culture

Local man buys a motorcycle to use it as “means of transportation”- friends&family outraged

Jacksonville, FL- Trying to avoid the summer spike in gas prices, along with some other reasons such as cheaper insurance, Mike Bukley, 31, bought a simple, 250 cc motorcycle to get around. Realizing the dangers of riding a motorcycle, he also bought a protective jacket, gloves and a helmet to keep him safe.

He expected to have some troubles on the road since he just got his riding licence, but what he did not expect was the response from his friends and family to his new bike.

“I told my buddies I got a new bike. One said that 250cc is for old ladies and the other said I shouldn’t be buying rice rockets,” Mike told us, obviously annoyed by their reaction. “My brother Dave was the worst […] He wanted to make my bike louder, and add a car radio so everyone would hear and see me riding.” His co-workers also thought he looked stupid wearing a helmet and should not be wearing one (if he wanted to get the attention from the ladies attention anyhow).

“I don’t really care, though,” Mike assured us, “if they can’t get it that a motorcycle to me is just a means of transportation getting me from place A to place B then so be it. I don’t have to overcompensate for my lack of bad-boy image and excitement in my life by buying a bike.”

Inspired by The Onion

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Every kid is the next Picasso

At the age of 30 something (that’s all you need to know), I have retaken drawing classes determined to learn how to “draw.” And I don’t mean the cookie-cutter classes where you drink wine and paint the same exact thing as the other ten people in the room and your biggest drawing accomplishment is a jejune painting of a dolphin swimming into the sunrise. NO! Real, step-by-step drawing: learning composition, style, foreshortening etc.

Everyone has a story on when they gave up drawing. For most, it’s when you see that one talented kid in class (in my case, Tanya from Russia) who draws anime and nature stills like it is nothing. She was “talented” is what my teacher used to say. Tanya this, Tanya that. Perfect Tanya drawing an elephant 3D. Everyone look at what Tanya drew! TANYA, TANYA!

Needless to say, I am still bitter because of Tanya because she killed drawing for me even though I loved it. I enjoyed it. It was my favorite thing to do. I drew flowers and butterflies and I got lost in the world of colors. But then, the comparison started. Other kids maybe drew a more refined flower. A better looking cow. A more gentle looking ballerina. And then… I started to doubt myself. My sketches did not compare and could not compare to sketched of others, people like Tanya. I stopped drawing and proclaimed myself as talent-less for drawing. I turned it into a joke throughout the years- “I really shouldn’t be drawing, if I draw a cow it looks more like an elephant” stupid type of jokes, belittling my own ability to draw.

Throughout the years I’ve learned how to use computer software to get a desired picture/image etc. But I was never able to draw out my stories. I had the text on the paper, and images in my head. I finally said to myself: enough is enough!

Drawing is all about practice, it’s not about talent. It’s about being tenacious and relentless. Your kid can be the next Picasso. Just don’t let them give up. Because, my dear readers, art is highly subjective (I mean, have you seen any of the weird “modern art?”) Art is being able to express oneself, the form and style we choose is solely our own.

Your child should never give up drawing, because all he/she has to do is to learn proper techniques. In the words of Mark Kistler- like we learn how to write, we can learn how to draw. And that’s absolutely true! Drawing teaches children not only to be creative and imaginative, but that they have to practice to get better and be persistent and passionate about something. And lastly, it can boost their confidence- they are able to create something. How great is that?? So don’t you ever, ever, ever let your child give up drawing! And maybe, you should take a few classes yourself!

Leave comment below, I would like to read about your drawing stories!

If you want to follow my drawing progress, you can follow me on Instagram 🙂 My goal is to be able to illustrate my next children’s book!

P.S: My other books are available on Amazon– find the Rainbow Starfish with Sammie Snorkles or go on a stud abroad to France 🙂 🙂

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Best advice for people scared of dogs: DON’T make a SCENE!

Here’s the thing. We get it. You are scared of dogs and everyone has to know about it. Maybe you got bit by one in the past.

So what? A dog bit my hand when I was ten years old. It was my fault; the dog was pretty much blind, I wanted to pet him, I surprised him, and poor thing got scared because he did not know I was coming and defended himself. I ended up with a bleeding hand and stitches, but that poor thing was scared more than me. It didn’t stop me or my family of having another dog.

So here are key steps what to do/not do when you are scared of a dog:

1- You are NOT at the center of that dog’s attention

People who are scared of dogs always somehow assume that they alone consume the attention of the furry animal. Not true! The dog is busy exploring the surroundings, smells, other dogs, other people. You don’t stand out, to a dog you are just another person passing by!

2- Do not suddenly stop & stare at and possibly yell at the owners (or dog)

So far everyone I had encountered who is scared of a dog, freezes a couple feet away. The dog most likely won’t notice you if you had just walked by and continue living your life.

By suddenly stopping you are making YOURSELF the center of the attention and you are making YOURSELF stand out.

You suddenly stop moving, that gets the dog attention- it is not normal behavior to a dog. Most people pass by, right? Asking the owner to “take care of the dog/put it on a leash/ grab it closer” is a reasonable request in human’s mind- to a dog, an UNKNOWN person in a hostile voice is talking to their owner,of course they will growl at you, they are sensing negative vibe and they will always protect their owner.

