Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weekly TV Recap May 29th

I think I've already said my piece on Lost and 24. Here's the link if you want to read it. My opinions really haven't changed. I'm still not really satisfied with how either show ended, especially Lost. It was so disappointing.

But let's move on to the rest of the shows from this week.

Chuck - I had heard rumors someone was going to die on the season finale, and I was worried about who it might be. Yet I was shocked when it happened. As relieved as I am that it was Chuck's dad and not one of the central characters, I was also very moved by those scenes. Again, the writing and acting were perfect. I love the fact that Ellie now knows the truth, although it will be funny next season with none of our core characters in the dark. I can see where they are going with the spy story for next year, but I am curious where they might take the Best Buy characters, or was this a way to write them out. I wouldn't be heartbroken to loose them. They were fun, but I think we've done about all we can with them.

Dancing with the Stars - None of the stars seemed surprised by the order they landed, and I wasn't either. I think I was still rooting for Evan a little, but I knew that it was Nicole's to loose. She was amazing all season and deserved the trophy. However, I think Len saying that before Evan's last dance was going a bit too far. It would have been one thing if she were last, but with one dance to go, it's almost like why dance? Still, wonderful final performances to cap off a good season.

FlashForward - I knew they were going to leave us with a cliffhanger. Darn show! Seriously, though, I was watching the clock on this one every five minutes or so, not because I was looking for the show to end, but because I wanted it to keep going longer so it would answer everything. I was feeling reasonably satisfied with how things were turning out, too. I especially liked how some of the flash forwards we thought we knew had a nice twist on them. But then we got to the next flash forward and I was left with so many questions. And, since the show was canceled, we'll never find out what they all mean. I'll definitely give them more of a pass since the show was canceled after the finale was filmed.  Oh well, it was a fun ride while it lasted.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Beginnings - May 28th

You know, I was going to post this earlier today.  But here we are at 4 in the afternoon finally getting my Book Beginnings on Friday posted this week.

I've only got one book for you this week.  Slowed down my reading a little bit, I guess.

I'm reading The Crime Writer by Gregg Hurwitz.  It's got a prologue and a first chapter.

Here's the prologue:

I woke up with IVs taped to my arms, a feeding tube shoved through my nose, and my tongue pushed against my teeth, dead and thick as a sock.

And the first chapter starts this way:

My car occupied slot 221 in the impound lot.

Without the prologue, the sentence from the first chapter wouldn't be that interesting.  Frankly, it's not that interesting even then.

However, that first sentence from the prologue.  It's very descriptive and really caught my attention.  I was certainly caught from the very beginning.  And I'm really enjoying it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May Ending Already?

Wow, I can't belive we're down to the final weekend of May.  But boy am I ready for a long weekend.

Granted, I've gotten a longer weekend than I expected.  They've shut down my office at work for recarpetting today and tomorrow, meaning I get five days off instead of the planned three.  Based on how lathargic I've been today, maybe it's a good thing I don't have any big plans for such a long time off work.

Yes, I've been keeping up with my running.  Did my three mile run twice last week.  I added about a mile or so to it this week.  Tomorrow morning, I'm meeting up with a buddy to run first thing in the morning.

I've been talking to some friends who have played in the men's league for ultimate Frisbee the last few summers, and they actually make it sound okay.  Obviously, it will depend on which team I'm on, but it sounds like it won't be nearly as bad as I thought when I got that notification last week.

Last week, one of the maintenance guys for my complex did some work on the pipes.  Apparently, I was leaking down into the garage below me.  It's mixed now, fortunately.

And I have finished with my list of books for Spring Reading Thing!  Okay, so maybe I still have one to go, but I am going to give it a few weeks to see if I can get an autographed copy or not.  If the author doesn't have any signings set up, I'll just get a copy from Amazon or Barnes and Noble or something.  Not sure if I will have it this Spring or not, but it will be read by early summer.  For those of you keeping track (which is most likely just me), this is the first time I have ever finished my reading list for one of these things.  Granted, I usually make a list so long there is no way I could ever get through.  I purposely kept it smaller this time, and it seems to have worked.

I feel like there is something major I am missing I wanted to blog about.  I'll probably remember in the middle of dinner or something.  If I do, I'll come back and make another post, I guess.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Word Association for May 26th

If it's Wednesday, it must be time for word association, right?  At least that's the way it's become around here.  So let's get to it.

  1. Cream :: Ice cream
  2. Be with you :: Rich Mullins
  3. Pancakes :: Maple Syrup!
  4. Believe :: Fireworks
  5. 45 :: 50
  6. Eat :: Food
  7. Background :: Check
  8. Pane :: Glass
  9. Aim :: Fire
  10. Collapse :: Stress
I did look, and "Be with you" was a clue from a few weeks ago.  I'm not going crazy, but I am repeating myself.  And you can tell what a Disney fan I am because I immediately thought of their old Fireworks show for Believe.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Nightstand - May Edition

We've made it to the final Tuesday in May, which means it is time for this month's What's on Your Nightstand.

Sunday, I finished reading Magic and Other Misdemeanors, the fifth Sisters Grimm book by Michael Buckley.  The series may be aimed at kids, but I love the creativity.  This go around, Sabrina and Daphne are trying to track down the Wand of Merlin and other magical items stolen from their fairy tale neighbors while their grandmother attempts to pay the extremely high property taxes issued by Mayor Heart in her attempts to drive all the humans out of Ferrypoint Landing.  Climaxes seem to be a weakness in this series, and this book is no exception, but it hardly dampened my enjoyment of the book.

