Girl Meets Boy ed. Kelly Milner Halls

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Release date: December 28, 2011

Pages: 204

This collection of short stories aims to show that there are two sides to every dispute or interaction between a guy and a girl. It doesn’t quite do this—it instead shows gives us a backstory for both the male and female protagonists of each story. It’s kind of like books with alternating-POVs; there’s no real revelation when you see the other side of a story, it just provides a new perspective.

Now let’s get down to the stories.

Story 1: John and Wanda. This story is not the best start to the novel. John’s POV feels messy and jumbled, but Wanda’s is smoother and more understandable. The two characters are deeply flawed, which is interesting, but the story definitely has a skeevy vibe.

Story 2: Bobby and Nancy. This one is cute! The two authors successfully capture the awkwardness of a first relationship, especially because the parties involved are so different.

Story 3: Max and Alex. Stories of friendship formed over the internet always interest me, and this story was no exception. The authors do a great job making the relationship between Max and Alex feel real, and I loved how the story ultimately ended.

Story 4: Sean and Raffina. Yay for multiracial couples! I love that the authors spent time exploring the weirdness that comes with dating someone of a different color. This story takes a very candid look at the situation, which is refreshing.

Story 5: Rafi and Kerry. This story also examines a multiracial couple, but it examines culture in depth. It’s neat to see similarities in cultures that are complete opposites. The romance in this one is especially cute.

Story 6: Gavin and Stephanie. Hello, twist ending! The authors do a fantastic job of developing the characters in this one, and the backstories are fully fleshed out. The ending will seriously surprise you, though!

4/5 stars

For those who like: Romance, realistic love stories, short stories
I hope you have found this article interesting. Please, feel free to share your opinion in the comments below. I couldn’t express how pleased I am to get your feedback, I would appreciate it very much. Now, get yourself a cup of nice tea  and don’t forget to read a couple of pages before going to bed.

Read more: A Free Online Essay Checker for all of your College Writing Assignments. Can you do what Robot Don does?

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Flexible work options bring thanks

Social media posts this week confirmed the three most popular reasons to give thanks – family, friends and a four-day weekend.

Scores of posts and tweets about blissful days away from work have me wondering … does anyone like his job? Do hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans spend every day grasping for a chance at a job just so they can dream of a four-day weekend?

One friend gave me this perspective; “Don’t get me wrong, I like what I do and I don’t mind my job, I just don’t want to be there.”

So it seems like this recession offers the ideal time to evaluate the way we work and make improvements that benefit the employee, the employer and the environment. News articles and blogs point to a shift in how we exchange goods and services and earn money. Thankfully the shift includes flexible options.

Small businesses are springing up like wildflowers in the Pacific Northwest. I doubt these new business owners expect many four-day weekends, but they don’t have to worry about getting fired. They work long hours, yet can arrange a work schedule that starts earlier (in pajamas if desired), accommodates family time and is all around more flexible. It’s hard to hide from the office, but you are the boss.

Home offices are another viable option for disciplined people. Truthfully, if our bosses said, “here is your stack of work for the day, leave when it’s done,” most people would not be in the office eight hours a day. Those that can avoid distractions will be more efficient and hopefully more content.

An idea I am really fond of is flextime. The brilliant concept is widely popular in other countries and could answer issues of recession, conservation, and life-work balance. As suggested by the name, the flex differs from person to person. Some want to avoid high traffic times and others need to be home when the school bus arrives. Many workers telecommute part time just because they can.

Another friend planned to leave her design job and be a consultant for other companies. She loves her company yet struggles to balance family time and work time, especially with set hours, commuting and two children. Instead of letting her go, the company’s head honcho offered her a part-time, work-from-home option in which she dictated the hours and schedule. The company retained an amazing designer and my friend got everything she needed.

On the green side of things, offices that work four 10-hour shifts, like many government bureaus, conserve energy and fuel. I realize a 10-hour work day is not ideal for all. But, the timing is right to consider all options that would help people get more three-day weekends and save companies money. It’s feasible that we can come out of the recession with more people laboring joyfully – and tweets and posts to prove it.

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Tips and Tricks for Your College Applications

So now you know how to pick a college but what now? Just because you think a school is a good fit for you and apply does not mean you will get in. The tips and tricks below will help you to actually get into the right place for you.

 

  1. Strength in Numbers

 

It may sound obvious, but it is much better to have many choices than only a few. It makes perfect sense to apply to as many schools as you can provided, of course, that they meet your minimum criteria.

 

  1. Categorize

 

Separate your potential applications into three categories. You might have heard these terms before, and I will use them here for consistency: Top Choices, Reach Schools, and Safety Schools. Your top choices, obviously, are the schools that you think you have a good chance of getting into and seem like the best fit for your needs. The Reach Schools are the schools that are more selective (and usually have higher prestige rankings) but which you have some chance of getting into. Safety Schools are the schools that you are nearly certain you can get into. Make sure you have several colleges or universities in EACH category.

