Friday, June 27, 2008

Trixie Friends Weekend (and More Ultimate)

So, we're just about up to date. All I need to talk about is this week.

Actually, most of the post can talk about this last weekend, which was an absolute blast. Why? I got to hang out with friends from the Trixie Belden boards.

The fun started for me Saturday at noon when I met up with Angelique, Jenn, and Donna at the Westwood Library. No, we weren't hunting Trixie's. We were there to stalk authors, specifically R. T. Jordan and Laura Levine. They were doing a talk and signing. I needed Richard's newest signed and Angelique needed Laura's latest. Poor Jenn and Donna just got dragged along for the ride. But all of us had a great time. The two of them were very funny and interesting. Heck, I learned something about Laura's series I never knew before. And Jenn bought Laura's latest, too, mainly because I am in the acknowledgements. We stayed around chatting with the two of them for a long time afterward.

Then from there we went to grab lunch and just chatted for a couple hours before taking Donna back to the airport.

I spent Saturday night at Angelique's because we had to get an early start the next morning for San Diego. Our first stop was the San Diego Zoo since Jenn needed to see the newest baby panda. Fortunately, we were able to get in free. And we actually got quite a bit of the zoo in during the three hours we had to see it. It was roasting hot all weekend, and I thought it would be cooler in San Diego, but it wasn't.

At least not at the Zoo.

From there we went down to PetCo park so Jenn could mark another baseball park off her list. We opted for tickets in the shade, and surprisingly, we were cold most of the time. Go figure. The San Diego Padres were playing the Detroit Tigers. Good game. And yes, that now means that this non-sports person has been to 4 Major league baseball parks.

By the time we were headed home, I was getting very tired. So Jenn invented a new game for us to play. We took turns thinking of scenes from the Trixie books, and the other two in the car had to come up with which book it was from. Did the trick. And it was remarkably fun.

Unfortunately, I have been paying for it all week. I just can not get up in the morning. Granted, it might help if I went to bed earlier at night.

And Wednesday, we had our ultimate Frisbee game. We got slaughtered, although it started out close. At half we were only down by one point, 7-8. But we only scored once in the second half, so the final score was 8-15. We just didn't play well that second half. Of course, it didn't help that we only had two men and one woman subs while the other team had at least one complete team worth of subs. And I think next week will be even worse sub wise. But it means lots of playing time for me. Guess I'd better make sure I can handle it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday Threesome for June 26th

This week's edition is brought to us by something my team didn't have last night and The Back Porch.

Onesome: "Guts"-- sometimes can determine the outcome: whoever digs in and plays through the injuries and circumstances. What is your favorite memory of someone or a team driving past adversity to win the big one?
Considering I'm looking forward to diving in the Olympics again this year, Greg Luganos (or however it is spelled.) The fact that he came back from hitting his head to win double gold in 1988 will always stand out in my mind.

Twosome: ...and-- what brought that question on? The local team won the College World Series last night, winning every elimination game possible to advance as the lowest seed ever to win a National Title. No question, just kudos to them. Okay, easy question: did you hear anything about the games where you are?
The college world series was played recently?

Threesome: Determination-- helps in life: what have you accomplished through sheer determination that will remain with you as a bright spot in your life?
It may sound like nothing to some people, but my standing in the various review communities. That's taken a lot of work over a long period of time, and I am proud of where I am.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Get Smart Themes

Today around the Watercooler, I am going to discuss the themes of in the new Get Smart movie. If you want a full review, please follow this link.

And this is your spoiler warning. While I won't be giving away anything major, if you plan to watch the movie and don't want to know about plot developments in the second half, stop now!!!!!!!!

Very early in the movie, it is established that Max Smart believes that CONTROL should get to know their enemies as individuals rather than just one note bad guys. By doing so, it could help them defeat KAOS.

Sure enough, in the second half, Max recognizes the voice of someone trying to kill him. And he is able to get the guy to stop by proving how much he cares about him.

That arguement is fine up until a point. There are some people on every side of a conflict who aren't as committed to the cause as the rest, so an act of kindness could get through to them.

However, there are many people who would destroy the US in a second if they could. In fact, the fact that Max knew so much about them could only make them madder. So thinking that showing our enemies kindness will win them over is naive.

On the third hand, there is Jesus' command to pray for our enemies. He doesn't specify personal or national enemies. And I know I don't pray for my enemies like I should. Okay, let's be honest. I don't pray for them at all. I have found that if you are praying for someone, you do truly come to care for them.

