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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

San Francisco Law Banning Circumcision

I have a lot of really awesome friends who claim to be Democrats. So, help me out with this guys, because I can’t wrap my head around it. The people in San Francisco are trying to pass a law to ban circumcision. These are the same Liberals who claim the right to have Pro-choice laws allowing women to kill their babies in their wombs. You can’t have it both ways. Do we have the choice to kill our babies, but not have the choice to circumcise our baby boys?

So, my question to you is: Why are you a Democrat? I’d dead serious. What are the reasons you support and vote for Democrat politicians? I know there is a difference between a Democrat and a Liberal. If you group all Liberal causes into one giant tent of “Democrat”, how can you justify the double standards and juxtaposition of opposites? I’m not being facetious; I’m really trying to understand this. Here are some of the things I’m hung up on:

Women’s Rights/Homosexual Rights/Muslin Rights/Jewish Rights: Wow, where do I start? Is it okay with the women’s rights activists that the Muslims treat their women like dirt? Is it okay to the homosexuals that Muslims kill homosexuals? Is it okay with the Jews that the Muslims want to wipe them off the map? Is it okay with the Jews that the politicians in San Francisco want to ban a religious practice that goes back to the Old Testament? They’re all Liberal causes…yet they all contradict one another! I don’t get it!

Separation of Church and State: In some parts of the country, the courts are allowing Muslims to practice Sharia Law, but won’t allow a young child to bow his head and silently say a prayer over his school lunch. There is also a section in the new ObamaCare health care law allowing Muslims to claim an exemption from all regulations within the law based on religious freedom.

Health Care in America: Okay, this one deserves a whole blog post in and of itself. Sticking with the topic of exemptions from regulations, this CBS news story shows how at least 1,000 waivers have been granted to companies and organizations who have claimed that they will not be able to stay in business if they are forced to abide by these regulations! If they can’t afford it, how are we supposed to? I’m not going to even think further about all the atrocities that this law is bringing upon our country. My ranting and frustrations will go on for several pages.

Taxes or Salary Cuts: The Democrats in Congress (and in the Obama Administration) are quick to try to raise taxes in the name of raising “revenue” but go crazy with anger if any union-run company/organization/public administration jobs need to make any cuts. Recently in Michigan (where I live), the congress and Snyder Administration have passed laws that will cut government salaries by 5%. Okay, so here’s my confusion: If I make $50,000 and my current tax rate is raised by 5%, I will pay an additional $2,500. If I make that same $50,000 and the company/organization/government I work for lowers my salary by 5%, my salary goes down by $2,500. Either way, the amount of money that comes into my home is reduced by $2,500. How is that any different? Any time the government wants to raise our taxes, they threaten to lay off police/fire fighters/prison guards/teachers which causes the people to jump up and say “No, no! Please don’t take away our essential services! Raise our taxes instead!” The government officials never consider cutting “non-essential” programs to balance the budget instead. Don’t get me started on this!

Jobs or Profits: The Administration keeps telling companies to “start hiring”, yet they also continue to make the word “profit” a four-letter word. How exactly would you like a company to hire workers if they are not allowed to make a profit? Also, how will the stocks for those companies go up if they are not allowed to make a profit? Also, how can companies stay in business when there are so many regulations that they can’t keep up? Also, the tax laws keep changing, making the owners of companies unsure about the future.

Punish the Rich: Boy am I glad I’m not rich! Then you’d hate me too! Why should a person not be allowed to be rich? If I work hard and create wealth for myself, why should I be punished for working? If Liberals call for welfare reform, does that mean that they want to bring all the rich people down to the level of the money received by those who are on welfare or to give welfare recipients the same amount of money that the rich have? So, then will Liberals hate the welfare recipients after that because now they’re rich? What about taxes? If there are no rich people to collect taxes from, where is the government going to get the money to pay for the welfare programs?

Freedom from Foreign Oil: Liberals claim they want freedom from foreign oil, yet won’t let us drill for oil within our own country. They also claim they need “green energy”, but fail to realize that it takes more energy to create bio-fuels than it is saving. Also, they get all upset about birds flying into windmills and dying, but keep preaching that we need more windmills. Which is it? You can’t have it both ways. Also, we’re the only country in the world that is destroying our food and using it to create fuel. Meanwhile they complain that food prices are too high and that we need to be able to feed the world.

