April 15, 2010

Have you chosen YOUR path?

Crossroads: The Teenage Girl's Guide to Emotional Wounds

This book was written by: Suzy Weibel, a youth minister, and Stephanie Smith, a Gotee recording artist. In case you were unaware that Ms. Smith was a Gotee recording artist, this information is provided on the front cover, the back cover, the title page, the introduction, and on pages 131-134, where she recounts how she met and signed a deal with TobyMac (the Christian hip-hop mogul, not the failed housing lender).

What is in this book: This 156-page book features almost 100 pages that Stephanie Smith may have written herself, or at least dictated to her co-author. Each chapter—or "track", as the book calls them—is titled after a track from Stephanie's debut album, following her struggles as she grows up without a father. Stephanie notes that "God has done a lot in my heart, but I still crave a daddy sometimes"(p.145).
In the "Choose Your Playlist" and "Your Song" sections of each chapter, Stephanie engages the reader directly with questions to think about and action steps to take before the "So You Want to Be a Rock Star?" sections "visit the stories of ordinary people who have found themselves at all kinds of crossroads"(p.10).

What is not in this book: The kind of shallow thinking one associates with young girls. Smith challenges her readers, giving them things to think about and not pulling any punches. "It is seriously tough out there in the world. I don't want to depress anybody right off the bat, but if you pay any attention at all, you know what I'm talking about"(p.12). That's right, "life usually doesn't work out as neatly as in our plans or dreams"(p.50). Smith also uses similes that her readers can relate to, like when "messages of rejection from my dad and from Chris affixed themselves to my brain like a stubborn piece of already-been-chewed gum to the underside of a school cafeteria table"(p.61), and she refrains from some of the angsty excesses of her contemporaries when describing emotionally loaded scenes, like when "the midnight hour found me crying an absolute river of brokenness, repentance, and confession on a spare bed at my mentor's house"(p.87). Most importantly, Smith is honest with herself and her readers. "I don't know that this is the most profound thought I've ever had, but I began to think, You know, it is only because I was born where I was that I've known the life I've known."(p.118)

Crossroads is a surprisingly popular title for a lot of things.
Would you recommend this book to a fan of Britney Spears? No, it would be my sad obligation to inform them that this is not, in fact, the novelization of Ms. Spears' breathtaking, cinematic coming-of-age story.

Would you recommend this book to someone about to meet with the Reverend Mother? Yes. Observe:
"Sometimes when hurt blindsides us, we react like wounded animals. Feeling cornered and taken by surprise, it is only natural to want to take out our claws and put a good scratch on our attacker. But wait a minute. That's not how animals think. That's how humans think.
When an animal is wounded, it doesn't strike out with the intent to harm. I know that sounds crazy, but animals don't possess cognitive reasoning skills. An animal strikes out to create an escape route and hopefully to save its own life—not for revenge or justice
Now you are ready to face her Gom Jabbar.

There are lots of other lovely states besides Pennsylvania. Why not try Iowa? Iowa is nice.Would you recommend this book to someone from outside of Pennsylvania? Never! This book reveals that Pennsylvania is not only the sanctuary that offers Smith's mother an escape from her abusive husband (p.30), but also the location of (cancer-curing) Hershey Medical Center (p.24), a Christian high school that saves a girl from "a messed-up future"(p.142), a church where a young mother on the wrong track manages to turn her life and marriage around (p.94), a bed and breakfast where a woman forgives her husband and gives their marriage another chance (p.108), and the Penn State Softball team (p.23). True, there's a farm in central Pennsylvania where some guy's dad is kind of a jerk (p.54), but the book illustrates how this magical state has spelled salvation for Stephanie and at least six others. Allowing this book to spread the word would be a disaster. We must protect our Shangri-la from the auslanders!

What was interesting about this book? Although you should see a counselor if you need serious mental help, "it is of utmost importance that counseling be based on the foundation of God's Word"(p.66) because secular counseling is inherently defective.
However, it may have been the choices offered by Ms. Smith that were most interesting, like the choice between "two coats I could put on as I stepped into this plan: God's 'better' or my own coat, the one named 'bitter.' Which coat are you going to wear?"(p.107) I know the answer to that one! Smith also asks "Are you willing to believe that God is who he says he is and that his promises of care and love and presence are true? Or are you going to believe you're stuck in a life that will never work out and that you have no choice but to be unhappy, bitter, and disconnected?"(p.10) I know how I'm going to answer that one, too!
So really this book—and God's love—is all about not being afraid to look within yourself to find the answers that God put there.