So I'm not sure where the balance lies. I'm still struggling through it.

And while a theme seemed to be a Leftist favorite idea (if we just love them, they'll love us), the movie takes a swipe at Leftist Hollywood. As the villain plans to blow up part of LA, his henceman asks about the innocent people who will be killed. The villain replies, "Yes, whatever will we do without all those movie star's political opinions." I was the only one in the theater who laughed, but I thought it was the funniest line in the movie.

So maybe I am reading too much into a movie I only mildly enjoyed. But that's what I am thinking about this week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ultimate Frisbee,

In the last couple of weeks, I've had two more Ultimate Frisbee games.

We lost the first of those big time. I don't remember all the details, but it seemed we started out pretty even. But they quickly pulled ahead and took it to half. We never recovered and lost 9-15.

Thursday's game looked to be a repeat. We lost the first four points. Then our captain called a time out, mainly to break momentum. It worked because we scored the next four points to tie the game. We battled back and forth a little before taking it to half at 8-6. (Must remember, half is at 8, not 7.) And in the second half, we really seemed to dominate. We did let them catch back up a little because the final score was 15-12, but we scored about 5 unanswered points at the beginning of the half.

I was also rather happy with my performance. I did drop one disc in the end zone and made one horrid throw, but for the most part, if it was thrown to me, I caught it and passed it on successfully.

Of course, my attitude could use a little work. It started when I was picked (which is against the rules in the game.) rather majorly. As in I wound up rolling on the grass. I was fine, but when someone asked why I didn't call the pick, I said something about it being hard to call it when you are rolling on the ground. It was supposed to be funny, but even to my ears it sounded harsh. Then, I called a foul the next point I was in. I think that set the tone because both sides seemed rather contensious the rest of the day. I did make one spectacularly bad call late in the game, but when I tried to apologize for it, the other guy wouldn't even acknowledge me. That really hurt. Especially since it was an honest mistake.

But the win made up for most of that. I've just got to get a good night sleep tonight so I'm not nearly as big a grump.

Our game this week will be interesting because we are loosing two more good players to vacation. We are going to be lean on people in July. The good news is everyone should be back for the tournament in mid-August.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Joys of Condo Ownership,

So, I've promised to blog more about my life. Here's the first of several posts to catch you up on what I've been doing this month.

On the sixth, I got back from Kung Fu Panda (which I loved, BTW) to discover that my thermostat was completely blank. And while it wasn't nearly as hot as it has been this last week (over 110 every day), it was still in the high 90's for the high, which means we needed the AC to be running. So, I started fooling around with it, and discovers it runs on batteries. Yep, I've lived there for almost 5 years, and I just learned my thermostat runs on batteries.

So, I figured, no sweat. I'd just put in new batteries and all would be well. It wasn't that simple. Maybe it was because the batteries were so old that all the life had been sucked out of them, but sticking new batteries in did nothing. So, off and on, I kept playing around with them trying to get it to come back to life. Eventually, parts of the display came back. Finally, enough was there, I could turn the AC on and set the temp for the night. I did that, gave up, and went to bed.

Fortunately, the next morning, the full display was back and brighter than I ever remembered seeing it. I was so happy! And it's been running fine since.

Now, I need to remember to change those batteries regularly.

Last weekend (as in Father's Day weekend), I had an even more "fun" experience.

Paul had taken me flying in one of the helicopters he's been learning to fly in. Then, we went out to dinner. So it was about 10 PM on a Saturday night when we get home to find half an inch of water sitting on the kitchen floor. I start to mop it up, and discover water sitting in the sink. Water that's still warm. And there's all kinds of water on the counter. And food, too.

So, while he goes out for liquid plumber, I decide to ask out upstairs neighbors if they've noticed anything. Turns out, they've been trying to contact me all day since they've got major water leaking into their garage.

So, I call the HOA. After an hour, they finally let me know someone will come out the next morning to take care of the problem. I was rather upset since I figured it would mean I'd have to miss church, but they came early enough I could still go. Cut a hole in the wall and used a snake to clear things out. Everything seems to be working well again. In fact, I talked to my neighbor this morning, and she said things were drying out. They've come once to start patching the wall and will be back tomorrow for the spackle and paint.

Heck, it even got me to give the kitchen a good cleaning, something it desperately needed.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Spring Reading Thing Wrap Up

Well, with summer upon us (and we can tell by the temps here in Southern California), I guess it's time to see how I did on my reading list. (All links will lead to my review of the book on Epinions.)