Fat Cat CEO’s or Spoiled Politicians: If it’s not okay for CEO’s to live it up with private jets, fancy trips, and lots of golf, why is it okay for politicians to do the same thing. I could go on and on about the politicians, but I want to make two key points. One, the politicians are spending OUR money for private jets, fancy trips, and lots of golf. And two, as of March 2011, Barack Obama has golfed over 6o times. That means that he has spent over two months of his presidency on the golf course!

Limousine Liberals? The Number of Government Owned Limos Has Soared Under Obama

Have I ranted long enough? Please, help me out here. What’s your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

Books I'm Interested in Right Now:
(Have you read any of these? What's your opinion?)
Known and Unknown by Donald Rumsfeld
Decision Points by George W. Bush
Crimes Against Liberty by David Limbaugh
Why Are Jews Liberals? by Norman Podhoratz
Going Rogue by Sarah Palin

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

What Is a Solid Economy?

This questionnaire was created by my friend Krystal for a class that she is taking in college. She asked me to type up my answers to her questions. They were such good questions, that I thought I'd share them (along with my answers). It would be great to have your opinions as well!

1. What is a solid economy, in your opinion? A solid economy is one in which the people in the country are free to choose how and where to work, the government is not in control of any aspects of the economy, nor over-regulating the economy. Also, in a solid economy the natural resources of the country are being utilized by the people of the country to meet the needs of the people in the country, or to sell or give away the goods to provide for the needs of the world.

2. How has the current state of the economy affected your lifestyle? One of the main ways the current state of the economy has affected my lifestyle is at the gas pump. The regulations that the government has placed on the ability of companies who draw upon our natural resources have caused gas prices to skyrocket. When energy costs go up, all other prices go up as well. It costs more to gather resources, create goods, grow food, process food, and transport goods. All of this added together takes money out of our budget causing us to not be able to afford the things we want.

3. Who or what is the larges contributor to the economic crisis? The government regulations, going back almost a century, have caused companies to be forced to operate in a way that prohibits growth and profits. Examples: The New Deal, the creation of Medicare and Social Security, The Fair Housing Act, Farm Subsidies, the moratorium on drilling, the EPA forcing companies to not be able to utilize the natural resources in America.

4. Should the people responsible for the economic collapse be allowed to hold positions in the government or corporations? Why or why not? Not only should they not be allowed to hold positions, they should be made to pay for the problems they caused, and work to reverse them!

5. How do you feel about the fact that the very people who helped to create the economic crisis are part of president Obama’s economic team? It reminds me of how he’s trying to bring down the economy! He’s doing it all on purpose, because he hates America and wants to bring it down to no longer being the superpower that it is today.

Well, that's the extent of her survey. What's your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

Say YES in the Produce Isle!

Grocery shopping with children can be a struggle. You know they’re going to reach for the colorful displays filled with cleverly designed advertising and tempting treats. Well, think of just how colorful the produce isles are and start your shopping trip there! I used to let me little ones pick out at least one or two items in the produce department right at the beginning of our trip to the store. You might be surprised at the things they choose, and they may be things that you would never consider. None of my children like the type of lettuce that I buy, so one of their favorite things to choose is the “right” kind of lettuce. Bananas, apples, grapes, strawberries. Asparagus? Okay, if that’s what you want. I always have liked red-skinned potatoes, but the kids like to pick out the brown-skinned ones. Okay, whatever. It’s their choice! Plus, it’s easier to say “no” in the cookie isle if you’ve already filled your cart with colorful fruits and veggies.

Who needs the cookie isle at all? I’ve heard that if you stay to the outside edges of the grocery store, you’ll eat healthier. Start with the produce section; then move on to the seafood and meats. I like Meijer because they have a whole meat department complete with butchers! Even if you grab a big roast from the shelves, you can take it to them and they will cut it just the way you want it. I will often find a nice big roast on sale and then have them cut it into three smaller roasts and package it “freezer-ready” and they never charge me extra for the additional work and packaging. It’s great. Move down to the cheeses and other dairy, and you won’t have any room in your cart for much else.

I often hear parents say “I can’t get Johnny to stop eating junk food.” Uhhh…Johnny probably can’t drive to the store and pull out a debit card! Who’s buying the junk food? You? Your spouse? A few years ago, I found a book called “You Are What You Eat” by Gillian McKeith. It really helped me to get a feel for the types of foods I should be eating to make my body feel good. Also, if you really want to learn about the way food is processed in America, watch the documentary Food, inc. It’s a real eye-opener. Believe me, you’ll start reading labels and avoid certain foods altogether.