I am not 100 pages into The Crime Writer by Gregg Hurwitz.  This is a 180 degree switch as it is a darker book about a mystery writer who is being framed for murders himself.  He can't remember what happened during the first one thanks to a brain tumor, but can he prove he was being set up?  Even though it is much darker than I normally read, I am really getting caught up in the events of the story.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Series Finale Thoughts

I am emotionally drained right now.  I have just watched the series finales for Lost and 24 back to back.  And the thing is, I just don't know how I feel, yet.

I couldn't help but think about series finales last night.  I'm rewatching Babylon 5 with some friends right now, and we're down to the final episodes.  I remember how I couldn't wait to see how it all ended, and how bummed I was that it aired the final episode on the day before Thanksgiving, meaning I didn't get to watch it until almost a week later (and after the friends I was watching it with then had watched it).  Even though that wasn't nearly the same popularity, I felt like I was part of something big.

Last night, I will admit I was a bit disappointed I wasn't watching the show "live."  But I did want to hang with my friends, so I was willing to wait until tonight.

As I said, I really don't know how I feel about either show ending.  Let's take them one at a time (and spoilers will now commence).

Lost - So the flash sideways we've been seeing all season was with our characters already dead.  And the time on the island was the most significant in all their lives.  Evil was defeated and good triumphs.  I think I could have bought that if we'd seen more on the island at the end.  We spent so long focusing on the sideways characters there at the end, and I wanted a little more about the island.  I know they never told us, but I am going to believe that Desmond got off the island and back to Penny.

I don't mind the fact that all the questions weren't answered.  But I don't quite have the feeling of completion I was hoping for.

Then there's 24.  They had promised us that it would not end happily for Jack.  And, right from season 1, that's how they've set up the show.  I would have bought this as an ending for any other season, but I don't want the series to end that way.  Yes, I know they are planning a movie.  I doubt it will give us much more closure than this.

I think my biggest disappointment here is that Jack deserves to be happy.  After all he's done for the country, he earned it.  Again, this isn't the show.  But they can break their rules for once.  I was tempted to not watch this season after those opening scenes of a happy Jack.  That's the image I want to remember.

And before anyone says, "That's not realistic, and 24 has always been realistic."  Really?  You're going to claim 24 is realistic?  And I go to fiction to escape reality.  I like my happy endings.

Then there's President Taylor.  I loved her character last season.  Frankly, I never did buy the change they did to her for the final quarter of this season.  It still seems out of character for her.  When Logan turned bad in whatever season that was, at least I was able to buy it by the end.  Here, I didn't, so her turn back to good didn't feel as dramatic as it should have been.

Even with these complaints, I'm still trying to process stuff.  Maybe it's because I have invested so much in the shows for so many years that I want to like how they ended.  And maybe in a couple of days I will feel the closure I am not feeling now.

The first time I watched the last few episodes of Babylon 5, I wasn't thrilled.  Some things were definitely left hanging, and that didn't make me happy.  But over time, I have grown to appreciate the ending the way it is.  The creator was striving to tell a good story over five seasons (at a time that wasn't done).  Yes, there were a few things that didn't pan out along the way, but for the most part, it does work.  And I feel like the story is complete.

I think that's my biggest complaint with 24.  It definitely doesn't feel like a complete story.  In fact, it feels like they need something to wrap things up.

Lost, on the other hand, feels like it thinks it's a complete story.  Maybe as I think about it over the next few days and read other's thoughts, seeing how things fit together, I will feel like a did get a complete story.  I sure hope so, because I enjoyed the ride so much.

I've invested 8 years into 24 and six into Lost.  No matter what I feel about these shows in the morning, this represents the end of a big era in my TV viewing in less than 5 hours.  And if that hasn't earned me my mixed feelings and emotional weariness, I don't know what will.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weekly TV Recap - May 22nd

Remember, spoilers start immediately.

Survivor - Honestly, I would have been happy with whoever won this season. As long as it wasn't Russell. That guy is so cocky! I really wish he hadn't won the Sprint vote. I was glad he didn't get any jury votes, but I would have really loved it if he had been voted out at some point. I would have loved to see the look on his face. Talk about what would have been priceless. Oh wait, but it wasn't all about him. Seriously, congrats to Sandra. Two for two is a very impressive record, and I'd be very proud of it if I were her.

Chuck - Things are definitely getting interesting. Poor Ellie is smack dab in over her head, and I don't see how she is going to get out of things alive. Again, I felt like it was a set up for next week, but I did feel like we got some good character development along the way. I can't wait to see how it all plays out.

24 - I am not going to like how it all ends, I can tell right now. Jack deserves a happy ending. Okay, so I want everyone to have a happy ending in everything I read or watch. I have a feeling the end will be appropriate for the show, but I'm really worried I'm not going to like it. Especially since right now Jack is just out for revenge and not justice. That really bothers me in any show or movie. However, I did love the scene of Jack stalking Logan's car. Reminded me of something from a horror film.

