Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Les Mis

Can words describe how excited I am for the new Les Mis? Would it help you to know that I keep serenading my coworkers with bits and pieces from the muscial? True story, it was sprinkling and I came in singing "A Little Drop of Rain".  So this little gem of recorded video between Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe in a club singing "The Confrontation" is an instant "this is DEFINITELY going on the blog" piece of magic.

(LBH, I don't know about Russell Crowe as Javert - I am so used to the powerful pipes of Philip Quast of the 10th Anniversary Concert - but I am willing to have an open mind :))

Friday, November 30, 2012

Civic "Duty"

Picture this:

You are a dedicated citizen to a your small town. You've lived there the majority of your life and you love its traditions. So you are very happy in a small-town-type-of-way for the annual Christmas parade. You position yourself on the street so that you can see the whole parade and as it commences, you enthusiastically wave to all the parade participants wishing them a Merry Christmas and waving as they go by.

And while the Jazzercize ladies did not make an appearance, you're happy with the parade - the Shriners are there zipping in their little cars. The high school bands all make an appearance, along with unicyclists, baton twirlers, the local dance studios, a tank, and the most random Ghostbusters camo bus.

As the parade goes on, the local SPCA comes along with their cute puppies. And then this scene unfolds:
One of the dogs pops a squat and does his "duty". While doing so, his handler is petting him. Once done, the dog is ready to go on. His handler looks at one the other handlers, shrugs, and walks on. LEAVING A STEAMING PILE OF DOG POOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARADE!!!! There are still MANY more people to come along, and the dog has literally pooped in the absolute MIDDLE of the road, in the absolute MIDDLE of the parade.

What do you do? Do you just stand there and let this injustice persist? The firemen/police volunteers aren't doing anything - they aren't even bothering to warn the other parade participants about the steaming pile they are about to step in (poor boy scout troop).

No - You can't take it. As incredulous as you are that the SPCA did not bother to bring any bags with them to pick up after their dogs, you quickly scout and find a plastic bag, run into the middle of the street, pause the parade, scoop it up, and then quickly make your exit. It took a total of 30 seconds, but was 30 seconds too late for the boy scouts.

So dear SPCA, in case you - of all organizations - do not already know this rule, I would like you to memorize it and keep the streets of my town clean:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged amongst all who take care of pets, that if thy pet shall poop it, THOU SHALT SCOOP IT." Bring a bag with you if you're walking your dog in a public space! ESPECIALLY in the middle of the CHRISTMAS PARADE!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Orphan Sunday

It's been a long time since I have posted anything in this sphere, so I don't know how many people actually may read this. But for the few that may stumble upon this space, I hope that you will read this story by a friend. I have followed her blog, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, for years now and the wisdom and love for the Lord that she shares is so inspiring and refreshes my own faith. The story that she shared today though takes my breath away...to see the way that the heart cry/prayer of an 8 year old adopted daughter who has prayed so boldly for her friend that was left behind, that her friend may find a family...to the prayers of Sara's own friend for a child...it literally brings tears to my eyes to see the framework of this story that God has woven together. It is a testament to Him, to His love, to His redemption, to His immeasurable glory and hugeness - that the small boxes that I compartmentalize my faith into are burst asunder in the face of such a Love.

Please read this story and consider sharing. I know it is one story of many of the amazing things that our God does, but I ask that you would consider sharing all the same. Many thanks.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Book Review: Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge

Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of JesusBeautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus by John Eldredge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read John Eldredge's latest book earlier this spring but am just now getting around to reviewing it.

I know that there are a lot of critics of John's books and his style of writing. However, in my opinion, there isn't another writer out there that makes the heart of Jesus more accessible. Beautiful Outlaw is Eldredge's examination of the personality of Jesus, which he purports often gets overlooked by Christians. I would have to agree, especially in the way that Eldredge presents it. By re-examining passages in the Bible, he points out different aspects of Jesus's personality - his playfulness, cunning, humility, extreme generosity, captivating honesty and authenticity. And best of all, how all of these personality traits are still evident in our own life. Eldredge asserts that if we allow Jesus to live within our lives, these traits become more and more apparent to us.

