Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Two More Losses

So my ultimate Frisbee team is now 0-4 when it comes to the season.  We are the only team in Men's league to have not won a game yet.

Last week's game was actually looking promises.  We made it to half time with a score of 9-5, but we managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  I could see us falling apart in the second half.  The final score was 15-17.

Last night's game started out horribly.  We got the first point and never caught up again.  At half time, the score was 4-9.  We did get it up to 14 before they got to 17, so we did much better in the second half.

Frankly, I'm a little furstrated right now, too.  I just don't feel like I contribute much to the games.  True, last week I was scored on quite a bit.  This week, I managed to not be scored on (even when the other team tried to isolate my guy for an easy score.  Yes!), but I also couldn't get open to get the disc.  I haven't touched the disc in two weeks, and it is frustrating.

Of course, I'd have more opportunities if I played more.  But we have so many guys showing up for games, that I don't feel right about playing more when we are doing so poorly.  My standard arguement has always been that I can't make us do any worse than we were doing, but I guess I'm not buying it any more.  I wish I were.

I always get like this at some point in the ultimate season, so hopefully I'm hitting bottom now and things will improve for the rest of the summer.  We'll see.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Word Association for June 29th

Time for this week's word association.

  1. Collectors :: Edition
  2. Passion :: of the Christ
  3. Winner :: Loser
  4. Uninhibited :: Free
  5. Challenge :: Harder
  6. Self :: Me
  7. Your :: Will
  8. Viewer :: ViewMaster
  9. Random :: Thoughts
  10. Vice :: Squad

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ending Another Year

What, you think I'm jumping the gun?  Well, maybe I am, but only by two days.

Yes, once again I'm talking about the end of the fiscal year here at work, which is June 30th.  The auditors are here again for the preliminary week checking and making sure our procedures are still good.  They'll be back in a couple of months to make sure the numbers we closed the year with look to be accurate.  I've been through this enough that it doesn't really stress me out any more.  Okay, so it was a little stressful today when an auditor asked me a question, and I had to do some work to find what she wanted, but I did find it, so everything's fine there.

Frankly, work has been crazy the last couple of weeks.  With getting ready to close out last year and trying to get the budget finalized for next year (still), we're working like crazy.

Meanwhile, I've gone on yet another Christmas ornament buying binge.  And Hallmark (who I've mostly been buying) starts selling stuff in a couple of weeks.  My only hope in all this is my Disney pin collection.  The first couple of years I was buying, I was haunting Ebay buying up pins I wanted.  While I still buy the occasional pin off Ebay and will buy several in the stores when I go to the park, I am not driving to Downtown Disney once a month to buy pins or haunting Ebay every day to buy them.

I wonder what I'll be on to when this interest dies down some.

After taking about a week off from running, I've started back up again.  Actually, both of my last runs have been with my roommate Aaron.  Wednesday was a one mile run followed by a few sprints.  Friday we did the 3 mile hill run.  We're planning another run for tonight after I get home from work.

And here's a shocker for you, I hardly read anything this weekend.  I think I read 5 pages in my book.  Fortunately, things picked up at lunch time.  Frankly, outside of writing reviews (and I wrote a ton), this was a fairly relaxed weekend.  It was nice to be quiet around home without a whole lot else I was trying to do.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weekly TV Recap June 26th

With the return of Wipeout, this isn't the all USA Network blog post any more.

Wipeout (Tuesday) - Yes, the silliness that is Wipeout is back full time. Heck, it looks like it is one twice a week now. More spills, more big balls, more laughs. However, on Tuesday edition I was creped out by that "dragon" guy. I kept rooting for him to be eliminated, and yet he just kept going. I loved their new trampoline starter into the water. That's one thing this guy who is afraid of heights might actually be willing to do to get started.

In Plain Sight - Okay, so there wasn't too much new here. Yes, the teen was a crying out for attention. The parents needed to be talked to. But I still really enjoyed the episode because it was done so well. Plus it had some great lines. Marshall's sub-plot was just confusing to me. I can't quite figure out what the one brother did. Did he make them all go into WitSec or something? And can I tell you how upset I am with Brandi for giving their brother the money?

Burn Notice - But the best lines of the week came from this show. I was laughing so hard at some of them, especially Fi's line to the guy they had tied up in the trunk of her car. "Move over. You're on my C4." I thought the plot was great as well with lots of twists and some high stakes. I had a bit of a problem with the way all the "good guys" got out of the hold up with no consequences. Yes, the right guy went to jail, but I wish there were some other consequences for the guy who started the hold up. And I found I actually missed Michael's mom in this episode. Just more proof she's really grown on me.

