Unlikely Truth I Learned Working At Hotels

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From my years working in the hotel industry, I’ve had some pretty bizarre, crazy, terrible and wonderful experiences. I had a guest buy me a bottle of very expensive wine because he noticed I was having a bad day. I had a couple yell at me and try to get me fired because I couldn’t give them a late check out. But over the years, I discovered a startling fact.

I’ve worked in nice luxury hotels where the lobby sparkled in dazzling whiteness. I’ve worked from dingy motels to the best of hotels. Well, maybe not really. But pretty close.

Non-hospitality experienced people don’t know the difference between a motel and hotel. So, I’ll tell you now. A hotel is luxury. A motel is affordable. Hotels come with clean rooms, pleasant staff and great breakfast. Motels come with all of that but the word ‘clean’ is loosely defined. Motel 6’s standards are way lower that of the Hilton. But people stay in motels because it’s the best they can afford.

A surprising realization hit as I was working a late shift at a motel. Poor people seemed more genuine and kind than the rich. Or was that just me? When worked at a Best Western years ago, the people who visited were always nice. They’d chat with you. Always have pleasant things to say and compliments. Sometimes you’d the grumpy ones but that’s just how customer service is. Usually I’d get guests who were staying in town for a wedding, college or some event. They were people who could afford the luxury of Best Western.

Years later I worked at a motel part time and the customers were different. The guests were usually from in-state and not hundreds of miles away. They were poor but also more giving. The conversations they held seemed more genuine. Sometimes I’d get the stinky old drunks but they’d always leave me more of a tip than the rich lady with a dog. The bums who just wanted a place to warm up for ten minutes held more of a real conversation than the soccer mom touring colleges with her daughter.

I never realized how more real bums or people living in poverty are than the ones who make $90,000 a year. When they speak to you, it’s as if you’re a friend they haven’t seen in a while and welcome gladly back. I’m not saying that the wealthy aren’t genuine or super nice. I’m not saying the wealthy are mean and nasty. When I worked at more luxurious hotels, I met plenty of awesome people who made my day special. But the contrast between those people and the guests at a motel are striking.

Review: House Of Cards Book

 

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“All members of Cabinet are referred to as Right Honorable Gentlemen. There are only three things wrong with such a title…” – Michael Dobbs, House of Cards

I must admit, like most Americans, I hadn’t heard of Michael Dobbs or his award winning book series until Netflix released their take on the trilogy starring Kevin Spacey. When I first picked up the book and opened to the very first page, I was hooked. After seeing Netflix’s House Of Cards, I was pleasantly surprised to find it different. Much of the same characters are there but with a different twist.

Unlike the TV show, the book opens with Mattie (or Zoe to those familiar with the show) and not Francis. The story is set in the UK and deals with a Chief Whip in the British government. After not receiving the deal he’d been promised by the current Prime Minister, he decides to abandon all loyalty and punish those who’d betrayed him. He blackmails the weak, manipulates those around him, uses the media and even resorts to murder. His personality is snobbery mixed with charm and several pounds of cunning intelligence. By the end, two key characters are killed off and a Prime Minister replaced with Francis himself.

If you’re thinking this might be like the TV show, you’ll be either surprised or disappointed.

Key Differences

American Politics vs. British
The British government is a whole different breed an the American establishment. If you have no idea how the British government works, you won’t need to worry because this book won’t confuse. At first, I was bit a lost but after a few chapters I found my way. In the TV show, Frank is terribly liberal but with no ideology whereas Francis is a conservative with high expectations of reward.

Mattie vs. Zoe
In the show, I thought Zoe was a bit stupid and very vane. Mattie possesses more of a conscious and stronger morals. Zoe, other on the hand, is willing to do what it takes to get what she needs. For example, using her body to manipulate Frank.

Claire Underwood vs Elizabeth
In the show, I absolutely loved Claire. I very much missed her absence in the book. Francis is married to a woman with almost the same personality and conspiratorial evilness as Claire but she doesn’t take much part in the story. It isn’t until the second book that we see more of her.

