Feb 3, 2014  •  In Books, Personal, Web

How Fast Can You Read?

And how do you compare to the national average?

Office supplies retailer Staples has created an online test that measures how many words you read per minute and how you rank up to the masses. The directions are simple: after reading a selection of text, you answer 3 simple questions to verify that you did, in fact, read the passage, and voilà!

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I’m sure that the test is not without faults, but I was still pleasantly surprised — with a smidge of nerdy pride — to score 1,068 words per minute. :-)  I guess my love of reading and my desire to consume every last written word in my path, starting from a young age, has made me an efficient reader over the years? I remember how I never had to study up on the reading comprehension portion of the SATs and still managed to receive a perfect score on those questions.

Here are the average reading speeds of various groups. At 1,068 words per minute, I’m still a slow reader compared to speed readers, who average 1,500 words per minute! And the world speed-reading champion? 4,700 words per minute!  8-O

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After displaying the results, you have an option to keep going to see how long it would take you — if you read at the same pace — to read famous works of literature. For me, I could finish War and Peace in 9 hours and 10 minutes, The Lord of the Rings in 7 hours and 28 minutes, A Tale of Two Cities in 2 hours and 7 minutes, and The War of the Worlds in 57 minutes.

It even tells me how fast I can read the entire Bible: 12 hours and 8 minutes.

Like many tests and quizzes widely available on the web, this test and its results are certainly not life-changing. Nor would I imagine it to be valuable information to most people. But it is fun and interesting, at least to this lover of the written word. :-)  And I want to know if any of my readers score higher than me.  ;-)


It feels good to be back blogging. I’ll post a catch-up entry in the near future. 

Jan 1, 2014  •  In Personal

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

In the past 6 weeks, my family has had 4 hospital stays. J is actually still in the hospital and has been admitted for over a week.

Additionally, the virus I had caught a few weeks back migrated to my left eye. I am still being treated — it hurts to look at screens, to do anything that requires concentration with my eyes open (even driving, which sucks because J’s hospital is over an hour drive each way), and I’m constantly getting headaches.

And this is just the medical stuff.

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NYE 2013 at the hospital. At least I was able to bring some smiles to the
doctors and nurses who were working that evening by gifting them
bottles of sparkling grape juice and cookies. When your own life is
going to shit, brightening someone else’s day can help you feel better.
At least it did for me.

Last night, as I visited J at the hospital and quietly celebrated New Years at 8pm (because it had to have been midnight somewhere), we looked back on 2013 and agreed that it was a pretty shitty year for both of us.

So as I’ve bid adieu to 2013, I look forward to 2014 with hope. It has to get better. It will get better.

Because I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Dec 23, 2013  •  In Movies, Personal, Relationships

Delusion Angel*

1995. I remember it was my last year in junior high. I remember being awkward and unsure, desperately wanting to fit in, longing to be just like everyone else yet still wanting to leave a unique imprint as a burgeoning adult.

I remember sneaking peeks at issues of YM and Seventeen at the school library. And I remember reading about Before Sunrise, a movie about two strangers (Céline and Jesse, played by Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke) who meet on a train and spend an unforgettable night in Vienna together. I remember all the girly magazines raving about it, and I remember renting the flick from my local Blockbuster later that year.

And I remember I fell asleep watching the movie.

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My favorite scene from “Before Sunrise” is the one where they pretend to call their friends
while confessing their true feelings for each other.

I’m guessing that at the age of 14/15, a movie whose entirety consists of two people walking around a city, talking and getting to know each other, didn’t hold much appeal.

Only now do I know better: I was still too young to understand the type of human attraction that can bond two souls for eternity. I knew that such connections existed, but I was not yet mature enough to recognize it nor appreciate it.

2004. The sequel to Before SunriseBefore Sunset, was released. Once again the media — at least the ones I recall — sang it praises and declared it a worthwhile follow-up.

In Before Sunset, the two lovers are reunited for the first time since that magical night in Vienna 9 years prior. Jesse, who I consider to be more of a romantic than Céline, had written a book about their encounter, which prompts Céline to seek him out at a book signing in Paris, where she resides.

As was the case in Before Sunrise, the two protagonists are constricted by the passage of time, and they are all too aware that they have only a few precious hours together before Jesse must catch a flight back home to New York.

But it’s as if that knowledge of limited time thrusts them closer still, and those 9 years had never separated them. They easily fall back into their routine of deep, soulful conversations interlaced with playful banter and flirtatious remarks. And there’s no denying that the attraction is still very much alive.

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One of the most poignant scenes from “Before Sunset” is when Céline reaches out to
touch Jesse, but pulls her hand away just as he turns back to her.

While those 9 years apart have left both characters residing in different continents and attached to other people — Jesse is married and has a son! — the audience cannot help but wonder ‘Will they or won’t they?’ while silently rooting for them to get together already.

Because clearly you don’t run into people with whom you share such an amazing connection every day. Heck, you don’t run into them every year. And in this blogger’s opinion, many people don’t get to experience this sort of bond in their lifetimes.

Like Céline herself says in the movie, “I guess when you’re young, you just believe there’ll be many people with whom you’ll connect with. Later in life, you realize it only happens a few times.”

I actually did not watch this movie until just a couple of weeks ago. I had figured that since I didn’t like the first movie too much, I wouldn’t like the second either.

Would I have liked it if I saw it back in 2004 when it was released? Probably, as I have had loved and been loved by this point in my life. I would have certainly better understood the overwhelming attraction and deep connection that can quickly enrapture two people. And having been in a committed relationship for most of that year, I’m pretty sure that the romantic in me would have had me rooting for these two. Despite the fact that they were both already in relationships with other people, because hey, Jesse got married for the wrong reasons and was in an unhappy marriage (“There’s no joy, or laughter, in my home”), and Céline’s relationship with her boyfriend was doomed to fail anyway because every relationship she’s had has paled in comparison to what she shared with Jesse…and isn’t that what true love is all about? (Or so says my 24-year-old self.)

