The Staff (Belaria Series #1) Review

The Staff (Belaria Series #1)
Science fiction and fantasy. They are the books that I like the most so when A.J. Chaudhury’s Belaria Series came up for review, I was optimistic in trying it. To say the least, I was not disappointed. The first book of the series deals with the main character Charlz as he gets caught up in a conspiracy around the Staff of Belaria. I’m not going to go in to detail, but it is an exciting story filled with twists and turns like you would not believe. 
What stands out the best to me is how Mister Chadhury created a fantasy world the feels familiar, yet exotic thanks to the influence of his own country of India. The Staff is a great story to curl up by the fire with and read and an author to continue to pay attention to. 

Sra’Kalor (Ashwood Falls #1) Review

Sra’Kalor (Ashwood Falls #1)

I am not a big supernatural fantasy fan, but I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised in what I found in those pages. A good friend of mine asked me to read her book and it turned out to be a great suggestion! Jessica Werner’s Sra’Kralor, the first book in the Ashwood Falls series is a very interesting take on the supernatural creatures living in our world theme. It follows the story of Alana who has a mysterious ability that her family cannot deal with and when she turns eighteen, she is placed on a bus and sent to the nearby city of Ashwood Falls. If she thought her life could not get stranger, she would be in for a big surprise.

Jessica Werner has a very short way of saying things, but packs a lot of meaning in each word she chooses. Though English is not her first language, you can tell that Jessica is doing her best to capture her world in a foreign language. At times you can tell, but not enough to take away from the story. It is an adventure that any supernatural romance reader would love to add to their read lists and one you should not miss out on.

For those who have read the first release, I highly suggest giving the book a second try as it has become a great piece of writing!

Donald Trump – You Got to Be Kidding?

Alright, I kept telling myself that I was not really going to get in to politics this election because, honestly, the sheer amount of stupidity in this country has really made me re-think speaking up since the gut reaction of our present culture is to immediately troll or respond in a way that does not help the conversation or even prove their side. Most responses I have seen are the same kind of zealotry that would make terrorists go, “Whoa, a bit much, bro.” I mean, that’s not a good way to see it, but all those idiots out there make me tired.

So, what brought me out of this resolution? It should not surprise you, the stupidity of people! I keep hearing over and over again how Donald Trump is going to be the next, great President of the United States and I hope and pray that this is not the case. Why? Well, I’m going to tell you and it is your choice if you accept it or not.

The thing I want to address first is his immigration policy of no automatic citizenship for those born in the United States of illegal immigrants.  Though his website is vague, from his speeches, the idea is that if you are the child of an illegal immigrant and was born in the United States, you do not get automatic citizenship.(“Immigration Reform”) I wonder if people understand that supporting this violates the 14th amendment of the constitution, the constitution that people think he seems to support. He finally comes out with a statement of exactly what he wants to do as policy AND it violates the constitution. Good start to the race!

To quote, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”(“14th Amendment”)

One of the things that makes me really chuckle is that fact that people have gotten upset at President Barack Obama because he “lies” to the public. President Obama, granted, only has 21% true and 26% mostly true on the Political fact checking website, (“Brarack Obama’s file”) but the republican hopeful has 0% true and 5% mostly true.(“Donald Trump’s file”)

Now, the thing that also upsets me and really makes me write this post is the fact on how his campaign is being run. Americans are frustrated at a lot of the things in the government and I’m honestly worried that people are looking in Mister Trump’s direction because he is pretty much saying everything that we’ve been thinking. Do you really want a President who chooses to attack and bully people who do not agree with him? Do you really think the rest of the Congress is going to just stand up and welcome him? Mister Trump is a much worse choice than President Obama. Our President is idealistic and he was inexperienced when he first started out as a President. I do not agree with a lot of what he did, but he tried. Donald Trump is a troll who is trying to get to the presidency to implement his own personal agenda in a way that is reminiscent of a shotgun being pointed in the general direction of the problem and not caring who gets hurt. Yes, he does have some ideas that would help our country, but I fear how he would implement it if his view of our Constitution is that it is something to get around or ignore completely. The constitution has been ignored enough, we need a candidate who is going to try to get best of both worlds and is willing to work with both sides of the congress, not just follow the ideals of just his party. We need compromise and discussion in our government again. Without it, we are going to get people like Trump which will simply be yet another nail in our country’s coffin.

P.S. All my political posts have comments disabled because I refuse to allow trolls and others to start a political storm here just because they want to. If you want to discuss this, take the link and go to a forum that discusses politics. 

