Thursday, December 31, 2009

Closing out the Year with Word Association

I'm closing out the year with this week's word association.

  1. Classified :: Ads
  2. Praised :: Lamented
  3. Censored :: Post
  4. 2010 :: Tomorrow
  5. Lamp :: Light
  6. Alternate :: Universe
  7. Script :: Acting
  8. Handsome :: Prince
  9. Eager :: Beaver
  10. Meeting :: Boring

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick post to wish you all a Merry Christmas. Hope it is a good day with family and/or friends.

But in the midst of all the presents and good food (both of which I plan to enjoy), take a few moments to remember what this day represents. God sent us His Son. Jesus became man. And all so He could die for us to pay for our sins and then rise from the dead to offer us the hope of eternal life.

Still blows my mind.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Where Have I Been?

I feel like I haven't updated this blog for a while. And if you are looking for something other than book posts, you'd agree with me. So let's go with some highlights of the last couple of weeks, shall we?

Saturday the 12th, I met up with Angelique to go see Mary Poppins. The Broadway play version is on tour in Los Angeles right now. We really enjoyed it. It is very different from the movie, including most songs rewritten somewhat and in completely different orders. More things were taken from the books and parts of the movie were ignored completely. But it was really very good.

Both of the last Sundays, I've gone to practice with my ultimate Frisbee winter league team. We've had four people show up each time, three of us being the same. I hope we get enough people out to field a team with at least one or two subs when games start in a week and a half, or I am going to be very disappointed. I've stayed for pick up after practice and been enjoying that.

I've finished with work for the year. I always forget how crazy that last week is trying to get everrything finished. Even with finishing payroll stuff a day early, the final Friday was still crazy with multiple deposits to get as much as possible in the bank before we all took off.

Last Saturday my friends Joe and Erica got married. I was asked to be an usher, and it was an honor to be part of their special day. Everything went well, at least from my stand point.

And I think I've found someone to do the Camp Pendleton Mud Run with me in June. I just hope Josh doesn't change his mind before we register in a little over a week. We just need to decide which Saturday we are going to do it. I think it will be lots of fun. That is if I don't kill my knees running to get ready for it.

So this last Saturday, I was in my bedroom when I heard a loud crash from the living room. I rushed in there to see my Christmas tree had fallen over. The stand that came with the tree when I bought it several years ago had broken. The only other thing that had broken was one ornament that I should be able to glue back together. Considering a few of the breakable ornaments I have, I am very thankful. Of course, it was hard to take down my Christmas tree on December 19th instead of after Christmas. Still bummed about that.

This year, I was going to have my Christmas presents wrapped earlier than normal. Nope. Didn't happen. I blame the Christmas tree falling over.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Word Association for December 22nd

I should be packing to go home for Christmas, but I am going to dash off this week's word association really fast first.

  1. Interest :: Savings
  2. Chase :: Bank
  3. Itch :: Scratch
  4. Soothe :: Comfort
  5. Lamp :: Light
  6. Tutor :: Student
  7. Nicole :: Ultimate Frisbee
  8. Sloth :: Lazy
  9. Burn :: Notice
  10. Bug :: Life

At pick up ultimate Frisbee Sunday, there were two Nicoles, both of whom wound up on my team when we broke up for a mini tournament.

And, yes, I am showing my USA Network fandome by typing Burn Notice. And my Disney geekdom by going with A Bug's Life.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fall Into Reading 2009 Wrap Up

Today being the first day of winter, it's time for my Fall Into Readin 2009 Wrap Up. You can find other wrap up posts here and my reading list from September here.

I started out with 27 books and then added two more before September was over.

So, here are the books I actually read this fall (all links take you to my review at Epinions):

The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley
Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
7th Heaven by James Patterson
Ghost a la Mode by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Heat Wave by Richard Castle
A Date You Can't Refuse by Harley Jane Kozak
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Dial H for Hitchcock by Susan Kandel
The Crack in the Lens by Steve Hockensmith
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Mama Does Time by Deborah Sharp
The Treacherous Teddy by John J. Lamb
NERDS by Michael Buckley
Dead Man's Puzzle by Parnell Hall
Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn by Ridley Pearson
Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle
A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny
Mr. Monk in Trouble by Lee Goldberg

I am currently reading:

Air Time by Hank Phillipi Ryan

Books from my Spring 2009 list still not read:

Exposure by Brandilyn Collins
Double Minds by Terri Blackstock

Other books not read:

The Chocolate Cupid Killings by Joanna Carl
Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Offworld by Robin Parrish
Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station by Dorothy Gilman
Alice Through the Needle's Eye by Gilbert Adair
Dem Bone's Revenge by Kris Neri

My Thoughts:

It is a testiment to how far behind in my reading this year with some of the books I still haven't read. A couple of my favorite authors are on the list of books not read. That just shows how much I wanted to try to read this fall.

Overall, I finished 20 of my 29 books, which I am happy about. I really had hoped to read all of them, but getting distracted by Lego Indiana Jones hasn't helped my reading time. Neither has my long list of TV shows I watch. With starting to work out on my lunch hour again next year, I am going to have to work hard to find reading time so I can get to some of these books before the Spring lists role out.

Mini Review: Mr. Monk in Trouble

My final mini review of Fall into Reading 2009. Can it be over already? Anyway, today I'll be talking about Mr. Monk in Trouble by Lee Goldberg.

When a retired SFPD cop is murdered in the town of Trouble, California, Monk is asked to investigate. The catch is, Trouble was a gold rush town that has been preserved as a tourist attraction, complete with animals and wooden sidewalks. To further distract Monk, he finds out about a 50 year old unsolved gold robbery connected with the town.

But Natalie has her own distraction. She finds a journey about a resident of the town during the 1860's. Artemis Monk behaves much like her boss. Could he be a relative?

I actually started reading this book after the recent series finale, and it definitely helped ease the loss. Set before the start of season 8, it's got some great humor and character interactions. The mystery was a tad weak, but that's my only complaint. As a whole, it was another strong book.

If you are a fan of the show, you owe it to yourself to read the tie in novels.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mini Review: A Fatal Grace

I added A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny to my Fall Into Reading list when I realized it was set at Christmas time. I just had to read it in December.

The book finds us back in the small Canadian village of Three Pines for this book. A new family has moved to town, and the matriarc, CC, is horrid. In fact, the entire village hears her yell at her daughter after the Christmas Eve service. She is selfish and rude. She's also murdered - electricuted in the middle of a lake during the annual Boxing Day curling competition.

And so Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns to try to find a killer. Will getting a better picture of CC help him find out you had enough?

I enjoyed the first book in the series, but I found this one disappointing. It started off very slowly. I felt like I was plodding along for the first 50 or so pages. Once the murder happened, things did pick up. But as I went along, the weak writing bugged me more. This was especially true of the author's habit of changing point of view mid-scene, sometimes just for a paragraph or two.

One of the draws of the first book was the villagers we got to know. While we didn't see as much of them, what we did was fun.

And some threads were started with Gamache that make me curious to read the next.

If the series weren't coming so highly recommended (it is winning awards left and right and several friends love it), I might stop here. As it is, I will continue on at some point.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Word Association for December 17th

If I don't do this now, I just may miss doing it this week.

  1. Up :: the Pixar movie
  2. Scram! :: Run
  3. Smell :: Bad
  4. Belong :: Club
  5. Doug :: the old Nick cartoon
  6. Collar :: White (USA Network show White Collar)
  7. Squirrel :: Up
  8. Chinese :: Food
  9. Tracker :: Collar
  10. Apartment :: Rent

RIP Roy Disney

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday, but I do want to take a few minutes to acknowledge the death of Roy Disney. He died yesterday at the age of 79 (and the day after his uncle Walt died back in 1966).

Many people credit Roy with saving the Disney company twice. I'm not sure about the first time, but he did orchestrate the shareholder revolt that lead to Eisner outster a few years back. From what I was seeing at the time, I certainly agree it was a much needed move.

Roy is also partially responsible for the rebirth of hand drawn animation. He was one of the voices calling for it to be used in addition to computer animated movies. Since I felt the same way, but he had a bigger voice in the matter, I'm thankful for his championship.

There are other sites with longer posts about all he did for Disney over the years. While he was never CEO, I'd say he did more to keep Walt's vision alive than anyone.

But I feel like I know him a little personally. I've seen numerous interviews with him on Disney bonus features as he talked about his memories of the work his uncle and father were doing at the studios. I always loved them. He seemed like a kind, warm, caring man.

Although I never met Roy, I am saddened to learn of his death.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mini Review: Homicide in Hardcover

Today's mini review is my last book from Thanksgiving (fortunately, I'm not as far behind as it sounds) - Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle.

This debut introduces us to Brooklyn Wainwright a book binder and restorer. She's just reconnected with her friend and mentor when she finds him murdered in the basement of the Covington Library. Could his death have anything to do with the Faust he was restoring for their new exhibit?

I really loved the characters here from the start. In fact, I found myself sharing Brooklyn's loss at the death, something that rarely happens when the victim is someone we just met.