Then vs. Now
When the book was published in the 1980’s, politics and technology was different. Things vastly changed when the web connected everyone and the middle east became more a threat. In the book, the Soviet Union is mentioned whereas in the show education is a key part.

I could go on with the list but I believe most of you can see how the story varies from the show. Which of course it would. One is British and written in the 1980’s and the second is American and filmed today. I have started reading the second book and will report on it soon.

Review: The Indispensable Heroes of Guards! GuardS

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When a book dedicates itself to fantasy’s expendable Red Shirt Army with the witticism of a P.G. Wodehouse novel, you know you hold a diamond. When I given Terry Pratchett’s Guards! Guards! to read, I was a little weary to give it a try. The dull artwork of a strange looking dragon on its cover wasn’t eye catching. The summary on the back was about as appealing as a very moldy ham and egg sandwich. But, encouraged by my friend’s enthusiasm, I trudged on like a good soldier and opened the book.

Six words in, I knew I was infected.

Guards! Guards! is full of clever sentences that get right under your skin. It opens in a fictional place of Terry Pratchett’s own imagination called Discworld. Our unlikely heroes are the Night Watchmen of Ankh-Morpork who dedicate themselves to alcoholism and never running too fast lest they actually catch a criminal. It’s these four characters Vimes, Colon, Nobbs and Carrot drew me closer to the pages. I felt as though I were a part of their crew.

The plot begins when an incompetent secret brotherhood schemes to replace the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork with a puppet king of their own. In order to accomplish their evil deed, they summon a dragon using a stolen magical book and that’s when the mayhem starts. It’s up to Captain Vimes of the Night Watch and his rag-tag team to stop this dragon and restore order. My favorite character out of this crew was Carrot. Having lived his entire life in the underground caverns of the dwarves, Carrot discovers a whole new world when he steps foot into Ankh-Morpork. He volunteers with the Night Watch which we are told nobody would ever think of doing. His naive yet bold nature reminds me of myself when I moved out of my parents’ house and discovered the life of a city girl.

The voice and style of Guards! Guards! is marinated in Pratchett’s love of good British farce. A ridiculous cast of characters find themselves tangled in improbable scenarios and complications. The heroes and villains are silly enough for us not to take seriously yet so thoroughly well done they seem almost tangible. Our antagonist, the Supreme Grand Master, is a whimsical parody of an egotistical maniac driven by his hatred of humanity’s stupidity. Lady Ramkin, a potential love interest of our protagonist Captain Vimes, is overweight, hazardously confident and sharply eccentric with her fondness for dragons. The story is full of action and spotted here and there by extreme cuteness such as the scenes with the swamp dragons. Also, hidden in the text is a treasure trove of references to Hollywood films.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wishes a great read.

Biography Writing Can Get Hairy

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This must be the tenth time I’ve written my about me. In the past, I’ve religiously read posts and articles on how to write a short/long bio. But when it came down to it, I’d always feel stumped. I’d turn on my laptop, enter chrome and log onto WordPress. Then the blank page of infinite possibilities would stare at me like some terrifying creature.

I believe that’s a writer’s worse nightmare. A blank page. It has countless opportunities. A billion things it could be. But when one single letter is typed, its infinite universe becomes grounded. It is now chained to that single letter or word and is slowly molded into a thought.

The difficult part is the thought. There are two types of thoughts. One, a concept that explodes into the human consciousness and orders to be written down. Two, the idea that grows slowly yet surely like a vine with no general direction.

When I started working on my bio, I knew I wanted it to be good. The best. Something that’d make readers’ attention pop. But how the hell do I go about it? As Nike repeatedly says, Just Do It. So I just did it. I started typing. I grounded the page with a single letter. The letter transformed into a word and then a phrase. My beautiful bio was like young tree sprouting. But then I hit a brick wall. I became stuck. I found it profoundly hard to write about who I was. I toyed with the question of my identity repeatedly.

After many brick walls and attempts, I finally discovered the secret to writing. Be true. Be honest. Be yourself. I know it sounds like some cheap advice taken from some self-help guide book. “Just be yourself,” says Disney. Yes, Disney. I promise I’ll try.