References

“14th Amendment.” 14th Amendment. Web. 28 Aug. 2015. <https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv>.

“Barack Obama’s File.” Barack Obama’s File. Web. 28 Aug. 2015. <http://www.politifact.com/personalities/barack-obama/>.

“Donald Trump’s File.” Donald Trump’s File. Web. 28 Aug. 2015. <http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/>.

“Immigration Reform.” Immigration Reform. Web. 28 Aug. 2015. <https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/immigration-reform>.

2014: Conceal Carry And Missouri

The successful override of Governor Jay Nixon’s veto for Bill 656 submitted by Senator Will Karus (D) has many gun owners and second amendment activists happy with the changes to the concealed carry laws that Missouri Senate Bill 656 enacts. It has been a long fought battle between both the Republicans and Democrats that has public opinion polarized.
Some of the biggest changes the bill enacts is that it authorizes volunteers in public school to become School Protection Officers.
“SB 656 actually strengthens accountability for guns in classrooms,” Sen. Will Kraus, the sponsor of the bill said in regards to the bill’s passing. “Current law allows school districts to waive a ban on concealed carry in schools for individuals, and at least one district has done so. Now, any teacher designated a School Protection Officer (SPO) will need to undergo 12 hours of training, and twelve additional hours annually. Each school district will decide whether to use SPOs or not.”
It also allows Missourians possessing a valid Concealed Carry permit to utilize open carry in any part of the state no matter the local ordinances.
SB656 also changes other aspects of the state’s firearms law, was also lowering the age for a permit from twenty-one to nineteen and forbids any law that would allow medical personnel to ask if there is a gun in the household and responding to any answer to that question.
            Though there is concern among some organizations at the thought of the state allowing teenagers to open carry firearms, many believe the problem to be more hyperbole than an actual issue. The state Senate and Congress overrode Governor Nixon felt the law took everything in to consideration as the House vote was one hundred and seventeen to thirty-nine and the Senate twenty-three to eight.
            “I think it is great that other states are doing what is right, which is to protect kids, rather than doing what is politically correct,” Rep. Rick Brattin (R) said in regards to the bill.
            “When you are going through that level of training, you shouldn’t be shooting yourself in the foot. We can’t legislate ‘what if’s in every scenario, but I look at it as [these teachers] are receiving the same level of firearms training as a police officer. How many police officers do you hear of shooting themselves in the foot?” Brattin also said in regards to the type of training the SPOs would be getting.
One of the largest concerns about the new law though is not the changes to the concealed carry permit itself, but to the School Protection Officer position. The law allowed the school to keep the identity of the person who is acting as the SPO from being released to the parents and some parents do not like the idea not knowing who will be the one armed in the school.
Melissa Brooks, a member of the Missouri chapter of Moms Demand Action group, said in an interview, “Reasonable people have differing opinions when it comes to guns— but I think all Missourians can agree that as parents, we have the right to know if there is going to be a gun in our kid’s classrooms.”
In the end, the Missouri law is a step towards not only re-affirming the states belief in the second amendment, but also showing solidarity towards that goal by writing and passing legislation to support the constitutional amendment.
The last test of this law will be if anyone attempts to challenge the law through the Missouri courts, but so far there has been no indication of any such activity. If the law does face the courts and survives, it will show not only the dedication of the Missouri government in protection second amendment freedoms, but also give a precedence for other second amendment states to move ahead with their legislation.

All about Vaccines – An Essay

As a parent, one of the hardest decisions that I have had to make was if I was going to get my children vaccinated. It is not what you think, I’m not a member of the anti-vaccine movement, but I was not immunized as a child by my parent’s persona choice. The biggest reason that this was a hard decision for me, was all the superficial and in some cases, inconclusive information. After a lot of reading and research, I made a decision and I wanted to provide the information to you all.

