Saturday, December 31, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for New Year's Eve

Welcome to the week between Christmas and New Years.  The only reason I have anything to post about is because NBC is trying to burn off Chuck before the end of January.  So let's talk about the last two episodes.

I didn't much care for the Christmas one this year.  First of all, I thought Chuck killed Shaw, and I kept waiting for that explanation.  Guessed I missed it somehow.  And I really don't like the darker episodes, so that bothered me as well.

I much preferred this week's episode.  I wonder how this fits into the whole Sara and Bryce part of the early seasons.  And Sara wasn't originally going to be Chuck's handler.  But those inconsistencies aside, I did like it.  Plus it was fun to see Peter Burke from While Collar as a bad guy (the mirror of his character on that show, but like Neal is the mirror of Bryce Larkin).  Plus they ended things with a happy note and no cliffhanger leading into the next new episode.  That surprised me.  And it looks like they've worked through the Alex/Morgan issues, which I knew they would, but I liked how they've handled that aspect of things.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Word Association for December 26th

Since I missed this last week, I thought I'd get in this week's word association while I'm thinking about it.

  1. Elves :: Santa
  2. Holiday :: Christmas
  3. Candles :: Light
  4. Family :: Friends
  5. Insight :: Understanding
  6. Sleigh :: Ride
  7. Party :: Fun
  8. Weather :: Sun
  9. Presents :: Gifts
  10. Misfit :: Toys

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for December 24th

Merry Christmas Eve!

It was a light TV week, although I missed this week's Chuck since I'm out of town.  Just gives me something to look forward to come my return home.

Survivor - So, apparently a few apologies make up for lying and backstabbing your way through the game, especially after you super secret pinky swore.  Come on, really, Coach?  You are a hypocrite of the first order.  The sad fact is, it seems that the only way to make it through to the end is to lie your way through.  Honestly, I may have found another show to eliminate from my schedule.  And after 23 seasons of never missing an episode, that's saying something.  I just can't put up with people like Coach who claim they are going to do things one way and then wind up breaking everything they claim they stand for and then trying to justify themselves.  As much as some of their villains drive me crazy, at least they are honest about what they intend to do.

Terra Nova - I am but I'm not surprised that they killed off the son's girlfriend.  That free him up to fall for Skye, which they've been teasing all season.  Honestly, I'm glad to see both of them have redeemed themselves by the end.  And Lucas is like the villain in a horror movie, he just won't die.  I'm curious what the ship's figure head is and why the bad guys rushed out there right away, but if the show doesn't come back, I won't care.  It's fine for me either way.  I did feel sorry for Mira who just wanted to get back to her daughter.  That was a harsh ending for her.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Fall Into Reading 2011 Wrap Up

I'm on Christmas vacation.  Can you tell by how little I've posted?  But today is the first day of winter, so it means it's time to wrap up this year's Fall Into Reading challenge.

So, here's what I got read during the fall.  The link takes you to my review of the book, although I haven't reviewed the last two books on the list yet.  (A * denotes a book not on my original list.)

Quickstep to Murder by Ella Barrick
Joanne Fluke's Lake Eden Cookbook by Joanne Fluke*
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Heat Rises by Richard Castle
A Case of Hometown Blues by W. S. Gager
NERDS 3: The Cheerleaders of Doom by Michael Buckley
Naughty in Nice by Rhys Bowen
Darkwing Duck: F.O.W.L Disposition by Ian Brill
Dog on It by Spencer Quinn
No Place Like Holmes by Jason Lethcoe*
Thrown Out: Stories from Exeter by Jennie Coughlin*
Kingdom Keepers IV: Power Play by Ridley Pearson
Formula for Murder by Diana Orgain
The Last Musketeer by Stuart Gibbs
The Albuquerque Turkey by John Vorhaus
The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney by Michael Barrier
Hidden Mickey: Sometimes Dead Men Do Tell Tales by Nancy Temple Rodrigue and David W. Smith
Killer Routine by Alan Orloff
In Service to the Mouse by Jack Lindquist with Melinda J. Combs

Books from my list I did not read:
Peter and the Secret of Rundoon by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

Based on number of books, I hit my target exactly. However, I still have about 1200 pages I didn't get read, and those substitute books are maybe 250 pages combined, so it's not like I really read the correct number of pages. I saved all the big books for the end, didn't I?

However, I did finish up all the books from last fall and this spring, so that makes me happy. And I am 10 pages in the Peter Pan prequel, so I'm continuing on with my list even if Spring is over.

I think that's it for me this fall. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for December 17th

Once Upon a Time - Maybe it's time I avoided spoilers.  I knew how that episode ended and so pretty much guessed how the episode was going to go before it started.  Okay, so a few of the twists along the way did get me.  I wonder who else the queen has captured with their heart.  And exactly what is the secret that Snow White blabbed that led to all this?  And when will Emma wake up and realize that it is indeed all true?

The Amazing Race - I was still so disappointed that the snowboarders weren't in it that I really didn't care who won.  Cindy was pretty arrogant when she was talking about people she didn't want to lose to, however.  I was rooting against them for a while, although the way they were talking at the finish line made me like them again.  Now, for the snowboarders to get a second chance and actually win this time.

Terra Nova - So Skye was found out, and it looks like she is at least partially forgiven.  And the colony is preparing for war.  Yes, it was a much needed episode since it sets things up for next week's finale, but it was definitely a place holder.  I hope that next week's two hour finale delivers on the promises.

Psych - I could have done without the Henry sub-plot, but the rest of that episode was so funny.  Great lines and situations that were truly milked for their comic possibilities.  My favorite scene was probably at the beginning where Shawn and Gus were reading each other's minds.  Too funny.  The ring Gus found at the end certainly explains why Shawn was so upset over his missing DS.  I wonder how that is going to play out.  And how funny that the thieves missed it when they were robbing them.

Survivor - If I hear one more person go on and on about being a Christian man, blaw, blaw blaw.  Please.  Of course, it makes it easy to watch because I just fast forward through Brandon and half of Coach to get away from that nonsense.  I believe this is the second time that the person with individual immunity gave it up and both times they immediately got voted out.  Obviously, that is a stupid move.  And anyone who has watched the show would know that based on how people have acted in the past.

Burn Notice - Who would have predicted that I would ever side with Fiona over Michael on something.  Even so, how heartbreaking was that final shot?  Actually, this is a surprise because I thought they'd figure out a way to take down Anson before this was all over, but he's still out there and free to rebuild the group.  Frankly, they didn't tell us for sure that Jesse got to the lap top in time to save Pierce and the others from being burned, so I wonder if that will factor into next season or not.  Summer is going to be a very long time off.

Chuck - There were some funny moments, but that was a very intense episode.  It's always nice to see Beckman again, and even without the Morse code, I figured she was trying to warn them.  And Ellie and Awesome thinking the limo was the surprise they other had for them was funny.  But overall, I was actually concerned for everyone, probably because they've been hinting that all might not make it through this season okay.  Oh, and I completely predicted that Alex would see Morgan's PANTS and see something of her in there.  I hope they get those two back together.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

FiR Question 12

Here we are at the last Fall into Reading question, at least for this year.

Christmas is quickly approaching. What book- or reading-related gift would you love to receive for Christmas?

As always, I included books on my list.  Gayle Roper, a favorite author going back years, has a new book out that is on my list.  And I have several books by authors I'd like to try out on my list.