However, I got frustrated with the plot. Yes, stuff was happening, but it was just that. I didn't feel like we got any closer to solving the murder until the end. Brooklyn did find the clues she needed to ultimately solve everything, so that much did make me happy.

I liked the characters enough that I'm very willing to give the series another chance.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'll Come Up with a Title Later

Wow, the time before Christmas break has hit me hard. There have been days it's been all I can do to get anything productive done at work or at home. I am exactly in the same place I was with my Christmas shopping I was a week ago. And that's not a good thing. I've got to get stuff for my parents and my uncle still. And I really don't know what I am going to get them.

The one thing I haven't been skimping on is Lego Indiana Jones. I am absolutely addicted to this game. If I said I wasn't going to play it any more until my shopping was done, I bet I'd finish it. Hm. That's actually not a bad idea.

But this last weekend was a fun time, athough Saturday was a bit of a bummer. It was my last chance this year to go play ultimate Frisbee in Van Nuys. Three of us showed up. It's hard to do much more than play catch with that number. So we played catch for an hour hoping someone else would show up.

But I did get my decorating done. My tree is up and everything else is out. The places looks good as always. And I do find decorating rather fun. At least more fun than undecorating. I've always hated that part of the process.

Last year, I almost didn't put stuff up because it find taking it down so depressing. I'm doing better so far this year. We'll see what happens in a week. Granted, it helps that my roommate loves Christmas, too, so I'm not the only one enjoying the stuff.

Sunday was my friends Kurt and Kellie's Christmas party. A bit more laid back than normal, I think probably because of the babies. But I enjoyed hanging out with everyone. I was the last one to leave, and it was nice just hanging out with them for a while.

From there, I headed to Joe's where we watched a couple episodes of Middleman. Man, I wish that show were still on the air.

And it's been raining this week! Rained quite hard Monday, then it cleared up. It was bitter cold the last few days. Now the rain has come back, but it's a little warmer. Just makes it feel so much more like Christmas to me.

Finally, had my membership interview Tuesday at lunch time. Wasn't quite sure what to expect, but it went very well. At least I thought so. No indication I'm not going to become a member at my new church from it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mini Review: Kingdom Keepers II - Disney at Dawn

I still need to catch up on my Thanksgiving books, don't I? At least my current book is taking me forever to get through. (Wait, is that a good thing?)

Anyway, today's book is Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn by Ridley Pearson

This is the second in a series about 5 midschoolers who have been chosen to be holographic hosts in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. They discover that when they go to sleep at night, they wake up in the Magic Kingdom. This is a design feature because the Imagineers need their help to defeat a band of Disney villains who are attempting to take over the parks and use the magic for evil.

This book finds them traveling to the Animal Kingdom, however, as they have to find someone who has been kidnapped and destroy the second holographic server with a fatal flaw in it. Can they do that and not go to sleep?

This is a fast moving thrill ride that I never wanted to put down. It did drag some in the middle. The set up was great, and the climax engrossing, but the middle felt like it was there to fill a page count. At 377 pages, seems like something could have been cut.

The characters are becoming more real to me, although some of them still felt a little thin.

But I'm enough of a Disney geek that I truly didn't care. And the cliffhanger left me anxious for the third in the series, set for release this April.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Word Association for December 9th

I just can't get motivated to do anything right now. But I'm going to take a few minutes to do the word association for the week.

  1. Hotter :: than Heck
  2. Negotiator :: Hostage
  3. Crimson :: Tide
  4. Loses :: Looses
  5. Tide :: Detergent
  6. Alan :: Alad
  7. Fool :: for You
  8. Pink :: Shirt
  9. Palm :: Sunday
  10. Lipstick :: Chronicles

So let's see.

I find it funny that one of the words is hotter when I'm sitting here cold.

Crimson and Tide both on the list, and I used one as the answer to the other. I almost reversed it the second time, but I resisted teh urge.

"Fool for You" is a Nichole Nordeman song.

And you'll find a link to the blog Lipstick Chronicles in my blog roll if you really want to check out the blog from several different authors. I used to visit every day. Now I haven't been in at least a year.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Mini Review: Dead Man's Puzzle

Today, we're starting in on the books I read while I was gone for Thanksgiving. First up, Dead Man's Puzzle, the 10th Puzzle Lady Mystery by Parnell Hall. The series revolved around Cora Felton who acts as the public face of the Puzzle Lady newspaper column her niece Sherry writes even though Cora can't do a crossword puzzle to save her life.

This book finds Sherry out of town on her honeymoon, so Cora is hoping for a quiet two weeks. Unfortunately for her, the town hermit died in his rather run down shack. Chief Harper is more than ready to call it natural causes except for one thing, the crossword puzzle found at the scene. While Cora does some fast tap dancing to get the puzzle solved for the chief, the cause of death is determined to be murder. Can Cora solve it without finding any more puzzles?

I must admit I was getting frustrated with the series because I felt like the character interactions were stuck on the same thing for several books. While very little seems to have changed overall, having Sherry only in a couple of chapters and mostly out of town really helped with that.

Frankly, this was also one of the stronger mysteries in the series. While the puzzles seemed more forced than normal, the clues were there, and I felt like the solution was great and not just pulling a rabbit out of the hat at the end.

Plus the word play and humor I love where there all the way through.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

And We're Back

I had such loft plans to at least do one post while I was away for Thanksgiving. And yet here I am back in town for 48 hours, and I still haven't updated things.

The summary of my Thanksgiving? We had a great time.

Longer version? Here you go.

We did have a great time, although half the group decided to get sick. My niece might have been among them, but we couldn't tell for sure since she's only 4 months old. Dad, my brother, and sister-in-law were definitely sick. That put a damper on things a little, but since we didn't have big plans, it wasn't too bad.

Actually, we didn't leave their house too much. Went for a walk one day. Went to church on Sunday. And we were there the Sunday of the baby dedication, so we got to see my niece's dedication. And Monday I got to spend some quality time at Half Price Books. One thing I was looking for wasn't there, but I still managed to spend $25. Or is that I managed to only spend $25?

A storm was coming in as we left on Tuesday, so the first 40 minutes of the flight home were quite bumpy. Other then that, the flights were fine.

Since I cam back, I've been alternating between trying to catch up on TV and playing more Lego Indiana Jones. I've really gotten addicted to that game. Finished the Raiders of the Lost Ark levels on story mode. If I get a chance, I might try to start in on Temple of Doom tonight. But I am definitely watching the first half of the Monk finale so I am ready for tomorrow. And I'm doing a little Christmas shopping, too. So we'll just see how things develop.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Word Association for November 29th

So, I'm hanging out at the kitchen table at my brother and sister-in-law's. My niece is done for a nap. Thought I'd take a moment to update. Okay, so I'm really just taking a moment for this week's word association.

  1. MacGyver :: Gadgets
  2. Garter :: Belt
  3. Wedge :: Lever
  4. Inches :: Feet
  5. Code :: Breaker
  6. Water :: Swim
  7. Running :: Fitness
  8. Curly :: Fries
  9. Turkey :: Sandwich
  10. Stupor :: Coma

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Once More Before I Hit the Road

Well, I'm out of here in just over an hour, heading to my brother's for almost a week. And boy do I need it. I am so tired I can hardly function. Still. Either I will wake up soon or get a nice long nap on my trip to Dallas. The good news is I was able to switch to a window seat, so I will have somewhere to lean if I do doze off.

In my last blog, I forgot to mention that I got my lap top fixed. The moniter had started to serious go. All of it was dim, but half was much dimmer than the other. It was still under warentee (by a month), so Dell fixed it for free! Wow, I love the new moniter.

This weekend was very busy but lots of fun. Saturday, Josh, Daniel, and I met up with Angelique at Glendale Centre Theatre for Wait Until Dark. It's the story of a blind woman who becomes the target for some bad men when she inadvertantly gets a doll used to smuggle drugs. The last minute or two were a bit over the top, but the rest of it was very well done.

Sunday I spent lots of time at church. I actually went to my office and hung out after Sunday School so I could go to the new member's lunch after third service. It was a nice time of fellowship and I got to meet some new people. But that meant I didn't get home until after 2. I turned around and was back to church by 5 for the annual Thanksgiving fellowship and pie baking contest. No, I didn't enter. But I did taste some excellent pies. If I am going to enter, I am going to need to figure out a good crust recipe.

From there, I hung out with Joe and Josh while watching more Babylon 5. We are definitely up to the great stuff, now.

I've been on an ornament reviewing kick this month. got 14 done. I think I'm good for this year, but we'll see if the bug strikes again next month.

The last couple of days have just been trying to stay up to date on TV so I am all caught up before I leave. And I did it. I'll be behind again when I get home, but it's always nice to start out a trip up to date.

Since I'll have my computer and can also blog from my iPod Touch, I'll try to pop in once or twice while I'm gone.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Just Left My Nightstand

Since November is winding down already, it's time for this month's What's on Your Nightstand. They allow us some freedom with this, so I am going to do the mini review of the book I just finished reading, NERDS by Michael Buckley.

