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Ellen Zacarias

Hey there. I’m Ellen, and I graduated with a lit/writing degree from UCSD. As the chosen major suggests, I love books and working with text, and in addition to that, my other interests include style, MBTI and travel.

When I’m not working, reading or writing, I enjoy walking along trails, spending time with my family, and thinking about imaginary realms and characters.

You can contact me at ellen.ly@gmail.com.

Audiobook: THE SILENT BLADE by R.A. Salvatore (Drizzt #11), Narrated by Victor Bevine

Shorter Lifespans: Human Characters Evolve Faster than the Dark Elf

The Silent Blade
by R.A. Salvatore
(Legend of Drizzt #11)
 
Narrated by: Victor Bevine
 
In The Silent Blade by R.A. Salvatore, we see, once again, another lineup of old villains who’ve come back for a second (or third) chance to achieve their evil agendas: the Crystal Shard and Artemis Entreri. The novel switches between three different storylines–something I didn’t mind, given the fact that each storyline follows a character with a distinct path. 

The Three Storylines

Once again, we continue the journeys of Drizzt and his friends and frenemies. Drizzt and his friends travel, as always, to save the world from evil. This time, the evil takes form in the return of the Crystal Shard to the hands of someone who can make its dreams for world domination come to fruition: Jarlaxle. It’s great to see the crew reunited: Drizzt, Catti-Brie, Bruenor, Regis, and Wulfgar. 
 
The group is unsure of how to comfort Wulfgar. The seven-foot barbarian feels completely disconnected from the person he once was, prior to imprisonment and torture. Eventually, he sets out to do his own thing, hits up some bars and drowns his discomfort in booze, sex with short women, and fighting. Bartender offers him free booze, food, and a bed if he gets rid of troublemakers. Wulfgar finds a successful career in the bar as a professional brawler. 
 
Artemis Entreri, still suffering from a blow to his ego after two defeats by Drizzt, paces restlessly through Calimport and reenters the underground politics of the seedy city. Entreri meets Dwahvel, leader of a halfling guild. He had always defined himself by his physical fighting skills, but now that Entreri’s been defeated, he feels empty…and he wants another rematch. Yeah. Okay. 
 
This isn’t the first time Salvatore has split up a novel between several characters. The paths of our favorite characters converge towards the end, creating a sense of cohesion that was missing at the beginning of The Silent Blade

Human Characters Get More Opportunities to Grow and Change Than Drizzt

Artemis Entreri is a flawed man–troubled, and struggling against his own weakness. And also, less predictable. Unlike Drizzt, who has always been “good”, each choice that Entreri changes as a character after he’s forced to reevaluate his values. While not quite likable, Wulfgar’s struggles are less predictable, because he too is deviating from the typical Mary Sue sort of path. He’s a broken man. 
 
The human characters beside Drizzt are allowed to transform more, perhaps because of their shorter life spans. At heart, Drizzt’s is “good”, and that’s all he ever has been. His character has also become a lot more Mary Sue than back in The Crystal Shard, where Drizzt was depicted as a bloodthirsty swordsman. We know that it’s not so much “growth” as it is a different rewriting of his character to be more tender and “good” because the prequels, which were written later, depicted Drizzt as a person who’s always been good. However, there are mysteries in Drizzt’s life. At the end, Jarlaxle reveals a juicy tidbit about how he came to know Drizzt. 
 
While sometimes it may seem like Entreri serves as a foil to Drizzt, sometimes it feels like the other way around–Drizzt serves as a foil to the human characters, who evolve, change, soften or harden their hearts depending on the circumstances. 

Audio Narration

I only started listening to the audiobooks after book 10, so this is the first time I’ve heard Bevine’s interpretation of Artemis Entreri’s voice. Not bad. Cold, calculating, but not hoarse or anything extraordinary, which is pretty much in character. Overall, Victor Bevine does a good job narrating this novel. His voice is engaging and expressive, pulling me into the story as I drive to and from work each day. 
 

Conclusion

The Silent Blade by R.A. Salvatore, narrated by Victor Bevine was a good read (or “listen”, since I had listened to it by audiobook). I like where this arc is going. Wulfgar’s rough life in the spine of the world opens up an opportunity to explore a different part of the world of Faerun. 
 