Well, happy eating! I hope your next trip to the grocery store is a colorful one! What's your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Story of Alistair from The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Sometimes, we just want to be alone! That is the case with the Nomad Vampires in The Twilight Saga. Alistair is one of the most recluse nomads that we meet. According to The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, Alistair mistrusts everyone, assumes conspiracies exist everywhere, and is paranoid about authority figures. Carlisle is one of Alistair’s only friends, but that is with significant reluctance on his part. Carlisle seeks him out every few decades just to see that he is still okay, but Alistair is not enthusiastic about the visits. He was definitely not happy about being dragged into the confrontation with the Volturi.

Alistair’s history is overwhelming! It is six pages long within The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide. This is extensive considering the small amount of space he actually takes up within Breaking Dawn. But one word within the history of Alistair gave me pause and opened up a whole world that I didn’t know existed. Are you ready for a crash course in English history? The word was "Plantagenet". I found a fascinating read in Wikipedia about the House of Plantagenet. Because Stephanie Meyer describes Alastair as having grown up during the reign of Edward II of the Plantagenet kings, I had to learn more. I’m not going to go into much detail here, but you simply must read the Wikipedia entry to learn about this era in English history!

Alistair was betrayed by his father and given as part of an offering to a vampire by the name of George, who also referred to himself as Astaroth and portrayed himself as a prince of the devil himself. Astaroth made a game of taunting humans who were drawn to the occult, and had fun seeing how far they would go to obtain their desires. Alistair’s father desired that his son should murder the king of England (Edward II) and take over as king. Alistair knew nothing of the plan until the night he was led through dark, secret tunnels under the city of London and handed over to Astaroth. He had no desire to be king. All he ever wanted was to be home with his mother and sisters…and his collection of falcons. Yes, he loved birds. I told you his history was weird, didn’t I?

After Alistair realized what he had become, he was very angry with his father. After he killed his father, and a whole room full of peasants, he ran off to find that his mother and sisters had disappeared (no doubt part of the sacrifice offered to the vampire Astaroth) and that his falcons could no longer stand to be around him. Devastated, he avoided all contact with humans (except to feed) and retreated from society. He continues to avoid everyone, including fellow vampires. After reading his history, I almost feel sorry for the guy.

Have you started reading The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide yet? What’s your opinion? -Julie

Complete book review of The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide:

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide is here!

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (Review and Opinions, Part Two)

Third Day's Thoughts on The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Day Four of Reading The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide - The Volturi Guard

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (Inside the Volturi lair, then South to visit the Amazon Coven)

From Twilight to Breaking Dawn: Religious Themes in the Twilight Saga

Discovering Alaska in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Exploring the Egyptian Coven in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Journey to Ireland with The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

James, Victoria, and Laurent in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Mexican Coven in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Seattle Newborns in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

A Few More Newborn Vampires in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide
The Romanians in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Questionnaire to Evaluate Your Level of Addiction



If you’ve never read the Twilight series, check out these other Twilight books, music, and movies:

Twilight
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
The Twilight Saga Complete Collection
The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide
Twilight: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
The Twilight Saga: New Moon: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
Twilight Soundtrack
Twilight: the Score
New Moon Soundtrack
New Moon: the Score
Eclipse Soundtrack
Eclipse: the Score
Twilight DVD
The Twilight Saga: New Moon DVD
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

Questionnaire to Evaluate Your Level of Addiction!

Inspired by my sister to evaluate my level of addiction (cough, insanity). You can use these questions to determine your status: How many times have you read the books? How many of the books are currently sitting on or around your desk? How many of the books are you currently reading? How many times have you watched the movies? How recently have you watched the movies/read the books? Has there ever been a time when you have watched three or more of the movies in the same day? How many times a day do you think about one of the books/movies/characters/plot lines? How many times have you stayed up later than two in the morning reading one of the books? How many lines can you quote from the books/movies? Can you watch the movies and point out to someone how it differs from the book? Yeah...it's bad. It's really bad. What's your opinion?

If you know me at all, you have probably figured out by now that I'm referring to The Twilight Saga, but the original conversation with my sister began with a discussion about the new Harry Potter movie that's coming out. My sister wanted to know if her excitement about seeing the new Harry Potter movie compared to my addiction to Twilight. I decided to do some self-examination and this is what I came up with. Post a comment to let me know how bad you are with this. Don't worry...our addiction support group is very large and world-wide. We'll help you through it!