Yes, this book is aimed at late elementary school or jr. high. But don't let that stop you.

It tells the story of Jackson Jones, one of the most popular kids at Nathan Hale Elementary until the day he gets braces. But when his old friends start ignoring him, he discovers the school's secret. It is really the headquarters for a secret spy branch called NERDS (National, Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society). Since he has found their secret, he is invited to join their ranks. But will his new friends accept him? Can he learn to be a spy?

This book is an absolute riot. The laughs are plentiful and the cituations are a little silly at times as well. You might know Michael Buckley from his Sisters Grimm books. The same creativity is shown here.

The creativity makes up a little for the pacing, which is slow to start. But the final third is sharply written and very hard to put down.

While I felt like I got to know Jackson, some of the other characters were a little thin. Hopefully, they will be better fleshed out as the series progresses.

If you want a creative book for your kids this Christmas, this is it.

Word Association for November 24th

I've got just enough time for some word association right now.

  1. Marathon :: Run
  2. Debt :: Pay Off
  3. Turn :: Around
  4. Image :: Picture
  5. Sofa :: Sit
  6. Envelope :: Mail
  7. Cart :: Horse
  8. Process :: Evaluation
  9. Question :: Answer
  10. Rumor :: Control

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mini Review: The Treacherous Teddy

Today's book is The Treacherous Teddy by John J. Lamb. This book is the fifth in a series.

Ashleigh Lyon is on one of her shifts as a deputy when she is sideswiped by a car leaving a driveway. When the car escapes, she goes back to the accident scene and finds a dead man. He has an arrow sticking out of his chest, which may mean it was just a hunting accident. Is that the case, or was it murder?

With the teddy bear theme of the series, you might think these are light and fluffy. The reality is they are pretty serious mysteries. With the author being a retired cop, they take on a police procedural edge.

But what I really love are Ashleigh and our main character, Brad. They are a married couple still very much in love. And the puns scattered throughout tickle my funny bone.

The plot started a little slowly, but once it got going, I was certianly hooked. I didn't want to put the book down at all but keep reading to find out who done it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Week and a Half at a Glance

I've gotten a little obsessed with catching up on those reviews, haven't I? Let's talk about what else has been going on in my life.

So, the 7th and 8th were a busy weekend. Okay, so Sundays are always busy with church and Babylon 5. But the 7th was a birthday party for a couple of friend's one year olds. It was a tad chilly to be sitting out in the park in the shade, but we had a good time. Hamburgers, cake, and lots of presents. Heck, there was even a quickly ultimate Frisbee game that my team won.

The next couple of days, I went on the Finance retreat for work. Okay, so it was more like two days of off site meetings and not a retreat in that sense. But it was good to be there and see how things are beginning to shape up for next year.

Wednesday night, I hung out with some friends for dinner and Meet the Robinsons. Finally borrowed Joe's external hard drive, too. Good times.

Other than that, the rest of last week was pretty boring and quiet. Just work and home watching TV. Loved the second episode of V.

Last weekend started out with Bible study on Friday night. A convicting chapter on anger. Saturday, I missed ultimate Frisbee to go to a goodbye party for some friends who are moving to Oregon. I'm glad I went, but that wasn't a good reason to get together wtih people. No one can move!

And Sunday, I finished my membership class at church. Now I just need to actually fill out the application and contact the elder to set up an appointment. I keep forgetting to do these minor things.

And that's about it. Can't believe it's Wednesday already this week. Where does the time go?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mini Review: Mama Does Time

Late last week, I finished Mama Does Time by Deborah Sharp.

Mace Bauer was looking forward to a nice quiet evening at home, but that was before Mama called from jail. Seems the body of a man was found in her trunk, and the nice, new detective in the little town of Himmarshee, Florida, seems to think that makes her a suspect. Mace knows that can't be the case, but the detective just won't listen. And so Mace starts poking around to find a better suspect. Can she prove her mother isn't a murderer?

I've got to admit, I found the pace a tad uneven. I'm not sure why, because most of the chapters ended with some new tid bit about the case. But I often left like we weren't getting anywhere until the end of the chapter.

However, I loved the characters. Mace, her mother, and her sisters are very real and very fun people. I didn't laugh often at the book, but I did have to laugh at some of their exchanges.

I'm definitely planning on reading the next book in the series. In fact, I asked for it for Christmas.

And would you believe this catches me up on my reviews here on the blog? Well, at least until I finish my current read tonight.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Word Association for November 15th

Yep, I'm doing my word association on Sunday twice in a row.

  1. Grace :: Free Gift of God
  2. Shower :: Wet
  3. Alice :: in Wonderland
  4. Purple :: People Eaters
  5. Apartment :: Rent
  6. 3 :: 4
  7. Car :: Drive
  8. Pregnant :: Baby
  9. Counselor :: Almighty
  10. Discretion :: Gross!

Wow, was that first one the correct Christian answer or what? And Almighty Counselor is in the same boat.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mini Review: Peter and the Starcatchers

Somehow, I had never quite gotten around to Peter and the Starcatchers from the combined minds of Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry. See, I've always loved Peter Pan, so this prequel seemed like something I would like.

The book finds Peter being sent from London on ship to a far away land where he and a few other orphans will become the servant of the wicked king there. But along the way, he meets a girl with a secret about star stuff. Soon, he's fighting off pirates and a horrid storm to protect it from falling into the wrong hands.

By the time the book is over, all the elements from the classic tale are in place. And, frankly, that was part of the fun for me, seeing how it all comes together.

But the story itself was rather fun and suspenseful. I always had a hard time putting the book down.

As much as I love the story, I've got to admit that Peter is a rather horrid character. Here, he's actually a very good character. I appreciated that change.

My only real complaint is the multiple view points. While that can work well to tell a story, for the final third of this book, the changes between view points were so quick it was more a distraction than an aid to the storytelling.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mini Review: Donald in Mathmagic Land

When I signed up for the Alice in Wonderland reading challenge hosted over at Take Me Away, I knew right away what I intended to watch for my "extra" movie. See, I was already planning to watch the Disney Treasures set The Chronological Donald vol. 4, and that includes one of the options, "Donald in Mathmagic Land."

To be honest, this was a very weak cartoon in the set. It's a half hour short that lets us see how math is part of every day life. Bits of it were interesting, but it wasn't really entertaining. This is something you'd see in school, not something to watch for entertainment.

Having said that, there was one part I really enjoyed. It involved a certain set of rules for billards. I wasn't familiar with everything, but the explanation of how the players figure out the angles as well as the real life guy doing the demonstrations was pretty impressive. I wish I had that kind of control over my shots in regular pool.

As to the Alice connections, they were pretty weak. A couple of the creatures that Donald finds in the first minute are obviously taken from Disney's version of the tale that came out several years before, especially the pencil bird. And, as they are talking about the math of chess, they briefly talk about Through the Looking Glass and put Donald in a costume of Disney's Alice.

All told, this isn't something I will be going back to rewatch soon. But it was interesting to see the first time around.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mini Review: The Crack in the Lens

Today's review offering is The Crack in the Lens by Steve Hockensmith. It's the fourth historical mystery about Sherlock Holmes loving, cowboy brothers Old Red and Big Red.

This book finds the duo traveling back to Texas to figure out who killed Old Red's one true love several years before. With a cold trail to follow, can Old Red still find the killer? Why does everyone in town seem intent to running them out? And will Old Red's emotions make it impossible for him to use logic like he normally does.

This aren't nearly the clean cozy type books I normally read, and each one seems to be getting darker as well. That's absolutely the case here, as things get quite dark in the middle.

It is still a compelling read, however. Because I already know and love the characters, I found their reversed personalities interesting. The plot kept me turning pages trying to figure out all this was happening.

This isn't quite a normal book for me, but I did enjoy it.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Word Association For November 8th

Wow, I'm actually doing the Word Association on Sunday for a change. Is this a sign the world is ending?

  1. Alarm :: Clock
  2. Guest :: Relations
  3. Worm :: Dirt
  4. Puppies :: Cute
  5. Honor :: Obey
  6. No! :: Yes!
  7. Stomach :: Ache
  8. Counter :: Stats
  9. Waffles :: Maple Syrup
  10. Plates :: Dishes

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Pretend I Have a Life

I must admit, I haven't been doing much updating outside of reading for the last couple of weeks. But frankly, that's because there hasn't been much going on.

Work has been, well, work. Not too much of excitement has happened recently. That might change this week with the Finance Retreat Monday and Tuesday.

Other than that, I pretty much come home and try to stay current on TV. What happened to that guy who wasn't going to add any new shows this year so he wouldn't be this stressed about it? I'd sure like to find him again.

I've also entered a 12 Christmas ornament review writing challenge at Epinions. Frankly, those reviews don't take a whole lot of time, but it does take a little bit more time.

On the TV front, I am certainly hooked on FlashForward. My favorite new show of the year by far. I think there is some potential with V, but we'll have to see how it progresses. On the returning show front, I still really enjoy Castle.

And the final season of Monk has been fantastic. They've gotten back to those little character moments that truly make the show. I will miss it, but I am thankful for 8 good years with the characters.