The reason I decided to watch Before Sunset, a full 9 years after its release, was because the third film in this series, Before Midnight, came out earlier this year and it seemed to be on everyone‘s year-end “The Best Movies of 2013″ lists. So I decided to watch all three movies, back-to-back, to see what all the fuss was about. Also, to see if I had been mistaken about Before Sunrise 18 years ago. :-)

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Coincidentally, “Before Midnight” is set in my favorite European country: Greece.

Like the second film in the trilogy, Before Midnight is set 9 years after the last. And it turns out that Céline and Jesse did get together after all — they have been a couple all these years and have twin girls!

But while the first two films were about falling in love, this last installment focuses on staying in love. It’s messy, unpredictable, and at times brutal. In other words, it’s real. There were even moments when I felt the need to pause the movie, much like politely leaving the room when two people you care about engage in a heated argument.

At the end of all three movies, the audience is left to wonder. The first: do Céline and Jesse return to Vienna in 6 months as they had promised each other? The second: do Céline and Jesse hook up after he misses his flight back home? And finally: will Céline and Jesse stay together? Can they make it work?

And, like Jesse himself says at the beginning of the second movie, the answers to those questions might as well be a test to see if you’re a romantic or a cynic.

It’s funny, because if I were to answer those questions back when the first two movies were released, my answers would have been a resounding YES.

But now, I am not so sure.

Posted @ QUOTEZ.CO

I still like to think of myself a romantic in spite of the heartaches I have endured, or having born witness to all too many relationships fall apart around me. I would like to believe that Céline and Jesse reunited in Vienna 6 months after their first night together. I would like to believe that Céline and Jesse sacrificed the comfort and familiarity of their present lives to take a chance at a relationship. And I would love for Céline and Jesse to have their happy ending despite the stress of their jobs, kids, Jesse’s malicious ex-wife, and their not-so-gracefully-aging relationship.

However, I now know that love cannot always conquer all. Real life isn’t always so clear-cut and simple. Greed, guilt, pride, resentment, and obligations get in the way. We are all flawed, and we never cease to disappoint and hurt those who care about us. And the sad truth is that happiness in love just isn’t obtainable by all.

Have my views on love become cynical over the years? Perhaps.

Then why oh why have these films quickly become my second all-time favorite movie trilogy? (If you can’t guess my favorite, you’re dead to me. :-P )

And why do I find myself wishing for their happy ending, despite knowing that it probably won’t be possible?

I can only surmise that while I have, indeed, become a cynic in my everyday life, deep down inside, where my imagination and fictional fancies reside, I still remain an optimistic, hopeful romantic.

Deep down inside, I too long to be a delusion angel.

*”Delusion Angel” is a poem penned by David Jewell for the movie Before Sunrise. The poem makes its appearance in the movie via a poet who approaches Céline and Jesse, and, instead of begging for money, offers to write them a poem with a word of their choice in it. It is a beautiful scene and an equally brilliant poem.

Daydream delusion 
Limousine Eyelash 
Oh, baby with your pretty face 
Drop a tear in my wineglass 
Look at those big eyes 
See what you mean to me 
Sweet cakes and milkshakes
I am a delusion angel 
I am a fantasy parade 
I want you to know what I think 
Don’t want you to guess anymore 
You have no idea where I came from 
We have no idea where we’re going 
Lodged in life
Like two branches in a river
Flowing downstream
Caught in the current
I’ll carry you. You’ll carry me
That’s how it could be
Don’t you know me? 
Don’t you know me by now?

Dec 2, 2013  •  In Art/Design, Funny, Geek, Web

Browser Girls

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The comic is pretty funny by itself, but the comments on it are hilariously accurate too! Here’s my favorite:

IE10 is like the friend that said he would show up to the party early and bring tons of booze that everyone can have, but shows up 3 hours late with a 40 of king kobra for himself.

Meanwhile, your good, reliable, friend Firefox just said he would show up, and ended up bringing 2 kegs because he wanted to.

Safari and opera showed up together. They aren’t the coolest, but they are fun to have around at parties. They don’t start drama, and are pretty nice to everyone. They brought wine spritzers though…

Chrome came an hour late, but that doesn’t matter because he’s good fun. He brought a whole shit ton of liquor that everybody can have because liquor is quicker, ya know? (ie10 will inevitably steal and take home an unopened bottle of this at the end of the night) He’s a little weird though because he somehow knows something about everybody….

Edit: Hey, somebody should probably call an ambulance. Netscape is passed out on the couch and hasn’t moved for quite awhile.

Another gem:

I’m starting to get annoyed at Chrome. When she moved in, she was petite and not really in my way. Now she keeps allocating space in different places for herself and I’m running out. I have to toss out her trash all the time.

She is also really jealous and you suspect that she is reading all of your emails and texts.

Plus she keeps letting door to door salesmen in to talk to you about their products.

And, on a related note…

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Nov 27, 2013  •  In Aerin, Personal

Wishing for Health

I don’t have much time, so I’ll make this quick…

Aerin’s surgery on Monday went very well. She is recovering nicely and has been running around like nothing has happened.

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But that same night, we had to rush J to the E.R. and he has been in the hospital since with a kidney infection. They’re still not sure when he can be released.  :cry:

Our Thanksgiving plans have obviously been scrapped, but I wish you all a wonderful, healthy holiday with joy, laughter, and full bellies.