciate kirtan but I hadn't heard harmonium played in a context that I thought might apply to the type of songs I do. Anyhow, long story short, I have a new appreciation for its ability to be mournfully vocal and Old-World gypsy as much as its Eastern devotional self.

As we readied for the show, where we were each to do a set of our regular shtick, Bo thought it might be fun to do a song together. Mind you, Bo is a singer's singer. She teaches. She performs opera. I was a little intimidated, but she picked out a tune from a Broadway musical 'Chess,' and we recruited Classical guitarist Adriaan to back us (on my little, tune-wonky parlor guitar). We rehearsed daily for a week, me sweating bullets most of the time. And we'd eventually close out the evening with the song, that was a stretch on my end, but did please the crowd.
As happens in Mysore, people are continually coming and going but the musical influence remains unabated if the faces change quickly. I've played with a Spanish guitarist fluent in covers and have recently met a Finnish guitarist whose into Dylan. Another teacher and bodyworker here with a dual career as a rock singer has a wealth of road stories. The owner of Santosha flags me down when I come in now to recommend music I might like. One week, a yoga and flute student friend brought me to her teacher's house to listen in on a lesson. Midway through the lesson, a professional tabla player arrived at the house to jam with the bansuri master. Chai was made and music commenced on the living room floor...and I got so excited about what I heard I asked Alex to host a performance of these pros, which resulted in a lovely evening of North Indian ragas on sarod, bansuri & tabla.

Meanwhile, Bo and the harmonium player have left town and I've been back to the woodshed and through line of Carnatic singing lessons, self (music) practice and writing.

35I still can't really tell you what exactly the result of all this input is. My muse is at once being true to form — the other thing about Mysore is that it doesn't really change you as much as make you that much more yourself — and perhaps taking some new turns. Most of what I've written is still in the pretty new, raw and shiny stage where I'm not sure if it should go out of the house ...although since I've been doing a lot of my practicing on the rooftop, some of it invariably gets mixed into the Mysore sound scape of rickshaws, hammers, fruit vendors, chipmunks (they're super loud here), cows, et. al.

Thanks for visiting Deborah! You can find Deborah's CDs at CD Baby. Learn more about her and her music at her website, or at her blog, Bird in the Tree.

Guest post: Steve O’Brien

Today I have Steve O'Brian, author of Elijah's Coin, writing about the four life changing keys that "form the core" of his new release.

Observe, Think, Believe, Act

These four words form the core of Elijah’s Coin. The wise mentor of the story, Elijah King, describes what Tom Wagner must do to lead a successful life. These are the four keys. Alone, each is important, but when aligned as a process, they can be life changing.

So what do they mean? EC Cover

Observation involves understanding a situation and taking in all the facts to develop a construct around a series of events. You are a sponge and you take in as much information as you can on a given situation. Then one must think.

Thinking is a process of adaptation and elimination. What are the options? What happens if I do this or that? Who would know the answer? The process of thinking makes the issue personal. Thinking is the way one puts a situation in context and that context may be different for each person.

Believing is the next step. Belief is one of the most misunderstood concepts because people think it is something beyond them or outside of them. Belief is, again, very personal. There are many shared beliefs, but to be successful your belief must come from within. Love, faith, and confidence are all exercises in belief and they are also deeply personal and unique.

Finally one must act. The individual must process by observing, thinking and believing. Without action, the first three are meaningless. Alone, the first three are merely daydreaming.

If one does not observe, then the thinking is likely to be flawed and despite the correct beliefs and action, the target will be missed. One will have thought, believed and done the wrong thing. Observation without thinking will similarly miss the target. Each person has unique skills and abilities. Thinking is highly personalized such that original thought is the key to creating a successful outcome.

Similarly, a person attempting to take action without belief is like landing a plane that is suddenly without power. Belief is our world view, our construct through which we process information. Beliefs must become a part of who we are and how we function. Many ask, “What should I believe in?” The answer is start with believing in yourself. Believe you can make a difference. Belief is a muscle that must be used or atrophy will set in. Observation, thought and action without belief will be weak and ineffective.

Finally, one must act. This is the part that is all too often forgotten. One can observe, think and believe, but then fail to act. Sometimes the failure is due to expecting someone else to act, so the person waits and waits and waits. They miss their life and miss the change they can make because they expect someone else to do it.

Following the first three but failing to act, makes one a victim. It is someone else’s problem; “it is not for me to fix,” “what can I do?” These are responses of victims. These people are buffeted by the vagaries of life. They don’t “do things.” Rather, “things happen to them.” They are not in control of their lives or their surroundings because they fail to take action.

The cliché is all too true; it is far better to try and fail than to fail to try.

Taken together and appropriately applied, they are four words that can change your life.