Books Read:
Caught in a Bind by Gayler Roper
A Tisket, a Tasket, a Fancy Stolen Casket by Fran Rizer
Feint of Art by Hailey Lind
Primitive Secrets by Deborah Turrell Atkinson
The Elusive Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman
Killer Mousse by Melinda Wells
The Black Dove by Steve Hockensmith
Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
Caught Redhanded by Gayle Roper
Tell Me, Pretty Maiden by Gayler Roper
Night Light by Terri Blackstock
Killing Bridezilla by Laura Levine
Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett
Your Chariot Awaits by Lorena McCourtney
Final Curtain by R. T. Jordan
Mr. Monk Goes to Germany by Lee Goldberg
Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris
Hell for the Holidays by Chris Grabenstein

Books Read Not on List:

Book Started Not Finished:
Blood Matters by Taffy Cannon

Books Not Read:
Mosaic by Amy Grant
Relentless by Robin Parrish
Murder in Grub Street by Bruce Alexander
Death in Paradise by Carolyn Hart
Stalking the Puzzle Lady by Parnell Hall
Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann


I've just barely started, but the books left over from my Fall Reading list have now been started.

Even with six books not read, I got much further than I ever thought I would. Credit goes to my flights to and from Hawaii. I got four books read during that trip. I figure I average four books a month, so the 18 books read during these 3 months is outstanding for me.

My favorite book read during the Spring was Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz. My least favorite was Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris with Killer Mousse by Melinda Wells being a close second.

And I promise, for those of you looking for something about my life, I will get back to blogging about that next week.

Mini Review: Hell for the Holidays

We've come to my final mini review of the Spring Reading Thing. It's on Hell for the Holidays by Chris Grabenstein.

It's kind of funny I read this one, since I found the first thriller in this series to be way too gruesome for my tastes. But I was promised this one was toned down. And it was.

It starts with a kidnapping on Halloween night. The victim happens to be a neighbor of FBI agent Chris Miller. But the way that develops, Chris suppects it was part of a bigger plan. Using every piece he can, he begins to put the pieces together. Looks like a White Supremist group is planning a major attack around Thanksgiving. But with no one at the bureau taking him seriously, can he stop it?

This book starts strong and only gets stronger. I was turning pages as fast as I could to find out what would happen next. And I didn't even realize how into the climax I was until I finished and had to take a few deep breaths.

The characters were good as well. Even the villain, while not sympathetic, came across as real. The villains were also my main problem with the book since they spewed racial and homophobic epitats on a regular basis.

Still, if you are looking for a thrill ride, this is a great one to get.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday Threesome for June 19th

Another week, another Thursday Threesome. This week's edition is brought to us by me and The Back Porch. (I always say my gift is over stating the obvious.)

Onesome: Stating-- things clearly? In your job/vocation/school do you like to have everything spelled out in detail? ...or are you one of those people who does better with broad guidelines and a free rein?
I like having some free reign, but I prefer it when things are spelled out fairly specifically.

Twosome: the-- food I miss the most is? (loaded question, but hey ...)
Nuts. Since they are the only food I am alergic to, they are the only thing I don't eat any more.

Threesome: Obvious-- to some, but not to others: what is something that seems obvious to you but others seem to miss? ...or how about something you just don't 'get'?
If you don't bounce checks, you won't get fees. Based on the reviews I read in Personal Finance at Epinions, there are plenty of people who don't get that concept. Then they complain about how much the fees are or how the bank decides which order to process stuff in.

Mini Review: Pushing Up Daisies

Another disappointing book is the subject for today's mini review. I'll be talking about Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris.

Paula Holliday runs her own gardening business in a small Connecticut town. When she gets the job of restoring a local landmark she is thrilled. That is until she uncovers a dead baby's body in the garden. That discovery will unlease all kinds of long buried secrets. But where will it all lead?

The premise sounded interesting, but the execution was sloppy. Outside of the potential series regulars, the rest of the characters were poor and all blended together. The pacing was boring during the first half and even when things picked up, most of the plot points came from sudden revelations by Paula with hardly any background.

I did find the last half interesting, but it really wasn't a fully grown book.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I've Always Had Trouble with Titles, Too

No, I am not using this week's Watercooler Wednesday for another mini review of a book. Instead, I'm going to talk about a movie I was last week that I can't review elsewhere since it has never been released on VHS or DVD.