Gayle is an exception.  Usually, books by authors I like are bought within a couple of weeks of them coming out.  I just found out about her new book a couple months ago and knew I wouldn't get it read before Christmas (it wasn't on my Fall into Reading list, after all, and I already had made some additions), so I figured it would be a good Christmas list item.  Honestly, I'll be a little surprised if I don't get it because my parents know how much I like her books.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Word Association for December 13th

And here is this week's word association.

  1. Dedication :: Ceremony
  2. Dream destination :: Disney World (again)
  3. Games :: Play
  4. Hard as :: a Rock
  5. Convict :: Prison
  6. Submit :: Authority
  7. Alcohol :: Drunk
  8. Clippers :: Hair
  9. Hormonal :: Imbalance
  10. Diet :: Exercise

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Concerts

This last weekend, I participated in my first Christmas concerts as a member of the choir at church.  This meant a busy weekend for me since I we did the concert both Saturday and Sunday nights.  But I loved the songs so much that it wasn't an issue for me.

It also meant Friday I had to sneak in a trip to Follow the Star.  One of the churches in the area puts this one very year.  They use members of their congregation to reenact scenes form Jesus' life, mostly His death and resurrection.  It's a drive/walk through attraction, so most scenes are on 15-30 second loops, but it's very powerful.  I love going every year.

Anyway, the concerts went well.  I struggled with two songs, the same two both nights.  I kept wanting to singing it too high.  I'm not sure what range I was even singing in half the time, but I knew it was wrong, so I'd drop out and mouth the words.

One highlight for me was the song where the guys played chimes while the women and children's choirs sang.  Most of the guys struggled with that song, but I felt right at home because of the years I spent in the handbell choir.  In fact, it made me wish we had a handbell choir for me to join again.

Another favorite song was "'Tis a Wonderful Thing."  It had a very jazzy feel and was a blast to perform.

But my favorite song of the concert wasn't one we did.  I was introduced to "Mystery" by Selah thanks to the people who did it as a duet.  Talk about powerful lyrics!  It marvels at God becoming man in the form of Jesus so He could die.  Nothing new, necessarily, but the way it is expressed just blows me away.

However, it was very bittersweet.  Back in September, they laid off our music minister due to budget cuts.  This was his last horrah at the church.  He was very pleased with how it went, which is good.  But there are lots of us who are really going to miss him.  He was very invested in all of us, so it is going to be a huge loss personally, plus his musical expertise is going to be missed.  Those will be hard shoes to fill.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for December 10th

The Amazing Race - Augh!  The snowboarders got eliminated.  Yes, they made a mistake when they left that last place (one I probably would have made, too), but what killed them was the fact that the other taxi drivers were sharing information.  If it weren't for that, two of the teams would have gone wrong and there would have been time for them to figure things out.  I'm not at all happy.  Yes, I'll watch next week, but I'm not that excited about it.

Once Upon a Time - I was conflicted about this episode.  I know we're supposed to be rooting for Mary Margaret and David to get together as they are in the fairytale world, but I have a hard time rooting for someone to leave his marriage.  So I'm glad he is going to try to work on fixing his marriage, but I know I shouldn't be because he really belongs with her (and is married to her in the fairytale kingdom).  Augh!  Meanwhile, I guess that is wasn't Charming's brother who Cinderella married.  I wonder who that was.  And how exactly does he get out of marring Midas' daughter?  And does Mr. Gold remember about the curse?  So many questions, so long to wait for the next episode.

The Sing-Off - Yeah, I watched the holiday special.  (Boy, they never did say Christmas once, did they?)  Okay, maybe watched is too strong a word.  I listened while Christmas shopping on line.  But there were some great songs here, and it was very fun to hear everyone singing together from all three seasons.

Prep and Landing 2: Naughty vs. Nice - The first one surprised me with how much I wound up liking it.  This one not so much.  It was as predictable as the first, but I didn't get the same happy feeling at the end.  It felt forced, probably because they were trying to create a sequel.  Won't be watching it again if it gets rerun.

Castle - How much fun!  So many great lines, and seeing Castle and Beckett working together so well at the end was great.  Plus Laney and Esposito bickering was great.  I loved the Captain's response.  "What has Castle gotten her into now." When he had nothing to do with it.  And the way this show can take an unusual premise and still put together a solid case that gets solved is the sign of the great writing staff they have.

Covert Affairs - First vacation since joining the agency?  I thought the Niagara Falls episode had a similar premise.  That aside, I did enjoy this one.  The scene in the house was intense and creepy.  And I loved how Danielle found out that Auggie is really CIA.  I don't know what they are doing with her and her husband, but that's the one storyline I absolutely hate.  And I'm curious where they are going with Jai next, too.

Psych - They actually managed to make it more of a mystery at the end, but for the most part, the show was very much comedy and very light on plot, even for psych.  Lassiter at the commune was pretty funny, however.

Survivor - Can we get Brandon off the screen now?  Pretty please?  Honestly, that's about my only comment as once again the results of the episode weren't that surprising.

Big Bang Theory - I knew Penny was going to wind up being a bully as soon as that scene started.  Plus the clothes thing was pretty predictable.  But it was also very funny.  And Penny's expressions in the first scene were perfect.  The A story with Leonard and the bully was fairly predictable as well, but I was laughing at quite a bit of the episode.  See, predictable can still be funny.

Wipeout - Boy, I missed Jill.  But Hensen's sweaters were funny, and the new obstacles were actually kind of cool again.  I wish they weren't coming back in January because I enjoy the show if it isn't on 9 months out of the year.

Burn Notice - For a show that tackles the serious criminals they do, they usually keep a light tone.  This time, the show got very serious in the last act.  But everyone played it perfectly, and it was a great episode.  I'm very worried about next week, especially after the previews.  Can't wait to see how they wrap the Anson storyline up.

Chuck - Two episodes in two days that have communes in them.  Couldn't have done without the nudity, even if it was pixilated.  Did enjoy watching Chuck do the hacking.  And now that Decker is gone, who will this lead them to next?  Plus Casey and Lester in jail together was an absolute hoot.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Word Association for 12/9

If it's Friday, it's well beyond time that I posted this week's word association.

  1. Flannel :: Shirt
  2. Chairs :: Table
  3. Sporadic :: Pain
  4. Difficult :: Person
  5. Amusing :: Story
  6. Collapse :: Wall Street
  7. Hurtful :: Words
  8. Thump :: Bang
  9. Frugal :: Wise
  10. Collectibles :: Hallmark

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

FiR Question #11

Although December always feels like winter to me, we still techinically have a couple weeks left in Fall, so here's this week's Fall into Reading question.

Share a special memory relating to books or reading — something you’ll never forget.

The first things that pop into my mind are related to author interactions.  When authors remember me from one year to the next, it always thrills me.  Yeah, by the time I've been to several of their signings, I'm not that surprised, but when they remember me right away it makes me feel special.  I wish I were better with faces and names.

Then there was the first time that Joanne Fluke included me in the acknowledgements of her series (Peach Cobbler Murder) just for being a super fan.

The letters I've traded back and forth over the years with Sandy Dengler are something I will always treasure, along with a couple of the special books she's signed for me.

And I can't leave out my Trixie friends.  We've all met on the internet on message boards devoted to the Trixie Belden series of kids' mysteries that we all love.  Over the years, we've met up at "camps" as we call them to hang out in person.  I know you can create friendship over the internet, because these are definitely friends of mine.  (True, few are as close as friends you see in real life, but they are still good friends.)  I've got lots of memories with them.  They only relate to books in a superficial way, but there is that connection.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

My November Reads

And now we are up to date with November.

All ratings are on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (great).