My rating: 4.5/5 (rounded to 5)
 
Find out more about The Silent Blade by R.A. Salvatore:
 
 
***
 
See my review of: 
 

 

Fresh Off the Boat, Episode 11 Recap: Very Superstitious

Trope of the Magical Asian Lady

In Fresh Off the Boat Episode 11, “Very Superstitious”, Jessica Huang (Constance Wu), now a licensed real estate agent, sells a house with the address 44 West 44th Street – the number “4” is considered very bad luck in Chinese culture because it sounds like the word “death”. Meanwhile, Eddie (Hudson Yang) runs for school president after being encouraged to by the school counselor, but poor Eddie soon becomes intersected with the bad luck spawned by Jessica’s sale of the bad-luck house.

The Unlucky Number “4”

In episode 11 of Fresh Off the Boat, Jessica breaks away from her usual pragmatism to protect her family from the bad luck that comes from interacting with the number “4”. She goes to great lengths to avoid the unlucky number–even tearing up the check she receives for selling the house on 44th Street, which contains several “4’s”.

Louis (Randall Park) wanted to use her check to buy a bull for his restaurant, so he tapes together the check and cashes it. However, soon the bull’s path and Eddie’s paths intersect, and the “white lie” blows up in their faces.

A cleansing ritual is used in which Grandma Huang (Lucille Soong) enjoys a moment in the spotlight as the mysticist of the family, using Buddhist chants to purify the bad luck. In the process, she also takes some nice collector’s cups from the little brother. That sneaky madam. I was glad that Grandma Huang finally had some more lines (some in English), which shows that she’s a delightfully charming actress and that she just hasn’t had enough lines (besides one or two Mandarin one-liners) to truly shine as a character.

Trope of the Magical Asian Lady

The women in the Huang family are somewhat exoticized in this episode of Fresh off the Boat, as if being more superstitious than the males (primarily Louis). Episode 11 tries to counteract this set-up by revealing Louis as being more superstitious (jade necklace) than he lets on (hilarious), but ultimately it brings in the trope of the magical Asian lady in Grandma Huang. Lucille Soong has played the magical Asian lady before in Freaky Friday as the mysterious lady in the Chinese restaurant. Here, Lucille Soong serves as the old Asian lady with stronger ties to ancient Chinese hocus pocus for Huang family, which isn’t white, but more westernized.

Jessica isn’t an expert to the old magical arts, but she openly buys into Grandma Huang’s set of superstitious beliefs, while Louis is more self-conscious about the beliefs, even embarrassed by it. Once again, Louis serves as the somewhat straight man in this comedy, who (attempts to) distance himself from the antics of his mother and wife. Fresh Off the Boat tries to counteract the gender binary that they’ve set up by showing that Louis is more superstitious than he lets on, and Randall Park is delightful in conveying Louis’s inner neurotic self when not protected from the world’s evil by the jade necklace. I think Louis should take off his jade necklace more often. 

You can watch Fresh Off the Boat episodes on: http://abc.go.com/shows/fresh-off-the-boat

Rolling Stone Article on Campus Rape Deemed a Journalistic Failure

Magazine’s Failure May Have Spread Notion That Women Invent Rape Allegations

em>Rolling Stone magazine retracted a widely discredited article about a horrible gang rape at University of Virginia after the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University released a report on Sunday concluding that the article, “A Rape on Campus” written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was a story of “journalistic failure“.

In “A Rape on Campus” which was published in the November 2014 issue of Rolling Stone, Jackie’s narrative stated that a lifeguard, who was also a member of a University of Virginia fraternity, took her to a room and coached seven boys as they raped her one by one.

After several news outlets such as Washington Post pointed out details suggesting that the assault could not have taken place the way it was described, Rolling Stone magazine reached out to the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University to investigate lapses in reporting. Rolling Stone agreed to cooperate in providing information and records, and also to publish the unedited report.

The report stated that Rolling Stone magazine’s journalistic failures included “reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking.” The report asserts that if the Rolling Stone editors had taken those steps, then they would have been able to reconsider publishing the now-discredited campus rape narrative of “Jackie”. Erdely admitted that she had ignored several red signs given by “Jackie”, who had refused to provide the name of the lifeguard in her otherwise-vivid narrative.

In addition to commentators questioning the truthfulness of Jackie’s narrative, the Charlottesville Police Department, after a four-month investigation, stated it had found no “substantial basis to support the account alleged in the Rolling Stone article.”

Among the potential consequences from the Rolling Stone article include the possibility that “the magazine’s failure may have spread the idea that many women invent rape allegations.” The journalism school at Columbia University went on to mention that the actual rate of false rape accusations is 2 to 8 percent.

In a statement preceding the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s report, Rolling Stone managing editor, Will Dana stated the magazine will commit to “a series of recommendations about journalistic practices that are spelled out in the report.”