I really loved this book. It is a very easy read - the writing won't blow you away - but its content is so powerful. You can't read this book and come away without being affected and wanting to know more about this amazing Son of Man, Son of God, Jesus.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Come On and Kiss De' Girl Ducky! 5 Thoughts for Monday's "Bachelorette"

I know that I haven't been keeping up with the new season of "The Bachelorette" on here, but I have 5 thoughts from this past Monday's episode.

1 - When One F Jef, or "Ducky" as I refer to him, and Emily were in the Eye and all he could keep talking about was kissing Emily and how much he wanted to, but then the moment was passing by, all I could thing of was that if he had had a trusty crustacean to sing "Sha-la-la-la, kiss de' girl", he might have had more confidence to go for it before the ride was over. At least they finally shared a kiss that night.

2 - "I'mma 'bout to go all West Virginia, backwoods, hood rat on his a$$" has got to be one of the best lines uttered on reality television. Ever. Especially since Emily is the furthest thing from a redneck, trailer park, backwoods West Virginian that there could be. Maybe she applies the same logic that I do when singing along with "Redneck Woman" in my car, dressed in pearls and a popped collar. 

3 - One F Jef/Ducky's outfit for the first part of his one-on-one was priceless. Light grey knit blazer. With arm patches. And a skinny tie. And folded square pocket square. Tight khakis/jeans. Wingtip shoes. It was a thing of hipster beauty.

4 - Ryan's scarves were about the most d-bag things I have ever seen. It literally made my skin crawl each time he came on screen wearing a scarf. I mean, really???
Come on, Really??? That scarf?? UGH

5 - I am sad that I will no longer get to sing "Ale-Ale-jandro, Ale-Ale-jandro, Alejandro, Alejandro" every time that the Californian mushroom farmer Alejandro is on screen.

I predict that Sean, Arie, and One F Jef make it to the final Three. I think Doug and Ryan will be in the top five, unless either is surpassed by Travis (which I hope so! Come on Madison, MS!). I believe we'll be saying "Adios" to Wolf Boy and young buck Chris in the next few episodes. What about you? Who do you think will make it to the final three? 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To Brighten Grey Days

Three things to brighten these oppressive grey days that we've been having in Wton:

1 - Rex Grossman's advice to RGIII is enough to fill a whole afternoon - many thanks to The Onion for this hard-hitting piece of news.

2 - John Stewart on the mess in Europe - and how Germany has actually won the war.

3 - And the last 45 seconds of this Stephen Colbert interview with Andy Cohen is priceless - not a word is said and it's soooo funny!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ear Candy

I love to spread news about new music loves and these are some that I have downloaded recently that I am playing on constant repeat:

1. Alex Clare - "Too Close"

I came across this song through the new commercial that they are running for Internet Explorer - this guy is kind of really awesome. His album isn't available in the US yet (darn it) but this single is, and I hope that the full album comes soon, because the stuff that I have heard is great.

2. Goyte - "Save Me"

It took me a while to dive in and purchase this album, but after seeing someone Tweet about it, I decided to give it a chance. I am so happy I did - this album hits the perfect mix between alternative/lite rock. As one reviewer said on Amazon, "it's a strangely appealing mix of Beck, George Michael, and Seal".  There are definitely some tracks that I love more than others, but it is all in all a really great album. The song above is one of my favorites so far.

3. Taylor Swift ft. The Civil Wars - "Safe and Sound"

It's almost sacrilegious for me to post something positive about Taylor Swift - I usually can't stand her music (and I know I'm in the minority there, but I am just. not. a. fan. at. all.). But this song is hauntingly beautiful (which I credit T Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars for). I'm really excited about "The Hunger Games" movie AND soundtrack - there are some really amazing artists (like The Civil Wars) on it and I'm hoping for more of the same along these lines.