Dancing with the Stars - I have to say, Chad really stepped up his game tonight. In the first round, everyone was amazing. The four couples were separated by only 7 points after Monday. That's pretty impressive. And I loved Evan's Paso and Nicole's Tango. I was sorry to see Chad go, but not really surprised. He was the weakest dancer left, which was saying something about the other three. As Len said, in any other season, he would have been a shoe in for the finals.

Castle - That was a fun case. And I think the whole spy vacation thing would be perfect for my next vacation. Where do I sign up? (I'll leave the murderous partner behind, however.) They were teasing us that Castle and Beckett might get together, but I knew that wouldn't happen. Way too soon. Still, I loved the whole "See you in the fall" bit at the end. Nice way to remind us that they are definitely coming back for season 3 (and I can't wait!)

Lost - Anyone who is surprised that Jack chose to be the island's new protector raise your hand so I can slap you. I mean, seriously, what did you expect? I knew what was coming. It was a solid episode, setting things up nicely for the finale. And can I just say how nice it was to see Rousseau again? (The actress was a main character on Babylon 5, my favorite TV show of all time. I always loved it when she showed up.)

V - After last week's amazing episode, this felt like a bit of a let down. It felt like they were trying to do too much, wrap up too many storylines before the season ended. I am glad they are coming back so I can find out more about what happens. But I am not happy I have to wait until January. I have got to get my hands on the original mini-series somehow so I can at least see that version of things.

The Good Guys - So I'd thought I'd give this new show from Matt Nix, creator of Burn Notice, a try. After all, I love his other show. This one? Not so much. It's about two cops in Dallas. Ones is trying to regain his glory days; the other is trying to get back in the good graces of any of his higher ups after embarrassing them in public. They've been assigned to the minor crimes, but they stumble into a major crime while investigating a stolen humidifier. Frankly, it was just painful to watch. I didn't care for the older cop, although the young cop was okay. Still, it wasn't any fun at all. Maybe I'll give it another chance if the buzz continues to build. But for now I'm out.

In Plain Sight - I know last week I said I liked watching Mary. This week, they give us a Marshall centric episode. But it was so good. Watching him interact with his dad was interesting. Yes, I saw the character development coming, but I still liked it. And it was nice to see Mary's sister Brandi return and find out what she'd been up to. I hope they keep the half-brother around for a few episodes. I could really grow to like him.

FlashForward - So next week is the series finale, not this week. I thought the pieces were in place last week, but I guess not. I feel like they are moving the pieces around on a chess board setting them up where they want them. I'm frustrated because I want to see the payout for all we've watched so far this season. I've heard they give closure on lots of it. I hope I'll feel the ride was worth it when I find out where they were going.

The Mentalist - A few weeks ago, I was set to get the first season on DVD from the library this summer to catch up on what I had missed. But now I'm thinking I might stop watching next season. The last few weeks haven't really excited me. And this one was no exception. It was missing the humor. And why Red John would have Patrick Jane in his clutches and just walk away made me sense to me. Maybe there is something I am missing from season one that would explain it, but it just seems like lazy writing to me.

Next week's will have fewer shows to cover but three series finales, two of themm big.  Should be an interesting week.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Beginnings on Friday (a Little Early)

Okay, so it's not really Friday (yet), at least here in California.  But since the link is live for this week's Book Beginnings on Friday, I thought I'd go ahead and post mine.

I have been on fire this month, finishing one book and starting another during the last week.  So here are the first sentences.

Up first is Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station by Dorothy Gilman.

Mrs. Pollifax sat in Carstairs' office with a cup of coffee in one hand and a sandwich in the other, her hat an inverted bowl of blue felt with such a cockeyed twist to its brim that Bishop guessed it had been frequently sat on and squashed.
I love this series (as you might have guessed since I use Carstairs as an internet name), and this was actually a reread for me.  That first sentence just perfectly captures Mrs. Pollifax, garden club member, widow, grandmother, and part time CIA agent.  What was interesting to me is that our viewpoint character for the entire first chapter was Bishop, but he was the third character mentioned in that sentence.

I'm now working my way through Magic and Other Misdemeanors, the fifth Sisters Grimm book by Michael Buckley.  (And if you haven't started this fun kid's series, do so immediately.)  The first sentence is:

"I'm sure this could be seen as child abuse," Sabrina groaned as she pulled a pillow over her head.

This one doesn't have quite the flow of the one I posted first, but it did make me smile.  After all, what kids (or adult) likes getting woken up in the morning?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Word Association for May 19th

Time for this week's word association.

  1. Labor :: Work
  2. Sweater :: Cold
  3. Five minutes :: Small Amount of Time
  4. Treatment :: Sickness
  5. Eyebrows :: Hair
  6. Awake :: Asleep
  7. Salmon :: Stream
  8. Red :: Green
  9. Hospital :: Sick
  10. Midwife :: Labor
I feel like I'm repeating myself or some themes there.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rolling Thunder by Chris Grabenstein

Ceepak and Danny are back!  And if you aren't already excited, it's possible you've missed out on these great police procedural thrillers.  Rolling Thunder is the sixth book about this pair of cops in the Jersey Shore resort town of Sea Haven.  John Ceepak is an Iraq war vet who lives by a very strict moral code.  Danny Boyle is his younger partner.

The book opens with Ceepak and Danny working security on opening day for the new wooden roller coaster Rolling Thunder.  Unfortunately, the owner's wife has a heart attack part way through the initial ride.  Ceepak is suspicious since none of the kids seem that broken up by her death.

