Pets Rock – More Fun Than Fame Book Review

As soon as I saw the cover of Pets Rock, I had to get it. Who doesn’t want to see real dogs & cats dressed as some of the celebrities we know today? I noticed the Pulp Fiction dogs Vincent and Jules and couldn’t help but laugh as it was obvious who they were as they looked just like them, even if they were dogs dressed up.

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I had fun scrolling through the book and figuring out which celebrity each dog or cat depicted. The book doesn’t tell you, but gives you a little hint in the text. The world leaders were the most obvious.

I was planning on rating this a 4 star book as it’s a fun read, until I got to the pages with the dogs dressed as Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac, ironically next to each other. Tupac’s page was the one that made me stop and think with the sentence the author of the text uses, “ I got a shot… for the fleas.” I personally like Tupac and don’t find him being shot funny. Is that what the author of the text is saying, or is it a reference to All Eyes On Me? I realize it’s meant to be a joke book and perhaps I’m taking it too seriously and reading into it too much, but that’s just my opinion. Maybe someone else can shed some light on this…

My favorites were The Blues Brothers, Jules & Vincent, Bowie, Slash and Clint Eastwood. You can actually purchase some of these prints online.

I’m going to give it 3 stars because most of the book is funny and it’s a cool, cute, and entertaining concept.

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Continue reading “Pets Rock – More Fun Than Fame Book Review”

My Second Award This Week – The Entertainer Blogger

This is my second award this week and I was astonished to receive a nomination for The Entertainer Blogger Award. I’d like to thank James @ this-is-my-truth-now for nominating me. Be sure to check out his blog if you haven’t already because it’s mind-blowing. Every post is worth reading!

 

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The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Add these rules to your post.
  • Answer all the questions below.
  • Display the award picture in your post.
  • Nominate 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring and most important of all ENTERTAINING!

 

Questions with my answers:

 

WHY DID YOU START A BLOG IN THE FIRST PLACE?

I originally started blogging because I love reviewing books and talking with authors. I thought it would be interesting to do some author interviews to share with other readers like me.  I feel like I have a lot to say and hopefully I can maintain an interesting blog that others will continue to enjoy. I was affiliated with another blog, but now I just have my personal blog here.

I also love connecting with people like you and learning about other people and their stories, music interests, what they like to read, etc.  I didn’t have a clue what I was doing when I first got started and had no idea what blogging was all about. I have to say, I’m happy to be here and to be a part of this wonderful blogging community.

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK?

Seriously? I can’t just pick one! I’m going with my favorite book of 2017, and that’s A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I was so attached to the characters in this book and I still get teary when I think about it. I love books that pull me in and don’t let me go. This one held on even after I was done reading it. This is the one that has stuck with me this year and I know I’ll never forget it.

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Continue reading “My Second Award This Week – The Entertainer Blogger”

Lessons from Grandpa #2

As Father’s Day approaches, I’m thinking about my grandfather and another lesson he taught me repeatedly when he was still here.

When I was a teen, my grandfather always told me,

“Love your father, he’s the only one you’re ever going to get.”

I heard it often, because I was upset about my father a lot. He’s an alcoholic and was consistently doing foolish things. My grandfather knew it, but because he was up in age, he began to forgive everyone for everything. Plus, there were so many things my grandfather didn’t know, things that he would never understand.

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Me with my brother and grandfather -1980 – My grandfather bought a vintage wire clock from a rummage sale and put this picture in it to cover the clock face. It hung on the wall into my adulthood.

Growing up, I was raised by my grandfather and he taught me everything he could. I would only visit my dad every other weekend (many of which were cancelled by him), and in all actuality was closer to my step-mom than him. My step-mom and I spent most of the weekend time together while my dad got wasted. There were plenty of times I didn’t belong with my dad when he was drunk-driving and many weekends I wished I would’ve just stayed home. It was hard for me and I didn’t understand why he wanted to do this to himself and to others. He would get violent and there were times when he hurt himself and others physically. As I got older, I understood why my mom couldn’t stay married to him, and also that if it weren’t for my father’s violence and stupidity, I would’ve had an older sister. My mom miscarried their first child related to his violence.