4. Starfield - "Innocence and Other Things Lost"

Starfield is a Christian band that I stumbled upon a couple of years ago and I liked them immediately because they actually had good music - not just lyrically, but musically - something that didn't sound like it belonged in a church on a Sunday. That is, until a couple of albums ago in which the whole album bent toward that direction and I was sad because, while there's nothing wrong with that music, it doesn't grab me. Thankfully on this new album, Starfield seems to have found a little bit of that musicality that I loved about them at first place. This is one of the songs that drew me in.

Let me know what you think or if you've come across anything new lately that I need to know about :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Final Thoughts for the Finale

  1. It seems like Lindzi is trying to channel Ben with her grey, neutral outfit choices. Which we all know is to no avail. The Bachelor never picks the one we want him to pick.
  2. I swear that is not Ben's mom. She was not a blonde on Ashley's season! One of the two is a hired actor, I am sure of it.
  3. Ben's sister needs to watch all the innuendos that she keeps saying - talking about getting Lindzi to "open up" and "release the floodgates" - I'm not making this up - she really said those things!
  4. The Matterhorn is really spectacular. I may have to put that on my "leap" list (and by "leap" list, I mean bucket list, because a leap list is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of and I'm convinced was something made up by Honda's marketing department, which also strategically got their Honda's placed on The Bachelor this season, which I'm sure led to a huge spike in sales).
  5. Ben's sister, who I was hoping would be as awesome and rude (aka, honest) as Ashley's amazing sister was to JP, TOTALLY let me down with how easy she let Courtney off the hook. I mean, really? Not even one little hesitation or inkling that she may not be the most authentic person in the world?
  6. *Yawn* *Fast Forward* Sorry - that was me fast-forwarding through Ben and Lindzi's date - I'm done listening to Lindzi talk about how she is opening up in this relationship. There's only so many times during a season that I can take that line.
  7. *Yawwwwnnn* *Fast Forward* Sorry - that was me fast-forwarding through another helicopter ride and how it is symbolic of Ben and Courtney's relationship soaring to new heights - there are only so many times I can take that metaphor - and I am WAY past it this season - seriously, they used that metaphor and scenario SOOOOO MANNYYY TIMES. I'm through with rappelling, jumping out of helicopters, rope courses, and zip lines being used as metaphors for relationships.
  8. Courtney definitely had the cooler balcony to have a balcony scene on.
  9. OMG, ABC has incorporated Disney into the series by now having the Bachelorettes dressing as Disney princesses, complete with cloaks (and climbing into helicopters to make them hike in heels up the Swiss Alps)! This is my comparison for each:
    Poor Lindzi.

    And this would be my depiction of Courtney and Ben.
  10. Oh my gosh - so shocking (not) - Ben chose Courtney! Didn't see that one coming!! (see Number 1)
It's been real all my rose-loving friends. Thank goodness this is now over so we can mentally prepare ourselves for Emily Maynard (aka Melanie Wilkes from Gone With the Wind) by watching "The Voice"!

PS - You need to check Jimmy Kimmel Live's spot with Chris Harrison from tonight - priceless!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

10 Thoughts for This Week's Bachelor

I know I've missed a few weeks, but I couldn't let this episode go without saying something. So in no particular order...

  1. I seriously thought we were going to witness the first helicopter crash in Bachelor history during Nikki and Ben's date when they were going over the glacier.

  2. If I was on a date in the Swiss Alps, you better believe I would be singing "The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music..."

  3. Did the helicopter just drop them off on the set of the Lord of the Rings? It totally looked like that mountain was one of the Beacons of Gondor.

  4. Poor Lindzi - nothing says "I like you" like continuing to terrify your significant other with dates that incorporate their biggest fears into them.

  5. How come Courtney never is on the terrifying dates? All they do is go on picnics, skinny dip, and make out.

  6. Oh Lord - I don't know how I will make it through the next season of The Bachelorette with constant references to "Mah daughter, Ricky. Ah'm so ready to meet someone, because when she goes to bed at 7:30pm, ah get lonely. Ah'm ready to meet mah husband."