Don't Worry, We'll Think of a Title was released in 1966. Co-written by John Hart and Morey Amsterdam and starred Morey Amsterdam, Rose Marie, and Richard Deacan. And if those names don't mean anything to you, they played the co-workers in the Dick van Dyke Show.

The plot, such as it is, revolves around Charlie (Morey Amsterdam) who just happens to look identical to a defecting Soviet cosmonaut. After he and Annie (Rose Marie) are fired from their jobs at a restaurant by Richard Deacan, they head out to help a friend run a bookstore she has just inherited. There, all kinds of strange stuff happens as the Soviets keep an eye on Charlie hoping to find the secrets he defected with.

Oh yeah, there are the people who sneak into the store at closing and leave at opening. And the trap door in the middle of the bookstore.

To say it is weird is an understandment. The plot is really nothing more than an excuse for the gags. It wanders here and there. And the ending is so sudden it's jarring. But that's okay because it's been a mish mash of stuff all along. Heck, Richard Deacan shows up in another part later in the film, and everyone even acknowledges that he's played another part before.

And yet, I laughed the entire way through. Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam are great together. And there are some truly funny moments.

Plus there are all the cameos. People like Carl Reiner, Milton Berle, Steve Allen, Danny Thomas, and others pop up. My favorite is Granny from Beverly Hillbillies driving the car from that show for a few moments.

Turner Classic Movies had this on a few weeks ago, and that's how I caught it. If I could review it at Amazon and Epinions, I'd give it two stars. Some funny moments, but not worth sitting through. And certainly not worth paying money for.

Mini Review: Mr. Monk Goes to Germany

Rushing to get these in brings us to Mr. Monk Goes to Germany, the newest tie-in novel by Lee Goldberg.

Set in the middle of season six, this book finds Monk trying to deal with life after Dr. Kroger decides to take a week's vacation to attend a conference in Germany. When he can't do it, he follows Dr. Kroger to a small town where he has a chance run in with a man who might hold the key to his wife's murder.

The book started off a little slow as we spent way too long setting up the story. Once it got going, however, things picked up quickly. The story moves forward well at this point, and there are several emotional scenes that are very well done. Plus the characters are great as always.

The book isn't out for another two weeks, so watch for it then.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mini Review: Final Curtain

Today's mini review is of Final Curtain by R. T. Jordan.

Polly Pepper's summer regional theater gig this summer is in Glendale, which means she doesn't even have to leave town. Even better, she playing the lead in Mame, her favorite role ever.

But things get off to a horrid start when the director is murdered the second day of rehersals. One of the cast is arrested, but Polly isn't buying it. Can she figure out who done it while remembering the tricky new choreography?

I get a kick out of these characters. Polly and her entourage (consisting of her gay son Tim and maid/friend Placenta) are over the top even though they don't think they are. But it works for this book set around the wacky town of Hollywood. The plot moves forward well, throwing in an Emmy for information ransom as well.

The only weakness is the writing. The author just tries too hard to be flowery at times, and it just gets in the way of the story.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mini Review: Your Chariot Awaits

So, I've got a week to get the review done for the books I've read this Spring. And I'm still in May. So I'll be doing several of these this week.

Up today is Your Chariot Awaits by Lorena McCourtney

Andi McConnell is facing 60, but that's the best part of her week. Her job is downsized and her boyfriend dumps her. The only interesting thing to happen is her surprise inheritence from a long forgotten uncle, his limo. But even that turns into a downer when Andi finds a body in the trunk. Since the police are focusing on her, she teams up with her new friend, former star of a TV detective show, to find the killer.

The book is lots of fun with great characters. I absolutely loved them. And the idea of owning a limo has a certain appeal, even for this non-car guy.

The plot was uneven, however, often slowing down for time character time. Still, that was a minor complaint in a book I mostly enjoyed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday Threesome for June 12th

Welcome to this week's edition, brought to us by full lives and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Work?-- Work! Summer jobs: how about the worst one you've ever had! ...or maybe the most interesting one? You decide ...
My summer job history consists of a summer working at a local water slide park and two summers doing various accounting related jobs. Take your pick. The water slide park was lots of fun, but the temp jobs the last summer meant I had to commute, which I have no desire to do again.

Twosome: "Hard" and-- "Tight"? Words take on new meanings all the time. ...used to be both those words were compliments; now it appears "sick" is a good thing (according to the lexicon of the local fourteen year-old). What have you heard lately that took you a minute to figure out. I mean, like "bad" is still "good", right? Tight, man!
Shows how out of it I am. I didn't know that "tight" was now the "bad" thing to say.