Will Dana also apologized to readers and people who were damaged by the fallout, including members of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and UVA students and administration members, as well as rape victims whose willingness to step forward with their experiences “might be diminished by our failings.”

Fresh Off the Boat, Episode 10 Recap: Blind Spot

Jessica’s Broken Gaydar and Louis’s Nonexistent Love-dar

In Fresh Off the Boat Episode 10, “Blind Spot”, the show continues to lean towards playing on the fun dynamic between Jessica (Constance Wu) and Louis (Randall Park). This is a good direction for Fresh Off the Boat since Eddie’s parents’ relationship is one of the strengths of the show.

We also see a new (and evil) side to Eddie’s adorable little brothers when a case of chicken pox prior to the science fair competition leads to sabotage.

Jessica’s Broken Gaydar and Louis’s Broken Love-dar

Oscar Chow, Jessica Huang’s ex-boyfriend from college comes to Orlando to visit the Huang family. The fact that Louis isn’t stewing in jealousy causes Jessica’s friends to remark on how “lucky” she is. Jessica starts trying to make Louis jealous, but it doesn’t work because Louis knows that Oscar is gay.

Things get even weirder as we discover that Oscar thought that he was dating Louis. Jessica’s “gaydar” (knowing when someone’s gay) is broken while Louis’s “lovedar” (knowing when someone is attracted to him) is…well, nonexistent.

Game of Sabotage

Meanwhile, Eddie’s little brothers are excited about the science fair. Being overachievers goaded into competition by their mother, Emery and Evan show off their science projects to Eddie, who admits he hasn’t even started on his. However, Evan soon comes down with a case of chicken pox and as a result, aims to sabotage Emery, his competition, by infecting him with chicken pox as well. Incoming: series of horror movie references as Evan appears in the bathroom reflection behind Emery.

The ending to the science fair is sweet and while the brothers still come across as somewhat caricature-like, I’m glad Fresh Off the Boat is using them more. Emery and Evan’s desires to win brought out a mean (but still adorable) competitive streak that I didn’t know existed, especially for little Evan.

You can watch Fresh Off the Boat episodes on: http://abc.go.com/shows/fresh-off-the-boat

Forever 21 Hit with Transgender Discrimination Lawsuit: Former Employee Mocked by Superiors in Front

Managers Told Alexia Daskalakis That She Was “Disgusting” and “Useless”

Fast fashion retailer Forever 21 has been hit with a transgender discrimination lawsuit after a manager at a Forever 21 store in New York told a former employee, Alexia Daskalakis, that she was “disgusting” and a “hot mess” during her transition from male to female. Other remarks from Daskalakis’ superiors included, “in my eyes and in the company’s eyes, you’re still a male.”

In 2011, Alexia Daskalakis started working for Forever 21 as a sales associate and was soon promoted to visual merchandiser. According to her court complaint, Alexia Daskalakis’ “performance was always excellent, as evidenced by the fact that she consistently garnered positive end-of-year reviews, regularly received performance bonuses, and became one of the most tenured employees in the store” (p. 4, no. 19).

When Daskalakis began hormone treatments in August 2014, she informed her Forever 21 supervisors about her gender transition from male to female. While Alexia Daskalakis’ friends and colleague were supportive of her gender transition, her superiors reacted differently, especially when she began to dress in a more traditionally feminine way.

In her lawsuit, Alexia Daskalakis alleges that her superiors began to mock her. Daskalakis’ immediate supervisor, Patrick Walmsley, began to yell at her and call her “useless” in front of customers.

In one instance, Walmsley criticized Daskalakis for dressing too provocatively during an overnight shift after the store was closed, even though other female employees were dressed the same way.

“You’re still a male, so you need to abide by the male dress code,” Walmsley allegedly told her.

Alexia Daskalakis further alleges that her bosses at Forever 21 began to mock her, saying she was “disgusting” and a “hot mess”. Her bosses also accused her of slacking off, stating, “You used to be a hard worker when you were a guy, but not anymore.”

Alexia Daskalakis was fired in January of this year.

Forever 21 is a religious company, as can be seen by the “John 3:16” text on the bottoms of their signature yellow shopping bags. At this time, the company has not responded with comment regarding the transgender discrimination lawsuit.

This lawsuit also takes place a few months after July 2014, when President Obama issued an executive order expanding the rights for transgender employees. The executive order prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on their gender and/or sexual orientation. 