  7. Emily also just went down about 10 notches in my book, if she is seriously taking style advice from Ali and Ashley - two of the worst dressed Bachelorettes in the history of the Bachelorette.

  8. Oh course Ashley compared her love with JP to Jack and Rose. Of course. I wonder why Ali didn't make any references to her great love? OH RIGHT - They broke up.

  9. I almost thought that Kacie B. was wearing a Darth Vader mask, she was breathing so hard before knocking on Ben's door.

  10. Cursing in front of Chris Harrison, Ben!?!? Sacrilege!!!
Two Bonus Thoughts:
  1. Of course he picked Courtney. Of course.
  2. Ben's hair is seriously the worst hair of ever. E-V-E-R.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book Review: Catching Fire

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I delayed reading this book for a long time. I read The Hunger Games in 2009 and was mesmerized by the dystopian story, as well as its fast-paced plot. And I feel like Catching Fire captures some of the same pace of The Hunger Games with unexpected twists and turns coming at you with the turn of a page.

What I found the most engaging about this book was the further development of the relationship between Katniss and Peeta, which stopped so abruptly at the end of The Hunger Games. I could feel Katniss falling for this man who is good and loves her unconditionally, two things which she wishes were true of her (when it comes to her relationships with Gale and Peeta).

The true purpose of Catching Fire,in my opinion, is to lay the foundation for the next book. By touring through all the Districts on the Victory Tour, Katniss and Peeta show the reader the unrest that is lurking beneath the surface of the country, Panem. As they travel through the Districts, it becomes clear that they have solidly become symbols of defiance against the Capitol and its evils, (which is represented the most by the Hunger Games) but it is only a foreboding of the story that will fully unravel itself in the final and third book, Mockingjay.

In all, I found Catching Fire very engaging. It broadened the scope of Collins' story, setting up the third book, and it's own plot twists and new batch of characters provided for an entertaining read.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Celebrating Thirty Years

Birthdays are so important. On our birthdays we celebrate being alive. On our birthdays people can say to us, "Thank you for being!" Birthday presents are signs of our families' and friends' joy that we are part of their lives. Little children often look forward to their birthdays for months. Their birthdays are their big days, when they are the center of attention and all their friends come to celebrate.
We should never forget our birthdays or the birthdays of those who are close to us. Birthdays keep us childlike. They remind us that what is important is not what we do or accomplish, not what we have or who we know, but that we are, here and now. On birthdays let us be grateful for the gift of life.
~ Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, entry on February 13th 

Here's to celebrating thirty years of life thus far!! I have many hopes and dreams for this year (like maybe I can start becoming a real adult?) so am extending my birthday "day" into the entire year. Because why not? :) So happy birthday to anyone else who's birthday is today, to all my fellow Aquarians, and anyone who else who will celebrate a birthday this year. Truly, celebrate it!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: The Great Gatsby

The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had the idea to re-read this book in the hopes of being able to join in Out of Print's twitter book club - but I was too late in actually reading it to do so. But for some reason instead of putting it back on the shelf, I decided to crack open this book that I hadn't looked at since high school.

Fitzgerald's prose blew me away. The lyricism, the rhythm, and the contempt - yet care - that he has for his characters makes for a work of art that I never could have comprehended when I was seventeen. I was blown away during this reading.

What was most surprising about this story in reading it now is how similar i found Fitzgerald's commentary on the American society in the "Roaring Twenties" to be to our own current society. The mannerisms of the characters, the descriptions of the party scenes at Gatsby's mansion - these elements bear a striking resemblance to our own culture in its present state. It made me wish I was in a high school or college English class so that a discussion about its intricacies could have taken place and further enlightened me to appreciate the words I was reading.

And I have to admit that in reading this I was imagining the cast of the new Gatsby film being done by Baz Luhrman. I can only imagine what that movie will be like in his hands. It's almost guaranteed that most will hate it and few will love it.

