Book Review #61: “Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide”

Girls Auto Clinic - Amazon

Image Credit: Amazon

I first heard about this book when Patrice Banks was interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast!

Here’s the link from the NPR archives:


I wanted to buy this book the minute I saw the podcast episode in my library.

I’m a bit biased, I think. Being the only child, my dad made sure that I was comfortable around cars from a very early age. Since he was an engineer, he wanted me to be as confident as possible with math and science, and anything related to it. Cars are complicated, don’t get me wrong, but being naturally curious, I learned quickly.

My dad taught me how to change the oil in our Volvo station wagon before I entered middle school. I also learned the essence of a gas and maintenance log, checking tire pressures, and having an emergency kit ready to go.

I also learned that my parents keep their cars for as long as possible. Our family only had/went through five cars by the time I graduated from college in 2011.

  • White Volvo 240 station wagon, 1988-2016
  • Gold/beige Saturn SL sedan, early 1990s
  • Forest green Volvo S70 sedan, 1998-2011
  • Gold/beige Ford Ranger truck, 2005-present
  • Gold/beige Toyota Camry sedan, 2010-present

The only new cars my parents ever purchased, in my lifetime, were the Volvo station wagon, and possibly the Saturn sedan. Everything else was/has been used. I learned how to drive stick on the Ford Ranger when I was in high school, although the Saturn sedan was also a manual transmission. The Camry is my baby, whom I call “Sandy.”


I really appreciate Banks writing this type of guide. It’s important for everyone to know the basics about the car you drive, but especially women. Banks has said this book arose out of her own experiences, and shame, with being incredibly intimidated by mechanics, car repairs, dealerships, and more.

Although I was fortunate to have a wonderful dad who taught me many things about cars early on, I know many women aren’t so lucky. Even some men I know aren’t handy with their cars, and trust their mechanics to fix whatever is wrong.

Banks does a great job with breaking a car down into its basic components, and making everything less intimidating right off the bat. She founded Girls Auto Clinic as a series of workshops, where women were encouraged to bring their cars and be prepared to get their hands dirty. She’s learned from her mistakes, and tries hard to educate others. When she was younger, Banks found she was getting a new car every three-four years, dropping a ton of extra money on repairs because she was ignoring or was intimidated by routine maintenance, and zoning out when mechanics were explaining the work that was being done.

She encourages, implores women (and men) to learn the basics first, then to become very intimate with your vehicle, and to continue a similar relationship with every vehicle after that. Once you’re armed with knowledge, everything becomes easier.

Here are a few basics Banks encourages everyone to learn:

  • How to pop and raise your vehicle’s hood
  • What the lights on your dashboard or instrument panel mean
  • How to check your tire pressure
  • How to add air to your tires
  • How to measure your tire tread
  • How to check your fluids under the hood
  • How to change a tire
  • Finding and keeping a great PCT

Banks doesn’t encourage the common driver to change their own oil, although Al and I do that with our own cars. We know how, and the amount of money spent is a little less than the traditional oil change services.

The biggest tip to keep in mind: Beware of cheap car services. Oil changes aren’t normally $5.00 flat. Your car is a big part of your life – Don’t automatically spring for something cheap to save money.


Now that I’ve read the book, I plan to keep this in my glove box. It’s chock-full of valuable tips, tricks, diagrams, and recommendations.

I hope that she expands the Girls Auto Clinic across the country, too. It’s a valuable organization that empowers women in a male-dominated profession.

For more information, check out https://girlsautoclinic.com/.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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Getting Personal #117: “Writing Table, Leeds, England” (Reblogged)

As I think about my experiences with my first Camp NaNoWriMo so far, I found this photo from England very fitting for today. I see photos of desks and libraries often, and I think this setup is perfect. It’s romantic, in a way.

It’s a little different, knowing that a desk like this would, in 2018, most likely hold some sort of computer rather than a journal, parchment, or stationery.

But, I like to wax nostalgic, thinking back to the days of my childhood when we didn’t have the family computer. I filled up notebook after notebook with random thoughts, song lyrics, the beginnings of stories, and more. I remember throwing out a bunch of them when I was a teenager, feeling ashamed at the time that I was holding onto the “childish” journals. I so wish I had kept them! But, I have memories. I made up stories about my Barbies, my stuffed animals, and eventually, Stephanie, my one American Girl doll I loved and treasured for many years. It was so innocent.

It fills me with happy memories, knowing that those journals and notebooks led me to writing longer stories. I have those stories in a blue binder covered with stickers – I did keep that. It makes me think how far I’ve come in my writing pursuits and endeavors. It makes me proud.

If I were sitting at this desk today, I wouldn’t have my laptop. I would have a notebook, or loose-leaf paper, with several pens, daydreaming and writing the day away. It makes me feel peaceful and pleased.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

Writing Table, Leeds, England

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Commentary #64: “This Small Norwegian Town Turns Abandoned Buildings Into Bookstores”

Geeky Book Snob

Image Credit: Geeky Book Snob

I saw this post from Read Voraciously on February 28th.