At one point in my childhood, my dad was in an institution for a few months. He’d gotten so wasted and decided he didn’t want to live anymore. He was listening to some really loud music and got it stuck in his head that he wanted to die. He started a fire in his house and tried to burn himself down with it. I don’t know who got there first, but there was considerable damage to the house and it needed many repairs. I know that my step-mother was fed up with him and she had issues of her own, including losing her young brother in an accident and an older brother in a separate truck accident. She wasn’t dealing with any of this well and began using drugs heavily. A few years later, she died from a drug overdose. Just before that, she sat me down along with my brother and told us that she was planning to divorce my dad, but that she would always love us. There were events like this that my grandfather didn’t know about and he didn’t know the pain my dad caused my step-mother or that she was using drugs. I don’t know if it would’ve changed his thoughts anyhow.  Continue reading “Lessons from Grandpa #2”

Surviving Straight, Inc. Q & A with Straight Survivor Christine Flannery

I recently read a book by Cyndy Drew Etler titled, The Dead Inside. The book is about Cyndy’s experience with Straight, Inc. I’d never even heard of Straight until I read this book. You can see my original post on The Dead Inside which will soon contain a Q&A with the author and  you can also see the trailer for the documentary/movie on Straight by clicking HERE.

I found this story to be incredibly disturbing and as I began searching online, I found countless cases regarding kids who were abused in this program. These programs at one point were supported by members of government including Nancy Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

After my research I met Christine Flannery, a Cincinnati Straight Survivor who was in the program from 1984-1986. You can read her story on her website by clicking HERE. I was able to speak with Christine about her experience at Straight. You can learn more about Straight and see the Q&A with Christine Flannery below.

What is Straight, Inc?

Straight, Inc. (1976-1993) publicly claimed to rehabilitate teenage drug users by using tough love and Alcoholics Anonymous principles. Straight, Inc. provided NO professional counseling: Straight, Inc.’s “treatment model” relied exclusively on “positive peer pressure” from unprofessional staff (program graduates) and from the teenage clients. Straight, Inc. claimed to have an astronomically high success rate and was supported by both the Reagan and Bush administrations. However, Straight, Inc. did not publicly reveal what many survivors will tell you. imagesi34er5667777zer.jpgThe REAL Straight, Inc. was a facility that used coercive thought reform (aka mind control, brainwashing), public humiliation, sleep & food deprivation, extremely harsh confrontational tactics, kidnapping, isolation and emotional, mental, psychological, verbal and physical abuse to forcibly break us down then remold us in the Straight, Inc. image. Straight, Inc. also operated in secrecy, just like a cult (Straight, Inc. has been listed on at least 2 cult expert websites). No outsiders were ever permitted to know what really went on. Straight’s rules and our fear of harsh punishment prevented us from talking to outsiders or from reporting abuses.- From Christine’s website

Here’s a video that Christine put together regarding Straight, Inc.

As many as 50,000 kids were in the Straight program, Straight, Inc.  is the biggest violator of human rights and civil liberties that this country has ever seen.  There are accounts of food and sleep deprivation, making kids soil their pants, beatings, spitting in kids faces, and marathon sessions where teenagers would be yelled at by many other kids for long periods of time.  Children were forbidden from reading any material including religious books.  Conditions were so deplorable that kids had to be watched 24/7, even as they wiped themselves on the toilet (reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps where Jews were made to defecate publicly like cats and dogs) to make sure they did not commit suicide.   Under such deplorable and humiliating conditions many kids resorted to carving on their bodies with a fingernail, piece of broken chair, or whatever else they could find just as a caged animal gnarls at an open sore. –From the Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network. 