Last night I started out what will be a busy weekend by going to a game night for the career group. Played Farkle (aka Bunko. First time for me.) and talked. I took some Tim Tams, which were a huge hit.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Word Association for November 5

Shall we do this week's word association?

  1. Hairbrush :: "Oh Where is my hairbrush?"
  2. Sneak :: Attack
  3. Hole :: in the Wall
  4. Horror :: Movie
  5. Standard :: Issue
  6. Mailbox :: Etc.
  7. Attachment :: E-Mail
  8. Type :: Computer
  9. Nails :: Salon
  10. Storage :: Unlimited

Thanks. Now I think I'll have a certain VeggieTales song stuck in my head all night.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Mini Review: Through the Looking Glass

Let's get these posted, shall we?

Today's book is Through the Looking Glass (and What Alice Found There) by Lewis Carroll.

Once again, we follow Alice through a surreal adventure. This time, she finds herself in Mirror House. While exploring, she gets involved as a Pawn in a Chess game trying to become queen herself. Will she survive the adventures to make it to the eighth square?

I remember liking this book better than Alice in Wonderland, and I still feel that way. This one is very clever. I love how Alice finds things exactly backward of what she expects, like how to get to the garden (face the house). My favorite of these is the White Queen howling in pain before she is pricked with her hair pin.

I also had forgotten just how much Disney took from this book for the movie, and how much stuff we attribute to Alice in Wonderland that truly originated here. I remembered Tweedledum and Tweedledee, but I had forgotten that unbirthdays originated here.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Mini Review: A Date You Can't Refuse

I've got some mini reviews to catch up on, so let's get to it. Today, we'll look at A Date You Can't Refuse by Harley Jane Kozak.

Wollie never expected to transition her jury duty service into a new job, but that's just what happens when Yuri Milos offers her a job at MediasRex. The company trains Europeans on how to be American media darlings, and Wollie's job would be part driver, part dating/social setting coach. Further complicating things, the FBI rope her into spying on the MediasRex employees in exchange for guaranteeing that her brother will stay at his half-way house.

She has hardly moved into the MediasRex complex when she discovers that her predecessor died in a car crash that no one is willing to discuss. Was it the accident everyone says it is or murder? A body in a nearby canyon only increases the stakes. Can Wollie get out alive?

Despite how complicated it might sound, the plot actually flows quite nicely, and I was never lost for a moment. Confused by everything happening? Yes, but only as much as Wollie was. I was kept guessing by multiple plot points and twists and surprises. Trust me, that made it all the more fun.

Even with all the characters in the book, they really did stand apart, which made it quite easy to keep all the elements straight.

And it was funny. I was laughing as some of the antics of the characters at various points.

Trust me, if you are looking for a lightly comic romp, this is the book for you.

Challenge Completed: Support Your Local Library

I was going to conclude with a different book, but I've decided to go ahead and call this challenge completed. (I'm saving that library book for next year's reading challenge.)

So here are the books I read as part of the Support Your Local Library Challenge. Quite heavy on kid's books, wasn't it?

1. The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzie & Holly Black
2. The Seeing Stone by Tony DiTerlizzie & Holly Black
3. Lucinda's Secret by Tony DiTerlizzie & Holly Black
4. The Ironwood Tree by Tony Di Terlizzie & Holly Black
5. The Wrath of Mulgarath by Tony DiTerlizzie & Holly Black
6. Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford
7. Mark's Story: The Gospel According to Peter by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins
8. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
9. Shark Island by Joan Druett
10. Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin
11. Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Jumping Frogs by Donald J. Sobol
12. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Word Association for October 28

Let's squeeze in this week's word assocation tonight, shall we?

  1. Redskins :: Jim Zorn
  2. Show :: Ticket
  3. Smoker :: Gross
  4. Bad movie :: Great Review
  5. Play :: Theatre
  6. Jaguar :: Car
  7. Click :: Remote
  8. Production :: Company
  9. Sand :: Beach
  10. Foreign :: Currency

Okay, so who's impressed that I actually came up with a name for the Redskins? (I mean, besides me.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mini Review: Dial H for Hitchcock

Time for this month's What's On Your Nightstand.

Okay, so I'm doing these mini review slightly out of order at the moment. But since Dial H for Hitchcock actually comes out today officially, I thought I would start with it.

This series, written by Susan Kandel, features Cece Caruso, biographer of dead mystery authors. Somehow, as she works on each book, she finds herself in a case that is similar to their style.

In this book, Cece is struggling to finish her book on Hitchcock, so she goes to see a showing of Vertigo at a revival theater. The next morning, she finds a stranger's cell phone in her purse. Trying to return it, she witnesses a murder. Then the killer calls her on that phone and threatens her to keep quiet. As she begins to trying to unravel the plot, she finds herself in a classic wrong man conspiracy. Can she get out of it?

I've known Hitchcock would be the subject of this entry in the series for a couple of years now, so I've watched about 6 of his films in preparation. I have a feeling it really helped me enjoy the film and spot the parallels, not that you'd need it to enjoy the book.

There were very minimal pacing issues in the first third of the book, but after that it took off and never looked back. There weren't any suspense moments like Hitchcock had, but those are kind of hard to do in first person narration.

All in all, I really enjoyed this entry in the series. I'm sorry I've finished it already. I'd love to keep savoring it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And that's a Wrap

Well, I was really hoping to finish Dial H for Hitchcock. For one thing, I need to know how it all ends. But I am 50 pages from the end and have reached my limit. Besides, I do need to be at church at 8 tomorrow.

So as a grand total, I got in one adult novel and one classic kid's novel. Just over that, really, since I started with 70 pages of a novel this morning and finished with 50 pages left tonight.

Just think how much I would have gotten read if I hadn't been driving all over Southern California this afternoon.

Hey, this was fun. I hope it works out for me to do it again in the spring. And maybe actually devote the entire day to it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

11 PM Update

I thought I was doing well. I'm on page 173 of Dial H for Hitchcock and was debating just how long I was going to stay up. But then I came in to check in on line and I started to feel the fatigue. We'll see how long I last before I give up to sleep before church tomorrow. I really want to make it to midnight.

Meanwhile, I am going to accept a mini-challenge from Lynn: Name 5 favorite books from my childhood. (And if you want to know more, follow the links to my reviews at Epinions.

1. The Gatehouse Mystery by Julie Campbell - The mystery is terrible, but this is the book that cemented my love of the Trixie Belden series for me. And that's been a big part of my life ever sense.

2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis - I fell in love the first time I read it in 3rd grade.

3. Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary - This book still contains one of the funniest chapters I have read anywhere. "Ramona and the PTA."

4. Creature of the Mist by Sigmund Brouwer - Another favorite mystery series. This one can stump me even on rereads. And this is the best of the series.

5. My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett - Fantasy and adventure mixed together with some humor.

Book Two Behind Me

Yes, I have finished Through the Looking Glass. Still a crazy but fun book. I just have to wonder what exactly inspired Lewis Carroll to write such nonesense.

Having now read the stuff I needed to read for the membership class at church tomorrow (yep, homework), I'm not ready to start in on Dial H for Hitchcock, the book I got at the booksigning today. It's the fifth in a mystery series that I really enjoy.

Not sure when I will check in again, but I'm off to the living room for now.

And We're Back

Yeah, I'm feeling a little guilty since I didn't get much read at all the last 7 hours. But I certainly had fun. The book signing was small, but that just meant I got to chat with the author more. Even bought The Looking Glass War by the next author who was signing. (Forgot his name.)

I parked at a Borders not too far from the field where I was going to play ultimate Frisbee, and read for an hour or so. Unfortunately, I feel asleep for about 20 minutes. That means I figure it will be about an hour before I finish Through the Looking Glass.

I'll check back in then.

Out and About

Yes, I know today is supposed to be about reading all day long. But I'm actually leaving the house for a while now.

First up, I'm going to a book signing. Techically, Susan Kandel's Dial H for Hitchcock doesn't come out until Tuesday, but she's doing a signing today. And don't worry, it's the third book on my readathon list.

I'll have a little time to kill, so I will grab lunch and read.

Then I am taking a non-book break and playing ultimate Frisbee for a couple of hours, my normal Saturday afternoon activity.

If I can find free Wi-fi, I'll check in at some point. But if not, see you when I get back.

One Book Down

So apparently, I was off on the start time of the readathon by a few hours. Oh well. Not much I can do about it now. Frankly, setting my alarm for 7AM on a Saturday was early enough as it was.

Maybe that does explain my crazy readathon related dreams between 5 and 7 or so. I was only dozing that entire time, and every time I dozed off, I would dream about trying to read by falling asleep while doing it. Rather funny actually.

But this post is to announce that I have finished my first book of the readathon! Well, don't be too excited yet. I went to bed last night with only 70 pages left of A Date You Can't Refuse by Harley Jane Kozak. That book was a wild ride from start to finish. Climax could have been stronger, but it's a minor complaint. I loved it.