Here’s the link to Read Voraciously’s original post:

And, here’s the link to the Reader’s Digest article:


I knew I wanted to write about this before I finished the Reader’s Digest article. How cool is this?

There are approximately 2.5 miles of books in the village of Mundal, part of Fjaerland, Norway. Northeast of Bergen, it looks like an absolutely beautiful area to live and visit!

Alamy

Image Credit: Alamy

Knowing me, and my love of books, I don’t think I would want to leave! But, the bokbyen (“booktown”) is only open for business from May to mid-September.

But, fear not! The online side is open year-round.

I would love to at least see the stunning glaciers. And then, read a book next to them.


For more information, check out these sources:


What about you? Have you ever visited a booktown?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #93: Ask Me Anything – The Answers!

Ask Me Anything Answers

Image Credit: YouTube

As promised, here are the answers to your questions! Thank you to everyone who participated this past week!

Here’s the link to my original post:


Coyote from Orion – The Age of Taurus: last occurrence… asked:

  • Do you like the Lost Boys? I am watching it now.
  • Would you join our secret society for people who don’t need a t.v. because we read the TV guide?
  • Oh… and what do you make of the latest Corey Feldman ‘arrest’ in California? Will we see the balance returning a la the Battle of Evermore?? 😂🤣😎 And would you like to hear me play Black Dog? 🎸🎶🎶🎶

Answers:

  • I have heard of the Lost Boys, but I haven’t watched the show to which you are referring.
  • As much as I appreciate the invitation, I don’t read the TV guide, not anymore. With all the streaming services offered now (Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu), TV is a big staple / privilege in my house.
  • I don’t follow many celebrities, so I can’t offer an opinion on Corey Feldman. I had to look up the Battle of Evermore, it wasn’t ringing a bell at first. I like Led Zeppelin, though. Black Dog is a nice song, so yes.

Sara in LaLaLand asked:

  • What is your biggest life dream and what steps are you making to get there?

Answer:

  • My biggest life dream is to be a published novelist. To get there, I’m currently finishing my three National Novel Writing Month endeavors from 2012, 2013, and 2014. All of them have more than 10,000 words, but I would like to get them all to 50,000 words of more. Once those are finished, I plan on having them edited professionally, and then work toward publishing them in both e-book and print form.

Bookmark Chronicles asked:

  • What made you come up with the title “Hot Headlines” for your blog?
  • What book are you currently reading?

Answers:

  • The title of my blog, Hot Shot Headlines, is inspired by a few things. For years, my dad’s pet name of sorts for me has been “Hot Shot.” I can’t remember how it started, but it’s stuck. The “Headlines” piece comes from writing for The Rotunda, the student newspaper of Longwood University. It was such a big part of my college life. Since I didn’t enter the journalism field as a career, I wanted my blogging endeavors to have research, writing, and journalism tied in. It will always be a part of me.
  • I’m currently reading Camino Island, by John Grisham.

Thanks to all who participated!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #91: Ask Me Anything

Pinterest - AMA

Image Credit: Pinterest

I was recently inspired by Sara, the lovely and talented author of Sara in LaLaLand, to have my readers ask my anything!

Here are the three posts Sara made for her blog:


So, for the first time, I’m giving you, my readers, free reign! Post as many questions as you want in the comments. I will answer all questions this time next week!

Thanks for participating!

Come back next week for the answers!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #59: “Once Teased For Her Love Of Bugs, 8-Year-Old Co-Authors Scientific Paper”

sophiamorgan_wide-d53c0f51904188b63b3e118f11759741abb28ddd-s800-c85

Sophia Spencer and Morgan Jackson co-wrote a scientific paper on Twitter, entomology and women in science, after a tweet about Sophia’s love for bugs went viral. Image Credit: Nicole Spencer

I stumbled upon this NPR piece last week, and thought it was awesome!

Here’s the link to the original article:


It’s such a shame that bullying is still so prevalent in our society. However, this story shows that something good can come out of it!

I’m in awe of Sophia Spencer. At 8-years-old, she already doing amazing things! She loves bugs, and she’s a co-author of a scientific paper. Wow!!

I felt tears in my eyes as I read this quote from her:

“‘Before … I really thought loving bugs wasn’t the best hobby,” Sophia told NPR. “But after I realized bugs are for girls I thought to myself, ‘Well, I think I should start loving bugs again, because just because people say they’re weird and gross doesn’t mean I shouldn’t like them.’ ”

How many kids — How many adults — can say that?

I’ll admit, I wasn’t a big fan of math or science as a kid. I was a bit more interested in science, mainly because of The Magic School Bus and Bill Nye The Science Guy.

Sophia’s passion will carry her far in life. She’s already changed the world of Morgan Jackson, and all the entomologists who responded to her mother’s pleas for support and encouragement!

As I was reading the article, I couldn’t help but think of two of my friends – Melissa and Brittany – who are both passionate about science, physics, STEM, etc., and how they’re changing the world in their own ways. Brittany has two adorable girls, and I love how she is teaching them about science (among other things) every single day!

Thank you, Sophia, for inspiring me! You’re gonna be a great entomologist someday!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