NO PLACE LIKE HOLMES by Jason Lethcoe - 4
A kid's mystery that focuses on Sherlock Holmes' lesser known neighbor who might finally get his big change when he nephew comes over from America for the summer.  I found some of the characters stuff predictable, but overall I enjoyed this fresh take on the Holmes universe.

Four short stories set in a small, college town in Massachusetts that focus on the characters who live there.  I really enjoyed meeting them and look forward to getting to know them better in the novels she is also setting there.  NOTE: I was sent this book in exchange for my honest review.

Lee Woodyard finds herself in another case when a reunion of her aunt's old high school singing group leads to a murder.  As always, I love these characters and the plot moves forward very quickly.  The definition of a light but fun mystery.

THE LAST MUSKETEER by Stuart Gibbs - 4
Greg Rich finds himself sucked back through time to early 1600's Paris where he must unite teenage musketeers to save his parents.  A kids book that combines elements of fantasy with historical fiction, I enjoyed it, although I did find the set up a bit too long.

Conman Radar Hoverlander isn't sure if he can trust his dad, who has walked into his life after over 20 years and saying he desperately needs money to pay off a man in Vegas.  Once again, this is a wild ride that seems a bit too complicated and leaves the reader in a dark a bit much in the name of twists.  Still, it was a fun ride

My October Reads

And here are October's books.

All ratings are on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (great).

A fun trip down the Mississippi with Huck Finn and run away slave Jim.  It's very episodic in nature, but still a fun read.

HEAT RISES by Richard Castle - 5
The third Nikki Heat book finds Nikki investigating the case of a priest found murdered in a bondage club.  I found the tie ins with the TV show to be the funniest so far and the mystery was quite good.  Yes, the book is still overwritten at times, but this was the best in the series so far.

Reporter Mitch Malone goes home to against his better judgment, and that night his high school crush is killed. Why?  And might it tie in to other tragedies from his past?  The plot is compelling, although a bit uneven at times.  Still, another good read.  Again, I got this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

NERDS 3: THE CHEERLEADERS OF DOOM by Michael Buckley - 4
Matilda is ordered undercover to find out who is robbing other dimensions and stop them before the space time continuum collapses.  The problem?  She has to become the thing she hates - a cheerleader.  A fun sci-fi/spy book for kids that was weaken by a climax that felt too abrupt.

NAUGHTY IN NICE by Rhys Bowen - 4
Lady Georgiana manages to get invited to winter in the French Riviera in exchange for finding a snuff box stolen from the queen.  But then another robbery and a murder complicate matters.  As is usual with the series, the plot took forever to get going, but once it did, it proved to be lots of fun.

DOG ON IT by Spencer Quinn - 4
Chet and Bernie attempt to track down a girl that has been kidnapped.  Unless she ran away.  What makes this series unique is that it is told from the point of view of Chet, a dog.  That was mostly cute, although occasionally it fell flat.  The plot could have used some rearranging as well, but overall I enjoyed it.

My September Reads

I am months behind on reporting what I have read, so I am going to catch up now.  First, up is September.

All ratings are on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (great).

Now that the last movie is out, I decided to reread the series.  (Still haven't made it to year two, however).  A slow start but still magical even if have read it before.

PIPSQUEAK by Brian M. Wiprud - 2
Taxidermist Grant Carson thinks he's found a great piece of his childhood - a squirrel puppet from an old TV show.  But within moments of finding it, it is stolen and he finds a dead body.  The book is a wild ride, but the plot was too far fetched to be believable much of the time.  It was supposed to be funny, but it really wasn't.  And the characters were mostly flat.  I did care by the end, but this isn't an author I'll go back to.

Reporter Mitch Malone's day off ends abruptly when he stumbles on a fatal accident.  But the pieces don't add up, and Mitch soon begins to suspect that it wasn't an accident but murder.  It took a while for me to warm up to Mitch, but I loved the supporting players right away, and the plot was very interesting.  Note: I was sent this book in exchange for my honest review.

WHERE YOUR DADDY? by Sue Ann Jaffarian - 4
The third in the Holidays from Hell e short story series finds Zelda visiting her not so lovable grandfather in hopes of finding out where her dad currently is living.  It has the usual mix of humor and more tender moments, although the humor didn't quite work for me here.

QUICKSTEP TO MURDER by Ella Barrick - 4
Stacy Graysin is the prime suspect when her professional and business partner/former fiancee is found dead in their ballroom dance studio.  I really enjoyed this new cozy series debut and look forward to finding out what happens to Stacy next.

Yes, mostly recipes, but there are a few scenes with the characters from the series that are fun.  All the recipes from the early books plus some new ones to enjoy.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Um Thanksgiving?

Wow, I've been back for a week and still haven't blogged about Thanksgiving?

As has been the case for the past few years, we went to Dallas to visit my brothers, sister-in-law, and niece.  She's now two years and so cute.  She was so thrilled to see all of us, and she loved it when we were all together.

The highlight for me came on Thanksgiving day.  She and I were alone in the living room and she came up to me and said, "I love you."  So cute.  I was flying for the rest of the day.

We also got to see a production of A Christmas Carol we've found there.  Hadn't gone for the last few years, but it was great to see it again.  They always do an amazing job.

Other then that it was lots of play with my niece and games with the rest of the family when she was asleep.  They decorated for Christmas on Friday, so I got to sleep by their Christmas tree after that (I got the couch).  My bro preached in church on Sunday, which was a treat to get to hear.

It really was a great trip.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Weekly TV Recap

Time for this week's TV recap.

The Amazing Race - So the grandparents never really seemed to have a chance to get back in it.  They were always in last.  Meanwhile, the snowboarders came back for a rather convincing first place finish.  While everyone else seemed to struggle, they didn't have that much of a problem.  Hope that holds true for the next couple of weeks.  It would be great to see a nice team finish first.

Once Upon a Time - All I know about Jiminy Cricket is from the Disney version of the story.  So I found this take on his origin and the idea that he and Gepetto are good friends interesting.  And it turns out Henry was right.  He had almost found something at the bottom of the old mine.  Was it the entrance to the fairytale world?  That's certainly what it looked like to me.

Terra Nova - The mole is Josh's friend Skye?  I can't say I saw it coming, but it didn't exactly surprise me either.  I take it the rest of the colony thinks her mom is dead.  I feel sorry for her.  I hope they can find a way to write her out of this.  Meanwhile, Taylor and Mira having to work together to survive was a cliched story, but at least they used it to show us more of both characters.

The Sing-Off - Urban Method didn't win!!!  Penatonix wasn't that much of a surprise as the winner since the judges loved them so much, but I really did think that Urban Method would wind up winning.  I was thrilled to be proved wrong.

Covert Affairs - I'm really not sure where they were going with the Augie's girlfriend storyline.  That's her last appearance, at least this season, and I was left feeling like it was a bit of a waste.  Maybe they'll move things forward next week.  And I'm also confused by Danielle's husband.  After not appearing all season, suddenly he's been on a business trip?  And those have to be new girls playing her daughters because they didn't look familiar at all.  And they looked too close in age.  Nit picks aside, I did like the main episode.  I hope they bring that guy back now that he's a full fledged MI-6 agent.

Ringer - I really didn't want Gemma to be dead.  And I really did think they were going to save her.  Man, that upsets me.  I was expecting more of a cliffhanger than that when I hear they wouldn't be back for six weeks.  Oh, and I'm wondering if the teacher really forced himself on her or if she is lying because he humiliated her.  I told my roommate you don't go into a situation like that one on one.  You always want a witness for this very reason.