3- Don’t make the dog suspicious by making a scene

For some reason, people scared of dogs have a need to explain for ten minutes how they are scared of dog and how to “get that thing away from you.” There is no need to give a while background life-story on why you are scared. The dog now smells your fear, and you drew attention to yourself. Walk on by and this scene making can be over. No need for the story and background details on your fear of dogs. KEEP WALKING!

4- Most dogs (despite of what you think) won’t bite you

Most of the dogs you are scared of are nice dogs. Even if it is a Pit Bull, doesn’t mean it is a killing biting machine.

How about if you’re scared of a dog, just keep walking by and the dog won’t even care. Don’t stop and make a scene about how you are scared of dogs!

What do you think? What have your experiences been so far? Leave a comment below! Thanks for visiting my blog, and don’t forget to check out my books on Amazon!

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Shinning bright on a Sunday!

It’s a great feeling when you have the writing fever. You stay up late, forget about eating, perhaps drinking coffee to stay up when your body is telling you to shut down.

I’ve been up since 5am and I can’t stop writing. I would like to share the cover of my new “Ginger’s missing glasses” children’s book. I am presenting the cover today, but it should be available on Amazon tomorrow. For FREE pre-orders, e-mail: leahrennes@gmail.com. DO IT! I want to hear your feedback!

I hope your Sunday is productive as well.

Love,

Leah

P.S: I also want to state that I have decided to do a so-called “LULU” pledge- meaning 50% of my profits will go to those in need. As you have seen in my log posts, I consider myself fortunate to have good opportunities in my life and I want to help those who do not.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Winston S. Churchill

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Male heros of children’s books

Children’s books are a special genre to write in. Not everyone understands the imagination children have or how they think. Or perhaps even what they find funny. Since I am writing my children’s book, I have- of course- done my due diligence to research the genre and not make any mistakes. Or, at least not as many mistakes.

What bothers me is that all this articles recommend using a male character. Little girls can better relate to male characters, while apparently vice-versa is impossible for them to do. I understand that probably a boy will not relate to a character of a ballerina (or will he?) but why can’t he relate to a bold, young girl who is seeking adventure? Or a young female scientist who is on the verge of a major breakthrough in dragon healing?

It is sad that even in children’s books there is sexism. By not including female characters or giving males main role, we are saying female characters belong in the background while the lead should be for men. It’s a disturbing thought! No one thinks about it so much, until actually faced with data (btw, here is a great article). Not all stories require a certain gender character, and sometimes one just wants to have a male character but the fact that writer’s are using male characters merely to increase sales is gross. Just gross. Our kids are the new generation of open-minded people, so start putting more female characters out there! Do it for the kids. If not for your sexist self.

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Reclining seats in crammed spaces

Whoever thought a reclining seat was a good thing to have in a can of sardines type environment must have been a complete halfwit- or a true optimist in regard to human spirit and selflessness.

There are many annoying things when taking a flight somewhere, but reclining seats on an airplane/bus should be banned. Forever forbidden! Never to be given to humans as an option ever again!

Most people travel in economy class which means one gets a tiny little square of space to sit on through the next X amount of hours. Seating by the window tends to be a little better, but if a seat is reclined in your face the anger is equal to that of a isle seat or the middle seat.

Jerks who recline seats in crammed spaces truly show the type of people they are. It goes without saying they are self-centered and selfish. But what is worse are the problems they cause for the person sitting behind them. Because not only do they make one feel like their presence is not worthy of any respect at all, but they put one in a bad spot.

Now, the even more uncomfortable individual must:

1) Talk to the person who reclined their seat OR

2) Recline the seat themselves

3) Justify and apologize to the person behind them who is now unsatisfied with the new seating situation

It becomes like a domino effect. First jerks reclines the seat, and then everyone else has to do it in order to feel like they are not crammed as a packed commuter train in Tokyo. Now, a third person is mad at the second person because of something the first person did. I know, many times life works this way, but come on, let’s end this madness when we are all suffering in a tiny seat.

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Dinners on plastic plates

The first time I was ever almost stoned to death because I brought plastic plates for dinner was during my first dinner in France. Growing up, my mother stored all the fancy china Grandma inherited in a special cabinet, while she made all of us use plastic plates. I did not think anything of it- Mom did not have a dish washer and -therefore-logical thinking- we used plastic plates so she did not have to clean the dishes after.

And then I came to France. Study abroad and all, with people from all over the world (which btw, my book on the study abroad is available on Amazon). Anyway, we were almost like representatives from the United Nations or something, gathered behind a tiny table. Trying to be helpful, I brought plastic plates, plastic cups and plastic silverware to eat with. It was not cheap either, so I really thought I was doing everyone a favor. Well, I guessed wrong. Needless to say, most attacks came from the Germans and the nature-loving Scandinavians. I think I had to listen to “how wasteful” Americans are through the whole dinner. I never felt so judged. Is it really so wrong to use plastic plates? Isn’t using a dish washers equally wasteful? Why I am such a horrible person?