Royal Pains - Much better than last episode, and that was even with the characters apart. I'm really curious how they are going to play out the storyline of Boris' disease. They are sure playing it up this year. And the new doctor covering for Hank is fun to watch (or more correctly fun to watch Divya deal with), but she is going to need to be taught a lesson very soon. Just one question. Where the heck is Evan and who kidnapped him!? (Okay, maybe that was two.)

Wipeout (Thursday) - Am I getting tired of the show? It just doesn't seem as funny to me this season, especially all the bunches in the face. I just keep wincing instead of laughing like I used to do. But I did find the moving Big Balls an interesting twist. The "Lost Luggage" stunt was just plain cruel, however.

New TV on DVD Reviews:
Sabrina the Teenage Witch - Season 3

Friday, June 25, 2010

Book Beginnings for June 25th

Time for this week's Book Beginnings on Friday.

I spent most of this week reading Set Sail for Murder by R. T. Jordan.  This is his fourth Polly Pepper mystery.  Polly is an aging living legend who is hanging on to her former glory as the star of an 80's TV musical variety show.  The first sentence is:

"If I see one more ESTATE FOR SALE sign planted on our street, I swear I'll develop hysterical blindness!" Polly Pepper complained from the back seat of her Rolls-Royce.

It's not a grabber opener, but it does set up Polly's over the top personality and the fact that the hard economic times have hit even Hollywood stars, so she must take the job of the cruise ship where the book is set.

Just last night, I started Run Afoul by Joan Druett.  This is a historical set aboard the US's Exploration Expedition that sailed almost around the world in the late 1830's.  It's a fun way to learn some history, especially if you like sailing (like I do).  The first sentence is:

As he slumped exhaustedly in the cutter that pulled from the brig Swallow to the expedition flagship Vincennes, Wiki Coffin wondered if he smelled as bad as Lieutenant Forsythe.

This is the third book in the series, so those names do mean something to us.  The sentence certainly did catch my attention and make me want to read more, although frankly, I wish the first chapter had done a bit of a better job reminding us how we left things in the last book.  It's been over a year since I read it, and I'm a bit fuzzy on the last chapter.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Word Association for June 23rd

I'm glad I'm doing word association tonight.  I don't have the brain power to do much else.

  1. Executive :: Suite
  2. Director :: Movie
  3. Dress :: Skirt
  4. Studio :: Recording
  5. Accountant :: AUGH!
  6. Unit :: Measure
  7. Engaged :: Married
  8. Safety :: Record
  9. Post :: It Note
  10. Dialogue :: Story
Yes, I am an accountant.  But that's the last thing I want to think of right now.  The numbers won today big time.  My brain is shot.  I need to go home and run.  My roommates had better not have flaked on me because all I have the motivation for is sitting and watching TV.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Nightstand for June

It's time for this month's What's on Your Nightstand, hosted as always by 5 Minutes for Books.

Last week, I finished up a reread of The Magician's Nephew.  I love Narnia and enjoy all the books, but this isn't one of my favorites.  It just takes us too long to get to Narnia.  Once we do, the book picks up and I enjoy it more.  There just doesn't seem to be that much to the book, really.

I am doing something different this time through the books, however.  I am going to read them in chronological order instead of the order they were written in.  We'll see if anything new pops out at me that way.

Now I'm in the middle of Set Sail for Murder by R. T. Jordan.  This is the fourth in his series about aging actress Polly Pepper.  This time, Polly is attempting to track down the killer of one of the co-stars of her TV show who was killed on a cruise they were all taking.  I think I have the killer pegged, but we'll see if I'm right or not.  Anyway, it's amusing as always.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wrapping Up Spring Reading Things for 2010

Since the calendar says it is the first day of Summer, that must mean it is time for the wrap up post for Spring Reading Thing 2010.

My biggest goal was to finish all 15 books on my list. I read 19 books, but I didn't finish the books on my list. Why not? Because one of the books on my list just came out this month, and I didn't get my copy until Friday night. I am 120 pages into it (hoping to be half way by the time I go to bed tonight, but with an ultimate Frisbee game, I don't know for sure if that will happen or not), so I will be read before June is over. And, for the first time since I found Callapidder Days' bi-annual reading challenges, I won't have any carry over books.

Did you see that?

I have no carry over books!

Okay, so it's not quite finishing everything on the list I started with, but I'm still pretty excited about that.

So, let's get to what I actually did read. All links take you to my review at Epinions:

From my original list:
Dem Bones' Revenge by Kris Neri
OffWorld by Robin Parrish
The California Roll by John Vorhaus
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Corpse on the Cob by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Revenge for Old Times' Sake by Kris Neri
Death of a Trophy Wife by Laura Levine
Double Minds by Terri Blackstock
The 9th Judgment by James Patterson
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Exposure by Brandilyn Collins
Rolling Thunder by Chris Grabenstein
Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station by Dorothy Gilman
Magic and other Misdemeanors by Michael Buckley

Books read not on my list:
The Crime Writer by Gregg Hurwitz
Trixie Belden and the Mystery of the Missing Heiress by Kathryn Kenny
ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer (Not reviewed)
Bundle of Trouble by Diana Orgain
The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis

Book in Progress:
Set Sail for Murder by R. T. Jordan

So there you have it. A challenge mostly met.