Survivor - Well, after all this time, we finally saw Cochran go.  I'm not sure whether to feel good because he kind of deserved that for switching sides or if the other team should have done more for him.  Honestly, I saw it coming weeks ago.  Now we'll finally truly get to see the other side turn on each other.  Well, maybe, they do still have one more person to go.  Just don't tell me Coach is going to win.  If so and they do this again another couple times, the person who comes back from before is going to be history fast.  (Frankly, I hope they drop the person from before.  I'm so sick of that already.)

Burn Notice - Anson is truly evil.  Killing Michael's father?  And do we really know the end game yet?  I think that Michael's mom is being a little too harsh on him, but I can see where she is coming from.  As for the case of the week, how cool was it to bring in someone from the prequel movie?

Nikita - So that ending is going to shake up Alex.  I kind of like the fact that they completely left everyone in motion.  Michael showing up like he did was a bit of a cheat, although at least Owen had called him earlier.  So, why are the guardians meeting up?  Lots of fun when it starts back up in a month.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Word Association for December 1st

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Program :: Christmas
  2. Business :: Proposal
  3. Nerve :: Pinched
  4. Pipes :: Organ
  5. Man :: Woman
  6. System :: Works
  7. Roses :: Red
  8. Gong :: Show
  9. Heartfelt :: Emotion
  10. Strolling :: Park

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FiR Question 10

Yikes.  Just about three weeks left for Fall into Reading 2011, and I think I've got about 5 more books to go on my list.  Not going to make it, but that's not exactly a surprise since I never do.

Anyway, here's this week's FiR question:

In what ways do you encourage others to read or support their reading habits? How do you share your love of reading with others?

I think the most obvious is my reviewing.  By posting reviews at Amazon and Epinions, I hope I am helping people find new books they will enjoy.  That's my point, anyway, since I have always talked non-stop about what I am reading and enjoying, hoping to get others to share it with me.

For people in my life, I loan out books people might be interested in, and I'm always willing to give recommendations.  I also love to talk books, and I'll listen to others as they talk about the books they have read and enjoyed.  I'd like to say I borrow books from people, but it never quite seems to work that way.  My list of to be read books is always too long.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for November 26th

Amazing, isn't it, how a holiday sends lots of shows into reruns.  I like that because it's so easy to catch up when I get back into town.

Amazing Race - Yes, that was me you heard yelling when I found out it was a to be continued episode.  I wanted to know who would get eliminated.  I'm guessing the older couple gets eliminated assuming there is an elimination since I didn't see them in the scenes from next week.  I'll be sorry to see them gone, but at least the snowboarders are still in it.

The Sing-Off - I pretty much figured that Urban Method would make the finals back in the first episode.  Not too surprised Pentatonix is there as well.  I think the only reason we got a normal group last season was because we didn't have any of these groups with tons of flash.  I guess that means I'm pulling for the college group, although they weren't my favorite of the season either.

Terra Nova - So, that's the back story behind the commander's son.  So I'm wondering if he's telling the truth now or what exactly the other side of the story is.  Because the Sixers sure have implied that he's out for himself, but he sure talks a good story about how he's out for the future of humanity.

Castle - That was intense.  Of all their serious episodes, this was the best.  The acting was incredible.  Watching Kate go through all that was uncomfortable for me, but she nailed every moment.  And the new Captain was actually working with Castle at one point.  I hope that's a sign she is softening a little.

Covert Affairs - All that training, and Annie doesn't get to do the marathon.  Watching her try to deal with the two sisters really showed off her character.  The episode itself was okay, but the character stuff was interesting.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Word Association for November 25th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Crushed :: Disappointed
  2. Thanks :: Giving
  3. Steam :: Hot
  4. Bulletin :: Church
  5. Budget :: Cuts
  6. Value :: Appreciate
  7. Aquarium :: Fish
  8. Logo :: Corporate
  9. Information :: Dump
  10. Lend :: Borrow

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FiR Question #9

Looks like it is time for this week's Fall Into Reading question.

What else do you do while you are reading? Eat? Drink? Household tasks? Or do you usually put aside absolutely everything to focus solely on the book at hand?

Honestly, I pretty much read, and that's it.  Most of my reading is done at lunch time in my car or right before I go to bed.  If I'm reading during the day, I will most likely have my bottle with water next to me, but I usually don't drink from it.  I find I enjoy stories best if I concentrate on one thing and one thing only.  I've even cut down on how much surfing I do while watching scripted TV shows.

Wait, do you counting napping?  I often do that while reading.  It's one reason I only got through 9 pages on my lunch hour yesterday.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SoCal Spartan Race 2011

Saturday was my last mud run of the year - the Spartan Race.  And boy was it cold.  November is always a gamble whether it will be warm or not.  I lost.  It was 45 when my friend Luke and I started the race at 8AM.  I was actually pleasantly surprised at just how quickly I warmed up, however, since I was wearing shorts and a T-Shirt instead of my normal long running pants and sweatshirt like I wore when I went running this morning.

And they started us right off with cold water.  It had to be just a matter of yards into the race, and we went through a double dip of waste deep water.  But then it was up and running up hill.

Let me tell you, the hills were steep and there were lots of them.  Even this guy who normally runs up a hill found them long and tiring.

The obstacles were varied and fun.  They had monkey bars.  They had walls to climb over.  But they also had walls you had to roll under or go through.  At one point, they had buckets of concrete you had to pull up a pully system.  And there was a wall with small hand holds you had to try to cross.

Of course, what I didn't like was if you failed any of these things, you had to do 30 burpees.  Maybe it was just the fact that I'm used to trying something and moving on if you don't do it.  Maybe it's the fact that I can't do most things like that.  But I think I did about 10 burpees over the course of the race and moved on instead of the 120 I would have had to do for the things I didn't do.

And then there was my spill.  Maybe half a mile into the race, I completely lost controll going down a very steep hill.  Yes, I should have taken it slower.  Yes, I am fully aware it is my own fault.  I was proud of myself because I made it around several people on the course and I made it basically to the bottom before I crashed.  But boy did I land hard.  My leg is still all scraped up.  At least it doesn't hurt any more when I transition from standing to sitting.  Heck, it was hurting no matter what I did Saturday night.  Right now, it is just tender when I touch it.

Actually, this wasn't a mud run in the traditional sense.  The only real mud they had us crawling through was water over dirt under 18 inch barb wire.  And yet I think that's the muddiest I've gotten without actually trying at a mud run.  That barb wire when on forever.  I would have much preferred half the length twice along the course.  I actually stopped about 2/3 of the way through and walked the rest.  Even then, it took me a good 20 minutes to get as far as I did.

After ward, I got to meet Carrie, who I've only known from the internet to date.  That was fun.

So, the only race I have on the calendar right now is Tough Mudder in July.  Of course, I think there will be several more between now and then because that is a long ways off.  And I want to keep my running up so when I need to start hard core training for that race, I won't die.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekly TV Recap

It really is amazing how just a couple hours of TV out of my life makes my life easier.  Fall season is winding down.  I think I can do this.  At least, I hope I can make it another week or two.  Next year, I won't get involved in so many shows.  (Yeah, I'm laughing, too.)

The Amazing Race - Well, my guys weren't U-Turned.  But sadly one of the groups that was U-Turned did go home.  The only team I really want to see leave is Jeremy and Sandy, who came in next to last.  The father son team were definitely cool and didn't seem like they had something to prove to each other, which was a real nice change from the normal on that show.  I'm sorry to see them go.  Meanwhile, I can't see why the one woman is obsessed with winning at least one leg.  The only leg that really matters is the last one.  Why so insistent?