Complete book review of The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide:

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide is here!

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (Review and Opinions, Part Two)

Third Day's Thoughts on The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Day Four of Reading The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide - The Volturi Guard

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (Inside the Volturi lair, then South to visit the Amazon Coven)

From Twilight to Breaking Dawn: Religious Themes in the Twilight Saga

Discovering Alaska in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Exploring the Egyptian Coven in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Journey to Ireland with The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

James, Victoria, and Laurent in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Mexican Coven in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Seattle Newborns in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

A Few More Newborn Vampires in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide
The Romanians in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Questionnaire to Evaluate Your Level of Addiction



If you’ve never read the Twilight series, check out these other Twilight books, music, and movies:

Twilight
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
The Twilight Saga Complete Collection
The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide
Twilight: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
The Twilight Saga: New Moon: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
Twilight Soundtrack
Twilight: the Score
New Moon Soundtrack
New Moon: the Score
Eclipse Soundtrack
Eclipse: the Score
Twilight DVD
The Twilight Saga: New Moon DVD
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Romanians in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Stephan and Vladimir are the only two vampires left in what was once the Romanian coven, who dominated the vampire world for years until they were overthrown by the Volturi somewhere between 400 and 500 A.D. The novel Breaking Dawn teaches us a little about the Romanian vampires, but The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide gives a great deal more details about why the Romanians hated the Volturi so much. By the way, did you know that during this time period when the Romanians ruled the vampire world, the country of Romania didn’t actually exist; it was part of a section of Europe known as Dacia. There’s a little history/geography lesson for today!

Neither Vladimir nor Stephan has any supernatural abilities and when they formed their coven, this was their biggest downfall. They chose vampires to align with based on brute strength rather than special abilities. One of the biggest reasons why the Romanians hate the Volturi so much is that they both lost their mates in the midst of the battles. Another reason is that the Volturi took away their way of life. The Romanians lived brazenly among humans and were feared by them and vampires alike. They were known by the humans as beautiful demon overlords who used forced labor and fear tactics to keep control of the people. Their large coven made them feared by vampires as well.

The Romanians were one of the covens who chose to create an army of newborn vampires to fight against their enemies. Their final battle against the Volturi lost over a hundred new recruits. The only reason Vladimir and Stephan survived was because they sat out of the battle in a similar way as Victoria and Riley did in Eclipse. The two remaining Romanians live in hiding from the Volturi, yet lie in wait to assist in overthrowing them.

Have you started reading The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide yet? What’s your opinion? -Julie

Complete book review of The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide:

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide is here!

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (Review and Opinions, Part Two)

Third Day's Thoughts on The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Day Four of Reading The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide - The Volturi Guard

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (Inside the Volturi lair, then South to visit the Amazon Coven)

From Twilight to Breaking Dawn: Religious Themes in the Twilight Saga

Discovering Alaska in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Exploring the Egyptian Coven in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Journey to Ireland with The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

James, Victoria, and Laurent in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Mexican Coven in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Seattle Newborns in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

A Few More Newborn Vampires in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide
The Romanians in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Questionnaire to Evaluate Your Level of Addiction



If you’ve never read the Twilight series, check out these other Twilight books, music, and movies:

Twilight
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
The Twilight Saga Complete Collection
The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide
Twilight: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
The Twilight Saga: New Moon: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
Twilight Soundtrack
Twilight: the Score
New Moon Soundtrack
New Moon: the Score
Eclipse Soundtrack
Eclipse: the Score
Twilight DVD
The Twilight Saga: New Moon DVD
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Few More Newborn Vampires in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The only two newborn vampires mentioned in Eclipse are Riley and Bree Tanner. Our last post discussed Riley in greater detail and if you want a crash course on everything Bree, I highly recommend The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. There were quite a few other newborns in Riley’s coven, but the only ones that Stephanie Meyer describes in detail in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide are Diego, Fred, Raoul, and Bree.

As we learned in The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, Diego became Bree’s mate but was ultimately destroyed by Riley and Victoria because he learned too much about Victoria’s lies. We don’t however learn much about who Diego was before he was changed to a vampire. He grew up in a lower-class, single parent home in Los Angeles, but moved to Portland while he was still in high school. He avoided joining a gang that pursued him and wanted to go to college. He was smart and hard-working, but in the end it was the gang that became his demise because they got to his younger brother and Diego avenged his murder. Riley interceded just before the gang destroyed Diego.