 

Also, in filling out your college applications, spend the most time on your Top Choice schools. You should still devote some effort to your Reach and Safety schools, but if it comes down to which schools you need to spend time on the application for, you will have a good list to go from.

 

  1. Spend Time on Your Essay

 

While factors like GPA and SAT/ACT scores might serve as an initial starting point for schools, if it comes down to a tough choice, the school’s decision could come down to your essay. It is worth it to put extra time into it, have others proofread it, and for you to polish it to perfection. Proofread, proofread, proofread!

 

  1. Seek Out and Listen to Advice!

Seek out and listen to the advice of your guidance counselors and other experts in college applications. This is an important and difficult decision in your life, and these people want nothing more than to help you make it a great one!

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The Knees May Creak; the Brain Should Not part 2

The Creaky Knees Guide Oregon, like all of Seabury’s guides, is written in an entertaining, casual style that is like a friend talking to the reader, sharing stories and vital information. His tales from his own hiking experiences are often laugh-out-loud funny, but always with a point. He’ll tell you the sights and sounds to look out for to best enjoy the hike; with his detailed descriptions of the trails, signposts, and landmarks, you won’t have to worry about getting lost and missing the beautiful waterfall because you turned left instead of right at the junction with the spur trail. The hikes—eighty in all, including four urban trails—featuring all distances, hiking times, elevation gains, effort ratings, best seasons to hike, permit information, GPS trailhead coordinates, and topographic maps. In addition, hikes that allow—or are especially ideal for—children and dogs are identified.

 

And Seabury knows it’s no laughing matter to prepare thoroughly for even the most benign-seeming hike. In addition to The 10 Essentials that no hiker should be without, he describes weather and wildlife considerations that hikers should always be aware of (do you know the right thing to do if a mountain lion confronts you?). In his specific hike descriptions, if there’s a particularly hazardous or physically challenging section, he’ll tell you about it. These hikes are intended to be exhilarating and refreshing—not survivalist treks filled with surprises and danger. Seabury went out and risked his own limbs so you wouldn’t have to!

 

We haven’t even talked about the geography this new Creaky Knees book covers—the vast, fascinating state of Oregon, that’s what. Everything on the beautiful extended coast from Astoria to Whalehead Cove, the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, Central Oregon, more remote corners of the state, and urban trails in Portland, Salem, Corvallis, and Eugene. Even the most ambitious creaky-kneed hiker will need years to try all these hikes!
I know I’m itching to try them myself. And thanks to Seabury Blair’s terrific new The Creaky Knees Guide Oregon, for once my brain is going to be as ready for these hikes as I think my legs are.

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The Knees May Creak; the Brain Should Not

Having not-as-limber-as-they-used-be creaky knees is not the only problem I have when it comes to hiking. Having a creaky brain can be a problem too.

 

I am the King of the Ill-Advised Hike. The common-sense, follow-them-if-you-want-to-live guidelines that Northwest hiking guru Seabury Blair Jr. emphasizes in the Be Careful section of all of his Day Hike! and Creaky Knees guides are things my friends and I always ignored when we set out on hikes. An adequate supply of water? Nah, no need—there will no doubt be a drinking fountain along the trail. First-aid kit? Only dorks carry those—do we look like klutzes? A topographic map of the trail? Hey, up is up, down is down, and well remember the route we hiked in on . . . etc., etc.

 

The result, predictably, has been a number of hikes that were unpleasant at best, and injurious or life-periling at worst:

 

One hike in the hills of Berkeley, California, ended with me stepping in a ditch I couldn’t see in the pitch blackness because we thought we don’t need a light source—it’s not dark now when we started. I endured two days of excruciating pain and torn cartilage in my left knee to show for that one.

 

Another time, only a tense argument followed by a triumph of democracy (two of the three of us voted to turn back while we still had a bit of daylight) between the hikers saved us from getting lost in the darkness far from the main trail on a brisk winter evening on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California, when we had, of course, zero provisions. I suppose we would have survived the night, but to this day, I can still visualize the headline that could have appeared if we’d made the wrong decision: BODIES OF THREE HIKERS AIRLIFTED OFF MT. TAM.

 

I don’t even want to think about the time a family member urged the others to hike from a vista point at the Grand Canyon to the base of the canyon on a whim one very hot September afternoon—again with absolutely no plan, map, or provisions. (For once, I wasn’t that family member.) Fortunately, that whim passed or the family threatened to throw the one who suggested the idea into the canyon; I forget which.

 

The belabored point I’m trying to make is merely that tired or aging limbs are not the only obstacles to invigorating, enriching, safe hikes. The biggest obstacle is often the muscle located within the skull. And the deft, entertaining way that is addressed is one of my favorite things about Seabury’s hiking guides, the latest of which is The Creaky Knees Guide Oregon. It’s the second of his books offering shorter, less-punishing half-day hikes for those with physical limitations that make longer, more challenging hikes impossible—or who would rather take a lighter stroll that emphasizes beautiful scenery and other visual rewards instead of mountain goat–like climbing skills.

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