I'll see you in the Fall with a completely new set of books.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekly TV Recap - June 19th

You know, the only reason I started doing these in May was because I knew I'd have the USA Network to give me material through the summer, right?

In Plain Sight - Now don't misunderstand, I did enjoy the episode. But it seemed to have two stories instead of just one. Either tell the story of the homeless man, or tell the story of the adopted man who wants to find his parents. We don't need both in one show. However, I did find what was there compelling, and I was absolutely surprised by most of the twists along the way. The sub-plot about the fugitive was entertaining, but a distraction from the main story, which I really wanted to stay focused on. And in the on going family saga, I am glad that Brandi told their brother she couldn't give him the money. I'm not sure if I think her lie will come back to haunt her or not. I can't believe we only have two episodes left this season. Who only gave us a 13 episode season, anyway?

Burn Notice - This was the best of the season so far. Fighting off the mobsters was classic BN stuff. I love watching the new guy try to fit in and how he is shaking up the well oiled team. But the best scene of the night went to Michael's mom when she confronted him about not being honest with the new guy. She's right, the fact that Michael burned him will come out at the worst possible time. I'm thinking either as a season split cliffhanger or possibly at the end of the season as a cliffhanger.

Royal Pains - This was the worst episode so far. They were so focused on the guest star that they didn't use any of the women hardly at all. It was missing the normal spark that I love about the show. Not saying I didn't enjoy it. And the story with Hank and Evan's dad is going to be very interesting as it develops. That ending with the new doctor coming to work for Boris is going to make things interesting as well.

New TV on DVD Reviews:
Babylon 5 - Season 5

Friday, June 18, 2010

Book Beginnings for June 18th

It's Friday, which means it is time for this week's Book Beginnings on Friday.  This week, I've been rereading C.S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew, the first (or sixth) of The Chronicles of Narnia.  Frankly, as much as I love these books, they don't have good first sentences.  And this one is no different.

This is a story about something that happened a long time ago when your grandfather was a child.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

First Two Summer League Games

So I'm kinda dropped talking about ultimate Frisbee with everything else going on around here.  I think I need to start moving word association to Sunday again.

Anyway, we're two weeks into the season, and so far so good.  No, that's not because we're winning out games.  They've both been fairly close.  We lost the first game 14-17 and we lost Tuesday night 15-17.  But we seem to be playing as a team, or as much of a team as you can when you have just met.

Actually, one of the guys on my team was on my winter league team this past year, but Mike is the only guy I know on the team.

The first game we started out behind and managed to tie it up a few times, but we never did pull ahead.  I was thrown the disc three times, all of them in the end zone.  I caught the first one.  Frankly, I still can't believe that.  I was standing wide open in the end zone on the side they were forcing us to throw it to, and the other team was all running away from me.  I dropped the other two.  One I have no idea how I missed since I thought it was right there.  The other one was just barely out of reach.  I tried, but I couldn't get it.

The second week I only got open once.  I was thrown the disc a couple other times, but I wasn't really open, just trying to keep my defender from poaching off me.  Anyway, I was thrown the disc and caught it no problem.  But then I panicked a bit and threw it away.  I could have made that throw a million times if we were just throwing the disc back and forth.  I really need to get over my throwing it in the game jitters.

So far, my lack of speed hasn't been a huge disadvantage.  There have been other guys who are only a little faster than me on the field, so I have been able to guard them.  The games have been hard fought but friendly.  I hope this trend continues as the season progresses.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - June 16th

It's the middle of the week, so that means it is time for another Waiting on Wednesday

This week, I'm talking about a non-mystery.  Heck, the book is even non-fiction.  Now that you've picked yourself up off the floor, I'm talking about Meaning at the Movies, a book written by a professor here at the college where I work.

Grant Horner is an English professor who spends a lot of time talking about Christianity and popular culture.  That's why I am so excited for this book.  It is going to explore worldview in popular movies and help Christians learn discernment with the movies they watch.

Now, I watch a lot of movies.  And TV.  And read lots of fiction.  I like to think I am pretty discerning as it is.  But hopefully this will help sharpen my skills and maybe remind me of a few things I have forgotten.  And from what I know of the author, it will be entertaining as well.  The book is due out Monday, and I hope to get my hands on it soon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Word Association for June 15th

Looks like it is time for this week's word association.