Straight, Inc. was also renamed…

As Christine mentions on her website, Straight, Inc. became Kids Helping Kids, Pathway Family Center, Life, Growing Together, KIDS (of North Jersey, El Paso, etc.), SAFE, Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC), and others. Even though most of these spin offs have been shut down, there are still similar programs for troubled teens that follow the same tactics as Straight.

In this video below regarding KIDS, which is basically the same program renamed after Straight, you will see how teens that were once in the program themselves became the counselors working with kids that have been brought into the program. These kids themselves are considered the professional staff.

Here’s another one about SAFE, another renamed Straight program. The video is old, but worth watching…

-Part 2-

Continue reading to see the Q&A with Christine Flannery…

 

Continue reading “Surviving Straight, Inc. Q & A with Straight Survivor Christine Flannery”

TAG: The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

I was tagged yesterday by James from this-is-my-truth-now to do the Unpopular Opinions Book Tag. I’d like to say thanks to James for tagging me! Also, please check out his blog if you haven’t already. James puts a lot of work into his blog, so plan to get stuck there for some time because he has loads of content! Lots of fun. 😉

James was originally tagged by meltingpotsandothercalamities. Please check out this blog too. You can view the original TAG here as well.

This is my first tag and I’m going to give it my best shot!


TAG:

A POPULAR BOOK OR BOOK SERIES THAT YOU DIDN’T LIKE:

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I sort of consider myself a ‘high’ rater, so this one is a little difficult. In a way I feel like it takes a lot for me to dislike a book. I’ll cheat a little bit and chose a book by Allen Eskins titled The Heavens May Fall. I rated this one a generous 3 stars, but I really didn’t like it that much. It was written well, but I went in with high expectations and they weren’t met. The story had some twists, but just didn’t captivate me. I had just finished The Life We Bury and loved it-maybe this is why. Most of my friends rated The Heavens May Fall 4 and 5 stars…


A POPULAR BOOK OR BOOK SERIES THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO HATE BUT YOU LOVE:

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I’m going with the Twilight Saga! I absolutely loved this series and I have friends who rated it 1 and 2 stars. My family actually calls it cheesearific because they think the story and the acting is totally cheesy. I have the “Twilight Forever” DVD set and watch it often. One of my friends actually labeled the books ‘trash.’ Huh?

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AN OTP (One True Pairing) THAT YOU DON’T LIKE:

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I may be cheating here, but I have to go with Kellen and Wavy from All The Ugly and Wonderful Things. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book, but this relationship was so difficult for me because of the age difference. 26 to 13… Even though Wavy wasn’t your typical 13 year old, it made it difficult at times because the relationship started before that…


A POPULAR BOOK GENRE THAT YOU HARDLY REACH FOR:

Sci-Fi!

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I have to admit that I’ve hardly read any books in this genre, but I’m reading Cyborg  this year if it’s the last thing I do!

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A POPULAR/BELOVED CHARACTER THAT YOU DO NOT LIKE:

-Gaston from Beauty and the Beast-

Well, Gaston may not be beloved, but Beauty and the Beast is a popular tale that later includes Gaston’s vain and arrogant character. Gaston wasn’t in the very first Beauty and the Beast book, but arrives in subsequent versions. Here’s one I read recently that includes Gaston.

He’s extremely annoying because he thinks he’s the most wonderful person on the planet. Not only that, he doesn’t think reading is important. Forget that!

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A POPULAR AUTHOR THAT YOU CAN’T SEEM TO GET INTO:

-James Patterson-

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Let’s talk about this author for a minute. He’s written over 100 books, right? I can’t even count on one hand how many books he’s written that have been made into movies or TV specials. I will say that I read one of them, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. It had me in tears for days. I haven’t forgotten that book, but I can’t seem to get into any of his others.

I haven’t given up on him and plan to read some of his books in the future…


A POPULAR BOOK TROPE THAT YOU’RE TIRED OF SEEING:

-Love cures all-

I can’t stand it anymore. It’s so unrealistic when it comes to people who have serious mental disorders. They meet someone new and fall in love, and then they are miraculously cured! Seriously?