A couple of days later, another body turns up, this one cut up into pieces and left in a suitcase.  While investigating this one, they keep wondering about the first death.  Is there a connection?  Was the first one murder?

Yes, this is definitely out of my normal cozy sub-genre, but I just love these characters.  Danny and Ceepak keep growing in each book.  Danny especially has really matured.  Ceepak is still hard edged and serious, but he is softening, if not as quickly as Danny matures.  As usual, Ceepak is our star, although Danny provides a couple of clues and stars in a couple of the more intense scenes.

The plot moves very quickly from one plot twist to another.  I did feel a sub-plot involving Ceepak's dad could have been put to better use, but that's my only real complaint about this great book.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays

Yep, it's been a rainy Monday.  And I've been feeling it.  I just haven't fully gotten into doing anything today.  The weather was so nice over the weekend - mid-80's.  Why is it so cloudy and drizzling today?  Why?

Okay, enough with the weather pitty party.  Time to move on.

They are in the midst of remodeling our offices.  Have I mentioned that things are going to change all around again this summer?  I'm getting one of the "new" offices, which will be smaller.  Not exactly happy about that, but since my boss is getting a smaller office, too, I can't say too much.

I have a second roommate for summer!  My friend Mark decided to move in after all this last Friday.  The weekend was a bit crazy with getting his stuff situated, but I think we've got it for now.  My pocketbook is happy if nothing else.

Friday night, some friends had a game night.  We actually played a Cranium brand game I enjoyed.  Don't remember the title, but I think it's fairly new.  Different, but lots of fun.  Then we played ImaginIff.  Still not a big fan of that game, but it's okay.

Saturday was mostly a hang around the house day.  I didn't even wake up until 9AM and get up until 10:30.  Can I just say it felt great?  Did have a picnic with my care group from church.

Sunday was just the normal church and Bab 5 night stuff.

I got in two 5 mile runs last week.  Both were in the mile range, so obviously my 10 minute mile pace isn't holding up for the whole time.  I was trying a mostly flat stretch of road for these runs, but my knees still were really killing me by the end.  I've been doing some looking into POSE running and Chi Running.  I'm going to try some new techniques tomorrow.  Hopefully running on the balls of my feet and with knees bent (I am horrid about standing and walking straight legged) will help.  I'm also going to run 3 miles tomorrow (with hill) and then 5 miles on Thursday and see how I do with that.  Hopefully, my friend Josh and I will hit the beach in Santa Monica for a nice 3 mile run on Saturday.

I got word today that I will be playing men's league for ultimate Frisbee this summer instead of co-ed.  Despite all my running, I am still pretty slow.  I hope I still enjoy it.  I've only ever played co-ed in all my years of playing.  I've heard mixed reports on whether the men's league is too competitive or not.  I'm hoping I get my normal chill team and I can contribute.  But right now I am very, very nervous about it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weekly TV Recap - May 15th

Time for my thoughts on this week's episodes.  Lots to get to, so let's start.  Keep in mind that there are spoilers below.

Amazing Race - Well, my brother called it. Based solely on the way they were editing the show, he said that Dan and Jordan would win. They were showing the most growth. Even so, we rooted for Jet and Cord to pull it out. They did a good job of editing the season finale to make us all think the Cowboys had a chance, but I bet it was never even close. Even in defeat, it looked like Jet and Cord kept their good humor to the end with a minor exception when Dan and Jordan cut in front of them in line (and make no mistake, that's what they did and they know it.) I couldn't believe Carol (or Brandi, which ever it was) who were still giving Katie a hard time for U-Turning them when the finale team reached the finish line. I mean, seriously! You were a jerk and deserved the treatment you got. Deal with it.

Chuck - This felt like a place holder episode to me. It was enjoyable, but it felt like they were setting the characters up for the story they have to tell in the final three hours of the season. It wasn't the strongest episode of the season, but it was still good. Best line of the night? Sarah and Chuck discussing the fact that there is nothing good on TV when Chuck says, "There's never anything good on Monday nights."

24 - I like the fact that Chloe is working behind the scenes to try to help Jack again. All is right with the 24 world. However, those scenes of torture at the end went way too far. It ruined much of the episode for me. I really do think they could have moved the story forward without the swallowed sim card and the burning, etc. Way too much gratuitous cringing on my part from the gratuitous violence on their part.

Dancing with the Stars - Two rounds always starts to separate the dancers from those who are still struggling. The rankings seemed about right to me this week. The dances by decade always either soar or bomb, and Nicole's 50's Paso worked for me. I did love her Fox Trot better, however. Frankly, I think I am rooting for her over Evan at this point. I figured it would be either Chad or Niecy who would leave this week. As much fun as they are to watch, they are the weak links at this point. I wasn't too surprised to see Niecy go. Unless he really wow us or one of the other three stumble, my guess is Chad goes next week.

Castle - I love this competition they've got going on between Castle and the robbery detective. It's added a nice bit of punch to this episode. And I thought the dual motives/killers was brilliant as well. Yes, it's been done before, but it's always great to see it when I'm not expecting it.

Lost - Okay, I know that was background stuff we will need to know. It did answer some questions like the Adam and Eve skeletons and how the smoke monster was created. But with only one episode and the finale left, it felt like a waste of time. I think I would have enjoyed it more had it been earlier in the season.

