Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All's Quiet on the Western Front

Frankly, I don't have much of anything to say. Life has been very quiet recently. In fact, nothing happened this weekend. Which, after the excitement of the last two weekends, was wonderful.

I did go see Dan in Real Life this weekend. It was okay, but not nearly as sweet or funny as I thought it would be.

Actually, the biggest news in my life isn't mine. One of my roommates got a full time job that actually pays better. And considering his current job was threatening to cut his house so he wouldn't even make enough to pay rent, we are all breathing easier.

And that's about all the news here.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Word Association for October 28th

Let's do a second word association this month, shall we?

  1. Inaugural :: President
  2. Pledge :: Allegience
  3. String :: Thread
  4. Trot :: Horse
  5. Fitness :: Center
  6. Cinder :: Fire
  7. Edge :: Table
  8. 31 :: 32
  9. Blue :: Green
  10. Leather :: Shoes

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Rest of Last Weekend

So when I blogged earlier this week, I talked about the fire. You know, the big news in the area.

But that wasn't all I did last weekend.

See, I started the weekend by heading to Disneyland on Saturday. Yep, time for the annual Master's Disneyland day.

This year, I went with Angelique and her friend John. Finally got to meet him!

I actually got there early for a change (normally, I'm rushing up to our meeting place at 8:15.) In fact, as I got out of my car and started walking toward the tram, I spotted Angelique in front of me. Which worked out well since she had the poster from the lauch party I missed the weekend before in her car. So we transfered that over before we entered the park.

Despite the fact that we went straight for the new submarine ride, we still had to wait an hour and a half for it. It was fun to be riding them again, and the stuff they've got in the cave (which is where all the Finding Nemo stuff is) was spectacular.

What was a shame was by the time we were done with that, lines were faily long all over the park. But we still managed to keep at it and get everthing done. No time for repeats, but we did everything.

And I bought pins. The restraint I thought I would show? Went right out the window. Spent about $100 on pins. I am thinking about getting an annual pass, but this is the best arguement I've heard to not get one. See, if I don't have an annual pass, I won't be tempted to spend as much money on pins. Wait, I've been driving down there and buying pins anyway. Never mind.

I hadn't slept well the night before at all, and thought I might need to crash at some point. But the only time I started dozing off was near the end of Pirates. Other then that, I was going strong all day. In fact, John and Angelique left about 11 PM, but I stayed until midnight.

Of course, I have spent most of the week paying for it. Between that and the stress and not sleeping Sunday night, I have been having trouble getting up in the morning all week. Hopefully I can get some rest this weekend and truly get back in the swing of things.


Fire update:

I don't know if everything in my area is out, but everything is definitely under control. The ironic thing is the air quality has gone down. Without the wind to push it away, the smoke is hanging around the area. Which means I am still praying for rain to clean the air. None in the forecast, however.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thursday Threesome for October 25th

Welcome to this week's edition of the Thursday Threesome. This week, it is brought to us by Blizzrd Entertainment and The Back Porch.

Onesome: World--Wide Web resources? Is there one particular area of your life, personal or professional, where you use the web as an informational resource? Knitting? Medical? Research?
I think the closest I come is looking up info from the IRS for work. Most of the time it's just message boards or writing sometime that I hope others will use as a resource.

Twosome: of-- the 168 hours in a given week, how much time do you spend on the computer? No, we're not looking to plan an intervention, just curious...
160? Okay, not that many. But I am on my computer all day at work and quite often at home and night, too.

Threesome :Warcraft-- games? Poker games? Role playing games? Do you play games on your computer? Really? What kind of games?
Solitaire card games and backgammon on MSN.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mini Review - Some LIke it Hot-Buttered

I must say Some Like it Hot-Buttered is the first disappointment in my Fall reading. I've read Jeffrey Cohen's previous mysteries and loved them. So I was expecting a funny, solid mystery. What I got was an amusing mystery with problems.

Elliot Freed is trying to pick up the pieces of his life after his divorse. And he does so by buying an old theatre and reopening it with a focus on comedy. Attendence is low.

Then one night, he turns on the lights to find one of his patrons dead in his seat. Turns out, his popcorn was poisoned. While the police are searching, they find pirated movies in the basement. Are the two connected? What's going on under Elliot's nose?

I loved the character, especially Elliot. But, as I said, the book could have been funnier. I laughed, but the jokes were uneven and felt forced at times. But my biggest problem was with the story. It was slow in developing, often repeating plot points we already knew. Then, the villain acted out of the character at the end. While it made for a suspensful climax, I didn't care for the sudden stupidity.

Yes, I'll read the next in the series hoping it improves. But this wasn't as good as it could have been.

If you'd like to read my full review of Some Like it Hot-Buttered at Epinions, follow the link.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


It's been an interesting 48 hours here.

