Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekly TV Recap - July 31st

White Collar - As soon as I heard the premise for this episode, I knew it would be fun. And what could be more fun than Neil catching someone who is using an old scam of his. The episode was pretty much perfect from start to finish. And that clue about the music box needing a final piece, a piece that Neil now has? I'm very anxious to see where they do with that.

Covert Affairs - So we knew who the bad guy was all along, but I really thought they did a good job playing up the tension anyway, making us wonder if the woman would really betray him and turn her back on everything. I've got to admit, I would have a hard time if I were in her shoes. So while I knew what the right answer was, I wouldn't have jumped on it any more quickly than she did. Okay, maybe after he'd shot at Annie, I would have believed her. I'm not quite that suspicious.

Psych - Yeah! I finally found a pineapple this season. I can relax now. Okay, so some of the jokes I saw coming a mile off, like Shawn and Gus doing a victory dance in front of Lassiter at the end or Dennis' wife being a geek as well. But that didn't make those scenes any less fun. And I loved the fact that Dennis spent last weekend at ComicCon. Wish I could have been there with him. I was waiting to see what the UFO was going to be, and I was actually pretty impressed with what they did with that. And the Shawn and Gus flicking ears scenes were absolutely hilarious. Loved how they made fun of the look Shawn gets when he sees a clue. So many great moments.

Burn Notice - Never, ever kidnap Fiona. That was the lesson from this week's episode. And I was laughing during a lot of the episode as she manipulated the kidnappers into doing exactly what she wanted them to do. Of course, the opening scenes with Michael's mom also made me laugh. They really used her well tonight. She was very much a part of everything going on even with the few scenes she had.

Royal Pains - This one just wasn't my cup of tea. I'm not a big fan of drinking and partying, so that would be why. The whole episode was a take on The Hangover, just kept clean enough for the audience. Still, with exotic dancers and people passing out from being drunk, it was more than I wanted to watch. Then again, it did tell us a lot about Divya's upcoming marriage, which I actually liked. And they managed to work in the medical stuff pretty well, considering. A weak one, but you know I'll be back next week.

Considering this week is nothing but the USA Network, I thought I'd link this article from yesterday's Wall Street Journal.  It pretty much sums up how I feel about all their shows.  They're just plain fun!

New TV on DVD Reviews:
Smallville - Season 3 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Memes for July 30th

Looks like it is time for this week's book memes.  This week's book is How to Crash a Killer Bash by Penny Warner.  I just finished it at lunch time today.

I absolutely loved the first sentence, so I've been waiting to share it as part of Book Beginnings on Friday

The murder weapon lay on a black velvet cloth, traces of blood so deeply embedded in the carved hilt that centuries of wear hadn't eroded the terror it could still induce in the viewer.

That kind of opening for a mystery novel is enough to make me grin and keep reading.

Now, I read this book via an ARC, so my take on the Friday 56 might differ from others.  But here is sentence 5 from page 56 from the ARC edition:

Suddenly feeling chilly in the vast grand room of the museum, surrounded by symbols of murder and mystery, I hugged myself. 
I had miscounted when I looked at this book originally.  That's a much better sentence than the one I thought I'd be using.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thinking About The Horse and His Boy

This month for What's on Your Nightstand, I want to post my thoughts on The Horse and His Boy, which I finished rereading last week.

As a kid, this was my least favorite in the series.  We hardly spend any time in Narnia, and we don't get there magically.  It's set during the many years that Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy ruled, but we hardly see them (and never see my favorite, Peter).  Much of this was intensional since C. S. Lewis said he wanted it to feel different.

Yet as an adult, I've really come to appreciate the book.

In many ways, this story reminds me of Esther from the Bible.  In that story, God is definitely ever present in how things play out, even an episode of insomnia for the king, but He is never mentioned.  While Aslan does show up here, there are many times he is active in the story without our characters knowing about it.  And everything plays out perfectly, meaning that his hand was involved in every small detail of the story.

And that's one thing I appreciate now.  All the small details come together perfectly for a great climax.  Plus the villain gets the perfect come uppance.