  1. Offense :: Defense
  2. Bench :: Warmer
  3. Kissing :: Hugging
  4. Timely :: Report
  5. Yellow :: Green
  6. Get up and go :: Motivation
  7. Beer :: Drink
  8. Calories :: Dessert
  9. Blast :: Fun
  10. Window :: Dressing

Monday, June 14, 2010

Camp Pendleton Race Report

I did it!  I finished the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.  And I had a blast doing it.

Josh and I got a later start then we had intended on Friday night.  I was helping a mutual friend move, and Josh came by to pick me up once he got back in to town from work.  He showed up just in time for pizza, too.  Then we ran some errands.  It was after 7 before we headed south.  But that turned out to be a good thing because we pretty much missed the traffic.

We had a room at a Motel 6 for the night.  From the outside, it looked great, but our non-smoking room reeked of smoke.  Fortunately, I got used to it fairly quickly and wasn't bothered by it all night.  I don't think either of us got very much sleep, but we got some.

Saturday morning, we were up early and driving to Camp Pendleton.  We were directed to park in one of the lots that didn't have a shuttle to the main area, so we had a good warm up.  (It felt like a lot longer walk on the way back.)

We got there in time to get a bit of the lay of the land, pick up our shirts, and check our bags.  Then we got in the large group to wait for the start.

I've got to say, that half hour is the longest.  You're just standing there, waiting for them to release you.  Mentally, I was so ready to be running already.  Just let me go!  Fortunately, the guy they had talking to us while we waited was pretty entertaining, so that helped take my mind off the wait.

It was overcast the entire time of the run.  In fact, it sprinkled just a tad as we were getting going.  Both of us had to admit we thought that running in the rain would be fun, but it didn't happen.

Finally, we were off.  We were somewhere in the middle of the pack, which meant we walked the first little bit.  There just wasn't room to run yet.  Things began to spread out just about the time we reached the tanker trucks.  They were spraying us with hoses, with the Marines hosing people down as they went by.  There were a total of three of them.  We got plenty wet.

We all bunched up by the first water crossing since the trail narrowed.  But soon we were splashing through the water.  There were three or four of those pretty much back to back.  My shirt was still pretty wet, and now my shoes were completely soaked.

I knew there was a big hill in the first half, but it tricked me.  I thought that once you hit mile 3, you started going back down hill and it was pretty much level from there on out.  So when we started climbing, I wasn't too worried.  We reached what I thought was the top around mile 3, got some water at the water station and proceeded through the mock city where three Marines were waiting to squirt us with super soakers.

And then we started to climb again.  Turns out that the top of the hill is around mile 4.  I could have run the whole thing I think if I had been mentally prepared, but I wasn't.  I stopped to watch once, partially to let Josh catch up to me.  At least that's how I justified it.  Was I ever glad when we really did reach the top.

Running downhill is not my strong suit since I have such a poor sense of balance.  This is the part where Josh really pulled away from me.  He did wait at the bottom for me to catch back up, however.

And now we hit the first mud pit with the 5 foot wall in the middle.  Now these walls were the thing that had worried me the most.  I didn't know if I'd have the ability to get over them.  But I was going to try before I game in and had a Marine assist me up and over.  Well, I doubt I looked pretty doing it, but I did make it over no problem.

Next up was the water crossing.  The water here was deep enough I had trouble touching in spots.  But I pretty much had to stay upright since anything I tried to truly swim it, I wound up kicking someone.  Josh and I talked about going around and doing it again, but ultimately pressed on.

We hit another mud pit with a wall in it, and I sailed over it just fine.  Then we got to the tunnels.  I actually got on my knees, but found I kept slipping if I tried to use my hands for much.  Next year, I am going to follow Josh's example and try just bending over.

Just about the time we hit Slippery Hill, I got a pebble in the back of my shoe that was killing me with every step I took.  I stopped going up a couple of times to try to get it out.  I dislodged it enough to finish the uphill and downhill parts, but had to make one last stop on level ground to finally eliminate the problem.

Finally, we were at the final mud pit, the 30 yard one you have to crawl through.  Josh and I had tried to stay together, but he pulled ahead of me here (and I thought I'd be beating him).  This was also the only spot where the Marines were yelling anything other than "Great job. You can do it" types of encouragement.  Fortunately, the Marine focused on the guy in the Laker's shirt and pretty much left me alone.  I made a final push for the finish line, and it was all over.

My official time was 1:34:17, about a minute behind Josh.  I finished 156th in my age group and 1547th over all.  Hey, I'll take it.  I was out there to finish and have fun.  I did both those things.  So the day was a success as far as I'm concerned.

And, as you can see, I got much muddier than I did at the Irvine Lake Mud Run.

These are all the pictures I have at the moment.  Most of them are a water proof camera Josh bought.  I'll share more once they are developed.

The showers were pretty crowded by the time we got back over there, but the lines moved faster than I thought they would.  The water was cold, but the pressure was enough to actually get the mud off you with you having to stand there for a long period of time.