Stay true to who you are. You’re not here to impress some date. You’re here to share yourself with your audience. Readers can tell real quick when a writer is trying too hard to please them or make himself shine. Have you ever read one of those bullshit bios? The ones where the author introduces themselves but says absolutely nothing about themselves? Yeah, that was me a few bios ago.

I admit, I was timid to write a single sentence about myself. So I settled for the “hi, I love to write and here’s not why.” It was a mistake and I bet some readers left my site thinking.. “That’s bs.” Remember, don’t be afraid to be you. If somebody doesn’t like your bio, then they can just leave your site and not come back. The internet is full of personalities and weirdos. Even if you write something really crazy or out there, I bet you, you won’t be the first.

Complete Makeover. Feel Great!

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A few months ago, I started out making a website. The journey actually started about a year and some months ago when I wandered onto Wix.com. I had a book that I was hoping to publish soon and I needed a way to share it and myself with other people. A website was the perfect outline. Now, this journey seemed a long one full of trial and error.

A few months ago, September to be exact, my Wix account expired. Wix was asking something that seemed like a fortune to renew it. I decided to another route and I didn’t like they’re web builder anyways. After a long and tested process, I found a way to design a website that looked how I wanted it to. I’m going to do a video and blog later on what I did and how easy it is to make a website.

But for now, I’m here to announce my website’s new transformation. Out steps the old. And in with the new. Voila! Jedology.com.

For now since I have a paid subscription WordPress that I can’t cancel, I’m keeping Jedbooks.org. Will I ever cancel it? I’m not sure. But we’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. At the moment, I’ve got Jedology and Jedbooks. I hope you’ll check out both sites as I spent a lot of time and painstaking effort over the designs.

A Final Decision

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I’ve been quiet on here as of late. It’s been hectic in the life of me. Recently, I took some time to pause and reflect on my life. On the things I’d love to be doing and how to get to the point where I can do them.

My book as for now is on standby. I’m burnt out on it. I need some time to step back and take a deep breath. I’ve been pressuring myself to get it done. A few months ago, I approached a couple of editors who loved the idea of my book. They handed me their business cards and said to shoot them an email. I did. And I have waited. No reply yet. Which is typical considering they’re editors. I was told by one that I probably wouldn’t hear from them until November. Since I last spoke to them, I’ve been working my butt off trying to finish my book by November. I’ve come to realize how that is totally not going to happen. Apart from writers block, stressful stuff happening and other things, I’m burnt.

I won’t stop blogging or writing though. I’ve decided to fulfill one of my old dreams: to fly. I’d like to take off up into the blue atmosphere and buzz around the sun and clouds. I don’t usually mention my personal life on here but I happen to work at an airport. My boss just so happens to be giving me a crazy, once in a lifetime deal. He said he’d like to help me pursue my dream of flying. So pursue I will.

I’ve started another blog called Just A Plane Girl where I blog about my aviator adventures. I will still write on here about my misadventures as a writer and the progress on my book. I’m not, by all means, giving up on my book. I will still continue to write and work on it until it’s finished. I’ve been saying for the past year it feels like that my book is almost done or that the skeleton is there and it just needs filling in. There’s research that needs to be done. Details that need filling in. Dots needing to be connected. It’s coming along but very slowly. Hopefully one day… Scratch that. One day I will be sharing it with all of you. 🙂

Broken Bicycle

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Have you ever tried taking a bicycle apart? Or a car or plane or something that would be a huge project to put back together?

I was sick for the past week. I took work off. I did nothing but lay in bed. I hated every minute of it. I had a nasty cold – the worst cold I’ve had in a long time. I didn’t think about my book for a week. I put it out of my thoughts entirely. I still have the cold, but I’m getting over it slowly.

Today, I started to work on it. But then stopped. I feel lost all of a sudden. As if, I’d taken apart a bicycle and couldn’t figure out how to put it back together. All the pieces lay surrounding me. I just don’t know what to do exactly.

The entire book, everything… It’s finished and it’s isn’t. I know what I want to have happen. I have the characters pretty much figured out. I have a ton of parts already written. It’s just figuring out the finer details and how to connect the dots.

Oh boy… It feels like it’s going to be the long haul.