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Continue reading “TAG: The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag”

Chris Cornell: Thoughts on Suicide & Forgiveness

It’s been a little over a week since I awoke from sleep and learned that one of my favorite singers of all time had passed away. At the time I learned about it, nothing had been concluded on the details of how he died and all I could think about was the fact that he was gone. One of the first thoughts I had when I learned that Chris had died was that he would now be reunited with Andrew Wood, Layne Staley, Kurt Kobain, Scott Weiland, Mike Starr, Shannon Hoon, and others.

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From the left: Scott Weiland, Shannon Hoon, Andrew Wood, Kurt Kobain, Layne Staley, and Mike Starr in the front.

Later on that day it was confirmed that Chris had committed suicide. I think some of the thoughts that people have when losing someone to suicide might be like those posted on the image above. I’ve had some of them myself. I lost my stepmother to drugs when I was a teen. It wasn’t a suicide, but a death caused by carelessness. I was angry over her choices and wondered why she didn’t care to live. It wasn’t until I got older and thought about the pain that she endured on Earth from losing two young brothers and then her parents not long after that finally helped me accept it. She truly never got over their deaths. I was just angry, sad and bitter. I wanted her here and mourned her death probably more than anyone else.

I got to talking with people about Chris and an anonymous person mentioned to me that it was possible that he would not be accepted into heaven because he committed suicide. It’s always been my personal thought that when we die, our soul goes to Heaven. This anonymous person then proceeded to tell me that when people commit suicide they are committing an unforgivable sin and are lost from God forever. As if Chris’s death wasn’t hard enough, this caused me to sob even more.

I was shocked. Could I really be this ignorant about what the Bible says about suicide? I was raised Orthodox and have spent the majority of my life in one Church or another, but I couldn’t say for sure and had no way to refute the statement. I began to ponder about it and started roaming the internet. I was questioning in my head whether Chris was a Christian. It’s no surprise that many of his lyrics highlight a troubled soul and it’s possible that he was tormented with his own thoughts. I do wonder if maybe he was searching for his own answers as he was an open thinker. I then reminded myself of all the songs that helped me believe what was in his heart. Even though I read that he possibly considered himself agnostic, I go back to the songs that give me insight to his beliefs.


Audioslave – Like a Stone

Lyrics:

On a cobweb afternoon
In a room full of emptiness
By a freeway I confess
I was lost in the pages
Of a book full of death
Reading how we’ll die alone
And if we’re good, we’ll lay to rest
Anywhere we want to go
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
On my deathbed I will pray
To the gods and the angels
Like a pagan to anyone
Who will take me to heaven
To a place I recall
I was there so long ago
The sky was bruised
The wine was bled
And there you led me on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
Alone
And on I read
Until the day was gone
And I sat in regret
Of all the things I’ve done
For all that I’ve blessed
And all that I’ve wronged
In dreams until my death
I will wander on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
Alone
When I first heard this song it almost seemed as if Chris was speaking directly in this song. What do you think the song means? There are many different thoughts on it. 

Audioslave – I Am The Highway

Lyrics:
Pearls and swine bereft of me
Long and weary my road has been
I was lost in the cities
Alone in the hills
No sorrow or pity for leaving I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
Friends and liars don’t wait for me
I’ll get on all by myself
I put millions of miles
Under my heels
And still too close to you
I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night

When I listen to this song it makes me think of a person who is already gone, possibly in heaven, and doesn’t want to return. He’s now everything. What do you think? 

Continue reading “Chris Cornell: Thoughts on Suicide & Forgiveness”

Lessons from Grandpa #1

My grandfather was a very prominent figure in my life as I was growing up. He was a teacher, school principal, and father to five children. Everyday I learned something from him whether it be something I should eat, something I should do, how I should act, or how I should think. He always had something interesting to say.

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Me and GP just before my baptism

My grandfather was a serious conservative. He lived by the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and if it is, just put some duct tape on it!” I’m not even joking. Have you seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and witnessed how Toula’s father would put Windex on everything? Well, that’s my grandfather, except with him it was simply, “Put some duct tape on it.