Front Roe: How to Be the Leading Lady in Your Own Life by Louise Roe

Louise Roe Shares Style, Beauty, and Real-Life Wisdom

“My granny was never rich, but boy was she glamorous,” says Louise Roe in the introduction to her book, Front Roe – How to Be the Leading Lady in Your Own Life. “Elegant, ladylike, impeccably mannered, and dressed to the nines at all times…”

Front Roe – How to Be the Leading Lady in Your Own Life offers lifestyle advice to women on how to live stylishly and to their fullest potential. While the book focuses a lot on style, there is also a lot of great advice on etiquette and navigating tricky situations at work. I found this book inspirational, with its beautiful photos and down-to-earth advice.

The wisdom shared in Front Roe reads like advice from a stylish and street-smart older sister–relatable, practical, and kind. Along with more advanced tips for the sophisticated reader, Front Roe also contains practical knowledge on life that is quite handy to the clueless folks (like me) who are interested in learning how to present themselves better in order to further their career and social lives.

I’ve read a lot of lifestyle books on living the chic life, and Front Roe stands out because of its breadth and depth in the topics that covers, as well as its delivery. The layout is easy to navigate. Front Roe is organized beautifully into sections and subsections of topics regarding style, fashion, work, beauty, lifestyle, and more. Louise Roe goes over the basics of each topic first (wardrobe basics, beauty regimen basics, etc) before going in-depth into related topics.

There’s a lot of advice in here, and you don’t have to read it all in one sitting. It’s fun to flip through. Front Roe is the sort of book that you can come back to anytime for a specific piece of advice. Louise is gorgeous, and the photos make her beauty and lifestyle shine. One of my fave photos from the book is the one with her bright tangerine lipstick.

Some of my favorite tidbits in this book are the parts about how to network and be successful in the workplace under “How to Dress for Work”. I also appreciated and applied Louise Roe’s tips on washing one’s face with a towel. Throughout high school, I was using a horrid technique with my towel and sans cleanser. No wonder my skin broke out so much despite me “washing” it. Now I know!

Front Roe – How to Be the Leading Lady in Your Own Life by Louise Roe is arranged beautifully and gives a lot of straightforward and useful advice to women in terms of channeling their style and personality into multiple aspects of their lives. Real-life wisdom on navigating through social and work situations makes this book so much more relatable to the everyday gal. 

You can find out more about Front Roe – How to Be the Leading Lady in Your Own Life by Louise Roe on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads. It comes out April 7, 2015. 

Audiobook: PASSAGE TO DAWN by R.A. Salvatore (Drizzt #10), Narrated by Victor Bevine

Narrator Victor Bevine Must Have Been a Succubus in Previous Life

Passage to Dawn by R.A. Salvatore
(Legend of Drizzt #10, Legacy of the Drow #4)
Narrated by Victor Bevine

Genre: Fantasy / Adventure
 
Passage to Dawn starts out with Drizzt and Cattibrie on a ship six years after the previous novel, Siege of Darkness (book 9). Victor Bevine conveys soulfully Drizzt’s sense of wonder at the vastness of the world as he looks out into the sea. With Bevine’s narration, listening to Passage to Dawn by R.A. Salvatore was a captivating experience.

Victor Bevine’s Narration of Passage to Dawn by R.A. Salvatore

Bevine’s voices for the characters are fun. I love the voices for Cattibrie, the succubus, and that hag on the island. I giggled when he impersonated the succubus torturing Errtu’s prisoner at the beginning as she purred, “Do not, my lover.” If I ever become a succubus, whether by radioactive poisoning or by a lot of plastic surgery, I’d want my voice to drip with that much seductive juice. 
 
Bevine is a master of the inflection of the voice. I think he has successfully layered additional nuance and meanings to the novel by making the characters and their lines come alive. Drizzt’s voice is also great. When I read the books in this series with my eyeballs, I always connected deeply with Drizzt’s thoughtful memoirs at the beginning of each section. When listening to Bevine’s narration of Drizzt’s thoughts, I felt that same level of connection with the character, if not more. 
 
Because there are so many male characters in the book, sometimes the voices of the human males, especially if they’re from the same background (region, occupation, industry, etc), blend in with each other. Fortunately, the cast for this novel is wide and varied. 
 
The only voice I didn’t like was probably Errtu’s voice. Errtu’s a balor, so he’s supposed to be super frightening and inhuman-sounding. Bevine’s rendition of the powerful demon’s voice makes me visualize raspy and decrepit old men rather than a mighty balor tanar’ri. 