V - Man, this show is getting so good. The scenes between Erica, resistance member, and Anna, leader of the V's, sparkled. There was so much subtext to their exchanges. The writing was absolutely perfect, and the acting brought it to life. Not that I expected anything less from the two best actors on that show.

In Plain Sight - The only series regulars we saw this week for any real length of time were Mary and her boss Stan. But that didn't really keep me from enjoying the episode, mainly because they brought back Stephen Weber's FBI agent. I really like his character and I think he makes a great foil for Mary. And this show always works best when there's a good foil involved. The case was interesting, too, although watching Mary has become my favorite part of this show.

Survivor - Wow, does Russell have an ego problem or what? I mean, the guy doesn't get picked to go on a reward by the winner, and he starts threatening people. This is on top his sending Danielle home last week. As several players said, everyone is afraid of him. I wish it weren't true because I would love to see the look on his face if he were to get voted out. He needs to be taken down a peg or ten.

FlashForward - Another good episode tonight, although I guess not that many people are watching since it's been canceled. The pieces are in place for a great finale next week. I am very curious what they are going to do (and just how much closure we'll get.)

The Mentalist - Having just started watching with this season, I had missed Leslie Hope's previous appearance. I like her. She adds a nice foil for Patrick Jane and really seems to keep him on his toes. The case was pretty standard for the series, but her scenes really popped.

Renewals and Cancelations - No, this isn't some new show I'm going to be talking about. I'm just going to comment on the TV news that's been coming out with the new season announcements due out next week. We are finally getting word about the fates of some of my favorite shows. Coming back are Chuck and V. I can't tell you how thrilled I am about both of these. They only get 13 episodes each. For now. Of course, Chuck was renewed for a 13 episode 3rd season and wound up with 19 episodes, so anything is possible. And V is getting so good. I hope it's numbers improve somehow because I want them to have time to fully develop things.

On the cancelation front are FlashForward and Heroes. I am actually rejoicing that Heroes has been canceled. I was still watching, but I'm not sure why. The show had turned boring, silly, and a bit hard to follow. I am sad to see FlashForward go, although not that surprised. I knew its numbers kept falling each week. I had hoped something would turn it around since I know there is a whole lot more story they wanted to tell. I must admit I am hesitant to watch the finale on Thursday, afraid they will leave us with a cliffhanger. But if I don't watch it, I'll always wonder what happened.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Beginnings for May 14th

Normally, I try to do this earlier in the day, but I forgot this time.  It's still Friday, however, so I can still do this week's Book Beginnings.

I've got two books again this week.  Up first is Exposure by Brandilyn Collins.  I read it all on Monday while traveling back from Dallas (and that link will take you to my full review).  The first sentence is:

She'd forgotten to turn on the porch lights.

This is a good first sentece to me, although not a knock out.  What makes it a knock out is what I already know, the main character in the book is paranoid.  Coming home to a dark house terrifies her.  So this sentence actually sets up a great first scene.

I am currently about 30 pages from the end of Rolling Thunder by Chris Grabenstein.  I hope to finish it tonight before I got to a game night with friends.  The first sentence here is:

The day starts like so many other with John Ceepak: We bust an eight-year-old girl for wearing high heels.

This is the sixth book about Ceepak, an honor bound ex-military officer now working with a young partner (and our narrator) at a Jersey shore resort town.  Knowing Ceepak, I can't help but smile after just that sentence imagining the scene that will follow.  And it didn't disappoint.  In fact, the entire book has been a whole lot of fun.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The 9th Judgment by James Patterson

I must admit after the last couple of books in the Women's Murder Club series let me down, I almost didn't get The 9th Judgment.  But since I could get it from the library for free, I figured why not.  And I'm glad I did.  This is the strongest in the series in a long time, easily up there with the earlier books.

Once again, we've got two plots going on here.  The first involves a cat burglar dubbed Hello Kitty.  On one robbery, the mistress of the house winds up dead.  The catch?  Hello Kitty didn't commit the murder, the husband did.  But will the police figure out who really killed the wife?

Meanwhile, a sicko is killing young mothers and their toddler aged children.  Can Lindsay catch him before he kills again?

Both stories were intriguing and kept me turning pages as quickly as I could to find out how things would be resolved.  This being a Patterson book, the chapters were short, so turning pages quickly wasn't a problem.

This was a very Lindsay centric book, with not much page time devoted to the other women of the Women's Murder Club.  I picked this book up because I love the characters so much, so I was sorry not to see more of them.  However, I was so frustrated with the romantic sub-plots involving most of the women in the last book that maybe their absence was a blessing.

I just wish it had left the epilogue out of it.  It was literally tacked on.  It brought up and resolved an extra story, seemingly only to provide us with a bit of a cliffhanger involving Lindsay's career at the police department.  The whole thing wasn't needed and weakened the book.

Overall, I did enjoy it.  Not the strongest in the series, but an enjoyable read.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Word Association for 5/12

Time for this week's word association.

  1. Rock n Roll :: Music
  2. Be with you :: Rich Mullins
  3. Richard :: Scary
  4. Hair :: Buzz
  5. Police :: Arrest
  6. Experience :: Teacher
  7. Father figure :: Dad
  8. Nice :: Sweet
  9. Switch :: Foot
  10. Appearance :: Concert

I think we need some explanations this week.