On the walk back to the car and drive out of Camp Pendleton we were discussing future mud runs and our trip next year.  Yes, I definitely have another convert.

We actually headed south after we were done, going to visit a friend of his in San Diego.  All told, it was around 9PM when we actually got back Saturday night, tired but happy.

I can't wait to do it all over again.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Yes, I Did Survive

Yes, I did survive the Campe Pendleton Mud Run today.  After Josh and I were done, we headed down to San Diego and spent the afternoon hanging out with a friend of his, so I'm just now getting home.  We both had a blast and are already plotting for next year, like how to get his fiancee to join us and the fact that we will both be sporting Mowhawks.

I'll have a longer post in a couple of days.  Pictures will probably take longer since most of them are on a waterproof camera Josh bought (and we ran out of film about 2/3 of the way through, too.)

Stay tuned.

Weekly TV Recap

Thanks to the publish ahead feature, this is going up at the same time that I am starting the mud run!  It's summer, so that means the TV recap is almost completely a USA Network exclusive event.  But I don't mind the fewer shows, especially when the ones I get to watch are this good.

In Plain Sight - Let's start with the bad. I didn't like Marshall's sub-plot with the illegal immigrant. I was fine with the idea of keeping their promise to her or even the idea of her getting a green card in exchange for her testimony. However, when we learned she had been stealing medicine, even to help those in need, and ultimately there were no consequences for her, that bugged me. Mary's case, however, I loved. I was afraid they might got a little too far with the Aspergers witness and make her cartoonish. I shouldn't have worried. She came across as very real, including the ways she mirrors Mary. The dilemma she faced between being a witness and turning on the one person she considered a friend was very real, too. On to the third story. I think Mary and Brandi's brother has more of a problem then he's let on with his day trading being too much like gambling. I hope Brandi realizes that, but we'll have to see how this particular story develops.

Burn Notice - Tonight was the first real episode with new cast member Coby Bell. He's playing a spy that Michael has inadvertently burned. He's also joining Michael's team and even living in Michael's mom's garage. And he's really going to change the dynamic of the show, I can tell. Plus there's the fact that he wants to find out who burned him and get his revenge. If nothing else, that will be interesting to watch unfold. I can't wait to watch this play out.

Royal Pains - Speaking of changing dynamics, adding Hank and Evan's dad is changing their relationship. It's making both characters richer as it adds conflict between them. I wasn't that surprised with the final shot of the show. I knew they had to keep dad around somehow. Not sure where they are going with him yet, but I am quite interested in finding out. But the real highlight of the episode for me was seeing Mary Lynn Rajskub as something other than Chloe on 24. It was nice to see her smile for a change. And the developing storyline about Divya's upcoming marriage to Raj continues to intrigue me. They've got several nice balls in the air this season.

TV on DVD Reviews:
The Muppet Show - Season 3

Friday, June 11, 2010


It's almost here!  By this time tomorrow, I should have crossed the finish line of the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.  I'm sure I will be exhausted.  I'd better be filthy dirty.  And I'm sure I will have had a blast.

Of course, between now and then, I need to pack still (I'm spending tonight down there) and help a friend who is moving tomorrow load up the moving truck.  And all I've done today is sit around on my computer after sleeping in.  I don't think I'm going to get any reviews written at the pace I am moving today.

Anyway, guess I'd better get a move on.

Book Beginnings for June 11th

What I really want to know is, why am I up doing Book Beginnings at 12:10 AM when I should be in bed trying to sleep.

I actually spent most of the weekn going through a non-fiction book, ChiRunning by Danny Dreyer.  Decent book, although it spent a bit more time talking about t'ai chi than I really was hoping for.  At least it was a library book.

The first sentence is:

Not long ago, I was running past a grade school.

Not the best start, but it did catch my interest a little bit.

Thursday at lunch time, I started Bundle of Trouble by Diana Orgain.  I'm already 50 pages in and loving it.  It's first sentence is:

The phone rang, interrupting the last seconds of the 49ers game.

Again, not the best opening sentence, but it does set up the opening scene, which grabbed my attention quite nicely.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - Some Wishlist Highlights

So, there's a Wednesday book meme I've been thinking about participating in for a while, but I've never gotten around to it.  It's Waiting on Wednesday, and it is used to highlight an upcoming book we can't wait to read.  Well, since this week's Weekly Geeks is also about our wishlist, I had to participate and combine the two.

Up first is Stork Raving Mad, the 12th Meg Langslow mystery by Donna Andrews.  This one's actually out in about a month.  Here's a product description:

Meg’s expecting twins---any minute!---in this next hilarious entry in the award-winning, New York Times bestselling series!