Once Upon a Time - That was an interesting twist with Cinderella, having her dealing with Rumplestilkins.  And I wonder how that fit the time line since Snow was obviously there at Ella's wedding.  I like how that played out in Storybrook as well with Mr. Gold having bought the baby.  I wonder what favor he's going to want from Emma now.  And do we know who the sheriff is yet?  Because I'm thinking the Huntsman, although I could be wrong there.  We definitely know why he is so willing to do the Mayor's bidding.

Terra Nova - I'm so glad Josh confessed.  That took a lot of guts.  Meanwhile, the investigation into the scientist was fascinating.  I like the twist and how they played that murder out.  Much better than last week's murder.

The Sing-Off - Well, there goes the group I was rooting for the most.  I'm sure the winners will be the Urban group, although I think I might be rooting for Penatonix now.  I must admit I've lost some interest somewhere along the way.  I think they had too many groups and it was too spread out.  I much liked it when it was on for a few weeks in December.  I think this also means I would never last with American Idol, not that I was planning to start watching it.

Covert Affairs - It must be the accent, but I spend the entire time that Ohed is on screen trying to understand what he is saying.  He really needs to stop mumbling.  And why is it I can never really remember any of these guest stars they bring back.  It's like I can't remember what is happening on this show unless it involves the main characters.  Ranting aside, I did enjoy this episode and Ohed's character.  Jai surprised me at the end, taking the credit/blame for the bad guy being shot.  I wonder what that was all about.

Ringer - Gemma isn't dead??!!  The ending got me.  I so wanted her to be found.  So who is John and why is he working with Shabon.  And it looks like the affair is going to come out.  What will that do to Bridget since she's the one who isn't guilty?  Since the episode in two weeks is the fall finale, I'm expecting some pretty big shocks to the system.  I'll just be curious how it all plays out.

Psych - Another very funny episode.  I figured out the real killer part way through, but it was so funny with so many great lines.  It's a classic.

Survivor - This episode was completely predictable.  Ozzy won at Redemption.  Shocking.  The other two people from his tribe got sent to join him.  Again, shocking.  Next week will be much more interesting as they have to turn on each other.  I'm afraid that Coach is going to win.  I hope that's not the case, but it sure is looking that way.

Big Bang Theory - So, Sheldon and Amy have made it official.  Sure looks to me like things haven't changed between them at all.  It will be interesting to see if things changed between them at all.  Meanwhile, the bits with that expansion pack the guys were playing looked way too familiar, especially Leonard having to get the special edition even though he already had the regular one.

Burn Notice - Wow was that an intense episode.  I knew they'd get the guys out of the factory, but I was still very much on the edge of my seat to see how.  And more Madeline.  I love it when they really get her involved, but I felt so sorry for her this time around.  I loved Michael trying to save Bernie at the end.  That last scene was just so intense.  The scientist they were trying to rescue looked so much like Morgan from Chuck, I spent most of the episode trying to figure out if it was him or not.  Turned out to be his older brother.

Nikita - Another intense episode, but I wasn't that happy with this one.  Burkoff being tortured sure wasn't any fun.  I'm interested to see how this all goes down with Alex in Russia.  And will Nikita get her hands on another black box?

Chuck - I promise, you only have 9 more episodes to listen to this whine.  I can't believe this show is ending.  I laughed so hard at this one tonight.  Jeff as a responsible adult has actually brought some life to the Buy More gang and made that part of the show fun.  Casey playing with Morgan over the things he liked was great.  That last scene would have made me very happy (until they arrested Casey, of course) as a series finale shot.  A perfect episode.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Word Association for November 17th

Here we go again.  This week's word association.

  1. Help :: Danger
  2. Close :: Open
  3. Start over :: Do it Right
  4. Dirt :: Mud!
  5. Kilometer :: 5K or 10K
  6. Speedy :: Fast
  7. Shop :: Spend
  8. Trumpet :: of Jesus
  9. Dog :: Cat
  10. Canoe :: Fun, River, Water.  Take your pick

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

FIR Question #8

It's Wednesday, which means that Catrina over at Callapidder Days is asking another Fall into Reading Question.

Where do you love to read? Do you have a favorite chair, a favorite room, a favorite place…somewhere that inspires you to put everything else aside and pick up a book?

Honestly, the answer to that question is yes.  I will read anywhere and everywhere.  It comes from a childhood spent using books to get me through boring shopping trips.  (Let's face it, every shopping trip outside a toy store is boring when you're a kid, even if it's for you.)

Based on where I read the most now, I would say my favorite places to read are:
1) My car.  Don't panic.  I don't read while driving (although I have been tempted upon occasion).  But I will go out to my car and read on my lunch hour.  Yes, I often take a nap as well, but that's a favorite spot, and when it is too hot or cold to do that, I'm disappointed.
2) My bed.  I always snuggle in at night and read before turning out the light.  Unlike some people, I find reading relaxes me enough to put me to sleep.  Whenever I have a chance to read at home, this is my default location since my roommates are usually out and about other places in the condo.

Given a choice, I will also read in the easy chair in the living room, although that's less common.

As I said, I will read anywhere and everywhere I can.  As long as I can support at least some of my weight, I will get lost in a book.  Yes, I have read standing up before.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

It must be time for a weekend wrap up post.

I'm going to start with Friday, when I finished watching all my TV shows for the week.  That's right, I didn't have anything I had to watch over the weekend!  That was a first in a long time, although it looks like things will be getting easier as it goes along now since some shows are dropping out for the Fall.  Of course, come February, everything will be back, so I'll have to juggle it all then.

Saturday morning, I did not play ultimate Frisbee.  Instead, I met up with Angelique to see Puss in Boots.  It was fun, but it wasn't a rush out to see type of movie.

I came home and had a couple hours to myself, but then Daniel came over for a round of The Stock Market Game.  I managed to pull off a win, although I didn't think that was going to happen this time around.

Sunday, the choir sang in church.  This was interesting since I've been fighting off the last of a cold.  I had hardly any voice on Saturday until afternoon.  I was able to fake my way through most of the songs all three services, although I was certainly ready to be done by the time we finished.

Then my new friend Chris came over and I introduced him to ultimate Frisbee.  Now, the field we normally play on is often muddy in spots, but I have never seen the field that muddy.  It was more like a swamp.  Now, you know I'm always up for a good mud run, but this went a bit far, even for me.  Anyway, we had a good time.

After he left, I headed over to my nightly TV/movie night with friends.  We're starting to watch Alias, which is new to everyone but me.  I'd forgotten just how good the first season was.

And this was my quiet, stay at home weekend of the month.  Man, it was busy.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for November 12th

Yes, I finished everything on Friday night.  Feels good not to have a bunch of TV to go on a weekend.  And yes, I've taken a couple shows off the list.  I think I'm going to tough it out two more weeks and then things will cut back.  Since some shows won't be back in the Spring, that will help and I don't have to figure things out again until Fall.

See, still the most indecisive person.

The Amazing Race - The brother and sister duo have never been one of my favorites, so I wasn't sorry to see them go.  I didn't feel that great with how they lost, however.  I always feel badly when one member really struggles with something and that is what costs them.  I find it funny that the only team who got U-Turned had already passed the check point.  I can understand the confusion, but it's still funny.  Looks like my team is going to get U-Turned next week.  Hope they can work through it.  And can I just say how stupid it is to use an express pass to win first instead of using it to stay in the race.  Unless it was the last leg I could use the pass, I'd be saving that for some time when I thought I was going home instead of some time when I hoped to get first.