Threesome: Play Hard?-- What is your idea of "Summer Fun"? ...and no, walking on the beach doesn't count for this one!
What about playing ultimate Frisbee on the beach? Okay, so I don't play down there all that often, but I do consider my ultimate Frisbee summer league to be part of my summer fun.

Mini Review: Murder is Binding

Today's mini review is on Murder is Binding, the debut mystery from Lorna Barrett.

Tricia is the newest owner in a town devoted to books. She's opened the mystery bookstore called Haven't Got a Clue.

But she'll have to get some clues when the owner of the cookbook store is found murdered and a rare cookbook vanishes. The locals seem to think she had something to do with it since she found the body. Can she find the killer while dealing with her sister?

This is one of those weird books. I enjoyed it, but it was flawed. Tricia and the other series regulars were well developed, but the other characters, including the suspects, were flat. The plot moved along in fits and starts and had a rather abrupt ending. But I have a feeling I will be back when the next Booktown Mystery comes out.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Free Download. Act Now!

Looking for some new music to brighten your summer? Well, today on Watercooler Wednesday, I am passing along info on a free download happening during the month of June only.

The band downhere is currently offering their latest release, 2006's Wide Eyed and Mystified, as a free download. The entire album. Just go here.

So, what to know a little more about the band?

downhere is a Christian rock band from Canada. I enjoyed their first CD, liked a couple songs from their second CD, and love this one. It's got some good rock songs like "The More" and "Stir" but plenty of slower, thoughtful songs like "A Better Way" or the smooth "1000 Miles Apart." (If you want to read my full review, follow this link.)

In the last two years, I've gotten to see the band live three times, and they rock. I also have the blogs of two of the band members on my list there on the right. (Lavs' Blog and Normal Rockstar.)

They have a new CD coming out in September, so now's the perfect time to discover their music.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mini Review: Killing Bridezilla

Today's mini review is of Killing Bridezilla, the seventh in the Jaine Austen series by Laura Levine.

Freelance writer Jaine Austen has, unfortunately, taken on an assignment for high school nemesis Patti Marshall. Patti was a horrid person in high school, and she hasn't gotten any better since. So it's really no surprise when she plunges off a balcony to her death. But when the one decent girl in high school is accused of the crime, Jaine has to jump in and figure out who really did it.

This series is funny, but this book is the funniest. I was laughing out loud the entire way through. And it has one of the funniest scenes in the entire series. The characters are slightly over the top, but they work for the story.

The set up for the murder took a little while, but I was entertained the entire way through. And once the investigation got going, I was hooked. The ending was a surprise, but also made perfect sense.

This is my favorite book in the series so far.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Since Hawaii

I feel like I should have a nice, long, newsy post about my life since Hawaii. After all, it's been two and a half weeks since I got back. But there isn't much to report.

On Memorial Day, Angelique and I went to see the new Indiana Jones movie, which we enjoyed. Then I wound up at Kurt's playing his Wii.

I've been connecting with friends making sure they have my cell phone number. That's been a good excuse to get in touch with people I should keep in touch with more often. I've really enjoyed that.

This last weekend, I went down to Santa Monica and played Ultimate Fresbee on the beach. It was a little windier then I thought it would be, but it turned out to be fun.

And Wednesday was the first Ultimate game of summer league. I'm on team purple this summer. I've only played with one of my teammates before. He was on my first summer league team, and it was his first summer, too. Anyway, Wednesday was cold, especially with the wind that was blowing for a while. (Which is funny, because now we're hitting 90 easy.) We started out trading points, then my team got ahead. We ended half 8-5.

In the second half, we got several more points before they started making up lost ground. By the time it was over, we won 15-12.

No one on my team is a beginner this year, which is a first. That will either make us too cocky and we'll start loosing, or it will help us and I'll be on another strong team. I was running harder than normal out there, and it felt good. I hope if I keep up my running and walking (which I haven't done this week) that maybe I would be as pathetic out there as I normally am. That would be nice. Not that I touched the disc this week. But it's a good start.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thursday Threesome for June 5th

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

Onesome: So-- what if everyone else does it?!? I'm different and I'm going to do it my way! Heh, what is that for you? ...the peanut butter and banana sandwich? ...tie-dyed seat covers for the car? ...or maybe an unusual sport?
I do everything my way, in case you hadn't noticed. :) For example, I play ultimate Frisbee, but not much else. I read, but hardly ever the best sellers. In fact, I read books that few men read. And I still enjoy family oriented movies and TV even though I have no kids.