Meg is eight and a half months pregnant with twins when Michael asks if she wouldn’t mind another houseguest. One of his doctoral students is directing his new translation of a play by a minor Spanish playwright, and the playwright has agreed to come to town for the production.

Senor Mendoza turns out to be a drinker, a smoker, and an inveterate partygoer. Before long, Meg's kitchen is filled with the smells of Spanish food and the voices of all the wilder souls in both the drama and Spanish departments. Into this chaos arrive two prune-faced administrators, the dean of the English department and a man from the college president’s office, who say that the play must be canceled.

When the dean is found murdered, Meg's house becomes a crime scene, and the only way to restore peace is to help Chief Burke solve the murders---while rescuing the student's dissertation and Michael’s tenure---all before dashing off to the hospital to give birth to her twins!

The one and only Donna Andrews continues to surprise and delight in this next knee-slapping adventure featuring Meg Langslow and all the eccentric characters that make up her world.
September will see the release of three books by authors I love.  And two of them are vampire themed books, too.

Rhys Bowen will release the 4th in her Royal Spyness series.  This series is about the life of a minor royal in 1930's England - Georgie is 34th in line for the crown.  In this book, Royal Blood, she heads off to Transylvannia to be the official representative at a state wedding.  I'm not sure of the details beyond that, but all of Rhys' books are book, so I know I'll enjoy it.

Also in the vampire vein is the start of Sue Ann Jaffarian's new vampire series, Murder in Vein.  I'm not completely sure what will be happening in this book.  I do know a woman learns about the existence of vampires in modern day LA after her life is saved by them.  Sue Ann is also promising it isn't the normal take on the vampire story, and since I love her other books, I will give this one a try.

Finally, September will also see the release of Arsenic and Old Paint by Hailey Lind.  I've got to admit I still need to read the third in this series, but I hope to be ready for this book when it comes out.  I am happy to see a fourth book since the series has changed publishers.  The main character is an artist with a less than lawful past in San Francisco, and these books are always fun romps through the art world.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Word Association for June 8th

Thought I'd do this week's word association this afternoon for something different.

  1. Group :: Dynamics
  2. Pollution :: Oil Spill (how could this not come up right now?)
  3. Getaway :: Vacation
  4. Mail :: Delivery
  5. Believe :: in Magic
  6. Chimney :: Sweep
  7. Curses :: Foiled Again!
  8. Contrite :: Sorry
  9. Eyelash :: Stuck in Eye
  10. Jobs :: Work

A Children's Classic Mystery!

So at the beginning of the year, 5 Minutes for Books announced that they were going to be hosting a Children's Classic Mystery challenge for the first half of the year.  And I thought to myself, "Great, a chance to reread some Trixie Belden (which I hadn't done in years) and maybe some Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown...."

Here it is the last month of the challenge, and I finally have a book I've read.

Just last week, I reread The Mystery of the Missing Heiress, the sixteenth book in the Trixie Belden mystery series.  I was actually a little surprised at just how long I've let it go between reading books in this series.  I mean, I love these characters.  They were some of my best friends in high school.  And they have introduced me to some of my best friends now thanks to the two message boards for the series I am part of (links on the right under Where to Find Me if you are a fan and want to join.)  It's been four years.

And I love the characters still.  It was actually smiling at most of their interactions.  It was great to be in the presence of the Bob-Whites again.

However, I've got to admit, I've never really liked this book.  See, I read the next book in the series first when I was originally reading these books, and it actually includes some of the characters introduced here, a rarity at this point in the series.  So I knew the broad strokes of the plot before I started reading it.  The plot just seems obvious to me as a result.  I'm not sure if it is because I already knew the outcome or if the way the book was written helps give it away.  I just want to yell at the characters, "This is happening because of X, Y, and Z!  Can't you see it?!!!"

So no, this isn't the best book in the series.  But I didn't mind rereading it because I got to spend time with old friends.  I can't let it go this long again before I reread another Trixie Belden book.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Countdown Has Begun

Okay, so actually, I just looked back at a post from last weekend and saw that I was counting down then, too.  But it is now 5 days until my first run of the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.  It's so close, I can taste the mud.

You have to understand, I decided last summer I wanted to do this race.  When I first heard about it from author Sue Ann Jaffarian, it sounded like fun.  Then I read more about, including on LB's blog, and I sounded like even more fun.  And I knew I could do it if I would just put my mind to it and keep working hard.

So this is a year's worth of work and dreaming coming down to the final week.  It's a wonder I can concentrate on anything else.

Last Wednesday, I ran somewhere over six miles.  I'm sure I ran at least 6.2, which is the length of the race on Saturday.  (Yeah, I know I should probably figure out some way to measure my runs better, but I figure I am close enough for my purposes.)  Running that distance gave me the confidence to know I can finish this thing.  I won't be anywhere near the front of the pack.  After all, running it with no obstacles takes me over an hour (yeah, I don't time myself that much either).  But my only goal is to finish the race.  And if I can do that this year, I will be very happy.