Once Upon a Time - I am so under this show's spell.  I'm wondering who Prince Charming's ex/wife is in the fairytale universe if anyone we've heard before.  Emma's scenes with the mayor are absolutely amazing.  And I'm wondering just how Snow White ruined the Evil Queen's life.

Terra Nova - So, the son is still alive, and somehow the sixers are working with him.  That's an interesting development.  The characters got some development, and I think that was the biggest point of the episode.

The Sing-Off - I wouldn't have called myself a country fan, but I enjoyed those performances more this week than the rock performances that started the show.  I'm quickly losing groups to root for since they seem to be keeping the more urban groups, and I'm not as big a fan of that style.  Yes, even though they'd done it before, I was sorry to see Delilah go this week.

Castle - Considering the build up of Castle and the guys in Atlantic City as an early bachelor party, this episode focused much more on the mystery than I thought it would.  I enjoyed it, although it didn't have the clever twists of last week.

Covert Affairs - Seeing Peter out of the office was fun, although he and Annie sure met up lots if she was trying to keep her covert status hidden.  Interesting show, although not that many twists or turns.  I knew about his past relationship with the asset from the beginning - it was that obvious.  I like how they seem to have repaired Peter and Joan's relationship, however.  It feels like they are working on giving them a good marriage, which I always like to see.

Ringer - The story moved forward, although I think the most interesting development was Bridgette meeting Shoban's new boy toy.  I wonder if she suspects what this means or if she thinks it was all in the past.  I didn't realize he worked for Mr. Martin (blanking on first name), however.  I'm not sure how much more complicated things can get, but it looks like they are about to have some secrets come to light.

Psych - The opening scene was hilarious.  Decent mystery although it seemed a bit all over the place, even for this show.  Still, Shawn and his dad fighting over the call made the entire episode for me.

Survivor - For now, Cochran is okay with the other team.  It'll be interesting to see how that works out for him when the rest of his team is gone.  Ozzy is back on redemption.  In fact, they had two tribal counsels.  I'm ready to see how things go at the challenge next week.  Oh, and I'm so ready for Coach to go now.  I'd love to see someone who hasn't played before win this season.

Burn Notice - So, we're a step closer to taking down the second half's big bad.  The question is, will Michael be unable to undo the damage once they do.  Or will that be the plot line for season six?  The story about taking down the friend's killer was fine, but it wasn't one of their better episodes.

Charlie's Angels - And I think that's all she wrote.  Once again, I enjoyed the episode.  It wasn't great television, but it was entertaining and had a couple of twists to it I enjoyed.  RIP, Angels.  I'll miss you.

The Big Bang Theory - Hilarious.  Neither story line was unexpected, but the way they played out was very funny.  Penny and Leonard going at it, getting all their annoyances off the table, Sheldon suddenly loving that bird.  Played absolutely wonderfully by all concerned.

Nikita - I'm glad they are doing more with Michael and his son.  Never expected that she was really British intelligence.  And Nikita breaking up with him was so hard to watch.  A great thing I really respect, but so hard to watch.  So, now that the one guardian has been brought up for his secondary mission, what is he going to do?

Chuck - I am so going to miss these characters when the show is over.  They'd better give them a happy ending.  Anything else would not be in the spirit of the show.  Casey trying to date Gertrude is absolutely hilarious.  Their fight scene was brilliant.  And then Morgan dodging those darts Matrix style was perfect.  I'm glad they got him back to normal.  And Jeff acting normal, too?  I'm normally not a Buy More fan, but this has real potential.  But I think my favorite thing tonight was Sarah working hardest to get Morgan back because she knew what that friendship means to Chuck.  That's a sign of how far she's grown as a character.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wednesday's Bowling

I believe I've mentioned that one of my roommates has started organizing a bowling night on his day off.  One of the local bowling alleys has a deal where for $10 you get three hours of bowling and your shoe rental - minimum three people per lane.  It's a fun way to hang out with friends and rather cheap, too.

This last week, for the first time that I've gone, we only had three of us - my roommate Spencer, my former roommate Daniel, and myself.  All three of us are around the same level of play, and we try to get as many games in as we can.

We managed to get 8 games in, although I think they let us go a couple minutes past closing.  They sure shut it down the instant our 8th game was over.

To show how evenly matched we are, Daniel and I won three games each, and Spencer won the other two.

And Daniel and I broke 1000 points by the end of the last game.  Not by much.  I was the point leader for the night, and I hit 1045.

I realize that the 130.6 average isn't that big a deal to those who bowl regularly, but we were all happy with it.  Now, we just need to increase our scores so we can crack 1000 on normal nights when we play 5 or 6 games.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

FIR Question #7

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for another Fall Into Reading Question.  Actually, we get two this week.

Is there a book that has had a tremendous impact on your life? One that made you look at life in a whole new way, or caused you to completely change something in your life?

As a Christian, the easy answer is the Bible.  And it has made me reexamine my life at various times when I have run across a passage that convicted me of something I was doing wrong or encouraged me that I was right about something.

However, that seems to easy for me.  Then again, I'm not sure about any book I've read that really changed my life that much.  That is one downside of reading mostly fiction, I guess.

And now, for the bonus question.

How is your Fall Into Reading coming along? Are you on track? Ahead of schedule? Falling behind?

It's funny this came up today (we're about half way through the season, although it feels like winter out there).  I had 20 books on my original list, and I've made it through 9 of them, so I'm not too far off track.  However, I've read a couple of books that weren't on my list originally, so I've read 11 so far.  Granted, both of those books were very short, but I'm still counting them.  I have some longer books on my list still, so we'll see how I did in the second half of fall.  I'm hoping to at least get the books from Spring read.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Word Association for November 8th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Distress :: Upset
  2. White lie :: Still a Lie
  3. Costume :: Actor
  4. Stampede :: Cowboy
  5. Unappealing :: Ugly
  6. Idtiot :: Stupid
  7. Correction :: Fact
  8. Resignation :: Job
  9. Insipid :: Bad
  10. Celebration :: Happy

Monday, November 07, 2011

Running the ROC Race

This weekend was the ROC race.  That's Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge.  I ran it with Sanjay, whom I hadn't seen since May.  And we had a blast.

This techincally wasn't a mud run.  Having said that, there were some definitely muddy spots, and a couple of them were designed that way.  But they were never more than a few inches deep and we didn't have to crawl through any of them.

We did, however, have to navigate some water.  I completely failed the monkey bars, and that meant some water.  There was a slip and slide at one point.  They were using hoses to wet us down at another.  And there were water pits under a rope bridge and a rope swing, the final two obstacles.

I was ridiculously pleased with how well I did climbing up a few things that were rather steep and had a rope to help us climb over.  I'm wondering if I gave up too soon on the wall at the Gladiator Rock n Run.

One of my favorite obstacles was the giant inflatable slide.  Yeah, this was run with some obstacles like that.

Then again, they took advantage of the cold snap we had over the weekend to put some ice/snow on the tire mountain and in the tubes we had to crawl through.  That was very cold.  Ironically enough, the polar plunge was warmer than I expected.

Fortunately, we caught a break in the weather and it was sunny and warm enough for the wetness.

As I said, it was lots of fun.  There were about 20 obstacles over the 5K, so it wasn't a road race with a few obstacles.  There were definitely lots of obstacles.  Plus it was at the LA County fairgrounds.  I've never been to the fair, and I enjoyed watching all of that.