I'm sure by now you've heard about the first in Southern CA. It seems they are everywhere. At least that's true in my town.

One of the early fires started outside a town north east of us. The crazy Santa Anna winds blew it quickly toward town. By nightfall Sunday night, it was getting close to my condo. I decided to leave when I could see it coming down the hill across the street. Both my roommates stayed and never had to evacuate. But I went to stay with some friends across town.

My boss and several others I know had to evacuate that night as well.

After I left, they closed the road in front of my complex.

By Monday morning, it was well away from my condo moving toward the west part of town. Then Monday afternoon, another fire started, also on that side of town. Both are now out of town and moving toward others to put them in danger.

Just when I was beginning to breath a sigh of releaf this morning, we've had a couple more small fires here in town. Both are supposed to be under control, but the sky is pretty smokey.

What does worry me is another report of a fire northeast of town again. The winds have died down, so it should mean that one travels much more slowly. And, with the other fire already having come through, it seems like it would be harder for it to find areas to travel and cause new damage. Either way, I guess I will continue to moniter the situation again tonight.

I hope the winds really do die completely in the next 24 hours. Even more exciting would be rain. None in the forecast, but we sure could use it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday Threesome for October 18th

This week's edition is brought to you by the dictionary and the Back Porch.

Onesome: A--round this time of year? What's happening with the weather where you are? Ch-ch-changes? ...or are things still 'Summery'?
Early this week it was cool. Today and tomorrow are back in the 80's and lovely. Unfortunately, it's supposed to be low 70's again Saturday when I will be at Disneyland!!!!!!!

Twosome: to-- inventory your place for insurance coverage, what would it take? Too much work? How about ideas for the gang: is video taping with a voiceover the way to go?
With all the books and dvds I have, it would be way too much work. It would even be hard to properly video tape it. And the collection keeps changing since I am always buying more.

Threesome: Z--one coverage? ...better than "man"? Are you following any football teams this year? How are they doing?
It depends on the team you are playing and who is one the field whether zone is better then man on D. At least for ultimate Frisbee.

As usual, I am not following any teams this year. However, I've watched parts of a couple games, which is a big step for me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mini Review: Candy Cane Murder

Anyone who knows me knows I love Joanne Fluke's series of cozy culinary mysteries. I've even bought a romance anthology because Hannah and Co. were in it. So naturally I had to buy Candy Cane Murder when it came out. As an added bonus, I am also a fan of Laura Levine's series and have always wanted to try Leslie Meier but haven't gotten around to it.

The book consists of three novellas. Each is around 100 pages, although the first looks longer because of the recipes.

"Candy Cane Murder" finds Hannah investigating the death of Santa - sort of. Wayne Bergstrom is found dead in a snow bank after playing the part of a bunch of under priveledged kids. Wayne wasn't well liked, so the suspect list is rather long. As with the series, there are lots of characters, but fans of the series will love getting a chance to catch up with all their favorites.

"The Dangers of Candy Canes" by Laura Levine finds her series star, Jaine Austen, looking into the death of a man who fell from his roof while putting up his Christmas decorations. This story is full of humor, and as a Southern Californian, I recognized some of her depictions of December here.

"Candy Canes of Christmas Past" by Leslie Meier was the weak link. In the story, she flashes back to series protagonist Lucy Stone's first Christmas in the little Maine village she calls home. The problem was the mystery was weak. I liked the characters enough to give them a chance in book form. But I sure hope the ending isn't as bad as this one was.

All told, this book has two good stories to put you in the Christmas mood. And any fan of Joanne and Hannah's will have to have it.

If you'd like more info, check out my full review of Candy Cane Murder at Epinions.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Last Weekend

So yesterday I posted about the weekend that had just passed, but I'd like to flash back to the first weekend of the month today. See, I had a busy weekend that weekend.

Friday the 5th, I only worked a half day. In the afternoon, I drove up to visit my parents for the weekend. But first, I stopped off to visit Donald and Heather and their new house. Donald grilled burgers, and the three of us had a great visit. The only problem was I got there later then I had intended and we didn't have time to play a game. :(

Saturday was a family wedding. It was my mom's cousin's step-daughter. That was down in the Bay Area, so we had to drive down there. But it was a nice evening. We left just after they cut the cake, but it was already close to 9 PM.

Sunday, we got together with some family friends and took a drive out to the coast, stopping and walking along the way. And we celebrated my mom's birthday, which was that Tuesday. She loved the card I got for her.

To understand this card, you must know that she is always kidding about everyone in the family being her "favorite." She tells me, my brother, and my sister-in-law this.