I was surprised at just how sore I was after that run Wednesday.  Who would have thought that running a mile more than I ever had before would be that much harder.  It certainly didn't feel harder.

My friend Josh, who I'm running the race with, called me up on Sunday afternoon, and we wound up going for a run in the 90+ degree heat.  I took some water with me, something I never do.  I rationed it out over the entire run, using it as motivation.  "If you make it to that next stop light, you can stop and drink some."  Yeah, the heat really got to both of us, but we did finish.

Meanwhile, I do need to concentrate on other things.  For one thing, I've got work to do.  We still need to close May, and with the software upgrade last week, it's taking some work to get things done correcting.  It was a major upgrade, so things aren't like they've been for the last 5 or so years.

And tomorrow night is my first ultimate Frisbee game of Summer League.  Yes, I am still nervous about playing in men's league.  Everyone I've asked tells me I should be fine, but I am so insecure about my lack of speed.  Yes, even with all this running I've been doing, I'm not very fast.  But I know if we wind up having a game with no subs or I'm in for a long point, I should be able to keep running the entire time.  I love the sport, but I am very insecure about whether or not I am helping my team when I am on the field.  Until I meet my teammates tomorrow night, I won't have any clue how the season will go.  If one of them is uptight, it won't be fun.  But if everyone is out to have fun while trying hard to win, I should be okay.

I'm taking Friday off work.  Originally it was because I wanted to try to get down to the mud run, but I wasn't thinking.  Josh doesn't have the vacation time to spare.  But it turned out well because I've got some friends moving this weekend, and I can help them Friday afternoon instead of Saturday.

So, yes, I have lots going on this week.  But all my focus is on what is happening five days from now.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Weekly TV Recap June 5th

Well, you can certainly see summer has hit with how many shows we've got going on in the TV recap, can't you?

Wipeout - I didn't find the blind date aspect of the show as funny as a normal episode. They did have some creative ideas for the couples; although it sounds like we'll see those ideas come into play in other episodes this season. I was actually thinking the show wasn't as funny as usual until one of my roommates walked into the room. At that point, we both started laughing uncontrollably at it. Maybe it's just better watched with a friend.

In Plain Sight - What can I say, this show is just awesome. It's taken me a long time to get over the fact that it is more straight drama, but now I love it for that. Watching Mary actually befriend a witness, a witness with a terminal disease, was very touching. Marshall was a bit underused with his sub-plot about the witness who needed to come out of the closet. I was glad they brought Mary's half-brother Scott back for more, and I like where they are putting Mary's mom. I hope she continues in her new, strong personality.

Burn Notice - This show had everything I love, explosions, funny lines, and impossible situations. Of course, I know when things are looking good at the 45 minute mark that they are about to go south, and this episode did nothing to prove that wrong. I really think the situations with working with "management" and the spy Michael helped burn will make this an interesting season. Plus it looks like Michael is actually going to try building a relationship with his mom. The story with the bikers could have been stronger overall, but I think they were setting us up for next week, and I already can't wait.

Royal Pains - I had forgotten just how much I loved this show. First episode of season two was absolutely awesome! Bringing Hank and Evan's father back is going to make for some very interesting television this season. And I am curious how they will play out Divya's wedding. Jill looks set to have her own run ins at the hospital. All in all, lots of balls were set in motion in a very entertaining hour. Is it next Thursday yet? Please?

New TV on DVD Reviews:
Royal Pains - Season 1   
Burn Notice - Season 3 

Friday, June 04, 2010

Book Beginnings for June 4th

It's time for this week's Book Beginnings on Friday.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit I've only been reading one book all week, especially since it is a reread of a kid's mystery I thought I would have finished by now.  I'm reading The Mystery of the Missing Heiress, the 16th Trixie Belden book by "Kathryn Kenny."  The series is not known for their great first chapters or opening sentences, but here you go.

"Honk the Horn!" Trixie Belden called excitedly and put her hand over Brian's tanned fingers.
Okay, so that's not quite the worst one in the series, but it doesn't do a whole lot to grab me.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

5 Days Isn't Long Enough

So as I mentioned last week, I had five days off this last weekend instead of the three most people had.  They were recarpeting the office.  Sometimes when I have that much time off, I'm ready to come back to work when it's over.  That wasn't the case this time.

Of course, part of that was because of all the stuff I did.

Thursday was a light day.  I hung out with my roommate Mark.  We watched a movie and just hung out.

Friday, my friend Luke drove over from Pasadena, and we went for a run in Placerita State Park.  Afterward, we went out for a late breakfast at Panera Break, barely making it before they stopped serving breakfast.  That night, I went to a play my co-worker was in.  It was Oscar Wilde's Woman of No Importance.  I'd never seen it before, but it was quite interesting.