And since it wasn't a mud run, just rinsed off my shoes and hands after the race and we were good to go.  It had been warm while we were running, but I think trying to clean off at the end would have been too cold!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for November 6th

So, you'll notice that I'm a day late with this post.  That's because I just finished watching TV for the week.  I've got to figure out a way to cut out some shows.  If I have the nerve to do anything other than watch TV, I fall this far behind.  It's not good.

Anyway, here's what I did watch this week.

The Amazing Race - I'm so glad it was a non-elimination leg, although to be honest, there's really only one or two teams I want to see go.  I want the snowboarders to win, but I still like most of the teams and hate to see anyone go.  I'm just glad the grandparents didn't wind up having to leave because they didn't pay their driver.  I would hate to have anyone go out that way.

Once Upon a Time - It's official, I love this show.  And this is coming from the guy who didn't want to get caught up in another serialized show.  I just hope that these guys are show runners do a better job than their bosses did on Lost of telling a complete story.  The scenes between the Mayor and Emma were electric.  I hope Emma has indeed come around, although that's probably too early.  And I'm wondering who remembers what from their old lives.  I think that Mr. Gold knows, but I'm still wondering about the Mayor.

The Sing-Off - The team saved from the bottom two last week is gone this week.  I hope that Urban whatever the rest of their name is goes next.  I'm really not a fan of their style of music.  It was fun to see Committed again.  But I really got a kick out of the group that did Queen's music tonight, especially since they did "Somebody to Love."  One of the lead singers in downhere, a band I love, has done a YouTube cover of that song that has gone viral, so it was fun for me to hear someone else cover it.

Terra Nova - Yes, a mystery.  You know I have to critic that.  It was actually okay.  Not the best mystery I've ever seen, but still pretty decent.  I was glad the married couple wound up being innocent and living happily ever after.

Castle - Sooner or later, every cop show seems to think they need to do the main character held hostage in a bank episode.  And this one had some of the same predictable plot points, although I fell for it just like I do every time.  The actors made those moments so real that I believe them.  The ultimate reason behind the bank robbery was wonderfully put together.  I never would have guessed that.  It redeemed a cliched plot and made it feel wonderfully creative.  And it was fun seeing the robbers using TV doctors as their code names, too.

Dancing with the Stars - I've hardly given this show much time this season, but I think I'll be giving it less.  David was the only reason I was "watching."  I'm not saying it wasn't his time to go, but I'm not that attached to anyone else at this point.

Covert Affairs - Jai suddenly seems to be a man of manipulation.  His whole sub-plot getting the new assignment is going to be very interesting.  Using his friend and then his dad, however, doesn't win him points with me.  I felt sorry for Annie innocently making a friend and then having to use him to get more information.  That whole thing was pretty hard to watch.

Ringer - So Gemma is indeed dead.  Yet the new sponsor is actually the killer?  Yikes!  And since when did Shabaan go from Bridget is ruining everything to wanting Bridget's secret safe.  Meanwhile, with the old sponsor in New York, will the truth come out?  And now everyone is going to know that Bridget isn't pregnant, especially after that scene about how much the baby means to the husband.  This just gets more complicated every week.

Psych - The scene with Mantis fighting in the warehouse with all the Batman words was hysterical.  As were both Shawn and Gus' superheroes.  Also didn't see the final twist coming.  All in all, it was another fun episode.

Survivor - So, Ozzy gets back in the game only to have Cochran turn his back on everyone and switch sides.  I am interested to see how he is going to try to spin this.  But the real question is, will everyone now be gunning for him, or will the other side take him on their team, at least until they get down to seven.  I think he's just cut his own throat, but we'll see.

The Big Bang Theory - Amy has some weird ideas on things, but this was a pretty funny episode.  I'm just wondering what they are saying about Leonard behind his back.

Burn Notice - If I didn't trust the writers in this show to come up with a way for Michael to defeat this latest big bad, I might actually be worried.  Until then, I'm going to enjoy watching him squirm as the stakes have never been hirer for him.  I am wondering how this will lead into next year.  And so many great lines in the episode.  I just love this show.

Charlie's Angels - I think my biggest disappointment with the fact that this show has been canceled is the fact that we will never know what secret they were hinting at with Charlie.  That certainly intrigues me along with the fun of the individual episodes.

Chuck - I was very confused when Morgan didn't recognize the Indy reference since I was thinking it myself.  But then they made it a plot point.  Wow, Morgan is definitely changing, and not for the better.  Again, I trust the writers and I think they will fix things by the end.  (At least I hope they will.  Some of those interviews make it sound like they want to end things at least somewhat badly.  But that's never been the show.  It's always been about fun.)

Nikita - I knew it!  I knew that Ryan couldn't really be dead.  How his working with Amanda to take down Oversight is going to work out, however, I have no clue.  Meanwhile, the writers, who I assume are here in So Cal, need to learn that Camp Pendleton is a Marine base, not a Navy base (although I'm sure there could be overlap).  And Alex basically a prisoner of Division even if they are "protecting" her?  This season has officially gotten very good.

Grimm - This is an easy cut for me to make from my watch list.  After two episodes, I'm not really that engage either with the characters or the story they are trying to tell.  I'm curious how they will continue to build on fairytales for each episode, but not enough to watch week after week.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Concentration - That Is Key

Tuesday, I said I hadn't been able to concentrate much.  Then, I was blaming a sugar hangover from the candy I ate Monday night.  Tonight, I have no excuse, yet here I am unable to concentrate on much of anything.  It's been that bad almost all week, and I'm not sure what is causing it.

It might be my lack of sleep that is making me jittery.  I've been going to bed late, even for me, almost all week.  Tuesday and Thursday, I got up and went for a run before work in spite of all that, too.

I definitely think it is partically adrenelin from waiting to hear if a new friend will sign up for Tough Mudder with me.  I so want to do that race with someone else.  And we're even thinking of trying to talk some members of a band we both like to join us.  That prospect is really making me jittery.  I am finding myself checking every few minutes to see if he's responded, even though his responses are pretty consistent and come in like clockwork once a day.  Yeah, a guy can hope, can't he?

And I've got the ROC race this weekend.  That's Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge.  The weather's supposed to barely hit 60, so it will be a little cooler than I want, but it looks like so much fun. I can't wait.

Plus I'm trying to decide what to cut from my TV list while still trying to watch everything I am recording.  I can't keep it up much longer.  I know that I've got a few weeks until some of my shows end for the season (they're only fall shows), but I don't know if I can wait that long to cut back.

This will be interesting tonight since I have choir.  Will I be able to concentrate for two hours.  Plus, to add to the nervousness, I think I am going to audition for one of the solos.  I've been praciting hard for the last couple of days for it.

Here's hoping I actually go to bed and feel more like myself tomorrow.  I have too much work I need to do to go on like this.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Fall Into Reading Question Six

It's time for this week's Fall Into Reading Question

When it comes to fiction, are you more of a “plot person” or a “character person”? If you had to choose, which concept would win out when it comes to picking and loving a book: plot or character?

I am finding that I truly do enjoy great characters.  In fact, spending time with interesting characters has helped some slow plots be more palitable to me.  However, eventually, you'd better have an interesting plot or I will zone out and struggle to finish the book.

So ultimately I am a plot person, but I can be distracted by fun, well drawn characters through the slow parts.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Word Association for November 1st

Since I have the attention span of...What's that?...tonight, let's do this week's word association.