All in all, I am so glad that I dusted this book off the shelf and read it again. It has inspired me to want to dust off more classics and enjoy the carefully crafted words between their pages.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Review: Out of My Mind

Out of My MindOut of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is hard to properly explain the magic of this book. From the opening line to the closing pages, Out of My Mind is a work of art that is both important, beautiful, and timeless. The author, Sharon Draper, has written many books. I know this only because I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at a conference that I was working. Little did I know that her keynote was only the tip of the iceberg of the power that she possessed.

This book is about a girl named Melody with severe cerebral palsy. She cannot walk. She cannot feed herself. She cannot move. Most of all, she cannot talk. But she hears everything, sees everything, and understands everything. Her memory is a photograph and she treasures knowledge and learning. No one believes in her capabilities though. Instead of seeing who she is on the inside - a brilliant girl - they all see her on the surface. Kids at school only see her looks or her odd shouts or her inability to feed herself. There are a few champions that come into her life and recognize the fact that she is trapped inside a body that betrays her full capabilities.

The thing I did not expect from this book was the way it touched me. Draper has crafted a tale that touches the deepest part of ourselves. It asks us to look inside of ourselves and see us through Melody's eyes. How do we interact with those who have no way of communicating with the outside world? With those who have been born into a world of struggle and disability that we have no idea of truly comprehending? They are hard questions, but questions that need to be asked because those who are handicapped are all around us.

The book is a breeze to get through - the reading level of the book is meant for anyone in grades 4 or above. But I am so glad that even though it is a "children's book" I picked it up and read it because it taught me something and opened my eyes even more to a world that I largely forget. And I hope that at some point, everyone will have a chance to pick up this book and have their eyes opened as well.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

From Zero to Sixty

My top ten moments from tonight's episode:

  1. Rachel being all upset with Blakely's "sexual dancing". Doesn't she know that VIP cocktail waitresses just know those type of things? It's why they wear silk shirts that just barely cover their lady parts. But then belt the shirts. Because that makes it so much better. (For the record - a belt does not make barely-covering silk shirts appropriate or acceptable attire.) (BTW, how many times did we have to watch Blakely "dance" the same exact thing? It felt like fifty million).
  2. A scrapbook!! I've been waiting all season for one. Thank you Blakely for giving me my quintessential scrapbook moment. (Sorry that you were then promptly shown the door).
  3. Little boys in loin cloths playing soccer and jumping in rivers. And then a random Panamanian rain forest tribe being coerced into an group date in which they have to dress up annoying American women (and one who feels that she needs to go topless - and bottomless. Lord help us.) I hope that this was one of those tribes that have no contact with civilization and this was their first interaction with annoying Americans and they graciously dressed them up in the few pieces of clothing they own that they have painstakingly made by hand.
  4. Did you know - Panama City is actually kind of metropolitan, according to our bachelor. Gee who would have thought the world's biggest canal and seaport would be kind of metropolitan? 
  5. Chris Harrison grilling Casey S. about whether or not she is still in love with her ex-boyfriend was awesome. And her denying it, but then admitting it, through her long-winded verbal diatribe was priceless. And admitting that she needs to be in therapy. And I would have to agree with her assessment after seeing her in that awful denim romper. 
  6. Nothing says hot like using a machete on a coconut. At least according to Kacie B. I'll have to take her word for it.
  7. I also like that on a "secluded" desert island, the champagne is still free flowing. Good thing Kacie B. packed a corkscrew as one of her three things to take to a deserted island.
  8. I want Chris Harrison to give me a hug and dating advice. What I wouldn't give to have Harrison be my guide on a "journey" of love.
  9. Jaime's kissing lessons and step-by-step guide to seducing a man takes the cake (but not the rose!). No words. 
  10. Emily's got some rhyme skills. Not bad for a white girl. Especially when she disses the bachelor for his frizzy hair, but makes it cute by dissing her own hair as well. 
Just some of the gems from tonight. What about you? What was your favorite moment? How long did you cringe/laugh/keep a pillow over your head and eyes during the whole Ben/Jaime interaction?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Some Unsolicited Career Advice

