Catching Fire & Mockingjay

I finally finished The Hunger Games trilogy and although it was a great story, as I shut the last book I felt a sense of hopelessness, of history repeating itself, and of lives lived with little joy. I know not all books are meant to leave the reader in a good place. I’ve cried as I finished some books, but never have I felt such a sense of worthlessness. Not in my life but for the characters in the books. All that they went through, the triumps and loss, the death, just to get to a place where they lived a bleak existence in a world void of the ones they loved most.

It almost feels like a loss of innocence. Life was tough for Katniss, Peeta, and Gale before the Hunger Games changed everything, but at least there was family and happiness, friendship and love. When the great war is over and the Capitol has been defeated all that is left is dead relatives, destroyed homes, and families separated from one another. For a long time I was torn between whether I wanted to see Katniss with Gale or Peeta and I went back and forth but in the end it really didn’t matter to me, the events that transpired went way beyond what their relationship could be and made it non-important who she ended up with.

I don’t want you to think I didn’t enjoy the books, the first book was amazing, easily one I would re-read, and the other two were good reads as well, it’s just that the story didn’t have a happy ending (in my opinion) and I guess I wanted it to. I wanted families to be together, I wanted hope to be restored, I wanted Katniss to somehow end up with both Peeta and Gale!

If you haven’t read The Hunger Games you should. Don’t let this post discourage you. I’m very excited for the movie adaptations but I do wonder how they will keep them at PG-13 because the books were pretty graphic. If you’ve already read the books or read them in the future let me know your thoughts as well!

A-Z: Things I like

A – Africa (the continent I love)

B – Basset Hounds (there is no greater breed)

C – Christmas (everything about Christmas makes me happy)

D – Dexter (easily one of my top 5 favorite TV shows)

E – Eating (not gonna lie, I like to eat)

F – Funnel Cakes (is there any sweet treat that’s better?)

G – Geocaching (my favorite hobby)

H – Harry Potter (probably the greatest book series ever)

I – In ‘n Out Burger (mmmmm)

J – Jenny (my wife, she’s awesome)

K – King (Stephen King to be exact, his books frighten me)

L – Los Angeles Dodgers (my favorite baseball team)

M – Monster Energy Drinks (they keep me awake when I need to be awake)

N – Newcastle United (my favorite soccer team)

O – Outback Steakhouse (yes it’s a chain, but it’s one of my favorite restaurants)

P – Podcasts (so many great podcasts, so many great topics)

Q – Queen (some of the best guitar solo’s ever)

R – Rain (I love rain, I just wish California got more of it)

S – Survivor (recently got hooked on this show, now I’m watching every season!)

T – Traveling (I love seeing new places and old places)

U – Uganda (the place I truly consider home)

V – Vanilla Latte (iced or hot, I’ll drink them)

W – Words With Friends (play me! username: adamansel)

X – X-Files (Mulder & Scully, need I say more?)

Y – Yahoo News Ticker (this is where I keep up with the world)

Z – Zoo’s (Santa Barbara and San Diego have great ones)

Bald is Beautiful

As I was shaving my head this morning I began to reflect on the fact that I’m bald. I still have a ring of hair that covers that back and sides of my head, but up on top it’s like a few blades of grass struggling to reach the sun. So for the  most part I keep my head clean shaven.

I’m only 30 but I actually went bald when I was 23. In high school I had short hair but once I moved away to college I let it grow and grow it did! My hair was long and for the next few years it went back and forth from short to medium to long and changed colors from the normal black/brown to orange/red/yellowish. My hairline was slowly receding but that wasn’t a big deal to me.

Then I made a decision that changed everything.

I was in Germany in 2003, it was winter and I was working with a choir of kids from Uganda and Kenya. They convinced me to do something I had never done before – shave my head. One evening I did it. I cut all the hair off my head and it never came back. Like I said before, the sides and back grew in just fine but the top had lost the battle.

 I miss having hair, sometimes when the wind blows it feels like I have hair but in those moments when I miss it the most I remember these words of wisdom a friend told me: God made some men perfect…and the rest he gave hair.

Losing Steam

This blog has been up and running since February 2010, about 17 months now. I’ve tried to post at least once a week, usually more, but lately I’ve been losing steam. Interesting things are happening, I’m watching good shows and reading books that I like, but it’s the actual writing of the posts that have become difficult. A few years ago when I was writing a lot more short stories and was working on a novel I would hit a wall every now and then and just didn’t want to write anymore so I had to push through it to get to the end result. The problem with a blog is there isn’t necessarily an end result. It’s very much open-ended.

I’m going to keep writing, I’m going to keep posting, no question about that, but I just wanted everyone to know where I was at so that, in case of less posts, you’ll know why. Who know’s though, tomorrow I could wake up and be ready to write a post a day. That’s the thing I’ve found with writing, it’s a day to day process that you can’t give up on. You have to make the words come out, you have to force the thoughts into something readable because you can’t be a writer if you don’t write. Ever since I was a child I wanted to be a writer, not because I wanted to be famous or write the next great novel, but because I thought I had good ideas and stories to tell and the medium I wanted to do that through was words.

Thanks for all of you who keep up with the blog, I appreciate it and I hope the things I write about interest you and put a smile on your face. And all that needs to happen for me to not lose steam is for more fuel to be put in the fire.

Dreams of Fernandomania

This past weekend I took in my first Dodgers game of the season and uncharacteristically they won 8-0, had 17 hits, and Kershaw struck out 10 while only allowing 2 hits. If they did that all the time, they’d actually be a team to reckon with.

What was interesting was what happened the night before the game though. I had a dream. A dream that merged a number of things that had been going on in my head into one. I had a dream about meeting Fernando Valenzuela, the great Dodger pitcher. In real life the day before, Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp on Twitter) had been tweeting about meeting fans at different Bank of America’s around Los Angeles and this is what caused my dream to happen I think.

In my dream I was pulling into a Bank of America and realized that there was an autograph session going on with someone in a Los Angeles Dodgers uniform. I parked my car, walked up to the table and noticed that it was Fernando Valenzuela. I knew that somewhere in a stack of baseball cards that were in my trunk there was one of his cards (in my dream I guess I keep baseball cards in my trunk) and that I could get him to sign it.

I ran back to the car and sure enough, his was on top. I picked it up and looked at it only to have the wind blow and it fell back into the trunk and onto the pile of other baseball cards. I started to sort through the pile but couldn’t find his card, it was as if it had disappeared. After searching for a while I became frustrated and gave up, at least I was going to shake his hand and say hello.

When I got back inside the bank Fernando had changed from the Dodger uniform into a suit and was getting read to leave. I shouted out his name and he turned around as he was walking out the door. “I’m going to the game today, will you be there?” I called.

He smiled and walked out the door. Then I woke up.