Right now, I'm off to shower and eat breakfast, then start in on book 2 - Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll.

And I've got to thank the cheerleaders. I can't tell you how heart warming it was to log in just now and actually find comments on my blog posts. Thanks!

Welcome to the Readathon

So today, I am partipating in the Fall Readathon. The idea? Read for 24 hours.

I'm not quite going to be reading the full time. For one thing, I'm going to a book signing at noon. And I'm not giving up ultimate Frisbee. Plus I have to sleep since I have to be at church at 8 Sunday morning.

The readathon is scheduled to start at 7AM Pacific time. Knowing me, I'll still be in bed when that happens. But I've scheduled this post to let you know I will be reading and I will be updating as the day goes on. Not sure how often or when, but I will do it.

So I'll see you throughout the day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fitness? I Think I Tried that Once

You might have noticed one thing lacking in my recent posts about my life. (I'm not talking about all those book posts. BTW, there will be lots of those tomorrow). My fitness work has really suffered recently.

I've just lost all motivation to do any of the things I know I should be doing. Instead, I'm spending time on the internet, reading, and watching TV. And I'm staying up way too late doing it. That makes it hard to get up and go running in the morning. Heck, it makes it hard to get up in the morning period.

I did run on Thursday morning. Got in 3 miles, dragging my friend Kenny along with me. Yeah, I shouldn't have pushed him that far. We'll see if he ever runs with me again.

The only other thing I've been keeping up with are push ups. I'm working hard toward doing 100 push ups at one time. I'm almost done with the program, so we'll see if I can actually do it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mini Review: Heat Wave

Yep, I'm enough of a TV geek that it seeps into the books I read. Case in point is my last book, Heat Wave by Richard Castle.

If you've missed the TV show Castle, you're really missing out. The premise is that best selling author Richard Castle is shadowing a NYPD homicide investigator so he can base his next character on her. This book was released as the second season started, and is the book that is being released on the show right now.

It follows Nikki Heat, a NYPD homicide inspector as she investigates the death of a wealthy real estate investor. Since he fell six stories to his death, first thought is suicide. But it quickly becomes apparent it was murder. Who wanted him dead?

This book is an absolute blast for fans of the TV series. The characters are thinly disguised versions of the TV characters. They even worked in a writer characters named Rook. The plot was pretty good as well. It kept me entertained and guessing what was happening until the end.

The real flaw with the book was the writing. At the beginning, it was over written, bordered on pretensious. Some of the sentences had multiple phrases and rambled on. Fortunately, as the book progressed, the writing smoothed out and I was able to get lost in the action without the words distracting me.

Word Association for October 22nd

Time for some word association for the week.

  1. Werewolf :: Howl
  2. Jim :: Trixie
  3. 2x4 :: to the Head
  4. Unruly :: Kids
  5. Component :: Eletronic
  6. Prolific :: Writer
  7. Wrestler :: Strong
  8. Huh? :: Confused
  9. Dolls :: Girls
  10. Super! :: Fantastic!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This Is Just a Test

So here I am testing the free BlogPress app to post on my blog from my iPod. We'll see how it works.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Fabulous Weekend

This weekend was busy, but it was wonderful. I'm so thankful for good friends.

My weekend actually started off Friday afternoon. I took time off work and headed to the beach. My roommate Daniel had a friend in town, which created the perfect excuse. And it was a perfect day. After the rain we had earlier in the week, the sun was out and it had warmed up. It had to be mid-80's in Malibu with a very slight breeze. Could not have asked for a nicer day.

Saturday was part two. I went to Magic Mountain with a group of friends. I thought it was going to be very crowded after the first few minutes, but it didn't turn out to be as bad as I had feared. We still had to wait, especially for the big rides, but it could have been much worse.

The only person I knew well before the weekend started was Daniel. Basically, he'd invited me to hang out with his friends for two days. Didn't phase me in the least. I had a great time.

Sunday, I started the membership class at church in the morning.

The afternoon was supposed to be a nice, relaxing time at home. That didn't exactly work out when Kurt called to see if I want to join him and Kellie to see Where the Wild Things Are. I debated about it before Daniel, Sam, and I joined them. Turns out none of us really liked it. I was merely ambivolent about it, but the rest hated it. One thing I didn't like was the sadness and loneliness it made me feel. Go back and look at my weekend and then tell me why I should be feeling lonely. It took me a couple hours to shake it off.

Fortunately, I went over to Joe's. Hanging out with him and Josh while watching Babylon 5 helped me shake that feeling.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mini Review: Ghost a la Mode

Tonight's mini review is of Ghost a la Mode, the first in a new series by Sue Ann Jaffarian.

The book introduces us to Emma Whitecastle who is going through a divorce. But after going with a friend to a seance, she finds she was followed home by a ghost. The ghost is her great-great-great grandmother, a woman who was falsely accused of killing her husband. And the ghost is very insistant that Emma clear her name. Can she do it after all these years?

I normally don't go for the paranormal in my mystery, but since I got a free copy by doing that 5K I did over Labor Day, I wasn't going to pass that up. And I'm glad I didn't because I really enjoyed it. This was one of those books I never wanted to put down. Unfortunately, the climax was a little weaker than I like, but that's my only real complaint.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mini Review: 7th Heaven

In my effort to get caught up on my October reading, here's another mini-review. Today I'll be talking about 7th Heaven by James Patterson.

As with most books in this series, the four women who are the main characters find themselves facing parallel plots. Up first is a new clue and a confession in the disappearance of a former governor's publically loved son. Did the prostitute that confessed really do it?

Second, a series of arson/murders are happening in the San Francisco Bay Area. The killers set fires, leaving the wealthy owners tied up in their own homes. Can these criminals be caught?

This was another toss up. One of the plots was well done and reached an exciting climax. The other one? It fizzled and died before reaching a bad climax. Not happy with it at all.

I do realize I have come to love these characters. In fact, one of them was being stupid with her love life, and I want to yell at her and shake her to wake her up. Probably get me beaten to a pulp if I tried it to her face. So I will keep reading the series. But it would be nice if there was one great plot again.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Word Association for October 14th

Time for this week's word association.

  1. My treat :: I'm paying
  2. Bell :: Ring
  3. Five :: Ten
  4. You’re crazy :: But I'll watch you do it
  5. Disgust :: Unhappy
  6. Tempest :: in a Teapot
  7. Bummer :: Dude
  8. Brim :: Full to the
  9. Hose :: Water
  10. Lollipop :: Suck

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mini Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Today's mini review fits in perfectly with 5 Minutes for Book's Children's Classics Carnival. I'm talking about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll which I reread.

I'm sure most people are familiar with the basic premise. One day Alice sees a White Rabit go by wearing a pocket watch. She decides to follow him, falls down his rabbit hole, and finds herself in the strange place of Wonderland. There, she grows and shrinks after eating stuff, meets a Caterpillar, goes to the strangest tea party she's ever been to, and runs afoul of the Queen of Hearts.

The book is silly fun. Adding to it are the nonesense poems by Lewis Carroll scattered throughout. I enjoyed most of it.

However, rereading it as an adult, I found parts of it slow and repetitive. Honestly, Alice spends too much time growing and shrinking and growing again. I was ready for her to move on to something different. I remember liking it as a kid, so I wonder if it bothered me back then. Either way, I enjoyed it for the most part this time around, too. Maybe I'm just being a little more picky.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Insert Title Here

If I had something interesting to use as a title, I would. But I'm drawing a blank right now. So let's just talk about my week, shall we?

I started out my week by going to a book signing last Monday night. Michael Buckley was in Southern California promoting his new series, NERDS. I am glad I went because there were only 3 of us total. He's a funny guy and this book sounds like lots of fun. I'm looking forward to reading it soon.

The rest of the week was rather quiet. Tihs last weekend was Outreach week, when the students leave campus to go and work with churches in California (and other states, at least at one point) evalgelising and helping the church in any way they can. That made it quiet around campus. And at home. My roommate was gone for the week as well.

That did mean the fitness center was closed down. And just as I was getting back into working out. However, I did push ups at home and ran Thursday after work. Plus I played ultimate Frisbee Saturday. But not working out allowed me to get some serious reading in. Amazing how one hour of reading a day makes the books fly by. I've got to figure out how to do that without sacrificing any TV or anything else I want to do. (And as long as I'm dreaming....)

Last night, I went with Joe and Angelique to see the Toy Story double feature. Here's a shocker, I loved it!

Really exciting life I lead, isn't it?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mini Review: Plum Pudding Murder

My second mini review of the fall is on Plum Pudding Murder, the latest Hannah Swensen mystery by Joanne Fluke.

The book opens 10 days before Christmas. Everyone in Lake Eden, Minnesota, is hopping, getting ready for the holiday. And that's especially true at The Cookie Jar, where Hannah is trying to keep up with her normal customers plus make extra cookies for catering orders and for the Christmas Tree lot in town.

But it's the Christmas tree lot that is proving to be the sour note in the holiday. People are beginning to suspect that Larry the owner isn't as honest as he is cracked up to be. So when Hannah finds his dead body on the lot late one night, it's hardly a surprise. Who shot him?

