Maze Runner Review (book)

I read and finished the book “The Maze Runner” last week.  I read it because the movie is coming out soon and my sister kept posting things about the movie saying how awesome it is going to be.  I think she also meant how “hot” the main character is, but whatever.  I still decided to read it.

Overall, the book was pretty good.  It has suspense, action and some mystery.  It obviously falls in line with a lot of the other movies that are being made right now which means that it is set in the future and deals with some dystopian themes.

After finishing the book I immediately pulled up the trailer on YouTube to watch it and see how it looks.  To my disappointment, although I should have expected it, the movie looks very different.  You can really tell they are changing many things for the movie.  The 3 things that I can tell are different from the trailer don’t seem to be horribly different, but that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the movie.  I’m going to see the movie on Friday (if my wife finishes the book) and then I’ll write a post comparing the book to the movie.

Overall I’d give the book a 6/10 so its a decent read if you have free time.  It goes by pretty quick.  I’m not sure if I’ll read the other books in the series because many reviews say they get worse and worse as the series goes on.

What are your thoughts on The Maze Runner?  Have you read it?  Do you plan on seeing the movie?

- Jacob

Surge Is Back!

Surge is back!

Surge was sold on the shelves from 1997-2001 which would have made me 8-12 years old.  So why I certainly remember Surge and do remember drinking it, I honestly don’t remember what it tastes like.  I can’t imagine its flavor and just have to trust the many comparisons to Mtn. Dew (which I don’t really like) as a reference point.  But I remember I liked it as a kid.

So today, seemingly out of nowhere, when Coca-Cola announced that it was bringing back Surge exclusively though Amazon I just had to order some!  And apparently so did everyone else because I tried three times and Amazon said it was “sold out” before I could finally get an order in.

There are plenty of other food and drinks that I would rather see brought back.  Oreo-O’s cereal, Vault soda, Dunkaroos (although you can still buy them in other countries) and Pepsi Blue would be my preferred choices of items to return to shelves, but maybe if Surge does well then other companies will bring back their nostalgic products.

What about you?  What product do you wish would come back to shelves?

- Jacob

September 11th

Today is 13 years after September 11th, 2001.  Here is a picture of me and my family in New York a few months before the attacks in New York.  I was in 6th grade when it happened and I was home from school sick that day watching The Powerpuff Girls when my mom ran in and changed the channel to the attacks.

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Cherish every day you have.

- Jacob

Moving

Sorry for my lack of posts recently. Most of you probably don’t care because most of you probably don’t exist (I’m not sure how many people read this). Since Saturday I’ve been in the process of moving to a new apartment. I finally finished yesterday morning but there was a “mix up” with out internet provider and it looks like we won’t have internet at our apartment for another week. I put mix up in quotes because it really is a case of someone there being a real idiot and not an actual mix up.

I do have some things I want to post in the coming days. A review of The Maze Runner book, some new favorite songs, my thoughts on the Ray Rice scandal (maybe) and pictures of the new apartment but all of these things will likely have to wait until next week when I get internet.

I want to take this time to remind myself in the future to not move unless I absolutely have to. My wife and I moved this time “just because”. We wanted a new place. But moving sucks. It’s horrible. I want to stay at this place unless we absolutely have to move for space reasons or job reasons.

- Jacob

Throwback Thursday

In honor of Throwback Thursday I shared this picture on my twitter and Instagram account today.  This picture was taken almost three years ago during my senior year of college.  I only had the chops for about two whole days but I loved it.  I want to go back to a society where this is a totally acceptable form of facial hair.

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 What do you think of the chops?

 – Jacob

September

Welcome to September (a few days late)!

It’s the start of the best time of the year.  The “best time of the year” is really October through December, but the weather has been so great here lately and I’ve had my AC off and just my windows open for about a week that I feel like I have to include September now.

In your opinion, what is the “best time of the year”?

- Jacob

Education Around The World

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Worldwide, nearly 80 percent of primary school age children attend school.  In least developed countries, this figure is around 66 percent.

The largest out-of-school population is in sub-Saharan Africa, where around 45.5 million children of primary school age are out of school.

Of the 67 million primary school age children who do not attend school, 53 percent are girls.

Worldwide, only 49 percent of children of secondary school age actually attend secondary school.

Of the 49 percent of secondary age students who do not attend school, 52 percent are girls.

The world’s functional illiterates include more than 130 million children who do not attend school, 73 million of them girls.

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- Jacob

Summer Books

This summer I read six books (assuming you count comic books as books).  To some of you that may not seem like a lot but I really don’t read all that often so it is kind of a big deal for me.  It’s not that I don’t like reading, but I usually take a while to read and I also don’t go to a book store and just randomly pick something out.  I usually read things once enough people talk about it or recommend it (I’m coming for you next, Maze Runner).  Here are my quick reviews of these six books.

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Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I enjoyed this book.  I will start off by saying, I only watched the movie Divergent.  I did not read the book but the movie was so good I wanted to continue to series and did not feel it was necessary to read the book.  I’m one of those people that are like “Eh, I watched the movie.  That is good enough”.  Allegiant was great.  I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to people if you haven’t read it yet.  I’m gonna be hypocritical and say you should check it out before the movie comes out.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Overall, I was glad that I read this book and finished the series.  I did have some problem with this book though.  It took me a loooong time to get through it because it switches point of view almost every chapter between Tris and Four.  The writing style and personality between the two is almost the exact same so it sometimes makes it hard to remember whose POV you are supposed to be reading from.  I thought the ending was GREAT (some people will be upset by that but I think it makes it more “real”).  Overall, I wouldn’t rate this series higher than The Hunger Games but it was still a great series.

Gray Areas by Mike Glenn

I did not enjoy this book.  This book is a newer spiritual book that deals with “gray areas” in faith that supposedly don’t have a lot of scriptural backings to hold one stance or the other.  Topics range from addiction, depression, truth, divorce, dating and human sexuality.  My problem with this book is that the author doesn’t really look at both sides of the issues and ultimately gives cop out answers to each topic.  I think this book had great potential but the author plays it safe with discussion.

Radical by David Platt

Another spiritual book that I had a few problems with.  I went through this book with a young adult small group and we also watched an accompanying video series with it.  I liked the book but I hated the video which is weird because the videos are the author basically recapping the book.  But the author wasn’t a very good public speaker and he kind of made me mad the way he was speaking.  The ideas in the book were good though and I think it is worth a read.  Just don’t watch the videos.

DC’s Doom Patrol vol. 19-25 and vol. 26-34 by Grant Morrison

I want to preface this by saying these might be only the 2nd and 3rd comic books I’ve read in my life.  I didn’t read comic books as a kid.  After watching X-Men Days of Future Past in theaters I wanted to google something about X-Men.  During my googling I came across articles that said the X-Men are a ripoff of DC’s Doom Patrol which came out around the same time.  This intrigued me and after doing some research on the Doom Patrol I decided I wanted to read their comics.  Everyone online recommended the books done by Grant Morrison which their are 6 of.  I’ve read the first 2 and really liked them so I’ll be ordering the rest of them soon.  I wouldn’t recommend these comics to kids because there is some adult stuff in them but they are pretty fun to read.

Have you read any of these books and if so, do you agree with my reviews?  What books did you read this summer?

- Jacob

Ferguson, MO

Let America Be America Again
Langston Hughes, 1902 – 1967

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
And all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!

- Jacob