Twosome: Ya'll-- gonna' be catchin' any big ol' trout this year? ...any fishing people out there on the porch? Hey, even watching on TV counts for something...
I have never gone fishing once in my life. I have a feeling I'd find it boring rather quickly. And since I don't like to eat fish, there's really no motivation.

Threesome: "like Music--, like friends": we all have different varieties we listen to from time to time. How about an update on your musical tastes? Go for it!
I stick with mostly Christian music, but I've been pulling out my soundtracks a bit more right now. I tend to go through phases. I'm even considering buying the revival casts of Fiddler on the Roof and Sound of Music since I seem to enjoy the contemporary version more than the Original Cast recordings.

Mini Review: Night Light

Today's mini review will be on Night Light by Terri Blackstock.

The Branning family is beginning to adjust to life with out technology, and growing closer as a result of the constant time spent together. But then one day they find thieves in the house. Two boys are robbing them of their food. They soon discover that the boys are the oldest of four kids left alone for months. Should they take them in? Where is their mother?

A mystery novel this ain't. While there are some mystery like plot threads, the climax was a let down.

Fortunately, I was reading it for other reasons. And watching these characters grow as they struggle with living a Christian life in their current trial was very entertaining. In fact, I could hardly put the book down waiting to see what would happen next.

I am quite anxious to move on to book three in this series.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Some Great New Music

For this week's Watercooler Wednesday, I thought I would highlight a debut CD I got recently and am loving.

The CD's is Josh Wilson's debut, Trying to Fight the Ocean in a Cup. (Link takes you to my full Epinions review.)

This CD fits perfectly into the singer/songwriter pop mold I like so much. In fact, it almost fits in there too perfectly. I was about to dismiss it, but I gave it a second listen. And now I'm hooked.

The music is fun and catchy. I find myself bopping my head along with multiple songs as I listen.

Yet the words are wonderful. Some songs are encouraging. Some are challenging. "Beautiful Like This" is a wonderful praise ballad. "Oak Avenue" is a sobering reminder of opportunity lost.

The standout is the writing is is absolutely honest, even when it is having fun.

And there's plenty of fun. I do think this is the first CD I've ever seen that has a "No Thanks" section. (For the record, Josh Wilson doesn't thank high gas prices, cavities, pop-up ads, and the Black Smoke Monster from Lost. That last one cracked me up.)

The first single from the disc is "3 Minute Song," which is exactly as advertised. During those three minutes, Josh muses on how hard it is to fit all there is to know about God and eternity in a short pop song. Yes, it's slightly tongue in cheek, but it manages to be fun (I'm always smiling as I hear it) and a good reminder about how big God really is all at the same time. I like this song enough that I downloaded the chorus as the ringtone for my cell phone.

So if you're in the market for a new artist, give Josh a chance.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mini Review: Tell Me, Pretty Maiden

Where was I with these things? That's right, with the book I finished right before my vacation. (And I've got to hurry up with them, don't I? You know, before Spring ends.)

So today we will be talking about Tell Me, Pretty Maiden by Rhys Bowen. This is the seventh in a historical mystery series set in New York City at the turn of the last century and starring Irish immigrant Molly Murphy.

Molly's detective agency seems to be booming. In fact, she has more cases then she can handle. She's been hired to follow a potential husband for a wealthy family. And she's been asked to look into the disappearance of a young man accused of robbery and murder.

But the other two cases are on her mind the most. While out with sometimes boyfriend Daniel Sullivan in Central Park, Molly found a young woman in the snow. The woman has no memory and no ability to speak.

And Molly has been hired to protect famous Broadway actress Blanch Lovejoy from the ghost haunting the theater where she is trying to make her comeback.

With all this going on, it is amazing how well things flow together. I had no trouble keeping the various sets of characters straight. One of the cases brought us to a weak and overdrawn climax, but the other three ended well. Naturally, there is some overlap, but not everything ties together at the end.

And the series characters are absolutely fun. Molly is entertaining and well worth spending time with. Her neighbors Sid and Gus are a hoot. I even liked Daniel in this book, something I haven't done since book two. There might be hope for me yet.

You could jump in here, but I recommend following the evolution of the characters from book one. Trust me, you'll enjoy the journey.