The front of the card says, "I wouldn't say you are my favorite member of the family." Then you open it to read "At least not on the front of the card. Happy birthday, favorite." I didn't think she was going to open the card for a minute she was so busy pretending to pout, but she did open it and she did love it.

Monday, I headed back home, stopping to see Donald again along the way. Since he had the day off (Columbus Day), we got in a round of The Stock Market Game. I was so close to winning. Literally two turns. Yet he won again as always. Some day, Donald, I will beat you again!

And I got back just in time to start watching that night's Dancing with the Stars to blog for The Disney Blog.

That was a lot of driving in one weekend. But it was a good weekend.

Monday, October 15, 2007

This Weekend

Sounds like my little town made international news this weekend.

If you've heard about the massive truck pile up in Southern California, that's me. Or at least my town.

I first heard about it Saturday morning while watching The Fox News Channel. It took me a while to figure out where exactly they were talking about, but once they did I started trying to figure out what this meant for traffic. Best I could tell, it wasn't sounding good.

I was supposed to be heading down to The Mystery Bookstore by UCLA that afternoon for the second launch party for Candy Cane Murder. But with both sides of the 5 closed, I knew it would take me hours to get out of town and back in to town. And as much as I love Joanne Fluke and Laura Levine, it just wasn't going to be worth it.

So I didn't even leave the condo Saturday. It allowed me time to write several reviews and watch Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I must admit to really enjoying watching both of them.

Sunday, I did venture out of the house for church. Of course, I'm only about a mile from church, so it wasn't bad at all. Then the Sunday School class I'm part of now had a fellowship that night. But it was within walking distance of my condo.

What amazed me was the fact that the freeway was completely open today. Last night, they were talking about only one side being open today with the other side openning tomorrow. But everything was open and smooth sailing today.

So really, it wasn't that bad for me. Yes, I would have loved to have gone to the book launch party. But it wasn't the end of the world to miss it. And I'm not like those three people who lost their lives.

And frankly, that's the thing that amazes me the most about the whole thing. Only three people died and only 10 people were hurt. Considering we are talking about 26 big rigs and 1 car, I would think the injuries alone would be more extensive. Add to that the fact that the fire sounds horrific, and the number of fatalities could have been so much worse.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Word Association for October 14th

It's been way too long since I did one of these.

  1. Illicit :: Affair
  2. Go :: Fish
  3. Jacket :: Sweater
  4. Blow :: Back
  5. Coach :: Football
  6. Effort :: Work
  7. Leadership :: Style
  8. Snore :: Sleep
  9. Fearless :: Approach
  10. Network :: TV

Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore? Seriously?

Okay, I'd begun to write off the Nobel Peace Prize for a while now. I could understanding giving it to President Carter, although the timing was suspect. The final straw for me was when they gave it to Yassir Arafat. That man never met a war he didn't like. To say he had anything to do with peace was laughable.

Yet, somehow, they managed to top themselves.

This year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is...Al Gore. No, I'm not making it up.

Granted, he had to share it with the UN's panel on climate change.

Now I will freely admit part of my problem with this is I don't believe in Global Warming. With as cold as the winter was last year, I find that rather hard to swallow. Plus, we have only been keeping track of temperatures for 120 years of so. So who really knows what normal temperatures are. Then there's my always favorite little factoid - 30 years ago, Global Cooling was a fact. The cause? Human CO2 emissions. Yep.

But leaving all that aside for the time being, what in the world does Global Warming have to do with peace? Someone please tell me that.

This was absolutely nothing but a shameless stunt by a bunch of lefties to promote their agenda. And give the US another dig since Al Gore lost the Presidency in 2000 and they would have preferred it if he had won. (Yes, he lost it and tried to steal it back, but that's another issue.)

At least one world leader recognizes the idiocracy of it all. Unfortunately, it's the Czech President. Unfortunately only because it wasn't the leaders of a bigger country with more pull in the world.

Prague (dpa) - Czech President Vaclav Klaus, a rare vocal global- warming sceptic among heads of state, is "somewhat surprised" that former US vice president Al Gore received the Nobel Peace Prize, the president's spokesman Petr Hajek said in a statement.

"The relationship between his activities and world peace is unclear and indistinct," the statement said. "It rather seems that Gore's doubting of basic cornerstones of the current civilization does not contribute to peace." Klaus said in a recent speech that environmentalists' efforts to halt global warming "fatally endanger our freedom and prosperity."

And I love this quote from further down the article.

In a newspaper interview earlier this year, Klaus said that only Al Gore, and not a sane person, would say that mankind is ruining the planet.

For more of his thoughts, check out this article from earlier in the year.

Now before you write me off or flame me, do know that I care about the environment. I think hybrids are wonderful and hope that we can figure out ways to consume even less. But let's do it logically and not as a crazy rush in a panic because of some theories that may or may not be the case.