I love this series. So it's hardly a surprise that I loved this volume as well. There were some slow parts in the first third, but once it got going, it really held my interest. And the characters are absolutely charming. And there are still more mouth watering recipes.

If you enjoy this series, you'll like the latest installment. And if you are looking for a light mystery series, this may be for you. Just start with the first, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, as the characters are most of the fun.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Word Association for October 7th

Wow, this thing is getting neglected again. Maybe some word assocation will fool you all into thinking I am still around.

  1. Yacht :: Sailing
  2. Paula :: Abdul
  3. Delete :: All Suspects (Donna Andrews title)
  4. Auto :: Car
  5. Obsolete :: Typewriter
  6. Dedicated :: Hard Worker
  7. Old :: News
  8. Convince :: Argue
  9. Poster :: Child
  10. Erase :: Chalk Board

Friday, October 02, 2009

Another Week Gone Already?

Yikes, time does seem to be flying. I mean, we're in October already.

Frankly, this week hasn't been that big a deal. All the fun was last weekend.

Saturday was the launch party for Plum Pudding Murder. It was well attended, although it wasn't as crowded as the last one. That's a good thing. I'm sure the store broke several fire codes that day. Had a chance to chat with Joanne and Laura Levine as well. All in all, it was a fun day.

Sunday, I headed down to Santa Monica for one last summer hurrah. It was still in the 100s here, but down there it was foggy. Still warm enough that I got hot playing ultimate Frisbee. Went down with Daniel and Billy, who played in the water the entire time. Still, it was a very pleasant day.

And Monday night my parents were in town. They were finally heading home from Texas. They got to see my new office and then we hung out at the condo playing Toy Story Mania! They seemed to like it better than I thought they would.

Other than that, I've been trying to keep up with TV, especially since I've been recording Ken Burn's new documentary series on the National Parks. I've watched the first two episodes, and I'm calling it a day. There is some good information there, but it is too slow to really keep my attention. Heck, I downloaded a solitare game for my iPod last night and played that through most of it.

It's certainly cooled off. It is still hitting 90 most days, but it getting to the 50's at night. And the Santa Anna winds were really blowing yesterday. I guess fall is here. Man, I wish it were still summer. I just love that time of year.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mini Review: The Unusual Suspects

Here we are. Time for the first mini review of the fall. If you happen to be new to my blog, following the link will take you to my full review at Epinions.

Today's subject is The Unusual Suspects, the second Sisters Grimm book by Michael Buckley. The story is set in a universe where fairy tale characters are real. They are trapped in a small New York town, and the Grimm family is responsible for keeping them in line.

Our heroes are Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, two kids who have just learned all of this. They have also learned that their parents are being held prisoner by some strong magic, but no one knows where.

This book, however, centers around their new school. Something strange is happening as half of the students sleep through the day. Then Sabrina's teacher is found murdered in a giant spider web. What's happening?

I found the start of the book rather slow, but once the plot actually got going, it picked up speed quickly and stayed that way. Heck, I read the second half in one evening. And the cliffhanger made me wish the next book in the series were on my Fall Into Reading list.

The characters were a tad on the flat side, but there are moments that hint at the potential for more development in future books.

My take is that the book is aimed at 6th to 8th graders. That did make it a rather fast read for me, but it didn't dampen my enjoyment in the slightest.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Word Association for September 28th

Time for this week's word association.

  1. What pleases you? :: A good story
  2. Whatever :: Uncaring
  3. Chime :: Doorbell
  4. Pleading :: Mercy
  5. Simulate :: Airplane
  6. Flashing :: Warning
  7. Directional :: Compass
  8. Pink :: Red
  9. Access :: Database
  10. Ugly :: Beautiful

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yes, I Do Have a LIfe Outside of Books

I know, my blog has turned into all books all the time for the last week or so. And I will have all those mini-reviews as I get into Fall Into Reading. But let's talk about the rest of my life, shall we?


Okay, maybe it's not quite that bad.

This weekend was relaxing. First one home for a few weeks. Saturday, I went down and played ultimate Frisbee. And it was an absolute chore to get myself out of the house. I'm really glad I went, however. Fun as always. But the rest of the day was unproductive. Just in a blaw mood and I'm not sure why.

Sunday, I got back into things. Wrote several reviews in between church and Joe's. While over there, we finished season 2 of Babylon 5, and he asked Josh and I to be ushers in his wedding in December.

I've started up with crossfit again. So far so good. Well, I've been really soar again. Looking forward to two or three months down the line where I am not soar all the time. But my shoulder seems to be holding up pretty well, which makes me happy.

Not that I've stopped running. Ran three miles again Tuesday. Changed me route some to include the hill that is a nearby park. Did better at it than I thought I would. Need to keep that up as I prepare for the Mud Run in June.

But the biggest news is that I got my iPod Touch. I wrote reviews like crazy for it over at Epinions in August. I found out right before I left for Texas that I had won. Well, it arrived on Friday. I'm already hooked. Heck, I'm already thinking about how much better a real iPhone would be. Is there any hope for me?

And this week, the new TV season is hitting me full force. It would help if Dancing with the Stars were on its normal 3 hours instead of 5. I've got to get home and play some catch up tonight. At least I'm not blogging the show this year. That's been real nice so far. I can half watch the show if I want, and definitely get through faster as I don't have to pause it to make sure I get comments right for the recap. But that's all I've watched this week so far. Well, that and the first hour of Heroes. Tonight will be a big tv marathon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's Leaving My Nightstand - Septebmer Edition

In addition to the start of Fall into Reading, today is also the Tuesday for What's on Your Nightstand. Now we had the option of just linking up our Fall into Reading post, but I'm going to take the opportunity to talk about the book I finished on my lunch hour (hence the title of my post).

Docketful of Poesy by Diana Killian is the fourth book in the Poetic Death series. What's interesting is that this is the first entry in three years, the first with a new publisher, and the first to be written in first person.

But it was wonderful to spend time with Grace and Peter again. Grace is an American English teacher who specialises in the Romantic poets. Three years ago, she met Peter, a reformed jewel thief who now runs an antique shop in the Lake District of England.

This book involves a film being made from their first adventure together. But strange things seem to be happening on the set.

This book was slower, especially in the middle, than I remember the others being. Then again, it's been three years since I've read the others, so I could be mistaken on that. The ending managed to tie everything together nicely, however. Peter and Grace are still a wonderful couple, and I got caught up in the story just because of them.

Tonight, I start in on my fall reading list.

Fall Into Reading 2009 - The List

Fall is in the air. At least for anyone not here in Southern California. And that means it is time for the Fall into Reading challenge. (Follow the link to read more about this fun excuse to read books).

So, here are the books I am hoping to read. Okay, so it's an overly ambitious list, especially with starting up Crossfit again. But we'll see how far I can get, right?

Books left over from my Spring Reading Thing 2009 list:
Exposure by Brandilyn Collins
Double Minds by Terri Blackstock
A Date You Can't Refuse by Harley Jane Kozak
Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle

Recent Books by Favorite Authors I Still Haven't Read:
Dead Man's Puzzle by Parnell Hall
Under the Cajun Moon by Mindy Starns Clark
Ghost a la Mode by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan
The Treacherous Teddy by John J. Lamb
The Crack in the Lens by Steve Hockensmith
Offworld by Robin Parrish

New Books by Favorite Authors:
Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke
Dial H for Hitchcock by Susan Kandel
Mr. Monk in Trouble by Lee Goldberg
The Chocolate Cupid Killing by JoAnna Carl

Books Crossovered with other Reading Challenges:
7th Heaven by James Patterson
The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station by Dorothy Gilman
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Alice Through the Needle's Eye by Gilbert Adair
Dem Bone's Revenge by Kris Neri

Other Books I Want to Read:
Mama Does Time by Deborah Sharp
Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn by Ridley Pearson
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
The Unusual Suspects by Michael Buckley
A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

That's 27 books, one less than I attempted in the spring. Back then, I was reading on my lunch hour, so this will be a lot less. And the kid's books I have on my list are longer than the ones I had last time, too. We'll see how I do, I guess.


Because 27 books just wasn't enough, I've come across too more I have to add.

Heat Wave by Richard Castle
NERDS by Michael Buckley

Monday, September 21, 2009

Word Association for September 21st

In between all my Reading Challenge posts, I thought I'd do this week's word association.

  1. Disconnect :: I don't follow
  2. Contribute :: Money
  3. Dismay :: Shock
  4. Constant :: Dripping
  5. Nails :: Chalkboard
  6. Vibrate :: Color
  7. Therapy :: Expensive
  8. Stupid :: Poor Choice
  9. Poo :: Upset
  10. Commune :: Hippies

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Reading Challenge: China Challenge

I'm signing myself up for the China Challenge. I mean, how could I resist when I was already planning on re-reading Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station in the next couple of months?

So I am taking the whimpy way out and only reading one book. But I still figured I should sign up. If you think you'd be interested, follow that link to find out more.

Reading Challenge Completed: 1st in a Series

So, I have now finished the 1st in a series reading challenge. Here are the books I read for it.