Then there are the lessons of pride.  Bree the Horse spends much of the book worried about how he will be perceived once he returns to Narnia.  When they have to cut his tail, he considers staying away for months.  He is ready to give up the simple pleasure of rolling in the grass if the others don't do it.  Now it is quite obvious to those who know me that I don't worry too much about how others will perceive me.  But I do let that affect me some.  It's human nature.  Here pride isn't a fatal flaw, but it is a reminder that it can rob us of simple pleasures.

Finally, there's the repeated line from Aslan about only telling someone their own story.  It's simple and direct, and a great reminder that all we truly need to worry about is us and doing what God has called us to do.  It's like in John 21 when Jesus tells Peter not to worry about John's future; Peter just needs to follow Him.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Word Association for July 26th

Let's go ahead and do the word association for this week today, shall we?

  1. Inception :: Movie (that I tried to see last night be was sold out
  2. Anticipation :: Waiting Impatiently
  3. Space :: Explore
  4. Earn :: Money
  5. .com :: Internet
  6. Hello! :: Goodbye
  7. Equivalent :: Same
  8. Swore :: Courtroom
  9. Actions :: Speak Louder Than Words
  10. Expletive! :: Delete

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekly TV Recap - July 24th

White Collar - I don't remember season one being quite this fun. Either they've improved or I was a bit of a grump. Either way, there were so many funny lines I couldn't stop laughing at times. I love Peter and Mozzie working together. And the scene where they told Diana she was going undercover as a hooker was priceless as well. I like the fact that they finally seem to be giving us a strong female character, but I think they could have done this with Natalie Morales' character from last season and it would have been just as good.

Covert Affairs - Yep, last week was definitely a pilot episode. I liked this one so much more. It's often not until episode two or three that a show begins to feel like it knows what it is doing, and I felt that here. The characters are beginning to find their place as well, which always helps. I think Annie's sister could become a one note character quickly, and I hope that doesn't happen. But I love Annie. She's trying so hard at everything, and that makes me want to root for her. Still wondering why the CIA is so interested in her ex-boyfriend, but I'm sure we'll find out right about the time the show is over. However, I will admit to rolling my eyes at the scene where Annie was trading code phrases at the outdoor market. Why do that? Why not just meet up at the CIA? That seemed more logical to me.

Wipeout (Tuesday) - I can't believe the Cuban guy didn't win. He was amazing for so far in the Wipeout Zone, but then he couldn't get the timing of the gauntlet down at all. I was disappointed that the mom didn't make it further; I had her pegged early on as well.

Psych - Another great, laugh filled episode. Yes, I know how they'd resolve the whole switching partners thing, but I couldn't stop laughing at how it all played out. I loved watching Gus and Lassiter and Shawn and Juliette working together for something different. Plus it was nice to see Gus' pharmaceutical knowledge come into play again. But the real treat was the tap dancing. Watching Lassiter was funny, but watching Gus was amazing. Dude, Dule's got some skills.

Burn Notice - I continue to find it so funny that they are under using Sharon Gless this year right after her Emmy nomination. Okay, I know they filmed these episodes before the nominations came out, but I'm finding it ironic. Having said that, I enjoyed seeing Burt Reynolds in his guest spot. Sometimes big guest stars kind of take over an episode and really slow a story down. That wasn't the case here. His character was the A story, but it still allowed the lead characters to shine. And I just love what they are doing with Jesse and the fact that Michael burned him. This is the emotional core of the season.

Royal Pains - Finally, it looks like they might have figured out what to do with Jill. I've felt like they were floundering for ways to keep her in the series this year. I like the idea of HankMed providing the medical services for the clinic. Evan seems to be getting an interesting storyarc with this fake girlfriend stuff. I'll be interested to see where it goes. And I like the fact that they aren't making the Dr. Emily Peck storyline completely predictable. I really wasn't expecting the great chemistry between her and Hank. I know she's still evil, but this is going to give them much more to play with down the road.

Wipeout (Thursday) - What do you know, a contestant I was rooting for actually won. I just loved their complaint department jokes, so I was hoping that she'd make it through every round. But I'm wondering if anyone made it safely through those stairs at the very beginning. Kinda seemed impossible to me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Friday Book Memes for July 23rd

I've read one book and am most of the way through another, so I am going to do two of these this week.  First up is Mr. Monk is Cleaned Out by Lee Goldberg.  The first sentence (for Book Beginnings on Friday) is:

Some guys showed up the other day at the house next door, mowed the dead lawn, and spray-painted it green.
And now, for the Friday 56, I present the 5th sentence on page 56.