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I remember one day he came home from the golf course and when he pulled up in the driveway, his car was missing the driver’s side mirror. I asked him what happened and he told me, “I think I sideswiped a truck.” I couldn’t believe it and I know that if he had that mirror in his hand, he’d be duct taping it back on.

Another repair was on his left boot. He had visited a doctor for hip pain and learned that one of his legs was longer than the other. He brainstormed about how he could fix the issue without having to wear a brace of some sort. He wound up making a platform for the bottom of his boot and duct taped it on. Voila! When the zipper broke on one of his other shoes, he taped that too. He would put duct tape on vacuum hoses, tools, shoes, furniture, and even books. He didn’t care what anyone thought either. When I was a kid I thought it was silly. Now that I’m older, I love that he was like that and wish that I could be more carefree about what people think.

The one duct taped object that I have from my grandfather is his Bible. He read his Bible every day. Once the binding started to break down, he fixed it so that he could use it for many years to come.  It’s a large print and fairly big Bible. Here’s a picture of it here with his tape repairs.

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Continue reading “Lessons from Grandpa #1”

In Memory of Chris Cornell

I was shocked and saddened this morning to hear on the news that one of my favorite singers of all time, Chris Cornell, has passed away at the age of 52. One of the original architects that formed the grunge movement has been taken and has now joined other artists such as Andrew Wood, Layne Staley, Scott Weiland, Shannon Hoon, Kurt Kobain, and Mike Starr. It’s going to take me forever to get over this one…

This post may be a little choppy…

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Chris was the lead singer of Soundgarden, Audioslave and also Temple of the Dog, an album created in remembrance to Andrew Wood. He had a powerful and defining voice. Here’s a video of “Fell On Black Days.”

Lyrics

Whatsoever I’ve feared has come to life
Whatsoever I’ve fought off became my life
Just when everyday seemed to greet me with a smile
Sunspots have faded and now I’m doing time
Now I’m doing time
‘Cause I fell on black days
I fell on black days

Whomsoever I’ve cured, I’ve sickened now
And whomsoever I’ve cradled, I’ve put you down
I’m a search light soul they say
But I can’t see it in the night

I’m only faking when I get it right
When I get it right

‘Cause I fell on black days
I fell on black days

How would I know
That this could be my fate?
How would I know
That this could be my fate? Yeah

Uh, uh, uh
Uh, uh, uh
Uh, uh, uh

So what you wanted to see good
Has made you blind
And what you wanted to be yours
Has made it mine

Don’t you lock up something
That you wanted to see fly
Hands are for shaking
No, not tying, no, not tying

I sure don’t mind a change
I sure don’t mind a change
Yeah, I sure don’t mind, sure don’t mind a change
I sure don’t mind a change

‘Cause I fell on black days
I fell on black days

How would I know
That this could be my fate?
How would I know
That this could be my fate?

How would I know
That this could be my fate?
How would I know
That this could be my fate?

I sure don’t mind a change


Recently I read Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge , a book about the grunge movement. I learned a lot about Chris that I didn’t know in this book. You can read my original post HERE.

Also, my original post on Temple of the Dog is HERE.

and my recent music haul featuring Temple of the Dog is HERE.

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Here are two great songs…

Show Me How to Live by Audioslave

Lyrics
And with the early dawn
Moving right along
I couldn’t buy and eyeful of sleep
And in the aching night under satellites
I was not received
Built with stolen parts
A telephone in my heart
Someone get me a priest
To put my mind to bed
This ringing in my head
Is this a cure or is this a disease
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
And in the after birth
On the quiet earth
Let the stains remind you
You thought you made a man
You better think again
Before my role defines you
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
And in your waiting hands
I will land
And roll out of my skin
And in your final hours I will stand
Ready to begin
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
Show me how to live