My Thoughts on the Story

Story-wise, Passage to Dawn was the fourth and last book in the Legacy of the Drow sub-series. I usually have a bit of trouble getting into Salvatore’s novels when there are lots of minor characters in the beginning. By the end of the book, we reunite with two characters that we haven’t seen in a long time. 
 
I was glad to be done with the annoying Errtu arc. The sort of “I’ll be back for you!” villains make me yawn. This is the Forgotten Realms, not a Saturday morning cartoon show. 
 
Other visitors to the narrative include the prematurely-aged priest Cadderly, who apparently has his own series of books. I had only met him later on when Entreri met Cadderly. Also, Harkle Harpell, the ever-clumsy but knowledgeable mage, shows up and holds a flashy magic contest with a ship mage. We also see what comes of the barbarian tribe that invaded Ten Towns a few decades ago.
 
The scenes that reveal the rich dynamics between characters held my attention better than the action scenes, which I can follow better by text. R.A. Salvatore can write amazing action scenes, but sometimes they get excessive, especially when they’re between minor characters instead of a major show-down between our favorite characters and their main enemies. 

Overall

Overall, I enjoyed Victor Bevine’s narration of Passage to Dawn by R.A. Salvatore. His soothing, yet enthusiastic voice is a delight to follow by ear. Bevine’s interpretation of the dialogue imbues the colorful characters in this book with life and personality. The novel itself has its great moments of character development, and it broadens the world by following the same restless spirit of adventure that Drizzt shares with his friends. 
 
My rating: 4/5 stars (4.5 for narration, 3.5 for story) 

The Walking Dead Season 5 Overview: What Normal Means After the Zombie Apocalypse

“It’s their world. We’re just living in it.”

Warning: this overview of The Walking Dead Season 5 contains character and plot spoilers.

Season 5 of The Walking Dead continues the ongoing saga of Rick’s group as they navigate the post-apocalyptic world. Season 5 began on October 12, 2014 and ended this Sunday on March 29, 2015.

Overall, there hasn’t been a consistent setting in season 5 of The Walking Dead as the group travels around looking a new place to settle. What seemed like it would be a season-long arc (Terminus) turned out to end quicker than expected. Eugene’s story about DC turns out to be a tale created to make the group keep him safe. The hospital arc also speeds by quickly before ending with Beth’s death in the mid-season finale.

In the second half of Season 5 of The Walking Dead, Rick’s group flounders and mourns for a couple of introspective episodes before stepping into Alexandria, a small town that has been ridiculously lucky from both walkers and awful humans. At first, the small and intimate community of Alexandria appears to be a piece of the world in that resembles the way the world once was. The old normalcy.

As Rick and the Family adjust to their new homes in the little town, they struggle against their inner demons and also the dangerously sheltered mindset of Alexandria’s inhabitants. Clashes on how to run a post-apocalyptic town between Rick’s hardened group and the sheltered and ignorant inhabitants of Alexandria quickly lead to ugly events down the road. Rick tries to convey the harsh reality of the outside world that makes heightened security measures necessary, but Deanna resists such measures, wanting to focus on promoting the pre-apocalyptic ways of life within Alexandria.

Turning a Blind Eye to Misconduct within the Community in Order to Preserve the Peace

The parallels between the Hospital and Alexandria also reveal an important theme in this season: to preserve a fragile peace holding together a community with its own tensions, the leaders choose not to acknowledge certain acts of cruelty as long as it doesn’t the community as a whole. Both leaders are willing to let injustice slide as long as those deeds stay below the surface.

The Hospital: Dawn

In order to keep her subordinates happy, Dawn, the leader of the police force that runs the Hospital, looks away while police officers under her command coerce women into performing sexual acts for them, including Beth.

Alexandria: Deanna

Deanna, the leader of Alexandria, turns a blind eye to domestic abuse by Pete, who beats his wife frequently during a drunken rage, even when Rick confronts her about it.

Living with Trauma, Adapting to the New “Normal”

Throughout the season, especially during the two introspective episodes (episode 9, “What Happened and What’s Going On” and episode 10, “Them”) between the end of the hospital arc and the beginning of the Alexandria arc, the trauma from the loss of beloved friends and family catches up to a few characters, including:

Rick

Rick has come a long way since the idealistic cop he was back in season one. He is completely devoted to his “family”, but he has had to make harsh decisions in which he had to kill people in order to save himself or his group. This season, we see a more pragmatic Rick, one whose actions in Alexandria imply a parallel between him and Shane on the surface, such as his attraction to Jessie, a married woman with a son, and his thoughts of killing Pete. However, Rick still gives people a chance to prove themselves before making a decision to kill. And while Carol is comfortable with deception, Rick comes clean to Michonne in the finale, showing that he still trusts her even after she punched him during his bloody and public speech.