Steve O'Brien author photo-Elijah's CoinSteve O’Brien is a lawyer and fiction writer. His first book, Elijah’s Coin, received nine literary awards. Bullet Work, his second novel, will be released in Spring 2011. 

About Elijah's Coin:

In every heart there exists the potential for good and for evil. The question is which we'll choose. Without the right principles and guidance, a traumatic experience can lead one down a barren path. If our view of the world is dark, then further experience will tend to reinforce that view, leading to more pessimism and fruitless or even destructive behavior. How does one break out of this cycle of negativity?

That question is at the heart of Elijah's Coin, a thoughtful fable about one young man's descent into a life of crime... until he discovers an unlikely mentor, who begins to teach him a new philosophy of life. It's a philosophy not so much of words as of deeds. The lessons, therefore, prove to be indirect and not fully understood until they are lived. The point is not to state what you believe but to become what you believe. In doing so, you will come to lead a fulfilling and prosperous life. You'll find that life is not about you but about others and that generosity is repaid in kind.

Elijah's Coin asks readers to reflect even as they are entertained by a fast-moving, suspenseful story. Ultimately, the book confronts the reader with the possibility — and the opportunity — of inner change. Learn the message, then pay it forward.

Review: CSN Bookshelves

I got the opportunity to review 2 bookshelves from CSN Stores near the beginning of February. My new dorm room is pretty tiny, and I have a lot more books than a college student should have (not to mention more yarn than a knitter should have) and I had nowhere to put it.

These bookshelves have saved my life! (ok maybe not literally. But they're the only thing keeping my room clean.)

Wildon Home: Sherwood Five Tier Bookcase: 4


This bookcase took about thirty minutes to assemble. It was very easy and took nothing more than the tools that came with it. It's reasonably sturdy, though I might feel uncomfortable putting it in a high traffic area and stacking china tea cups on it. It is a little wobbly if you touch it the wrong way because the sides are held together by two very small screws, and if it was on a wood floor with running children going past it on a regular basis, I'd be a little nervous. As it is, I don't have that problem in a 8'X9' dorm room.

It's great for more than books, as you can see from my picture. I eventually filled up that forth shelf with paper towels, trash bags, and cleaner. The metal shelves are magnetic, they're a good height above each other, and the whole unit is narrow enough to make good use out of a small space. It's also extremely lightweight—I could pick it up and throw it over my shoulder and hike up five flights of stairs if I needed to.


The bare minimum number of books I need to survive university life.
The top shelf is all textbooks and my Bible!

Sauder Beginnings Bookcase: 5

I apologize, the light and angle of this photo is lame…


The Sauder bookshelf  is the perfect height and width for doing a lot with small spaces (see below). It took more assembly than I expected, and I needed a screwdriver and hammer. Once I got over the intimidating idea of using a hammer, it really wasn't hard. I can say I built a bookshelf all by myself now!

It's very stable and strong, but not too heavy. The shelves are adjustable, though the pegs are a bit of a tight fit, so it may be difficult to actually go about adjusting them. It comes in four wood types, I picked the one that matched the furniture at school.


All this and more can fit under a raised dorm-bed! conservation of mass, people. ;)

Thank you to CSN Stores for giving me the opportunity to review these products! Check out CSN Stores today: they have over 200 departments, and they have free shipping on almost everything.

Guest Post: The Dorkiness Equation—part 2

Read part 1 here

I understand if at this point you are in awe of me. If you have trouble believing anyone could be this insightful. And that’s fine. That’s natural at such life changing moments. But, really, I cannot take full credit. I happened to witness an event early in my professional career that gave me a vital clue to the puzzle. Without it I would not have figured this out. I had help. In fact, it was more or less spelled out for me.

Here’s what happened: 

I was doing an internship at a large corporation. My first involvement with the corporate world. With the ‘nine-to-five grind’. With the ‘picking each other up for lunch and suffering each other’s company in the cafeteria’ kind of deal. The lunches were mostly boring, because the only thing everyone at the table had in common was their jobs. But one day something strange happened. Something that fascinated me. A scientist-type sitting diagonally across from me decided to fill his glass from a jug of water. He did this by holding his glass over his plate and heaving the jug above it. On that particular day, he managed to spill a great deal of water over his plate before realizing what he was doing. And I do mean a great deal of water. His potatoes were basically floating. I watched him do this in awe, and then I watched him silently put the jug back and continue his meal.  

What happened next taught me much more about my colleagues than the whole week of working with them had. Because what happened next was: nothing.

Not a single thing. Although I couldn’t possibly be the only one who witnessed this incredible display of dorkiness, not a single person at that table gave any sign they’d noticed. They were embarrassed enough for the guy to pretend nothing had happened. And the reaction of the victim himself told me this was unlikely to be the first time he’d done this.