I also know that anyone who has evidence that could help solve a murder has an obligation to share it with the police, regardless of whether the police have just fired you and your comely assistant.

To be honest, I like both of the sentences.  They aren't exactly moving the story forward, but I find them amusing and give a great feel for the tone of the book.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now we are moving onto The Horse and His Boy, one of the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.  Yes, this is a reread for me, and I'm finding myself getting caught up in it all over again.  Better book than I remembered in fact.  The first sentence is:

This is a story of an adventure that happened in Narnia and Calormen and the lands between, in the Golden Age when Peter was High King in Narnia and his brother and two sisters were King and Queens under him.
Rereading it still gives me the thrill it did when I read it for the first time in 3rd grade.  I always wanted to know more of what happened during the Golden Age, and so I was thrilled to get a chance.  The book doesn't quite live up to that promise, but I've grown to like it over time.

Anyway, the 5th sentence on page 56 of my edition reads:

And there was no time to think, for the leader of the Narnians said at once: "Take one of his lordship's hands, Peridan, of your courtesy and I'll take the other."
That would be Edmund taking Shasta's hands and leading him off.  At this point, he doesn't know who they are, so it actually creates quite a headache and plot complication for our heroes.

Word Association for July 22nd

I meant to do this yesterday, but didn't get around to it.  But let's get some word association done today, shall we?

  1. Deals :: Bargain
  2. Alive :: Dead
  3. Smooth :: Sailing
  4. Materials :: Pamphlets
  5. Arrest :: Criminal
  6. Locker :: Room
  7. Evidence :: Locker
  8. Operation :: Room
  9. Opal :: Diamond
  10. Investigation :: Detective
I felt like I was repeating myself some there, but it was the first thing popping into my mind.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We've Finally Won!

It seems like every year there's a weekend where you wind up with ultimate Frisbee games on Friday and Monday.  This was that weekend for my team this year.

Of course, I missed Friday's game because I was in Pasadena with Luke getting ready for the mud run.  And I think I was wise to miss the game.  Only six people showed up.  I would have been number 7, which means I would have played the entire game.  The night before a run?  Not the best idea.  The other team had seven show up, but decided to play down by one the entire game.  We can't quite figure out why, especially since we won 17-6.  But we aren't complaining since it was our first win.

So I really wanted to win last night since I wanted to win a game I was actually playing.  And it happened!  The final score was 17-13.

We actually started out the game down 0-2, but managed to start coming back to tie things up.  We traded points for a while before taking half at 9-7.

The second half was still hard fought.  They actually got within two of us at 14-12.  But we kept the lead the entire way.  It felt so good.

Granted, both of these teams we've beaten were right above us in the rankings.  And we have rematches of our early games for the last few weeks of the season, so I doubt that this will continue.  Still, it's nice to have a couple of wins under out belt.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Irvine Lake and the Summer of Mud

Like all good mud runs stories, my adventure with the summer edition of the Irvine Lake Mud Run started on Friday.  I left work a little early and went to Pasadena.  I took a detour on my way to my friend Luke's to go by my old stomping grounds, the mystery bookstore I used to visit all the time.  The new books bookstore had closed years ago (which is why I don't go by any more), but I was suprised to see the used book portion had closed as well.

Anyway, I then went to Luke's.  He lives just a few blocks from downtown.  I am so extremely jealous, although I think I would be broke is I lived there.  After dinner, we walked down to Vroman's.  A bookstore within walking distance?  I'd be doomed.

Before we hit the sack, we gave each other Mowhawks.

Saturday we were up bright and early for the drive to Irvine Lake.  We got there a little later than I would have liked, but we made it in time to check in our stuff and find the starting line.  They really changed things around, and for the better.  The parking was closer to the start and finish line for starters.  I was a bit confused for a while, but once we got on the course, I felt right at home.