Burden in My Hand by Soundgarden

Lyrics

Follow me into the desert
As thirsty as you are
Crack a smile and cut your mouth
And drown in alcohol
‘Cause down below the truth is lying
Beneath the riverbed
So quench yourself and drink the water
That flows below her head

Oh no there she goes
Out in the sunshine the sun is mine

I shot my love today would you cry for me
I lost my head again would you lie for me
I left her in the sand just a burden in my hand
I lost my head again would you cry for me

Close your eyes and bow your head
I need a little sympathy
‘Cause fear is strong and love’s for everyone
Who isn’t me
So kill your health and kill yourself
And kill everything you love
And if you live you can fall to pieces
And suffer with my ghost
Just a burden in my hand
Just an anchor on my heart
Just a tumor in my head
And I’m in the dark

So follow me into the desert
As desperate as you are
Where the moon is glued to a picture of heaven
And all the little pigs have God


The one song that always gets to me, every time I hear it. This is one of the first grunge songs that I learned on my guitar and I would play it repeatedly. This one has probably been posted on my blog three times. It’s my favorite ever and also features Eddie Vedder, singer of Pearl Jam.

Hungar Strike – Temple of the Dog

Lyrics
I don’t mind stealing bread
From the mouth of decadence
But I can’t feed on the powerless
When my cup’s already over-filled
But it’s on the table.
The fire’s cooking.
And they’re farming babies
While the slaves are all working.
Blood is on the table.
The mouths are choking
And I’m going hungry
I’m going hungry [Repeat: x3]

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Chris Cornell with Andrew Wood

Together again…

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Rest in peace, Chris. I’ll never forget you…

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FREE Personality Test

A while back my friend Stephan on Goodreads brought his personality type to my attention. He has a rare personality type and I wanted to know more about what mine would be. I had never done one of these more specific tests and was fairly shocked at my results. It turns out that my personality is not very common (making up only 3% of the population) and after doing this test I understand a little more about myself and the way I am with people and life in general. You can do the test yourself here:

www.16personalities.com

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It’s a series of 50+ multiple choice questions. You have to answer honestly in order to get your accurate personality type. I did a test on another website which gave me similar results, but this website here seems to get more in depth. It’s free to find your type, but to get in depth advice on navigating through life with your personality, you have to upgrade to a premium profile. I haven’t done that and don’t intend to. The information given is enough to help you understand why you are the way you are and I found it very helpful. It’s interesting!

Once you complete the test you’ll get this information:

I’m sharing some of my results below…Keep in mind, you get way more information than this. This is just my introduction that discusses my personality type.


LOGICIAN PERSONALITY (INTP, -A/-T)

(Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perceiving) -T=Turbulent

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

The Logician personality type is fairly rare, making up only three percent of the population, which is definitely a good thing for them, as there’s nothing they’d be more unhappy about than being “common”. Logicians pride themselves on their inventiveness and creativity, their unique perspective and vigorous intellect. Usually known as the philosopher, the architect, or the dreamy professor, Logicians have been responsible for many scientific discoveries throughout history.

The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

Logicians are known for their brilliant theories and unrelenting logic – in fact, they are considered the most logically precise of all the personality types.

They love patterns, and spotting discrepancies between statements could almost be described as a hobby, making it a bad idea to lie to a Logician. This makes it ironic that Logicians’ word should always be taken with a grain of salt – it’s not that they are dishonest, but people with the Logician personality type tend to share thoughts that are not fully developed, using others as a sounding board for ideas and theories in a debate against themselves rather than as actual conversation partners.

This may make them appear unreliable, but in reality no one is more enthusiastic and capable of spotting a problem, drilling through the endless factors and details that encompass the issue and developing a unique and viable solution than Logicians – just don’t expect punctual progress reports. People who share the Logician personality type aren’t interested in practical, day-to-day activities and maintenance, but when they find an environment where their creative genius and potential can be expressed, there is no limit to the time and energy Logicians will expend in developing an insightful and unbiased solution.

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Wisdom Begins in Wonder

Continue reading “FREE Personality Test”