Crossroads: The Teenage Girl's Guide to Emotional Wounds by Gotee Recording Artist Stephane Smith & Suzy Weibel (Zondervan, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-310-28550-2)

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April 1, 2010

Mysterious but Superfun

This book is actually copyrighted by Mystery Method Corporation. I'm not kidding.
The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women into Bed

This book was written by: Erik von Markovik, a.k.a. "Mystery," and his good friend Chris Odom, two young men who love their mothers.

What is in this book: Tactics and strategy. Erik and Chris know that women are terrifying creatures capable of indescribable violence, which is why they are arming readers with techniques like the "shotgun", " sniper," and the "throw and go rule"(p.98-99) along with a host of acronyms and strategies to safely dehumanize the process of talking to other people (see diagram from page 144). These will help you subdue your quarry and prove your worth as a human being. After all, "if you can't attract a woman, you are, by dictionary definition, sterile"(p.xv), and your life's highest purpose is to survive and replicate ("S-and-R"). The good news is that "Just because it's a matter of life and death doesn't mean the process of attracting women can't be superfun!"(p.xiii)

What is not in this book: An unnecessarily restrictive view of women and the gifts they have to offer. You might not have realized that they have uses outside of the bedroom, but "A pivot is a female friend whom you bring into the field in order to build social proof, open sets, create jealousy, and distract obstacles. In return for her services, you show her a good time and help her to meet guys"(p.121). A pivot should not be confused with a pawn:
"With women of particular quality, it's often necessary to demonstrate preselection when gaming them. Before you open a set with a 10, for instance, you may first open an adjacent set with a 7 or 8, attract her, and put her on your arm. She is now your good natured pawn. With this demonstration of preselection firmly in place, open the set with the 10. It should open easily due to your high perceived value. Your approach is also much less threatening with another woman on your arm.
At some point when you are in A3 with the 10, where she is earning your affections, you will be able to 'choose' her over the 7. The 7 may then return to her friends, unharmed in any way.

Hee hee. He said "firmly." He also said "threatening" and "unharmed," but I wasn't paying attention to that part.

Page 144. Who knew that meeting other people was so complicated?
Would you recommend this book to someone suffering from narcolepsy? That's a tough question. On the one hand, they don't have to worry about having too high of an energy level when trying to pick up women. This is important because "if your energy is too high, sets will easily hook, but closing will be more difficult and girls will more often accuse you of being gay"(p.78). However, if they fall asleep during the early parts of the book, they'll be completely confused later on when it starts telling them to do things like "If she defies your compliance test, give her an IOD, followed by a DHV and then another compliance test"(p.143, and no, those are not other names for GHB—I checked!).

Would you recommend this book to that creepy dude who is always hanging out at the public library? Yes. I'm betting he's already familiar with the idea that "all humans possess a built-in motivation to stay away from people with low or negative social value"(p.17), but he would be interested to learn that "being bubbly and wanting to dance" is actually a shield that women use "to protect themselves from men with a low perceived S-and-R [Survival and Replication] value"(p.75). He would definitely agree with the passage about how "not holding her hands, smelling her neck, or kissing her during the comfort stage can trap you [in the sex-free "friend zone"]"(p.59) and its furtherance of a pro-neck-sniffing agenda.
Mostly, I think it will save him the trouble of checking out a copy of Eugenics for Sex Offenders. "Just as a superior basketball player limited by lousy teammates must escape and join a better team in order to win, so, too, must a superior gene escape from its inferior gene-mates and be given a chance to join a better genetic team for its continued survival. This method of escape is called crossbreeding"(p.11, emphasis in original).

Page 12. He seriously refers to picking up chicks as Venusian arts.
What was interesting about this book? Subtle nuances are essential for both the accomplished pickup artist and the reader of this book. On the one hand, "there is only one type of close, really: sex. Are you a closer?"(p.189, N.B., "sex" was in boldface in the original). However, slipping it to some skank in "a nearby bathroom stall [....] is a fool's mate fantasy and not solid game"(p.57-58). Similarly, if you decide to approach a woman because she is attractive, "we cannot let her know we're choosing her based on looks because it doesn't seem genuine and makes us appear like other typical men"(p.53).
It is also interesting how comprehensive the book's advice is, covering every aspect of meeting and breeding women up to and including overcoming their resistance to the idea of sleeping with you. "Last-minute resistance is a fear that women experience just prior to having sex, similar to the way that men experience approach anxiety. It is your responsibility to ease her through this"(p.206). Yeah, ease her through it all night long.

The Mystery Method: How to Get Beautiful Women into Bed by Mystery (Erik von Markovik) with Chris Odom (St. Martin's Press, 2007, ISBN: 978-0-312-36011-5)

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