My goal this time was to get completely muddy.  That didn't quite work out for me.  I suspect that two factors are working against me.  First, we once again ran near the front of the pack.  I think you need some time for the mud to get stirred up before it will really stick to you.  Secondly, I think I need to roll around near the edges a bit more.  That stuff seems thicker and might actually stick to me.  As it was, I didn't look all that muddy when I crossed the finish line.

But boy, was it hot!  We were one of the first waves, so we were running at 9AM.  It had to be over 90 already.  I finished in 41:something, slower than in April, which disappointed me.  But it didn't surprise me.  I walked a lot of the course.  I just couldn't seem to get my running legs under me.  And Luke pointed out, there were some long stretches with no shade and no wind.  Getting to the mud at the end was actually a relief since it meant we would cool off.

Yes, I do have a couple of pictures.  They were taken after we'd hit the showers, so we definitely look clean.  Unfortunately, you also can't quite see the Mowhawks with how the sun is hitting things.

After the run was over, we headed toward the beach.  Unfortunately, we were alone, and we spent all the time we had looking for a place to park so we could go run into the water.  But we were mainly killing time until we could meet up with Luke's girlfriend, who was getting a ride part way up to spend the weekend with him.

All told, it was a fun day.  The big problem is that I am not signed up for another mud run.  I do have several more on my horizon, but I don't know how many I might sign up for.  I am so tempted to sign up for the Volkslauf in Bakersfield in October.  I think I probably will, although getting a buddy to sign up with would certainly push me over the edge.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weekly TV Recap for July 17th

The USA Network is back with a vengenious.  And I had a hard time keeping up with all of it.  But I made it through, and enjoyed them all.

White Collar - Man, was that fun. Trying to figure out how they were going to catch that bank thief. I reached the weak link about the same time they did. And I like how they were playing up the friendship between Peter and Neil. That's one thing I love about the show. But that last shot. Don't tell me they brought back that female FBI agent just to make her go bad.

Covert Affairs - I was expecting to be blown away, and I wasn't. It was probably the hype that compared the show to Alias and Chuck. I loved the pilots on both of those, so I was expecting more of the same. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, although it was a lot steamier than I was expecting. Definitely not the more family friendly leaning shows like they've done in the past. But I will be back next week. I have a feeling this show will grow on my quickly. Beside, I rarely fall in love with a pilot episode. It often takes me two or three weeks to really get into something.

Psych - At times I felt the show was off last season. This season is off to a great start. There were some truly funny moments that had me laughing, and the Kung Fu bits were priceless. As much as I don't like the serious, I like the fact that Juliette was still dealing with the events from last season. It provided a nice realistic touch. And I think having Shawn's dad working for the police will provide some added conflict (and a nice way to keep him involved) this season.

Burn Notice - I do find it ironic that in the episode after she gets an Emmy nomination, Sharon Gless is MIA again. I keep going back and forth about the new guy. Of course, most of it is because he's not always listening to Michael. If he'd just play things the way Michael wants them played, he'd be perfect. And boring. Both plots were great, and the twists at the end were the best part.

Royal Pains - Now that Hank has started working on forgiving his dad, Dad can go out and hurt him again. I knew it would happen, but I thought they'd play it out a little bit longer. It was great to see Tucker again. If they used him in every episode, I wouldn't be complaining at all. The devise that Hank built at the end was a bit over the top, but that's the nature of the show, especially this year. And Evan telling Divya he'll miss her when she goes was great. I'm really wondering how they are going to keep her on the show.

Wipeout - What was with all the people missing teeth? That was a bit creepy. And I missed why the one person was a jail breaker. I was rooting for the short woman, but I guess it just wasn't to be. But at least two women made it to the Wipeout Zone tonight. First time all season.

New TV on DVD Reviews:
White Collar - Season 1    
Psych - Season 4

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Afternoon Update

I'm actually leaving in a little while for my next mud run.  No, no, it's not tonight, but tomorrow morning.  I'm just spending tonight with a friend a little closer to the event.

It seems my life hasn't slowed down much this week.  Tuesday night, I got to hang out with friends I haven't seen in years.  Literally.  Okay, so two of them live in Colorado, so I have a bit of an excuse.  But the other two?  We've just stopped trying to connect, and we need to stay in better touch.  Anyway, we played Wise and Otherwise and generally had a great time.  One of the couples has a 15 month old son, and he is so cute!