Carl

This kid learned to wield a gun at a young age. Had to put a bullet in his mom. Put him in a room of teenagers and he turns into an awkward teen. He’s attracted to a teenage girl named Enid who had been accepted into Alexandria recently. “It’s their world. We’re just living in it,” she told Carl.

Tyreese

Tyreese, who has trouble accepting the harsh rules of survival in the new world. As we see in his refusal to kill Martin (one of the people-eating folks from Terminus) even when it was in the group’s best interest, Tyreese can’t bring himself to play by these new rules, and ultimately his failure (via refusal) to adapt to the new rules is his downfall.  

Daryl

Daryl, while at home in the woods and on the road, sticks out like a sore and gritty thumb in Alexandria. With his hunting skills, great sense of direction, and a distaste for arbitrary rules of “proper society”, Daryl feels suffocated by the stuffy and conservative town of Alexandria. And he hates baths and showers. He takes off on recruitment runs with Aaron, who is also an outcast in town because of his homosexual relationship with his partner Eric.

Noah

Poor Noah. He had so much potential as a character, and that’s part of what made his death hurt so much. Being a slave in the Hospital had sheltered him from some of the uglier parts about surviving outside, as we saw in his haunted gaze at the dog leashes when the group converts a group of dogs-gone-wild into lunch.

Carol

In her quest to fit in with Alexandrian society to insure the Family’s long-term well being, Carol plays the role of a domestic and harmless housewife, describing herself as the “den mother” of the group. Behind the scene, she and Rick discuss the possibility of taking control of Alexandria by force. Carol this season shows us how far she’s evolved from the meek and mouse-like Carol of season 1. Now, she is the master manipulator, the behind-the-scenes-queen, and the cookie monster of little Sam’s nightmares.

Sasha

Earlier this season, Sasha lost her friend-and-potential-love-interest Bob and brother Tyreese. Even before Rick’s group reached Alexandria, Sasha was exhibiting signs of restlessness and pent-up anger. The clash between the brutal outside world and the stuffy and mundane Alexandrian life infuriates her, perhaps filling her with bitterness and a bit of jealousy as she looks at these sheltered townspeople complaining about the littlest things compared to the large scope of surviving in the unstructured environment. In her restlessness, she controls the watchtower and snipes any walkers who venture near the walls of Alexandria. Sasha’s symptoms of PTSD come to light this season.

Glenn

Glenn has stepped up this season by taking leadership of runs in Alexandria. He stands up to Aiden when Deanna’s son acts like a prick and a moron after a run. He has been a relatively minor character, but this season has given him the spotlight by throwing him into situations in which he’s had to make quick decisions to ensure the team’s survival. No one had died on Glenn’s watch…until Noah. Glenn showed us how strong his commitment is to keeping the group (including Alexandrians) alive by not killing Nicholas out of vengeance after Noah’s death or even after Nicholas’ attempt to kill him. I was rooting for Nick to die, to be honest.

Michonne

Out of the group, Michonne is the most eager to make Alexandria work. The symbolism of her hanging up her sword marks her willingness to let go of the tragedies that she has endured to pursue a more peaceful life within the town. However, we see her pick up that same sword again during the finale with a resigned countenance.

Abraham

Abraham has received some awesome one-liners this season, such as “Motherdick” and his season-finale lines, “Simply put, there is a vast ocean of shit that you people don’t know shit about. Rick knows every fine grain of said shit. And then some.” Abraham’s scene in which he stared at himself in front of the mirror after throwing water on his face seemed to me like he was uncertain of his purpose in this town, perhaps feeling a bit lost without a purpose, which Eugene’s scientist story had given him. He immediately perks up when a group of walkers almost kills an Alexandrian who was abandoned by her crew.

Father Gabriel

Like Rick’s group, Father Gabriel has had to do some awful things to survive. Unlike Rick and his group, doesn’t accept that he has to do these things to survive. He locked out his congregation and listened to their screams as they pounded on the doors. He has trouble reconciling his role as a spiritual guide for people and his guilt for abandoning the people that he, as their spiritual leader, was responsible for. In the finale, we see him projecting his own feelings of guilt onto Sasha.

Morgan

Morgan’s back, and he has developed some major martial arts skills. What will he be up to? 