Another vampire Stephanie tells us about in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide is Raoul. He became a leader among the newborns in Riley’s coven. Prior to being transformed to a vampire, Raoul was a gang leader of a drug ring. He was just the type of soldier Riley was looking for!

“Freaky Fred” is one of those vampires who have a unique special ability. He makes people feel repulsed by him. They feel nauseated just looking in Fred’s direction. Before being transformed into a vampire, Fred was a science nerd who lived a solitary life. He avoided unnecessary attention, other than academically. After his sophomore year of college, Fred volunteered for a marine biology research project that caused him to camp by himself for days at a time on the beaches of Oregon and Washington. This is where Riley found him. Fred was one of only three vampires who survived his coven’s demise because he figured out what was happening and escaped before the coven reached the clearing. He now lives as a nomad, but you won’t be able to find him unless he wants you to; you’ll feel nauseated just looking for him!

Have you started reading The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide yet? What’s your opinion? -Julie

Complete book review of The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide:

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide is here!

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (Review and Opinions, Part Two)

Third Day's Thoughts on The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Day Four of Reading The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide - The Volturi Guard

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (Inside the Volturi lair, then South to visit the Amazon Coven)

From Twilight to Breaking Dawn: Religious Themes in the Twilight Saga

Discovering Alaska in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Exploring the Egyptian Coven in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Journey to Ireland with The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

James, Victoria, and Laurent in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Mexican Coven in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Seattle Newborns in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

A Few More Newborn Vampires in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide
The Romanians in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Questionnaire to Evaluate Your Level of Addiction



If you’ve never read the Twilight series, check out these other Twilight books, music, and movies:

Twilight
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
The Twilight Saga Complete Collection
The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide
Twilight: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
The Twilight Saga: New Moon: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
Twilight Soundtrack
Twilight: the Score
New Moon Soundtrack
New Moon: the Score
Eclipse Soundtrack
Eclipse: the Score
Twilight DVD
The Twilight Saga: New Moon DVD
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Seattle Newborns in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

If you’ve read The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, then you should know quite a bit about the newborn vampires in Seattle. If nothing else, I’m assuming you’ve read Eclipse where Bella gets a crash course in how to defeat an army of newborns. Unfortunately, because Eclipse is told from Bella’s perspective, we don’t learn a lot about the individual vampires in Riley’s coven. We know that Victoria created all of the newborns, and that Riley was in control of training them and keeping track of them. We also know from Eclipse that he didn’t do a very good job! But, in Riley’s defense, he wasn’t well trained either. We also meet Bree Tanner in Eclipse. If you haven’t read her story, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to get to know her. Once you become friends with Bree, you’ll wish her story ended a little differently. Warning: If you decide you’ll head upstairs to bed “at the end of this next chapter” you’ll be up all night. Bree’s story is called a novella, and it is all one long chapter. But it’s fabulous! So enjoy!

Okay, so back to Riley’s coven in Seattle. There were a few key things that the newborns did not know about. They didn’t know that there were rules to being a vampire. They had never heard of the Volturi and they were unaware that their behavior would eventually bring upon them the wrath of the Volturi Guard. They were told that they had to stay inside during the day or the sun would burn them. They had never met or seen Victoria. They didn’t even know her name. All they knew about her was that she was the source of the immense pain they had first felt during the vampire transformation, and that she could come back and hurt them again at any time.

Contrary to the movie The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Riley was not from Forks, Washington; he was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Also, Victoria did not meet him in Seattle; she found him on campus at Oregon State University where he was in his freshman year of college. She claimed that she loved him, but what she really wanted was his protection because he looked large and strong. She kept him in the dark about a lot of the vampire rules, told him half-truths, and put him in charge of taking care of the newborns. Riley never knew about her repeated trips to Forks, her trip to see Laurent, her knowledge of the werewolves, or her reason for wanting to attack the Cullens. In fact, he thought she just wanted protection from the Cullens because they were after her for hunting on their land. Anytime Riley and Victoria discussed plans of attack, they were always in the abstract. She purposely never made any firm decisions, as she knew that would alert Alice.

There were three reasons why Victoria sent Riley to Forks to get Bella’s scent. First, she knew that by providing Bella’s scent to the newborns, she was marking her true target. Second, she sensed that Riley was getting impatient with her, and lastly she was testing Alice’s vision to see if Riley could get in and out of Forks without alerting Alice. It worked. Alice was not alerted to their coming until Victoria decided it was time for the newborns to attack. Riley helped finish the training, brought them to the field where they were to fight, and then left the newborns alone to help Victoria deal with the one "key member of the coven" who had hidden to avoid the fight. He never knew that the ultimate target was Bella, or why Victoria wanted her dead – until it was too late!