1. Too Big to Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian
2. A Mind is a Terrible Things to Read by William Rabkin
3. Murder in Miniature by Margaret Grace
4. 1st to Die by James Patterson
5. The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzie & Holly Black
6. Wake Up Little Susie by Ed Gorman
7. Murder at the Academy Awards by Joan Rivers and Jerrilyn Farmer
8. Kilt Dead by Kaitlyn Dunnett
9. Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford
10. Murder in the Marais by Cara Black
11. Still Life by Louise Penny
12. Death of a Cozy Writer by G. M. Malliet

So if many of these also authors also showed up in my list for the 2nds challenge, why did it take so long for me to finish this one?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Don't Want to Be Home

I have the cutest niece in the entire world.

I don't care what anyone says.

Unfortunately, she was in a very fussy mood all weekend, and wasn't sleeping well. So it could have been a better visit. But I would turn around and head back to visit again in a heartbeat if I didn't have this pesky thing called work to worry about.

My flight out was uneventful on Friday (despite it being 9/11). Had a little turbulence heading into Dallas, but it wasn't that bad at all.

Mom and Dad picked me up, and we headed straight to my brother and sister-in-law's. And that's when I finally got to meet my niece. Wow, she is so tiny. And cute. And cuddly when she wants to be.

Like with most kids, she started squirming and crying when I held her. But I did hold her several times. And I spent plenty of time watching her.

Have I mentioned how cute she is?

Other than that, we didn't do a whole lot. B and SiL have some good friends who moved today, so we spent a little bit of time with them. We went to church on Sunday.

And they introduced me to the fun that is the Lego video games. I played Indiana Jones and watched Batman. I'm not normally a fan of mission games like those, but I think I will have to get them, and get them soon.

It rained the entire weekend. The first 48 hours I was there, it was coming down good. After that, it slowed down. But Monday night, it was the occasional drizzle with just cloudy skies. It was supposed to clear up and be sunny again starting today. It was also relatively cool (low 70's) and not nearly as sticky humid as I had expected.

It was so hard to fly back yesterday. On the other hand, we had a good flight. And the flight was only half full. I think that's the first time I've seen that. Probably because we were one of many flights flying on a random Tuesday.

We'll be back for Thanksgiving. I can't wait.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Word Association for September 14th

I'll do the word assocation early this week for a change.

  1. Omelette :: Eggs and Cheese
  2. Classic :: Book
  3. Thrifty :: Save
  4. Search :: Engine
  5. Fan :: Author
  6. Fussy :: Baby
  7. I am not :: Happy (don't know where that came from because I am)
  8. Indulge :: Ice Cream
  9. Poor :: Me
  10. Manicure :: Nails

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm Outta Here Again

Tonight I will be packing up and getting ready for another trip. This time, I'm flying to Dallas to finally get to meet my niece. I'm so excited!

I am taking my computer with me, but there are no promises that I will be taking much time to update anything. But you can bet I will tell you all about my trip when I get back the middle of next week.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Word Association for 9/9/9

Time for this week's word association.

  1. Abusive :: Relationship
  2. Psychotic :: Breakdown
  3. Parents :: Loving
  4. Yell :: Shout
  5. Amulet :: Necklace
  6. Sandstorm :: Gritty
  7. Amusement :: Park
  8. Imitation :: Flattery
  9. Baby :: Niece
  10. Rainbows :: Clouds

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Disney Family Fun 5K - 2009 (and other fun stuff)

Want to know about my weekend and the race? Well, buckle down because this is a long one.

So, I didn't get out of here until 5 Friday afternoon. Traffic down to Anaheim was actually pretty good, for the first half of the trip. Then things came to a standstill, literally. It normally takes me an hour to get from home to Disneyland. It took two hours to get to the exit. Then another half hour to get from the exit to the Disneyland Hotel (about 5 minutes without traffic). By now it was 7:30, and I had until 8 to check in. But once out of my car, I had no problem finding where I was supposed to be and getting my packet.

From there, I headed over to the Paradise Pier Hotel to meet up with Shirley and Doug. I snagged a copy of their room key for use the next day. Then it was off to Buena Park to check into my hotel. After dinner and a trip to Wal-Mart, it was time to go to bed.

Unfortunately, my mind wouldn't cooperate. I tried reading the book I brought with me. I tried reading the Bible. Nothing was working. I got maybe two hours of sleep. I'm sure it had to do with needing to be up and ready to meet the other runners at 6AM. Any time I have to be up extra early, I lay in bed worrying about being there on time and not sleeping. You'd think I'd learn not to do that by now, but there you go.

So, naturally, I was lying in bed wide awake when my alarm went off Saturday morning. And that's when I discovered that my hotel room only had hot water. And we're talking scalding hot water. So I had to change rooms before I was off to the race. Then the street I was planning to take to Paradise Pier was blocked off. Not sure why, since the race didn't affect it at all. Anyway, it was about 6:05 when I pulled in and parked. Only 10 minutes later. (And yes, I do find this funny now.)

The theme of the race this year was Mickey's Main Street USA. That means as we lined up in the tram path, the Dapper Dans were entertaining us with barbershop quartet music. That made me happy, or at least it would have had I been able to really hear them. People were talking, so it was hard to really listen.

Some people, like me, were just dressed to race. Others were dressed like Disney characters or at least wearing Disney hats. It made for a fun, festive crowd.

At 6:45, the Dapper Dans sang the National Anthem (it was beautiful), and we were off. We started out by running down the tram route from the Mickey and Friends parking structure to the main entrances to the Disneyland parks.

Of course, I use the term running very loosely. It was crowded. For the first mile or so, I ran when I could, but I was often forced to walk while weaving in and out of the slower people. Now this is not a complaint about the walkers. It is more a complaint about those who were walking next to their friends, spread across the entire path so no one could pass them. (I was talking to someone Sunday who did the half marathon, and it sounded like they had the same problem there. And in the marathon, you were supposed to start at staggered times so that the faster people wouldn't get slowed down by the slower people.)

Once we'd reached the area between the two parks, the route led us in a side entrace of California Adventure. We came in right by Soarin' Over California and then ran toward the main entrace. At the plaza in the middle, we headed right, but not before seeing our first "characters." In this case, I use the term loosely since it was the cast of the High School Musical 3 show. Some people were stopping for pictures (actually, there was lots of picture taking along the way), but I just yelled "Go Wildcats!" and continued on my way. From there, we ran through the Bug's Life kid's area and backstage.

Honestly, the fact that we were running backstage was one of the big draws for me. But I didn't get very much insight into the running of Disney from back there. It just looked like a bunch of wearhouses. Yeah, really thrilling.

By now we were at the one mile mark. They had a big sign up and a clock. Of course, the clock started when they started the race. Since I started two or three minutes later, I really don't know what my real times would be. But anyway, it was 18 something. Considering how much I had walked, I just remembered that and kept going.

About the time we emerged from back stage to run down the main street of Hollywood Backlot, I broke free of the pack and was able to run the rest of the way.

We were backstage quickly for a water stop at the mile and a half mark. I didn't get anything and just kept on running.

We left California Adventure and headed across the way to Disneyland. We immediately hung a right and headed back stage in Tomorrowland. I got a kick out of seeing a bridge the train must go over during the Grand Canyon or Prehistoric sections. I never knew we were on a bridge there.

We emerged by Innoventions and headed toward Main Street. Buzz Lightyear was on the platform in the middle of Tomorrowland to cheer us on. And at this point we hit mile marker two, which was at 29 minutes. I had just run an 11 minute mile? Impossible!

We ran to the cirlce in the middle of the park and headed across the drawbridge, through the castle, and into Fantasyland. There, they had Dumbo, the Carosel, and the Tea Cups going. Doug said later that Mary Poppins and Bert were on teh Carosel, but I missed them. The other attractions had no one. We then ran down by Small World and back stage through the gate the parades always take. There, one of the trains was sitting, and an engineer blew the whistle every so often in greeting.

This provided another interesting backstage tidbit. There is actually a road between the houses of Mickey's Toon Town and the mountains that provide the backdrop. I never would have guessed. (Then again, I'm the person who thinks that the sky always looks like it is part of the backdrop, so what do I know?)

By now, we're about 2.5 miles into the race, and we encounter both of the hills in the course. First up in the small dip going under the train track leaving Toon Town. Then we've got the hill by Big Thunder Mountain. Yes, I felt it, but I kept going.

Rounding Big Thunder, right by the Fronterland pin shop, was mile marker 3. My jaw dropped. It said 39 minutes. Only 10 minutes since the last one. I thought I was a steady 12 minute mile person. Okay, so I never kept track of the seconds, so I don't know what I truly hit as a mile by mile pace, but this still made me very happy.

All that was left as to run most of the way down Main Street. As I did, the announcer started calling off the time left to hit before we'd hit the 40 minute mark. I did my best to sprint down and beat that time, but I just missed it, finishing at 40:01. Honestly, I'd be interested to know what I my real start to finish times were. If I get that info, I'll pass it on.

