Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Interesting Read

I admit that I am probably way too old to be reading Young Adult literature, but I can't help it. The most recent book that I've read of this genre is Divergent by Veronica Roth.

This is the first in a trilogy of a dystopian world where teens are forced to make decisions about their life paths and how fractured their current society is. Here is what is written on Amazon's website:
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue -- Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is -- she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are -- and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves....or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series -- dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.  
I'll try not to give anything away, but the plot is basically that Tris, the protagonist, chooses to leave her family to join a different faction and danger and intrigue ensue. From what I gather, Chicago experienced some sort of civil war and in an effort to save humanity or something, the people divided up into five different factions based on their personalities. They then have colors that they wear and an area of town where they live and rituals and traditions that they honor....and as I'm typing this it is sounding more and more like gangs, but whatever. So the five factions are, as mentioned above:

Candor - Who are always honest and unable to tell lies, but they are also really good at reading somebody else's tells when they are lying. Candor always wear black and white.
Abnegation - Who are selfless and always give of themselves for others. They never put themselves first. They do not have mirrors, do not ask questions for idle curiosity, do not show affection, are not loud or imposing. They wear only dull, grey clothes.
Dauntless - This is the faction of warriors. They are "brave" and adrenaline junkies and spend their time confronting their fears and beating one another up to see who is the best. They wear black clothes and bedazzle themselves with piercings and tattoos.
Amity - These are the peaceful ones. They work in the fields and provide the food for all the factions. They are calm and enjoy the outdoors. They are allowed to be self-indulgent and practice the arts, sing, laugh, and tend the fields. They wear reds and yellows...happy, sunny colors. They also don't want to ruffle feathers and will not takes sides.
Erudite - These are the intellectuals. They favor knowledge over all else. Their colors are blue and white.

Personally, I think I would probably choose to go with Amity...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Exercise Alternatives

I don't like to work least at the moment. I know that deep down there is an athlete somewhere in me, but I keep drowning out her cries for liberation with ice cream. I have, however, decided that I need to do something and want to make it fun for myself as well. Therefor, I have purchased an exercise hoop and attempt to keep it spinning.

I read awhile back about a new exercise craze called hoop-notics, which utilizes weighted hula hoops to help strengthen the core muscles. For me, I'm working a lot of  the "bend over and pick the hoop off the floor" muscles....but I swear that I'm going to keep at until I can actually keep the hoop moving for more than 3 seconds.

When discussing my new exercise plan with my sister, she told me what she was doing and I have adopted that as well. She read in magazine that you don't have to go to a gym or have a bunch of equipment to work you muscles. Instead, you associate the muscle work with something that you do regularly. What she has started doing is squats every time she goes to the bathroom and some triceps and biceps curls when she is brushing her teeth.

I started doing this yesterday as well (in fact I stopped at Target and picked up a 5 lb weight just to leave on the bathroom counter). It is all still early, but if I can make it a habit, then I think I will be able to keep it up. We'll see how it goes with me doing squats in the bathroom stall here at the office today, but I have high hopes.