Saturday was my normal ultimate Frisbee game.  When I was leaving, I got a message from Joe and Erica inviting me over for a movie night, so I went home long enough to shower and headed out again.

Sunday was church in the morning and then Joe and Erica's again for Babylon 5.  Josh's fiancee was there, which was nice.

Monday afternoon, Josh came over and we went for a 5 mile run followed by a swim.  We followed that up with pizza and yet another movie.

And I should mention that I got a movie watched on my own.  I never did make it to the theater over the weekend (which might be a first for me when it comes to Memorial Day Weekend).  But I FINALLY GOT THE LAST MOVIE OFF THE DVR!!!!!!  Can you tell I'm slightly excited?  I recorded some movies back in June of last year and a couple more in October, and there they've sat.  It was so nice to finally get things erased.  I've got nothing on the DVR right now, and it feels so freeing.  Of course, I have borrowed a movie from Josh I need to watch, so I'm not completely without movies to get watched.  I'm hoping to knock it out this weekend at some ponit.

The down side is that I wound up with 8 reviews to write by the time the weekend was over, and I just haven't had a chance to get them all written yet.  And, thanks to the current promotion at Epinions, I'm coming up with a list of non-media things I want to review, too.  This is going to be a review heavy month, I can tell already.

The weather seems to have finally figured out it's summer.  We're looking at 80's with possibilities of 100 or this weekend.  (One place is saying 90, so we'll see which we actually get.)  I am in Heaven.  This low 70's we've had for the last month just isn't May weather.

I'm down to 9 days until I run the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.  Considering I started fixating on the idea a year ago, I find it hard to believe it's almost here.  I can't wait!  I actually ran over 6 miles last night for the first time.  I was surprised at how sore I got since I've been running quite regularly and ran 5 miles Monday night.  But I proved to myself I can run the distance, so that should be a problem.  And I think the obstacles will provide a fun break and not be too impossible, unlike the Tough Mudder I heard about last week.  Man, I really want to sign up for that next year.

I've found out I am on team Black Monday for this year's Summer League.  Yep, still in the men's league.  I guess it is an appropriate team name for me since I am an accountant and it is referring a stock market crash.  I so wanted to be Green Slime (we've got an 80's theme this year), but that was a co-ed team.  Third time I will have been on team black.  First game in Tuesday, so we'll see how I do playing with just guys.  First time that will be the case outside of an occasional pick up game ever.  I think I'm more nervous about that than the mud run.

Other Books Read in May

Here are the rest of the books I read in May.  Thanks to that trip the beginning of the month, I got through quite a few.

All ratings are on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (great).

DOUBLE MINDS by Terri Blackstock - 3
Parker James is trying to catch her big break in Christian music when someone is murdered at the desk she works at for her day job. Meanwhile, her best friend wants Parker to rewrite some songs so she can cross over to the non-Christian music market. With as much as I love Christian music, I expected to love the book. Instead, it fizzles, taking a detour in the final third that slows things down and doesn't allow us enough time for a satisfying resolution.

THE SEA OF MONSTERS by Rick Riordan - 4
Percy Jackson sets out on a quest to save Grover the satyr and possibly Camp Half Blood as well. I had a few issues with the plot being episodic and a tad too much like the first one, but over all I enjoyed this second book in the series.

EXPOSURE by Brandilyn Collins - 4
Kaycee Raye is known in town for her paranoia. But when someone does break into her house, leave a threatening message, and then take it again before the police arrive, will she get anyone to believe her? I saw a major twist coming fairly early, but for the most part I enjoy this tale of Christian suspense.

Mrs. Pollifax heads to China to find out the location of a forced labor camp so the CIA can free a political prisoner. As much as I love the series, this is a disappointment. It reads more like a travelogue for too much of the book, which doesn't give the plot enough time when it is finally tries to go somewhere.

THE CRIME WRITER by Gregg Hurwitz – 4
Mystery novelist Drew Danner was just released from jail after being accused of his ex-fiancee's murder. The next morning, he is arrested again for another murder. Is he committing murders without realizing it or is something else going on? I loved the premise. The pacing could have been a little better, but overall I did enjoy this book.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Word Association for June 2nd

Time to kick off June with a little word association.

  1. Fresh air :: Restaurant
  2. Bodyguard :: Celebrity
  3. Wedding :: Rehearsal
  4. Remind :: Me
  5. Wicked :: Musical
  6. Crawling :: Baby
  7. Gasoline :: Car
  8. Anyone :: Hear Me?
  9. Dancing :: Ballroom
  10. Wall :: Blank
I think the biggest explanation I need is Fresh Air Restaurant.  It's the fanciest restaurant on the TV show Babylon 5.  Babylon 5 is a space station, so getting that fresh air is something rare and special.