There were more newborns in Seattle. We’ll learn about them next time…

Have you started reading The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide yet? What’s your opinion? -Julie

Complete book review of The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide:

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide is here!

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (Review and Opinions, Part Two)

Third Day's Thoughts on The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Day Four of Reading The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide - The Volturi Guard

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide (Inside the Volturi lair, then South to visit the Amazon Coven)

From Twilight to Breaking Dawn: Religious Themes in the Twilight Saga

Discovering Alaska in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Exploring the Egyptian Coven in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Journey to Ireland with The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

James, Victoria, and Laurent in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Mexican Coven in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

The Seattle Newborns in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

A Few More Newborn Vampires in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide
The Romanians in The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide

Questionnaire to Evaluate Your Level of Addiction



If you’ve never read the Twilight series, check out these other Twilight books, music, and movies:

Twilight
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
The Twilight Saga Complete Collection
The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide
Twilight: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
The Twilight Saga: New Moon: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse: The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
Twilight Soundtrack
Twilight: the Score
New Moon Soundtrack
New Moon: the Score
Eclipse Soundtrack
Eclipse: the Score
Twilight DVD
The Twilight Saga: New Moon DVD
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer

Monday, May 2, 2011

Settlers of Catan: Game Review

Settlers of Catan is the greatest game our family has ever found! Clayton, C.J. and I play this game almost every day. Any little bit of free time we have, one of us will say "Want to set up the board?" It's almost embarrassing how quickly we are all sitting cross-legged on the floor completely engrossed in this silly game. This weekend we were given the gift of the "Expansion Pack" as we call it. It's actually called The Settlers of Catan 5-6 Player Extension, and it allows us to add a little extra room to our game.

The game is played by setting up a collection of hexagonal tiles, randomly placing numbered discs on each tile, then rolling the dice to see how many resources you can each gather. The first one to reach ten Victory Points is supposed to win the game. Well, that got too easy for us because we got too good at it. We started playing to twelve, now it's almost always to fifteen and often times we play until someone can't go any further. Each tile represents a different resource: brick, wood, sheep, wheat, and ore. The strategy requires each player to place their settlements in locations where they will be able to acquire each of the needed resources to build further. Your opponents will try to block you from reaching the resources you need and place the robber in strategic locations to stop you. Ultimately, you are at the mercy of the role of the dice and the game can change on a dime.

Now, Settlers of Catan has expanded to provide for lots of different dimensions and I look forward to trying them all! Have you played Settlers yet? What's your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

The Settlers of Catan: This is the original game created by Klaus Teuber in Germany. It has won multiple awards including Game of the Year, has been translated into 30 languages and the series has sold 15 million copies worldwide. If you've never played Settlers, this is the place to start!

Settlers of Catan 5-6 Player Extension: If you like to play with a group or have a big family who likes to play games together, this is a must have. It makes the board larger and provides game pieces for two additional players.

Settlers of Catan 4th Edition Bundle: If you've played the game, know it's awesome and want to start things off right, jump right in and get the basic game and the extension pack together.

Settlers of Catan Seafarers Game Expansion: This is used in addition to your basic Settlers board and brings on the added excitement of gold, ship building and fish ports. My brother-in-law owns this one and I can't wait to try it.

Settlers of Catan Cities & Knights Expansion: I've not played this one yet, but I'm looking forward to trying it. Build metropolises, fend off barbarians, collect coin, paper and cloth. I'm wondering, can you use this and the Seafarers expansion at the same time? Anybody know?

Catan Histories: Settlers of American, Trails - Rails: This is a stand-alone game which does not require the original board to play. Railroad tracks, covered wagons, coins, goods, and the excitement of pioneer days and settling the Old West. This one sounds amazing! Wish list item!

Settlers of Catan Friends and Family Super Bundle: Self-explanitory. This includes the basic game plus the Seafarers, and Cities and Knights additions along with expansion packs for each of them.

Settlers of Catan Replacement Card Deck: Our cards have been used to the point of destruction. I look forward to getting new ones.

I recently lost 42 pounds on the Take Shape for Life program! Want to check out my weight loss transition? Click here! -Julie L. Spencer