The type of treatment I received was more than brutal. Even the Canadians loved to bash my wastefulness and hatefulness for nature. But I did not care- all I kept thinking was my Mom, and how many nights those plastic plates saved her from being the dishwasher. Instead of cleaning the dishes for half hour, she was able to sit down, relax and talk to her kids. That’s worth something too, right?

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Medals are NOT for everyone

Imagine watching the Oscars; everyone is dressed to the nines, looking stunning and hungry. Next up: Best supporting actor category. They read out the names, and then… they announce the winner. The actor walks on stage and shares a sob story.  He kisses his Oscar. He won! The camera turns towards the other best supporting actor nominees and hey, guess what, they are also holding up their Oscars- you know, they should get an Oscar just for their nomination.

Now, how ridiculous is that?

America is turning into a nation of wussies. Everyone is being rewarded these days. For effort, not results. Just last night I saw pictures of my friends running in a 5K. And you know what was hanging around their necks? Medals. Freaking medals. They didn’t come in first, second or third. They weren’t anywhere near top 100. But they got medals. For what? For participating. It makes me vomit, dear fellow Americans.

Medals symbolize something extraordinary- extraordinary time or achievement, sometimes service to the country. They do not symbolize participation, or an effort or getting of a couch to walk a 5K. America, what are you doing? Event organizers, what are you doing? By giving out medals, albeit fake, you are devaluing the value of winners. The winners who trained hard to be the fastest. They woke up every day and trained. Trained to be better, to improve results, to be the best. Not average. The best. They woke up sore, they woke up tired and they put years in training. They sweat tears, they sweat ambition and they sweat dedication. They deserve to get something unique. Because if we stop awarding those who push the boundaries, we acknowledge average… and average will never achieve extraordinary.

Why in Europe sometimes you just have to dump things on the street

When I was younger, I loved yard sales. I was able to sell some of the stuff my Mom never used and made a couple of bucks while at it. Then, a few years later, I gave my bike to somebody who needed it for free. I still remember the message he sent me, thanking me over and over that he takes the bike to work instead of walking there. He was so grateful and I was thrilled I could help. So, every once in a while, I still leave a box on my yard with a sign “Free stuff.” Someone always pickes it up.

Then, I did my study abroad in France. I lived in a furnished apartment I shared with other students. (btw, my book about the French study abroad is available on Amazon ;)) We only got the bare necessities, so we decided to buy a few things to make our lives more, errr, livable I guess.

At the end of the semester we listed them on a board at school and on a Facebook website where people who wanted to give stuff away for free were welcome to list the items. I mean, surely people will be happy to get nice stuff for free? Surely they will come on time and won’t be picky, right?? (btw, it is forbidden to dump stuff on the street)

We only had a few people genuinely interested… everybody else wasted our time, energy and generosity with the following stupidities:

1) “Your place is too far” (far being 15 minutes out of the way)

2) “I only want one of the items listed in the bundle” (yes, let me make a special appointment for each of the people who want to take the damn dying flowers)

3) Didn’t read the ad right (“I thought you were offering X” (when in fact it was Y))

4) Showed up 2-3 hours late (because of course, I have nothing else to do in my life)

5) Say they will show up and they don’t- without telling me (because again- apparently I have nothing else to do in my life than wait for them)

6) Book a time to come and cancel after they realize that it is too expensive to rent a truck (because checking rental prices prior to making arrangements would be nonsensical)

7) “Do you have it in another color?” (please, can I refer you to a furniture store??!)

8) “Could you deliver it to me?” (no comment…..*sigh*)

Ultimately, the amount of effort I had to put in to deal with these people just made it not worth it. It actually killed my joy to try give useful stuff to people. I follow the online blogs/websites and I am still a memeber of some of these groups and complaints like mine show up  all  the  time.

The biggest problem with giving things away for free is that people think you are also giving away for free your time, energy and sometimes even your transport. And it truly kills the joy of trying to do good and trying to help. Ultimately, after offering the items to some charities (which only took selected items), we sneaked out in the middle of the night and dumped the stuff on the street. Eventually it was all picked up but I promised myself I would never give stuff away for free anymore, not while I was there. When people have to pay, they suddenly realize their time and energy are vested in the exchange too.

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Merry Christmas! (Not happy Holidays)

America is getting too politically correct. Why is it so wrong to wish somebody a Merry Christmas? You are wishing something nice. Something positive. The last time I checked merry meant “cheerful and lively, characterized by festivity and enjoyment.”

I don’t get upset if somebody wishes me Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa. I am neither Jewish or Black, but I can always appreciate a good wish.

So Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you spend some quality time with your family. I almost have a 100 followers which makes me really happy. And, I sold ONE book since I published it on Amazon (and no, it wasn’t my Mother since somebody from the U.K. bought it….thank you reader!!)

In the spirit of happiness, you can get my book on Amazon for FREE only today! It’s a great read, specially for your teen or college kid. I would appreciate if you leave a critique on Amazon if you read it, good or bad, I would just like to hear everyone’s feedback.

OK, no more computer for a couple of days. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! ❤

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