Rich Mullins was a Christian recording artist who recorded a song called "Be With You."  I quite like it. 

Richard Scary is rather appropriate for children's book week.

I keep my hair buzzed short.

Who is a better father figure than a dad?

Switchfoot is a Christian band.  I'm not a big fan, but they were the first thing that popped in my mind.

And maybe that's why when I hit appearance, all I could think about was someone appearing in person, like at a concert.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Back From Dallas

Physically, I am back from Dallas, but my heart is still there. My niece stole it yet again. She is just so cute!!!!

My planes left late both going and coming. Going, it was only 10 minutes or so, and we made up the time in the air, arriving on time. Coming back yesterday, I'm not sure how late we left, but we got in about 10 minutes late. Still, I was able to get my bag and get to the curb in time to catch a the bus to where I had parked my car in Van Nuys after only waiting a minute. I'm not complaining. Beside, I got all but about 40 pages of a book read on the trip home yesterday. (Yes, I finished it up before unpacking).

Anyway, everyone arrived without a problem on Thursday, so that was good. Friday, we spent most of the day hanging around my brother and sister-in-law's place. And when my niece was awake, she was the entertainment. My uncle arrived that night, and we met him at a BBQ that Dallas Seminary has for the grads adn their families. The food was good, and it was nice to actually spend some time walking around the seminary, something I had never done before.

Saturday was crazy busy. I was staying with my brother, so I left with them. He had to be at the church at 8:30 for a picture with the other grads. My sister-in-law and I saved seats for everyone else. Graduation itself was nice, and it seemed to move quickly enough that I wasn't too bored. Then we went out to lunch before rushing home to get things ready for the open house they were having for local friends to help celebrate. That pretty much took up the rest of the day.

Sunday my uncle and my sister-in-law's parents left, so it was just them, my parents, and me. We started the day with church, then hung out at their house the rest of the day. Mom was really happy because it was the first time in years that she got to celebrate Mother's Day with her kids in person. She even told us we could have figured that was her present. I wish I'd known sooner. ;) (Okay, so I still would have given her the same thing, but I would have liked to tease her about it longer.)

Unfortunately, I decided to leave on Monday. Don't ask me why I didn't stay until Tuesday like Mom and Dad. But Monday I got some great time with my niece. Since I was staying there, I had a couple hours without the rest of the family that morning. When my brother was getting her up and ready for the day, I stuck my head into her room. She lit up and started waving her arms and legs. I then spent some time playing with her on the floor and watching her be fed. (Never did get her to crawl over me, although I tried.) I was leaving about the time she went down for her morning nap. When she was told to say goodbye to me, she grabbed my shirt and pulled me to her. That's the closest she comes to a hug. It was so impossibly hard to walk out the door after all that.

I'm already plotting when I can go back for another visit.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Weekly TV Recap - May 8th

This will be a slightly shorter recap this week since I'm in Dallas. I haven't gotten to watch my Thursday shows yet. I might talk about them next week; we'll see if there's anything I absolutely must mention.

Amazing Race - Dan and Jordan didn't have good luck with cabs this week, but I bet the editing made it appear closer than it really was. Frankly, I didn't care that much after Jett and Cord made it. Any of the other teams could be eliminated. Although I think I was happiest that Michael and Louis were the ones sent packing. I have hated their attitude the entire race. Dan and Jordan look to be quite a ways behind everyone else, but the flights might even things up. Now let's go Jett and Cord!

Chuck - Another great episode. I love how they balanced the stories with our three couples, and I'm counting the guest stars as one of the couples. And how they cut together the scene where Chuck was trying to get the collar off the tiger and Morgan was trying to steal Mike's key card was so funny. And can I just say that I love Chuck and Sarah together? They are so cute! I am very worried about Awesome at the moment, although I am glad to see he and Ellie are coming back to the states. And how ironic that he wanted them in Africa to get them out of the danger of Chuck's world, yet a Ring operative still found them and put them in danger.

24 - I've got to admit, I am not finding the storylines that pulse pounding right now. They are certainly intriguing, but they aren't so intriguing that I need to watch more to calm down afterward. That final scene was intense, however. I really didn't think that Jack would kill Dana, at least on purpose. I even told my roommate that. Guess I was wrong. I'm not sure I like how dark they are taking Jack. I much preferred his potential happiness at the beginning of the season.

Dancing with the Stars - Everyone seems to have upped their game. I don't think there was a 7 in the bunch. Lots of great performances, but I definitely think that Evan deserved that perfect score. His Tango was amazing. I am quite surprised to say this, but I was sorry to see Pamela leave this week. She was a much better dancer than I thought she'd be. Niecy may be fun to watch, but she's the weak link in those remaining. She needs to go soon, although I have a feeling she has enough fans to stick around longer. She's fun to watch, so it's not a bad thing, but I do think the others are better dancers.

Castle - The last few episodes have been missing the spark I love so much from this show. I was thrilled to see it back this week. The banter between Castle and Beckett felt real again. I loved the scene between Beckett and her friend in the interrogation room. Plenty of laughs with the mystery.