We've finally gotten summer weather here.  And has it ever gotten hot!  We're talking triple digits - close to 110 if not actually there (reports vary).  Wednesday night, I went for a run at 8PM.  It was still 95 degrees.  Not that I'm complaining.  I enjoy the hot weather.  Granted, I normally stay inside or go swimming, but I just like knowing it is hot out there.

Other than that, it's been TV watching and review writing in my spare time.  You know, the usual.

The downside of this weekend is that I am missing my ultimate Frisbee game tonight.  I tried to figure out how I could work that into my schedule, but I just don't see how.  Oh well, our next game is Monday.  I'll definitely be there for that.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Beginnings and the Friday 56 for July 16th

Starting today, I will be doing two of these things on Friday.  Today's book is Stork Raving Mad by Donna Andrews.  I finished it on my lunch hour today and enjoyed it.  But these sentences aren't the best examples of why.

Up first is Book Beginnings on Friday.  And the first sentence is:

"Meg?  Are you asleep?"

Now for The Friday 56.  The idea?  Grab a nearby book and quote sentence 5 (and maybe one or two others) from page 56.  This time we get:

"Can do," Kathy said, and I could hear the tapping of keys.  I suspected Kathy had an electronic equivalent of my notebook.  "If they've already taken off, I can bring the papers out myself."
It's unfortunate that neither of those sentences really captures the whit and humor of this humorous mystery.

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

One of the books I got last week was Belly Up, and kids' mystery by Stuart Gibbs.  I absolutely loved it!

The book follows the adventures of Teddy Fitzroy.  His parents are working at FunJungle, the newest theme park in the country that combines a zoo with an amusement park.  The park's mascot is a temperamental hippo, and when the hippo dies under mysterious circumstances, Teddy becomes convinced that it was murder.  But can he prove the case?

The book was a good combination of mystery and humor with good characters.  I was kept guessing who the villain of the piece was until the end, when Teddy figured it out.  The book did resort to bathroom humor a bit more than I normally enjoy, but here it didn't bother me so much.  And I think tween boys will really enjoy that aspect of things.

But it was the characters that I really loved.  It's hard in a kids' mystery to balance the need for the main character to investigate without making the adults seem like bad parents.  That was handled here perfectly.  And it changed as the book progressed, although keeping things realistic.

There were also some great action scenes involving animals that made my heart start racing.

I don't think I can recommend this book highly enough.

This post is in the 48th

Book Review Blog Carnival

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Word Association for July 13th

Time for this week's word association.

  1. Dickens :: A Christmas Carol
  2. Collection :: Ornament
  3. Weekends :: Fun
  4. Travel :: Vacation
  5. District :: Separate
  6. Vampires :: Buffy
  7. Peep show :: Ick!
  8. Crochet :: Knit
  9. Lion :: Aslan
  10. Fetch :: Catch

Monday, July 12, 2010

What a Busy Week

I can't believe it's Monday and last week is behind us.  Maybe that's because I was so busy.

I've gone to two book signings in the last week.  Tuesday night Avery Aames was doing a book signing for her first mystery, The Long Quiche Goodbye.  I've been hearing good things about it, so I figured this was a good excuse to go get it.  Of course, I got three other books, so a $7 paperback wound up costing me over $60.  As an added bonus, Sue Ann Jaffarian showed up, so I got to chat with her for a while before the signing actually started.

Then Saturday at noon was a signing for Gregg Hurwitz's They're Watching.  The first is a cozy, but this is a thriller.  Completely opposite ends of the spectrum, right?  I didn't have his last book, but I got it, too, meaning I left that book signing over $50 poorer.

This weekend was also the premier of the Hallmark Keepsake Ornament line for 2010.  Guess who was out the door first thing Saturday morning to make sure he got the Chip 'n' Dale limited edition set he wanted.  Yep, that would be me.  I actually made it to the four Hallmark's in town in less than two hours before it was time to leave for the signing.  I was impressed with myself.  Of course, I am now much poorer.  And with all the ornaments I've been buying on eBay in the last month, I'm going to have some big bills coming up soon.  I'm not looking forward to that.