Episodes, Arcs, & Casualties

Episode 1: No Sanctuary (Terminus)

Episode 2: Strangers (Group meets Father Gabriel.)

Episode 3: Three Walls and a Roof (End of Terminus, Bob dies.)

Episode 4: Slabtown (Hospital arc begins)

Episode 5: Self Help

Episode 6: Consumed

Episode 7: Crossed

Episode 8: Coda (End of Hospital arc, Beth dies.)

Episode 9: What Happened and What’s Going On: (Group goes to Noah’s walled community, finds it’s run-down, Tyreese dies.)

Episode 10: Them (Group stays in barn on a rainy night.)

Episode 11: The Distance (Beginning of Alexandria.)

Episode 12: Remember

Episode 13: Forget

Episode 14: Spend (Aiden dies. Noah dies.)

Episode 15: Try

Episode 16: Conquer (Surprisingly, no one from Rick’s group dies. Yay!)

How to Get the Internship You Want

Prepare, Practice, and Manage Your Nerves

Summer is coming in three months, so the time to go internship hunting is now. Internships are great for beefing up your resume and also to sample a field to see if it is a good match for you.

For example, are you interested in public relations but not sure if working for a PR firm is the right thing for you? Try an internship over the summer. You’ll pick a few skills, become a bit more worldly, and at the end of the internship, you have something good to talk about in your resume.

Below are some tips on how to get the internship that you want, especially if it’s your first internship.

1. Create a Resume Kit

If you don’t have a current resume, be sure to update your old resume and make a new one. For a resume, cover letter, and personal recommendation contacts, there are a lot of great, professional-looking free Microsoft Word templates.

Ingredients of a basic resume kit:

  • cover letter

  • resume

  • list of contacts who can recommend you.

Cover Letter

The cover letter is a letter to the recruiter telling them about your interest in the position, and also why you’re a good candidate. Keep it brief, as a lot of hiring managers don’t have the time to read mini-manifestos. My own first cover letter was embarrassingly long and gushy.

Resume

There are lots of guides on writing resumes. Two things to aim for are visibility and brevity. Since you’re likely fresh in terms of experience, keep your resume to one page. At this point in life, the recruiter doesn’t need to see your middle school awards or how well you did in your AP World History exam.

List of Contacts / References

Reach out to people who you know can put in a good word for you, via email, Facebook, via phone, or in person. Ideas: professors, leaders or supervisors in organizations that you’ve participated in and contributed to, colleagues / teammates that you’ve worked closely with.  

Ask them if you could use them as a reference for your internship or job hunt. Add their contact information (name, phone number e-mail, position, company) to your list of references. Aim for three.

Get someone to look over your resume kit for errors and ways to improve it.

2. Tailor Your “Resume Kit” for Each Position You Want

Sending the same, generic resume to all the internships you apply for is the equivalent of spamming.

Make it personal. Each company is different, and each position will have slightly different expectations. Do your research and find out which parts to emphasize in your resume and cover letter.

For example, maybe you’re considering a medical training internship. You’d probably want to play up that medical volunteering trip in Peru in your cover letter rather than your short, two-week stint as a live poet in an underground bar.

Another example: going into a technology-oriented job? Emphasize your computer literacy and other tech-oriented skills in your resume and cover letter.

In short: tweak your resume and cover letter for each position and company that you apply to.

3. Network: Ask Around

Your school probably has an awesome career services center–hit it up. Career services centers typically have tons of printouts of useful information on many different career paths and possibilities. Career centers also host seminars, workshops, and speakers in fields that you might be interested in. These events could be great for meeting people.

Places to Look for Internship Listings:

  • College career services website – Many colleges have a database in which internship opportunities are posted exclusively for students.

  • Your major department building — Ask the front desk if there is a bulletin board of internship listings. This is a great place to look because the internships posted will most likely be related to what you’re studying.

  • Craigslist — Granted, some of the jobs can be sketchy, such as the insurance-selling positions. But there are some cool gigs that pop up, and you never know when a juicy opportunity might show up suddenly. Keep your mind open and keep checking.

Ask Your Network

Your network of friends, classmates, acquaintances, colleagues, and professors is your treasure. Unless you’re competing for some hard-to-get-in, exclusive and specific internship, let people know that you’re looking for an internship. Someone might be able to point you towards an opening or a resource, or even hook you up with a position. 