Lost - I had said going into this season I hoped that three characters made it through the show alive. This week, they killed two of them when they killed Jin and Sun. Yet I'm okay with it. How they did it was so bittersweet that it made it better. Not completely okay. And at least they did give them a chance to be reunited even if only briefly. But the real surprise to me was Sayid. I thought he'd gone over to the dark side, so his sacrifice to try to save the day really redeemed him in my eyes.

V - I saw most of the twists coming. But I still really enjoyed the episode. It feels like they are building things up for something big down the road. And the acting tonight was really good. They put the fifth column members through the ringer, and the group really stepped up. And I love to root against Anna. There's another amazing actress in the cast.

In Plain Sight - Here's a much better example of what I have come to love on this show. Every week, we're dealing with different people, but we care so much about them by the time the show is over. Yes, I tune in each week by see Mary and Marshall and the regulars. But it's the guest characters that really prove powerful. I loved it this week that Mary was ready to write her witness off as a bad seed before meeting him, but actually talked him out of the bank robbery at the end. But Marshall got the best line of the night. "Thank you for shopping with us. Today, we have a special on 8 by 13 cells."

Friday, May 07, 2010

Book Beginnings for May 7th

Time for this week's Book Beginnings on Friday. I'll have three sentences for you from two books.

Up first is The 9th Judgment by James Patterson. Really, his books start with the prologue, so we'll start there.

Sarah Wells stood on the roof of the carport and snaked her gloved hand through the hole she'd cut in the glass.
This sentence certainly caught my attention, espeically since I didn't know much about what the plots could be for this book.

After several prologue chapters, we finally get to the official first chapter. The first line there is:

Peter Gordon followed the young mom out of Macy's and into the street outside the Stonestown Galleria.
Knowing these books usually talk about deranged serial killers, I knew the mom wasn't going to be happy for long. It certainly got my attention.

I finished this book yesterday, so now I'm reading The Sea of Monsters, the second Percy Jackson book by Rick Riordan. The first sentence there is:

My nightmare started like this.

So far, my favorite first lines have been the longer ones, but this one was great. Only 5 words long, but it caught my attention and made me want to keep reading.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Flying By

As you are reading this, I am flying to Dallas for my brother's seminary graduation.  It's going to be a whirlwind trip with all the various activities going on, but I am looking forward to going so I can celebrate with him and see my niece.  No, really, it's in that order.  I've been telling every what I am doing and why, so I really do think of it in that order.  The only downside is I have quite a few friends graduating from the college I work for Friday night, and I will miss their graduation.

Actually, it's been a while since I posted about my life.  Where do I even begin?

I've signed up for my third mud run this year.  I'm doing the July edition of Irvine Lake with a buddy from ultimate Frisbee.  Looking forward to it.  Just found out about one in San Bernardino in two weeks, but I keep telling myself I don't need to sign up for it.

Meanwhile, my training for Camp Pendleton keeps coming along.  I'm up to about 5 miles at my slow and steady pace.  I think I am going to have to cut out the hill in the park, or at least not hit it every run.  My knees really bother me after that.

The big news in my life is the roommate cituation.  I have one confirmed roommate for the summer (who moves in while I'm gone).  I've got another couple possibilities for summer roommates, but we'll see if they pan out or not.

But I'm going to have three roommates in the fall.  One will probably move out early in 2011, but the added income until then will be nice.  And I really am looking forward to not having a roommate search for a while.  They all seem like great guys, too.  Of course, that means I need to clean up the junk in my room and throw some stuff out.  I've got a couple months to put that off before I need to do it, however.

The weather sure has decided to turn nice.  It's been in the 80's all week, my kind of weather.  I hope it is sticking around permanently.

Work has been crazy this last week, geering up for the board meetings tomorrow.  Plus we are all moving around again.  I'm going to wind up with a smaller office.  I've gotten spoiled in the last year.  But I will still have a window, so I'm not complaining too much.

Think those are the headlines.  Can't think of anything else major happening right now, anyway.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Word Association for 5/5/10

Yes, I'm being geeky here.  Today's date added together makes the year, at least the two digit version.  Have I ever denied being geeky?

Okay, let's move on to this week's word association, shall we?

  1. Creepy :: Killer
  2. Links :: Website
  3. Sane :: Person
  4. Bun :: Hot Cross
  5. Visual :: Learning
  6. Remote :: TV
  7. Freaking :: Out
  8. Curly :: Fries
  9. Saga :: Family
  10. Different :: Same

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Bad Book in a Series

I made a promise at the LA Times Festival of Books that the next time I was part of Weekly Geeks, I would post earlier.  I think this qualifies.

The topic this week is that book in a series you just don't like.  Do you stop the series after one bad book?  Do you put the book down and pick the next one in the series up?  That kind of thing.

As you might have noticed, I am a series reader, so this would almost be right up by ally.  Almost.

Most series I read, I enjoy all the books.  Occasionally, I'll run across one or two books that aren't up to par, but the next one will restore my faith in the series.  And even then, I still enjoyed the weaker entry.

The exception to that is James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series.  The last good book was 4th of July.  Yet I am stopping by the library to pick up the latest tonight.  Why?  Because they are fast reads, so I don't feel like I am wasting a lot of my time.  And, since I am borrowing them instead of buying them, I'm not wasting any money.