Speaking of money type stuff, Aaron is moving back home.  Something about not finding a job down here and his girlfriend being near his parent's house.  I'm not buying these excuses at all.  He's just being selfish.  (Either that or I'm being selfish here, but we won't go there).  In all seriousness, I'm not the least bit surprised, but I'm very disappointed to see him go.

And I played ultimate Frisbee twice in less than 24 hours.  Friday night was my summer league game.  I got there very late, but the rest of my team was happy to see me because it meant we had one sub.  It was our turn to play down at the park in Venice, and they had forgotten to turn the lights on.  I always forget how bad that field is until I actually play there again.

It was our worst loss so far, losing 10-17.  However, I did feel better about how I played.  I was involved in several points and even got my first completion of the season.  That usually is the start of me playing better.  Hope that continues.

Saturday when I got back from running around to the Hallmark stores and the book signing, my roommate Mark was going stir crazy at home.  I wasn't going to go down to the pick up game, but it took about two seconds for him to talk me into it.  We both had a good time, so I'm glad I went.

And we are looking at some serious summer weather coming up.  It's looking like it will be in the 100's by this weekend.  Bring it on!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weekly TV Recap - July 10th

I bet you thought I forgot all about this. Truth is, it has crossed my mind a couple of times today, but that's as far as it's gotten. I've been busy with other things almost all day.

Frankly, I don't have much to say this week. All my USA Network shows were in reruns, but I'll have three new shows on that network starting up this week.

Wipeout was one twice, but there was miscommunication, so I missed most of it on Tuesday. I did see the two couples in the Wipeout Zone. I would have loved to see how they got that far since both women and I think one man couldn't complete it in the 20 minute time limit. Heck, I didn't know they had a 20 minute time limit before that.

Did catch all of Thursday's episode, although I watched it in pieces. I loved how they were mocking themselves, I mean Henderson, for the one obstacle being a dud. And, yes, I will admit that I was totally rooting for the accountant and laughing at all the accounting jokes they threw in there. Have I reached my geek quota for the week?

Since the Emmy nominations came out this week, I thought I'd comment on those. Of course, every year it reminds me how out of touch I am. Seems very few of the shows I love make the list.

I'm not sorry to see Lost up for best Drama. As much as I was disappointed by the final, I know many people did like it. And I have a very hard time disliking the show overall, still. That's why I'm thrilled to see the actors getting their nominations. It's too bad Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson are going up against each other since they are both great. I think Michael deserves to win, however. And I hope Elizabeth Mitchell wins in her category since she is such an amazing actress. (Yes, I think I'm developing a bit of a crush on her.)

And my USA Network shows got some love. Sharon Gless deserves the nomination for her performance in the third season finale alone. I hope she wins. And I hope Tony Shalhoub wins for the final season of Monk. It was amazing, and he was so much of the reason as always. However, if he doesn't win, I hope that Jim Parsons wins for Big Bang Theory. I don't regularly watch that show, but when I do his performance always amazes me.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Book Beginnings on Friday for July 9th

It's Friday where our hostess is, so I'm going to stop apologizing for posting Book Beginnings on Friday on Thursday night and just do it if I have time.

I've been on a kid's book kick recently, I guess, as you'll see with this week's two selections.  I actually finished Tales from the Hood yesterday.  It's the sixth in the Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley.  Highly recommended if you like a different take on fairy tales.  Anyway, the first sentence is:

Sabrina Grimm awoke with a crazy dream fresh in her mind.
That sentence definitely caught my attention.

But for perfection, we've got to go with Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs.  I just started this book at lunch time, and so far I am really enjoying it.  Our main character is a 12 year old whose parents work at a new zoo/amusement park combo.  The first sentence is:

I'd just been busted for giving the chimpanzees water balloons when I first heard something was wrong at Hippo River.

That sentence actually made me chuckle and it definitely made me want to read more.

Thoughts on The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

This is not going to be a formal review of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  If you want that, you can read what I had to say on Epinions by following this link.  Instead, I'm just going to share some thoughts about the book.