Ironically, just last week, the University of Illinois reported on global ice caps. The ones in the Northern Hemisphere are at record lows right now. But guess what. The ones in the Southern Hemisphere are at record highs. Seems like that wouldn't be the case if the entire earth's temperature were really rising. Talk about an Inconvenient Truth for Al Gore!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Threesome for October 11th

This week's edition is brought to us by The Gong Show and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Bang--ing your head against the wall? What haven't you been able to get to this week that you really wanted to? ...any hope for next week?
Finished the 50 review write-off at Epinions. All caught up on TV after having been gone this weekend. I think I'm good here.

Twosome: the-- other side of the coin: What have you seen this week that was just really so cool/neat/tight/pick your own buzzword that you just had to describe it to someone?
This week? Nothing. Last week? The reference to Oceanic Flight 815 (the doomed flight on Lost) during the show Chuck.

Threesome: Gong-- Okay, do you have one of those cute little gongs in your house? ...or a larger one in your garden? Just askin'...
No gongs, but I do have a bell on my desk.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mini Reivew - The Spellman Files

As part of Fall Into Reading, we are encouraged to review the books we read. Like I've never done that. :)

The first book I got read was The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. While the story is about a series of PI's, it's not a mystery novel. It does contain a mystery or two at the end, but it is really about family dynamics.

The novel centers around Izzy Spellman, the middle child but the older daughter by about 15 years. The novel covers much of the family's history, but focuses on a couple years.

Now this is a very dysfunctional family. Everyone but the oldest brother works for the family business, Spellman Investigations. And that includes the youngest daughter, who is only in middle school. That means that everyone's secrets are everyone else's business. They follow each other and break into each other's bedrooms.

But there is lots of love. And watching them interract provides lots of laughs before the more serious ending.

This book is different from most of what I read, but I really enjoyed it.

And if you'd like a full review, read my review of The Spellman Files at

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thursday Threesome for October 4th

Looks like we've got a sexist Thursday Threesome today. Or at least a battle of the sexes topic.

Onesome: Women-- buy more cars than men? True or false? Heck, I have no clue; I'm just curious about your opinions...
I don't know either, but I'm going to guess True. Women prefer reliable cars while men will tinker with something until it is absolutely falling apart. That's my theory, anyway.

Twosome: or-- Jo~Ann or Michaels? Which place would you use to buy your crafty stuff? I mean, Christmas is coming and gift cards would be lovely; let's get the word out now !
I buy craft stuff? I learn something new every day!

Threesome: Men-- are better chefs than women? Bobby Flay or Rachel Ray? True or false? Sure, you can go all Food Network if you'd like (Paula can make my dessert any day; butter, butter, butter!), but who's grilling your ribs?
I think this one boils (pun intended) down to interest. I think men and women can both be excellent cooks. Most women are more then men, so most women are better at it then men. But one of my male co-workers is an excellent cook.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Cars and Busy Weekends

The last week has been so busy I don't know whether I am coming or going any more.

Most of last week my car was in the shop. It had been idoling very rough. There was no way I was heading to northern California this week with it acting up. Also, it was time for my 90K turn up anyway, so I took it in. Turned out I had a cracked valve in one cylnider. I am so thankful that my warrentee was still good. Another six weeks and it would have cost me $3,500.

Not that the trip was cheap. The 90K service is expensive. And they also found a cracked axel. Since that was in the same area as my accident in 2001, they wouldn't cover that with my warrentee. So I still had to pay a couple pretty pennies. But it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.

They had some problems with the axel, so I didn't get my car back until Friday afternoon. Which was just in time for my crazy weekend.

Friday night, I went to see downhere in concert down in Thousand Oaks. That was great. I really do like their music. And I got to have my picture taken with the band after the concert.

Saturday, I went to the Aquarium of the Pacific. Debbie had gotten some free tickets before she moved, and they expired the end of September. It was a last minute plan, but we still managed to get Josh, Bonnie, and their two kids, Angelique, Clint, and myself there. It was fun, although it's not something I'd rush back to. But I can't complain about the price. Free is always the right price.

Then Sunday, I left church as soon as it was over to rush down to the West Hollywood Book Fair. Joanne Fluke and Laura Levine were there selling their just released novella collection Candy Cane Murder. Of course I had to get a copy. Angelique got down there a little before I did, so we hung out for a while and caught up with another couple authors we enjoy. I only spent a couple hours there because the fair is rather small. What was nice is it was divided by subjects, so all the mystery booths were in one area.

Compared to all that, this week has been rather quiet. Trying to write as many reviews as I can while watching TV shows. Gotta get stocked up for this weekend so I'll have some to post from out of town. And it helps that I seem to have a backlog of things to review right now.