If it had been me, I’d have slapped my forehead and grumbled profanities, followed by something like, ‘I can’t believe I just did that!’ Then I’d follow it up by joining in with my colleagues as they fired off the mandatory jokes, after which I’d inspect the damage to my meal very carefully. I would do this to assess whether there was any way I could finish my lunch without having to walk back to get another one (choose the lazy solution whenever possible, you’ll live longer). I might indeed continue my meal, true, but not before very serious deliberation!

That day I understood, at least on some level, that I’d witnessed something of monumental importance, even though it would take me years to figure out exactly what that was.

Thinking back, another vital clue was the fact that I didn’t for an instance feel like sniggering. Without ever having spoken to the guy, his general demeanor had already informed my subconscious that he was indeed a dork, and so my initial reaction was one of sincere pity and compassion.

Which wasn’t very nice of me. I realize this now. And so, if by some strange coincidence I ever run into this guy again, I will apologize for joining in with the rude behavior of my colleagues, and then I’ll finally do the decent thing and laugh at him.


Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.

No Hope for Gomez! is his fiction debut:
Boy meets girl.
Boy stalks girl.
Girl already has a stalker.
Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

Guest Post: The Dorkiness Equation.

I have Graham Parke over at The Life and Lies today, writing about his new theory on why we laugh at stupid people our friends.

I’ve finally figured out why we laugh at someone when they do something dorky. When they almost trip, when they stub their toe, when they stack a number of paper cups, only to find that the bottom cup wasn’t quite empty.

For years I assumed it was some kind of mean streak we have tucked away deep inside our subconscious. We might think we’re nice people, ready to lend a helping hand, ready with words of kindness and encouragement, but, as soon as our neighbor puts that hammer down on his thumb, we can’t help but snigger. Obviously there’s a real bastard inside us. What’s the harm, he thinks. There’s no way to help in time, so I might as well enjoy the pain of others.

But that would be the easy answer. And it’s one that simply doesn’t feel right. We snigger, yes, but do we actually feel happy? Do we actually think; thank goodness John finally stubbed his toe, that friendly, helpful bastard had it coming! Serves him right for all those times he helped me paint my garage! I don’t think so. Barring a few errant cases where we actually do hate someone, I’d say this isn’t what’s happening.

So I’ve wondered about this for years (I have done other things in between, I assure you, but the thought kept coming back to me).

One of my later theories was that it’s a snigger of relief rather than joy. The idea being that a certain amount of dorkiness is inevitably going to be displayed on any given day. The best you can hope for is that your involvement will be minimal. Years of walking the tightrope of possible ridicule at high school has taught us how damaging the smallest slip-up can be to our social status. So, whenever we see someone do something dorky, we immediately let out a chuckle of relief; thank goodness that wasn’t me! We might think something along the lines of: I’m not happy about what just happened to you, but, on the upside, consider this; at least I wasn’t involved!

But that’s not it either. The real reason we can’t help but snigger when someone does something stupid or painful, is that we actually want to make them feel better. We want to ease their pain, and we do this by paying them a compliment. That may sound strange, but it’s true. By sniggering we’re sending a very clear signal:

“I can’t believe you just did something THAT stupid!”

And, when you think about it, that’s the kindest thing to do. Much kinder than the alternative signal. The signal we’d send if we did absolutely nothing. If we made no sound at all and pretended we didn’t even see the dorkiness going down. Because the alternative signal is:

“I fully expected you to do something THAT dorky, and I’m so embarrassed for you that I’m going to pretend I was looking the other way.”

When your friend slams the car door on his thumb and your initial reaction is one of pity, then you think he is a dork. When your initial reaction is to laugh at him, then you think he’s basically a cool guy who just did something dorky.

See the difference?

Which signal would you rather get?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to be concerned and helpful a mere microsecond later, but in that initial, no-thought-only-action moment, you’d better laugh your ass off. You’d better snigger away or your relationship will be damaged forever! 

To be continued....

Graham Parke is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.

No Hope for Gomez! is his fiction debut:
Boy meets girl.
Boy stalks girl.
Girl already has a stalker.
Boy becomes her stalker-stalker.

Music Spotlight: Josu Gallastegui

At Your Request by Josu Gallastegui.
Genre: Ballet, Classical

5 Stars


Today I got my Gallastegui CD in the mail! I was soGallastegui excited. I danced to Gallastegui's piano music in ballet class for about three years. His music is delicate and accentuates the art and beauty of ballet. You can hear the lines and the accents, see the head movements and the sharp pointed feet in his recordings. Hearing his music is inspiring and makes me want to dance. He is my favorite musician for ballet class.

His music is ideal for all levels, but especially intermediate through advanced. Some of his recordings have two speeds (this specific recording only has one song in which there is double speed) and each song repeats with a decent pause in between.

Gallastegui's CDs are hard to come by, but you can order directly from him online at his website or from


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.