The problem I have is that once I start something, I have to know how it ends.  Hence why I am still watching Heroes when the rest of the sane world has given up on it.  (Please, NBC, put me out of my misery and cancel it!)  Even if I start a book, and I'm not enjoying it, I must finish it or else it will drive me crazy.  And I can't just skip to the end, either.  I do find myself skimming a bit to finish faster, but that's about it.

Now, when it comes to a new series, I am getting pickier.  If the first book doesn't show a lot of promise, I don't tend to pick up book two.  I have enough books on my to be read pile that I don't need to add books in a series that doesn't interest me.

So if you are an author I like, I'll give you a couple of bad books before I consider cutting you from my list.  However, if you are a new to me author, better bring you A game or I won't read you again.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Other Books Read in April

Since I usually post paragraph or so reviews of books I read on several message boards, I thought I'd start putting that info up here for the books I don't talk about in greater length with links to my Epinions reviews if you are interested in reading more.

So without further ado, here are my other books for April.

THE CALIFORNIA ROLL by John Vorhaus - 4
Radar Hoverlander makes his living as a con man. But when he meets a beautiful woman who wants him to help her grandfather run a scam, he may be in well over his head. This was a fun caper out of my normal cozy realm. Plenty of twists and some characters I could like even if they were normally the bad guys.
THE THIN MAN by Dashiell Hammett - 4
After seeing all the movies, I finally read the book. Nick and Nora Charles are trying to enjoy a Christmas in New York City, but a case involving one of Nick's former clients keeps interrupting the holiday. I found this book lacked some of the spark of the movie version, but it was still enjoyable.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Weekly TV Recap - May 1st

I'm going to start doing a weekly TV recap.  I occasionally talk about TV shows on my blog, but this will give me an outlet to do it more regularly.  It will also allow you to mock me for how much TV I watch.

I am going to assume you have watched any of these shows you are interested in, so I am not going to worry about SPOILERS!  Also, my ramblings might not make sense to you if you haven't seen the show before.  But if you do like the show, feel free to jump in and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Amazing Race - I must admit that I usually only half watch this show while working on other things. This week, I didn't really catch much of the noodle challenge, but I know I would have found it frustrating. I found it funny that, for the model challenge, the cops and Dan and Jordan each had a piece the other one needed. The idea of having two road blocks took me by surprise, but I loved the fact that the other partner had to do it - very nice twist. And I felt so sorry for Brent and Cord when the wind blew their puzzle pieces all over the place. However, the cowboys once again proved why I love them. Cord just got back to work while Brent started yelling. I was hoping that the detectives would finally be out. I can't stand them. Instead, they got the last non-elimination leg. Darn!

Chuck - This is my favorite shows on the air at the moment. Expect lots of gushing when I talk about it. And tonight was no exception. We've had three weeks off, and this one was worth waiting for. While it had its serious moments, the action scenes were so funny, especially the fight scenes with the handcuffs. And Morgan provided some great comic relief as well. But the General got the best line of the night. "Off the record, it's about d*** time." Yes, I saw it coming, but I loved it. I'm worried about Ellie and Awesome. I hope they find some way to keep them around because I love them. (If they have to get rid of someone, Jeff and Lester come to mind. Their characters are a bit tired these days.)

24 - It's that point in the season where Jack has to be completely on his own trying to uncover something to save the day. I like how they are playing things out, but I do wish they hadn't turned the president bad. It makes for better television, but I loved her character so much.

Dancing with the Stars - I can't believe how many 7's Len gave out. Or how many couples were tied at the bottom with 21 after the individual dances. And it always amazes me when a dance I think is poor and one I think is great get the same scores. I was sorry to see Jake and Chelsea go home Tuesday night. He was so much fun to watch since he was obviously having so much fun on the show each week.

V - Every week, this show draws me in more and more. The stakes seem to grow for every storyline every week. I loved the scene at the farmhouse with the V soldier, although with it being dark it was a little hard to follow the action. The twist with the V girl not wanting Tyler to live aboard the ship really surprised me. But I think the reporter is on to our heroes and will be a real thorn in their side.

In Plain Sight - You'll find as the weeks go on that I am a bit of a USA Network addict (which makes me worry about the report that they've got 7 new shows in development). Having said that, this was the weakest episode of season 3 so far. Thanks to the teaser at the beginning, it was fairly predictable. And, while it was fun to see 24's Edgar again, he really made his characters slimy, which made those scenes uncomfortable.

FlashForward - I've got to admit, I can't always keep the various stories in this show straight, but I do enjoy this mind bending ride. This week focused on Janice. I was glad they threw in another twist on her character. I just wonder how it is all going to play out. And considering we now know two of our "good guys" who want Mark dead, I'm wondering how that will play out as well. I only wish I were confident we were going to get a second season of the show to truly get some answers.

Survivor - Why is it whenever someone is trying to switch, they go running their mouths off at tribal counsel? And the scrambling after the last challenge had to set a record for the number of switches. The way everyone on both sides is scheming just amazes me. It has built into the best season in a long time. Unfortunately, all the scrambling did was make Russell waste his idol. I really want the Heroes to pull it off somehow, but I sure don't see how now.

The Mentalist - Okay, I've got to admit, I was surfing the net while watching the first half. I thought I was following the story, but when I put my computer down I realized how little I actually understood. Oh well, I did like what I saw. I enjoy Jane when he's a little more laid back. Malcolm McDowell was fun in his guest starring role as the cult leader, too.