Dear Elyse on the Bachelor,

When you leave your job to go on the "Bachelor" to "find" "love", please be square with us. Please know that the viewers who are watching this are seasoned, sarcastic TV aficionados and we all know that you are just on the show to try to get some reality 15 minutes of fame - which is really 15 seconds - and you are going to end up on the next season of the Bachelor Pad for two episodes. Please don't try to elicit sympathy from us for your moronic move to leave your job that you "love." If you really loved it, if you really had passion for it, you would never have entertained the thought of leaving Florida to go on a reality show where you are guaranteed almost anything other than falling in love with the Bachelor.

Your Career Counselor

PS - When you come across as mean, jealous, and highly emotional on national TV, it will probably not bode well for you in the future.
PPS - When you state that you have already done everything that you want to do in life, you need to dream bigger dreams.

Salacious Skinny Dipping. The sullying of humanitarian Roberto Clemente's name by being mentioned on The Bachelor. David Gray's "This Year's Love," a twelve-year old song that I first started listening to 11 years ago. Awful satin one shoulder dresses. Neon Yellow fingernails. Gorgeous Puerto Rico. VIP Cocktail Waitresses being revealed for their true profession. Using "spending more time with" someone to rationalize doing bad things that you feel crappy about the next day. "Winning". Stomachs turning. Hyper-ventilating, teary-eyed drama.

All in a night's episode. It's good to know that there are some things that you can always count on in life.

PS - Does anyone else think that Casey S. looks like Paris Hilton?
PPS - TOTALLY shocked that boring Josh Groban kicked cute Jennifer to the proverbial curb! Whoa!
PPPS - Was anyone else reminded of Joe Millionaire during the whole skinny dipping episode? (Kudos to those who actually remember Joe Millionaire)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Book Review: A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the FutureA Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally finished this book this week, and would have done so sooner if I hadn't left it at home during a business trip (some other books took priority). I really enjoyed my first Daniel Pink foray. I believe that he makes some really relevant points, and when I consider that this was first published in 2006, it is evident that he was on the forefront of the tidal wave of change that the marketplace has gone through.

Mr. Pink's thesis mainly boils down to the fact that because of Asia, automation, and technology the economy has changed. If a product or service can be made cheaper, better, or faster by any of those three factors, your field of work may be in trouble. The "left-brain" logical, analytic mindset that has dominated the American economy ever since the time of Henry Ford, has been outsourced and can be done just as well or better - AND cheaper - abroad than in the US. The so called "Knowledge Worker" is made irrelevant - all the engineers, the doctors, the service workers, manufacturers - can be provided for less cost by India or China than they can in the US. So what is a US knowledge worker to do?

This is where the brunt of Pink's work comes in. His supposition is that an American worker can no longer just be contained to the left-brain, analytic mindset that is taught in school - he/she must broaden their perspective and mind and use the long dormant and much maligned "right-brain" skills. By bringing a creative outlook to their analytic skills, the New economy worker has an opportunity to bring meaning and purpose to the widgets they produce - in fact, Pink argues that even in order to survive in the new economy, workers MUST bring their right-brain skills to work with them - otherwise consumers will not pay attention or buy the workers' products or services.

There are six areas that Pink outlines - three that jump to my mind right now are Design, Symphony, and Meaning - that workers must learn to employ within their skill sets in order to create products and/or services that people will want.

One of the neat things that sets this book apart is that Pink includes a host of exercises and steps for incorporating or learning each of the six areas that he highlights. Instead of just listing "six steps to a right-brain mindset", he gives you an action plan for how to incorporate these different areas into your life.

I thought it was an easy read, very easy to understand, with a compelling argument. If you're interested in learning how to augment your set of skills with "right-brain" creative qualities, I highly recommend it. And even if you're not, I still recommend the book because you should learn how to incorporate these ideas into your current set of skills - otherwise, you'll be left behind as the marketplace moves forward.

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