One thing that really struck me was how funny the book really was.  Oh, don't worry, I was still tearing up when Aslan dies and the girls are spending the night near him.  But some of the lines are pretty funny.  All the talk about shutting oneself in a wardrobe, for example, cracked me up.  And the professor and his "What do they teach them in schools these days" is always a hoot.

I had also forgotten just how quickly the book moved.  I'm used to books that take a chapter or two to set up the characters and the situation.  This book did that in pages.  Lucy was in Narnia by page 7 in my edition.  And the book kept moving forward just as quickly the entire way through.

There's a reason this is still my favorite of the Narnia stories.  It's just absolutely magical and filled with a sense of wonder that some of the other books are lacking.  In fact, they often feel much more grounded, while in this book, you almost feel as if anything can and will happen.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Word Association for July 7th

Time for this week's word association.

  1. Authorized :: Transaction
  2. Flirting :: Dating
  3. Bad :: Good
  4. Digit :: Finger
  5. Sexy :: Eyes
  6. Combinations :: Locker
  7. Guard :: Dog
  8. Retina :: Eye
  9. Motion :: Forward
  10. Concert :: Rock

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A Fabulous Fourth Weekend

It was hard coming back to work today.  I had a fabulous long weekend.  Heck, it wasn't nearly long enough.

Friday, I left right after work to head up to Hume Lake.  My roommate Daniel is working up there this summer, so I felt a burning need to visit him wanted to use him as an excuse to visit the camp.  It's a huge Christian camp near Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park, and I've heard about it all my life but never had a chance to go there.

Of course, I had some fun driving up.  From what I could tell when I left on Sunday, I took one turn too early.  If I'd just kept going another couple of miles, I would have seen the sign I should have taken.  As it was, I just went the long way and arrived at the back of the camp instead of the main entrance.  It probably added half an hour to my drive, but by the time I got there, I was pretty stressed.  Now, of course, I can laugh.  But at the time, I was trying to figure out what to do if I didn't find it.

Fortunately, the staff was very helpful once I got there.  I was able to find the trailer complex where I would be staying and park my car.  Daniel was working until Saturday morning, but by the time I got there it was pretty much time to go to bed.

Saturday, Daniel showed me around the camp.  It's huge!  They have a separate camp for elementary school kids, jr. high, and high school.  Each of them is bigger than the camp I grew up going to.  Yes, we were driving for the tour.

That afternoon, we took a canoe out on the lake.  Since Daniel is staff, we didn't even have to pay the rental fee.  We paddled across the lake to the dam, then over to the swimming cove to swim.  We reluctantly headed back to go to dinner.

Saturday night was a hoedown, which involved an outdoor BBQ, a competition for the various departments of the staff, and then a square dance.  I watched the competition, and it was lots of fun.  It was the usual silly relay races and what not, ending with a mud pit tug of war.

After the square dance was over, we took off with the other summer counselors to go look at the stars.  I love just lying out looking at the glory of God's creation.  It was magnificent!

Sunday started with church at 10:45.  I wish I could say I had slept that long, but I woke up around 7, although I didn't get out of bed until 8.  After lunch, Daniel had a meeting, so I walked the three mile circumference of the lake, taking plenty of pictures along the way.  Daniel had to start counseling again after his meeting, so I decided to come on home.

But I needed to do one last thing.  The zip line was open, and I decided to do that.  My fear of heights really was bothering me as I was standing up there waiting to be told I could go.  But once I got going, I really enjoyed it.  I think I would have enjoyed it more had I done it a second time.  But the line was pretty long by the time I got back down, and I wanted to hit the road.

As it turned out, I got back to town at the perfect time to join a group of friends to go watch the fireworks.  It was a group I have seen them with the last several years, and it was good to hang out with them.

Monday, I went to see Toy Story 3 again, this time with Angelique.  It's a great movie the second time around, too.  After that, I hung out at home, talking to my parents and watching some TV.  Honestly, I could have used another day or two of that.  Not that I wouldn't have changed a thing about my weekend.  I wasn't ready to leave Hume either.

Ironically, the weather was hotter at Hume than it is here right now.  It was in the 90's in the afternoon, although it was quite cold over night.  We're still lucky to be hitting the 80's here at home, and I almost had to run my windshield whippers on the way to work this morning.  Come on, it's summer.  I want my hot weather!!!!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Weekly TV Recap July 3rd

Let's get right to it, shall we?