From my research, the people who dislike vaccines have pointed out three re-occuring themes:
  • The use of Thermisol which can cause Autism. 
  • Vaccinations are only temporary immunity while surviving the disease is a permanent vaccination. 
  • To many vaccinations overload a child’s immune system. 
There are a bunch of other, minor things, but I wanted to cover the major points that many proponents use are the ones listed above. My goal is simply to show you what I have learned so whoever stumbled upon this can make their own educated decision on what they should do with their children. So, please take this article as simply a research essay. All my references will be provided at the bottom. 
1. The use of Thermisol, which can cause Autism. 
One of the first things I have heard by friends and family that oppose vaccines is that they use Thermisol. So what is this thermisol that we hear so much about? Thermisol is a “mercury-containing organic compound” and has been used in preservatives for years in the United States. (CDC, 2014) One of the biggest reasons that people are concerned is the use of the word mercury, as we all know is dangerous in the long term for our bodies. That is where research shows that Thermisol is different. Thermisol, when process by the body becomes a substance called Ethylmercury, which is gotten rid of from the body very quickly, while Methylmercury is the dangerous byproduct of naturally occurring mercury for nature. (CDC, 2014)
So, does that mean it still causes autism? Though there isn’t any scientific proof that Thermisol even caused autism (Luntz, 2014), the point was rendered moot when the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) in cooperation with the Pharmaceutical companies removed Thermisol from vaccines. Since 1999, Thermisol has not been used in vaccines except for the few, rare influenza vaccine preparations. (Offit, 2007)
In discussions that I have had with some co-workers has always brought up the study preformed by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that had supposedly linked MMR vaccine with Autism, but I must point out that his report was discredited years ago as he had a conflict of interest and lied on the report. (Cohen, 2011) The medical journal even retracted the entirety of the article in 2010. (Lancet Editors, 2010)
2. Vaccinations are only temporary immunity while surviving the disease is a permanent vaccination.
I was just a bit skeptical about this one cause I could not only see where proponents were coming from, but this feels like a small scale look at the situation. Yes, one may become stronger for surviving the real decease, but when measles claim 16 people per hour and a 2013 study shows the MMR vaccine has lowered measles deaths by 87%. I think that shows that temporary immunity is better than permanent if more people can survive it. (World Health Organization, 2014)
I am not going to say more on this as there has yet to be any major research projects to end this question with facts. Most of the information I could find are conjecture and even my own words above are just deduction from what I have read. 
3. To many vaccinations overload a child’s immune system. 
The last point I want to cover is the concept of vaccinations overloading our children’s immune systems. This was the biggest concern of mine when it came to my own children. I, personally, do not believe the doctors and companies are coming up with ways to hurt my children, but time has shown us that new technologies and ideas might have unintended consequences. 
What I have found on this subject as scientific study has shown that “In the face of these normal events, it seems unlikely that the number of separate antigens contained in childhood vaccines …would represent an appreciable added burden on the immune system that would be immunosuppressive.” (Stratton, 1994, p. 63)
I think this speaks for itself as I have not found anything to refute the 1994 article.
Ending
All I wanted to do is to provide some research information for my readers or anyone who stumbled upon my blog. Being informed about what people say is the most important thing you can do and to make sure that you can verify what people are telling you when it comes important things like immunizations and your children. May you make your decision, whatever it maybe, wisely and informed! 
 
References
CDC. (2014, August 20). Frequently Asked Questions About Thimerosal (Ethylmercury). Retrieved January 29, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/thimerosal/thimerosal_faqs.html

Cohen, E., & Falco, M. (2011, January 5). Retracted autism study an ‘elaborate fraud,’ British journal finds. Retrieved January 29, 2015, from http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/05/autism.vaccines/

Editors, Lancet (2010, February 6). Retraction—Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Retrieved January 29, 2015, from http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(10)60175-4/abstract

Luntz, S. (2014, May 19). Huge Meta-Study Of Vaccines Reveals No Link To Autism. Retrieved January 29, 2015, from http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/huge-meta-study-vaccines-reveals-no-link-autism

Offit, P. (2007, September 27). Thimerosal and Vaccines – A Cautionary Tale. Retrieved January 29, 2015, from http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp078187#t=article

Stratton, K. (1994). Immunologic Reactions. In Adverse events associated with childhood vaccines evidence bearing on causality (p. 63). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

WHO. (2014, November 1). Measles. Retrieved January 29, 2015, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/

Those Great, Not so Secure, Computers We Love!

We love our computers, don’t we? I mean, they have made our everyday life so much easier and being able to play cool games anytime is also a plus! I mean, Star Wars: The Old Republic anybody? So, what am I talking about this blog post? There is a good chance that I just started to ramble on this digital piece of paper with the intent of stealing that precious two kilobytes of bandwidth it took to load this up from you, but that’s not the case….this time.  

Some of you might know that I am pursuing a college degree in Information Systems Security. That is pretty much learning how people can break in to systems, steal and destroy your data. It is scary how easy it is to do! I participated in an online lab for one of my courses that showed me how simple it was. I was able to execute an attack against a port and slip in to the backdoor of a Linux machine and get root privileges! (Pretty much, I controlled that machine). Of course this was a school environment and it was their own computers, so nothing malicious happened, but it was a demonstration that how simply leaving one port open allowed someone to execute an attack that got inside!