Networking Tip: Your major department probably hosts “social” or “happy hour” events every now and then. Socials might or might not be your thing, and some socials can be a bit boring, but think of it as a way to increase your visibility in the department. You can talk to and develop relationships with professors who can give you a heads up about opportunities later on. Maintain these contacts by emailing them every now and then, and inviting them for a cup of coffee if they’re nearby.

4. Apply Early

Applying early is a great way to stand out as an applicant, especially when many applicants turn in their stuff a few minutes before the deadline.

Some positions, especially the Craigslist internshi or job opportunities without an application deadline, get snapped up a few hours after being posted. Sometimes it’s good to be fast.

5. Create Your Elevator Speech

If someone asked you to talk about yourself for 30 seconds, what would you say?

Who are you? What are you about? What do you do?

The term “elevator speech” comes from the idea that we occasionally meet powerful people in an elevator, and in that time, we get a short amount of time to market ourselves towards a potential opportunity with this person.

Figure out what you’re going to say. An elevator speech is like a cover letter, but presented orally and in person. Practice it. Rehearse it so many times that you can launch yourself into the elevator speech whether you’re at the grocery store, at a social gathering…or in the elevator with the CEO.

6. Perfect Your Interview Skills

Research and Prepare to Ask Questions About the Company

Research the company and the internship position you are applying for, and create (and even print) a list of questions to ask the interviewer. This shows a strong and genuine interest in the company. You can find out info on the company by going to their website and social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.

Internalize the Internship Description

Know what they are looking for, internalize it into your system, memorize the ways in which you are a good fit for the internship description, and be prepared to talk about it. Being familiar with the internship description will give you an edge and also confidence in knowing how well you fit the position.

Practice

Hold mock-interviews with someone who can give you feedback. I find it best to do it with good acquaintances because they can be a bit more objective than a close friend or family member would be. Paul Michael from Wise Bread has posted a useful guide on “How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions.” Encourage your mock interviewer to throw you some less common interview questions, to keep you on your toes.

Manage Your Nerves

Being prepared and practicing goes a long way in managing your nerves. But oftentimes you might feel super nervous anyway. It’s all in the head. In her free PDF guide, How to Prepare for an Interview, Alison Green shares some great tips on tweaking your mindset so that you can perform optimally at the interview. Good luck! 

College Poor No More: 100 Savings Tips for College Students by Michelle Perry Higgins

Save Money on Food, Day-to-Day Living, Housing, Travel, and More

College Poor No More! 100 $avings Tips for College Students 
by Michelle Perry Higgins
 
Genres: Non-Fiction / Self-Help / Money / Finance
 
I went to K-Mart during the beginning of my freshman year to buy a bike for campus. There were other students who were standing outside the discount department store with Huffy bikes. “We’re poor college students,” one of them remarked as she popped up the bike stand with her foot.
 
At about $70 a pop, Huffy bikes were still an investment. She was quoting an archetype of the college student, and she was not referring to the trust fund baby.
 
College students have the reputation of being broke (or buried in debt), but does it always have to be this way? 
 
College Poor No More contains 100 different ways to save money, making it a great introduction and overview to saving money for the college student. 100% of Michelle’s profits from this book will go to providing scholarships for deserving students.
 
The money-saving tips are divided into sections:
 
  • Managing Your Money (banking, credit)
  • Hitting the Shops  
  • Cooking, Eating, and Drinking
  • Social Life
  • Day-to-Day Living
  • Housing
  • Travel
  • Life Hacks
  • Professional Matters (getting a job/internship)
  • Welcome to the Real World
 
Each tip takes up only one or two pages, so the book is overall a fast and easy read. I can flip through it whenever I have a few moments to myself. Every few pages, there is a comic or two about saving money. They’re cute and the info is easy to digest, especially when so many budget books out there can come across as intimidating to the novice.
 
There are also genius tips that I wish I had come across while I was in college, especially #22: “Purchase School Supplies on an ‘As Needed’ Basis”. I took an art class in which varying (and expensive) art supplies were listed on the syllabus. Ultimately, I ended up using about 30% of them and was stuck with a bunch of unused art supplies by the end of the quarter. 
 
Throughout the book, there are other resourceful tips that are brilliant and useful to a college student, such as ideas for saving money on printer ink and dorm decorations. 
 
College Poor No More would make a great gift to any college student. Even people who are normally can use a reminder every now and then, especially in the middle of so much advertisement and overpriced goods on campus. I have succumbed countless times to the overpriced temptations of convenience drinks and snacks. 
 
The book comes out on May 1st, but you can pre-order it online on Amazon.  

My Rating: 5/5
 
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