Downfall - I was curious about the show, so I watched the rerun of the first episode this week. The premise is that contestants must answer trivia questions while on a skyscraper. Their potential prizes are on a conveyer belt and they fall off the edge if the contestants take to long to answer the required number of questions per round. My fear of heights got the better of me here. Normally, I can answer stuff pretty well from the couch at home (I'm sure doing that on a show would be another matter). But here I was so distracted by seeing the stuff fall I couldn't even answer half the stuff I knew. And my heart was racing and my feet were clammy. I won't be watching any more.

Wipeout (Tuesday) - I don't know what my problem was last week because I loved this week's show. Of course, I think the writing was better with all the puns and jokes they were making about the contestants. My roommates and I were laughing pretty hard at some of them, especially the new mom and the "superhero" whose power was wiggling his ears. And I was even laughing at some of those wipeouts. Definitely good times.

In Plain Sight - So sad it's the season finale already. But what a great way to finish off an already strong season. I was disappointed they didn't do any more with the Scott storyline, but where was there room? The priest plot was very interesting, and I liked how they didn't cheapen his faith. I thought when he took the collar off at the beginning that's where they were going with things, so I was glad when he went back to it at the end. And the sign Mary gave him? Priceless. Someone on the staff knows their scripture. The sub-plot with the witnesses daughter wanting to know something about her dad was okay, but the only weak point of the episode. And I loved that finale scene. It was nice to see Mary ending a season happy instead of in the hospital. Now, where will they take these characters next season? I can't wait to find out.

Burn Notice - We've had some clients who weren't thrilled that Michael was helping them. We've had some that made things difficult for him. But I do think this is the first time we've had one that was so openly hostile to Michael and his crew. And I loved it. That last scene where the client stood up for himself was priceless. And there were so many great one liners involving Michael and Fi and the assassin. I'll be very curious to see where that storyline goes in two weeks.

Royal Pains - Okay, so the cliffhanger from last week was a bit of a let down since Evan wasn't really in any danger. But it kept them in Cuba for an extra episode, and I enjoyed it. I just have one question. When will people start realizing that Hank is always right and if he thinks something is a bad idea, they will get very sick for not listening to him? Dr. Beck is going to make things very interesting for everyone back in the Hamptons. I think that's the storyline I'm most interested in seeing develop right now.

Wipeout (Thursday) - You know, they can go back to one episode a week now. That's about how often it's truly fun. Not that my roommate and I didn't laugh at some of the jokes and puns from this episode. The ad they did for the new Wii version of the game was pretty cheesy (even for this show) and not all that well done. So why am I tempted to get the game?

New TV on DVD review:
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman - Season 3

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Book Beginnings on Friday July 2nd. Or Close Enough

Yeah, I'm a little early again this week.  Still, I'm going to go ahead and do Book Beginnings on Friday.

I'm also jumping the gun because I just finished Run Afoul, which I talked about last week, today.  So technically, I'm between books at the moment.  However, I am going to start The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (part of the Narnia Reading Challenge) in a couple of hours.  So I'm going to use the first line from that today.

There once were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.

Okay, so it's not especially catchy or brilliant or anything.  But this book holds such fonds memories for me that I can't help but smile when I read those words.

Accepting the Narnia Reading Challenge

A couple weeks ago, about the time the trailer for the next Narnia movie came out, I was hit with a burning desire to reread the Chronicles of Narnia.  This time I am going to read them in chronological order instead of the order published.  This will be a first for me.

Anyone, just after I finished reading the first book, I saw that Reading to Know would be hosting a reading challenge for the books in July.  So, instead of spreading them out a little more, I am going to try to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe  and The Horse and His Boy this month.

It's been several years since I read the books, although I did enjoy the Focus on the Family radio drama versions a few years ago.

Depending on how my month goes (it's already insanely busy), I may try to watch the LWW movie again as well.

I should finish my current read tonight, so I will start LWW tomorrow.  It's my favorite in the series, so I am looking forward to diving back in and enjoying the magic.