The chute leaving was clogged with people picking up the "medal" for completeing it (really a plastic medal on the end of a ribbon) and then getting food and drink. I grabbed a banana, bagle, and some Gatoraide before walking back to the Paradise Pier hotel, where I used my room key to shower and get ready for brunch. Honestly, I couldn't believe how hot it was already, and it was only 7 in the morning. Humid for Southern California as well. I was dripping all over the place by the first mile of the race.

Anyway, after everyone had cleaned up, we headed over to the Storyteller's Cafe in the Grand Californian for brunch. (Would you believe I had only been to the Disneyland Hotel before this weekend? How I've been to all three in one weekend.) Shirley and Doug hosted, which I didn't expect at all. It was delicious food. There were six of us all told. Shirley, Doug, me, Angelique, Sue Ann Jaffarian (who help corral me into the race with the bribe of a free book), and Sue Ann's friend Susan.

Once brunch was over, Angelique and I set out to do what we had originally planned to do that weekend, spend three days in the parks. We used two of the three days on a 3 day park hopper pass on Saturday and Sunday, then used free birthday passes for Monday. And we had a blast. We were tired by the end of the day on Monday and ready for no lines. Heck, I was in my car driving out of the parking lot by 10 with two hours left in the business day.

We were actually surprised at how light the crowds were in California Adventure on Saturday. At 11:50, there was a 15 minute wait for Soarin'. We went on Toy Story Midway Mania a second time because the wait was only 25 minutes. The lines were longer in Disneyland and the rest of the weekend. We only made it on Indiana Jones and Splash Mountain once because of the lines.

And boy was it hot! The weathermen kept predicting that temps were going to come down. It was still in the 90's yesterday instead of close to 80 like they were predicting. It made it less pleasant than it could have been, but we still had a great time.

And if you really want more details on the race, stop by and read Sue Ann's take on it.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Getting Ready for a Fun Weekend

Work? My mind is on the weekend already.

This is the weekend of the 5K at Disneyland. I'm leaving as soon as I can get out of here (5 at the latest), so I can get down to Anaheim in time to sign in for the race. I hope traffic isn't too bad, because if it is I will be cutting it very close.

But that's just the start of the weekend. Angelique and I will be spending all weekend at Disneyland. In fact, I got a hotel room down there so I'm only 15 minutes away instead of an hour. Ironically, I'm right by Knotts Berry Farm. Some day, I'm going to make it down there to go to Knotts.

I'll be off line the rest of the weekend. I'm not taking my computer with me. In fact, I don't even know if they have internet at the hotel for free or not. But I doubt I'll be around enough to get on line if I were. I am physically unable to leave a theme park before closing after all.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Word Association for September 3rd

This seems to be my Thursday things these days, doesn't it?

  1. Spinning :: Twirling
  2. Impasse :: Impassive
  3. Gravy :: Train
  4. You are :: Special
  5. September :: Fall
  6. Divulge :: Tell
  7. Training :: Video
  8. Crap! :: Darn It!
  9. Results :: Contest
  10. Shutting down :: Computer

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Alice in Wonderland Challenge

Okay, so I really shouldn't be adding to my reading challenge list. I think these reading challenges will really hurt my chance to get to reading those books I have stacked up and waiting for me to read. But they also look like so much fun.

So here we go.

I am joining the Alice in Wonderland Challenge hosted by Jenny over at Take Me Away.

There are two parts. And yes, I am signing up for both parts.

Tasks: (Part 1)
1. Read and review Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll DONE!
2. Read and review Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
3. Read and review Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin (publish date December 2009)
4. Read and review one other book from the list of "retellings and sequels" or "literature with allusions and influences" from the list here . If you know of a book that will work that is not on the list, you may use it, but please have it approved as part of the challenge first.

Tasks: (Part 2)
1. Watch and review Disney's animated version of Alice in Wonderland
2. Watch and review one live action (already released) movie version of Alice in Wonderland.
3. Watch and review Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (due for release in 2010)
4. Watch and review one other movie listed under "Film" here

Unfortunately, this does mean I'll have to rewatch the animated Alice in Wonderland since I watched and reviewed it at Epinions last year.

Not sure I'll get everything done in time to win first prize. I do know I will be visiting my library a little more to get these books and movies.

And this will give me more ammunition for the reread challenge I joined last week.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Is Something Burning Out There?

Well, fire season seems to have started early this year. And once again, we've got to have a major fire outside of town. I can remember when we went years without a big one that threatened everything, but that's not the case any more.

If you've been hearing about the Station fire, that's the one that is affecting me.

Fortunately, it isn't affecting me too much. It is burning on multiple fronts, but the one closest to me is buring north east instead of south west. Odds are it won't make a run for town.

However, the smoke and ash have been bad today. It's been overcast all day, and not with moisture. And a couple of times after going outside I've found ash in my hair.

On the plus side, the humidity is higher today than it has been. We've been having very hot and very dry weather for the last week. It's still very hot, but not nearly as dry. Not deep south humid, either, of course, but better for fighting the fire.

Also in the plus column is the lack of wind. Yesterday, we were having 20 mph winds, but those are the first "bad" winds we've been having since the fire started. And compare that to the 60 mph winds we have had when the Santa Annas get started during the more traditional fire season of mid-fall, and even those aren't bad.

I'm really hoping that this will mean a better "fire season" later this year. With all this are already burned, how can it not be better? Unfortunately, there is still plenty of area to burn, so we'll see if it actually is better or not.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Re-Read Challenge

We Be Reading is hosting the re-read challenge. And since I've been thinking about rereading a couple of books, I thought I should join this one. Right now, here are the books I think I will re-read between now and when the challenge ends November 30th.

Revenge of the Gypsy Queen by Kris Neri
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I will update this post with links to my Epinions reviews (and add any books I decide to re-read, although that is unlikely.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Women's Murder Club Challenge

I've found a blog that summarizes various reading challenges around the blogosphere recently, and I intend to join some of them. I'm even thinking about starting one of my own for 2010.

But the first reading challenge I want to join is a no brainer.

Socrates' Book Reviews is hosting a Women's Murder Club Challenge. All you have to do is finish reading the series by August 15, 2010.

Since I have two of the books at home borrowed from a friend, and he's promised to loan me the final one, it should be pretty easy to finish. Heck, I planned to finish by the end of the year as it was.

So, here's the list of the three books I need to read to finish the series.

6th Target
7th Heaven
8th Confession
9th Judgment

Those are the same ones our hostess needs to read, too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Word Association for August 27

Yep, this for this week's word association.

  1. Disguised :: Costume
  2. Big wheel :: Kid's toy
  3. Irritating :: Annoying
  4. Care :: Feed
  5. Grandpa :: Grpop
  6. Shooting :: Accident
  7. Sunglasses :: Summer
  8. Stampede :: Cows
  9. Painstakingly :: Detailed
  10. Terrible position :: Bad luck

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Night Stand - Very Late Edition

I can't believe I almost missed What's on My Nightstand this month. It doesn't seem like the last Tuesday of the month to me.

Anyway, here we go.

Sunday, I finished Set Sail for Murder by Carolyn Hart. It's the newest in her Henrie O series, and I think it is my favorite. Even thought I guessed the killer early, this one sucked me in and wouldn't let me go at all.

As of lunch time today, I am about half way through Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen. I'm really enjoying it, although the plot seems light, even for this series.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summer League Tournament

So, Sunday was the summer league tournament. I had to be in San Pedro by 9 AM, which was actually pretty easy with hardly any traffic on the road that morning.

We started off our first game with an early lead. In fact, we took half at 7-4. But then we fell apart, letting them tie it up before the soft cap went on. Game wound up being to 9 instead of 13, and we lost. Even worse, the one time it got thrown to me in the game, I fumbled it big time.

We had a bye the next round, then started our second game. If we lost, we'd be done of the day. If we won, we'd get to play for 10th.

This game was actually pretty close for the first half. We pulled away and won in the second half.

And I really enjoyed this game. It helped that we were playing JV's team, and JV and I are pretty evenly matched on the field. Plus he's just a cool guy to play against. Fortunately, I got open and caught the disc multiple times. Unfortunately, I threw it away every time I had it. And the one time it was thrown nicely to me in the end zone, it bounced off my hand and out of reach. I was so close to chasing it down, too. Actually, they sent me long a couple of times, and I was close to having it, but that one was the worst because it was so close.

So we got to play for 9th against another team with some good friends on it. The captains decided to only play to 7 so we'd be sure get good seats for the finals. Again, we started strong, but then fell apart in the second half. So we wound up in 10th overall, up one spot from our 11th seed going into the tournament.

In that last game, I only really got open and got the disc once. Again, I threw it away. I was the only person to sprint down and try to help out a team mate who was almost but not quite in the end zone. He threw it to me, but the wind caught it and blew it out of my reach.

Surprisingly, I had people telling me I'd done a good job on defense, something I never get. That made me feel good.

Now, if only I can build on this momentum and keep playing pick up (that's my plan) and Winter League, maybe I won't feel like I'm starting over come next summer.