Now, I’m not trying to scare you or anything like that. I just wanted to give you food for thought about how insecure computers can be. To leave you with a bit of peace, make sure your windows firewalls are on, you have spyware control on there (I recommend Spybot Search and Destroy) and that you have a virus scanner on there. (I love Norton, but for those of you who are cheap, take a look at AVG Free).
!

Just be careful where you go on the internet and make sure you really want to be clicking on that link. You do not want to accidentally let someone in. 

Facing those Insurmountable Odds

Have you ever decided something and when you finally sat down to put it in to action, you were completely struck by the insurmountable odds in front of you? Well, that is what just happened to me when I decided to not only get back in to writing, but also to try and make it pay. I have always loved writing and after a recent string of jobs that I just could not fit in, it dawned on me that it might be time to try my hand at something that I once loved.

The hard question is, could I do it? For so long, writing had been my only passion and now it has be reduced to a bunch of scribbles on the back of receipts. The feeling of creation had completely left me and some days I just stare at a blank page just wishing the words would come out of my fingers. Could that ever happen again?

I sometimes wonder if it is that line that all writers hit. When you move away from looking at it as a hobby and an “art” to realizing it has to be a business if you plan to make money at it. Sometimes I wonder if I cannot accept the fact that writing is going to be a chore and inspiration is never going to hit me every time I sit down at my computer to tap words out.

So, why is this blog on the failing writer that I am? Well, this blog post is the first step into the New Year to go from being a scribbler on the back to receipts to a freelance writer who has gotten a renewed love for writing. I want to get back the excitement and the adventure of this wonderful craft and leave behind the awful, horrible, writer’s block that has haunted me for years.

So, this is to my future freelance career and I hope you all (if anyone is out there reading this) will join me for the ride! 

The Curse of Being a Writer

Ever since I was twelve years old and my mother gave me my dad’s old college typewriter, I told myself and everyone who was willing to listen to me that I was going to become a writer. Now, at the old age of twenty-nine, I look at what I have done and wonder if I ever accomplished my goal and if it was even possible.

Being an author is not a blessing as you might think, but more of a gilded curse. I have heard many aspiring authors say that they want to write, tell stories, and to make money, but I just shake my head and think to myself that they really do not understand what it means to be one. For me, writing is something that I have to do. I must tell a story no matter what and even when I cannot write because of a mental block or that I am tired, I find myself writing little notes in my book or even posting to this blog. 
To all you aspiring writers, writing will infect your soul. You will have the burning desire to write and it will consume you when you are not able to put those words down on paper. Am I trying to scare you off? No, not at all. I love being a writer, even if sometimes I feel that the stories in my mind are trying to rip their way out. I am in love with that feeling when you have a clear cognizance and are able to spend the next two or three hours just penning what you want. For me, it has become rare because of my real world responsibilities, but you cannot beat the feeling of accomplishment and love as you bring a character to life on paper. 
Writing is such a big thing to me, sometimes I worry that it will take over and I will always be trying to devote time even if it really is an unending hobby. I mean, when do you decide, “I’ve written enough stories, I’m done.” That never happens. 
So, to all you writers out there, keep up what you are doing. You are not alone in the uncontrollable urge to tell some story. As you hunch over your laptop putting out yet another fan fiction, or essay, or article, realize that you are not alone and someone else has admitted they have the addiction of words. And then say a pray for them. 

My First Published Story of 2014!

You know those days where nothing seems to be going right? The days when your projects are behind, life has decided to kick you in the face multiple times, AND you spill your favorite pop all over your favorite shirt? (Of course it’s a blue shirt and a dark pop). That is what has been happening to me for a few weeks, but something exciting has happened and I’m glad to share!

I have published my first story for 2014! It’s the first part of a serial I plan to work on all year and you can find it here:

http://www.jukepopserials.com/home/read/1835

If you are interested, please take a look, comment, vote and give me your feedback. It’s only through help that I will be able to improve and become a better writer. You’re support, though invisible, is essential. I appreciate every bit you all give me!

Thanks!

A New Blog and a New Adventure

It has been a long time since I’ve written in a blog. I think about a year ago when my original one was taken down thanks to some hackers getting past the nucleus install and put their porn ads all over the comments. Oh, well. 

Now, as I’m trying to get back in to the world of writing for the year of 2014, I have decided that I do need a blog to keep up the practice and to talk like I used to. I’ve missed the enjoyment of sitting and writing something with no pressure nor any care who or what is reading it. 
So, stay tuned for more writings from me and I hope I do not bore you all to death.