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