  1. Class :: School
  2. Shopping :: Bag
  3. Bitchy :: Unplesant
  4. Consulting :: Job
  5. Texts :: Phone
  6. Sigh :: Long
  7. Office :: Work
  8. Develop :: Pictures
  9. Boardwalk :: Monopoly
  10. Prime :: Rib

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for October 29th

Just finished up the shows for the week, even though I had fewer shows than I have.  Something about two new shows on Friday night along with a night where I wasn't home and a busy Saturday.  But anyway, here are my thoughts on the week of TV.

Once Upon a Time - I hope that people were watching because I sure did like that pilot.  Okay, so the premise seemed to steal quite a bit from The Sisters Grimm books I like (and the rest will be stolen by Grimm, I'm predicting right now).  But the execution is pretty good and there are some very interesting places they can take the story.  Heck, I'm wondering if Snow White really remembers her past or not.  Frankly, it looks like a fun show, and this is coming from someone who doesn't want to start another major arc story.  Hopefully they get enough episodes to truly show us where the story might lead.

The Amazing Race - I feel sorry for the twins, they never appeared to have a chance to catch up to everyone else.  And it is amazing how the teams seemed to get switched around based on how their taxi took them in Bankok.  That was the only real place switching we saw.  I felt sorry for the father/son team when they found out they could have kept to their original bus, but at least it didn't cost them anything other than two tickets.  But back to the twins.  I greatly respect them not begging but finding drivers to give them rides for free.  That shows a maturity level that I really like.

The Sing-Off - Since I've been a fan of one of the members of The Collective since she started her career, I've been rooting for them all along.  But based on the judge's comments, I've been expecting them to go by the mid way point.  Guess I was right.  I did enjoy the hip hop more than I thought I would, well at least most of the performances.  And it is interesting that there doesn't seem to be a clear front runner or two coming out of this season, at least not yet.  Maybe as we get closer it will become more obvious who they are really rooting for.

Castle - They broke up Espanzito and Laney?  Say it ain't so?  I really liked them together as a couple.  I hope they work them back together.  Meanwhile, it looks like they are going to break up Ashleigh and Alexis.  I don't have feelings about that either way, I must admit.  Oh, the case?  A very good haunted mansion mystery, and I love those when there's a logical explanation at the end.  The killer was a bit random, even for that show, but I enjoyed the episode over all.

Dancing with the Stars - So I watched the dances only from Monday night and then watched some of the recap on Tuesday.  So that's when I heard Maks comments about how he built the show.  Really?  Someone has a serious ego problem.  And I'm sorry, but Hope's dance last night wasn't nearly as good as many of the others there.  This is coming from an untrained fan, Maks.  You might want to think about that.  Meanwhile, I called it last week, it was Chaz and Lacey's turn to go.  I was fast forwarding through, but what was Carson still doing around.  Dude's gone.  Deal with it and move on.

Last Man Standing - One good laugh, that's all this episode had.  And the stuff with the wife and the neighbor?  Completely unfunny.  I'm still on the fence with this show, but I think I'm about done with it.

Psych - Another really funny episode.  Yes, the killer was a bit of a last minute character, although not quite as bad as I thought since he had shown up in one scene.  But the jokes were so funny.  I was laughing the entire time.

Survivor - That is either the boldest move or the worst possible move ever.  If Ozzy doesn't win, he's going to feel stupid.  But if he does win and come back in, it might be the game.  What's really funny is that Christine would have been loyal to his tribe because she hated her own.  But now that they are lying to her, she might get so angry with them.  Next week is going to be very, very interesting.

The Big Bang Theory - An episode without Amy.  I think that's a first since they introduced the character.  It was very funny, too.  The plot with Leonard was predictable if somewhat sweet.  But what was really funny was the part about Sheldon trying to scare the other guys in the group.  It was so hilarious.

Nikita - Even from a cell, Percy is still a force to be reckoned with.  Setting up Nikita with her father to track her down and kill her?  The twists and turns in this episode alone were worthy of a full length movie.  And does this mean Alex is going to be working with Nikita again?  I hope so.  Although if Alex can't shake Percy's threat, it won't last for long.  And I guess Michael, Nikita, and Berkhoff will being finding a new place to live.  And how is Michael finding out about his son going to change things?

Chuck - I can't believe this is the final season.  How I have missed these characters.  It still felt like it was missing the humor of the old Chuck, but I love how they are handling Morgan as the intersect and what that means for Chuck.  And I love Sarah and Chuck as a married couple.  I believe it and I love it.

Grimm - The title was sure right on this one.  I suspect there is more to this than we've seen so far in the pilot.  But I'm not sold yet.  This one is going to have to grab me quickly or it is going to be gone.

New TV on DVD Reviews:
Chuck - Season 4  
V - Season 2   

Friday, October 28, 2011

Last Friday's Downhere Concert

I can't believe I forgot to talk about this earlier this week.  Especially since I had a great time.

I've been a fan of the Christian Canadian rock band downhere since, like forever.  Okay, I probably found them about a year after their debut came out, and I've been following them ever since.  They have an unfortunately small following, although that may grow thanks to lead singer Marc Martel's recent viral video entry in the Queen tribute band contest.

Anyway, I've seen them three times in concert over the years, twice here in town.  Last Friday, I got to see them a fourth time here in town.  This was probably the first time I've caught them in 5 or so years.

The concert appears to have been part of a fundraiser for a local Christian school.  Honestly, I didn't care.  It was a chance to see downhere in concert.

They only did one song that I recognized from the earlier concerts I've been to.  Everything else was from the discs they've released since then, which doesn't really surprise me.  What did surprise me was just how many of the lyrics I still knew.  I was expecting to know a small fraction, but I was able to sing along to them all.  Quite often, I couldn't remember which song it was until we hit the chorus.

After the concert, I hit the autograph line and was able to get their latest discs autographed, so I still have a complete collection of autographed discs.  They are truly nice guys who were chatting with everyone who came through the line.  I was near the end, and I left about an hour after the concert was over.

They're hoping to be back this spring with their tourmates, Aaron Shusts and Jason Gray.  I'm fans of both of those artists as well, so I hope that happens.  I'd love to spend a night with all three in concert.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Word Association for October 27th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Inhibitions :: Free
  2. Sprint :: Holy
  3. You :: Me
  4. Shop :: 'Til You Drop
  5. Priority :: Top
  6. Testify :: Trial
  7. Guys :: Dolls
  8. Phone call :: Received
  9. Removed :: from Circulation
  10. Produce :: Grocery

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Into Reading Question 5

If it's Wednesday, it's time for this week's Fall Into Reading Question.

Do you skim? Or are you faithful to read every word?

My first reaction to this is always, "Of course I read every word."  And I think I read about 90% of them.

But I confess that there are times I get caught up in the action and my eyes start skimming over things.  This is especially the case with dialog between only two characters.  I'll just read what they are saying and skim over the tags.  And if the descriptions get long and boring, I skim them very quickly.

However, it's never my intent to skim.  And I feel like I read every word on the page.  It think it's more a case of my mind filling in stuff for me, and so my eye skips to the next part it doesn't already know.

I think it would be interesting to see how much I read versus how much I think I read versus how much is on the page some time.  That may be the only way I ever truly know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another fun, busy weekend

Like you'd expect anything less from me, right?

I actually got to play ultimate Frisbee twice this weekend.  I headed out to my new game Saturday morning.  Then I played again with the other group here in town on Sunday afternoon.  It felt wonderful to have plastic in my hands again, and it's only been a month.  Remember those years when I only played for St. Pat's Hat and summer league?  Every so often, I do wonder if I should stick to pick up and forget leagues, but I think I love the sport too much to do that.

Meantime, I spent time catching up on TV, including the Sing-Off I hadn't watched when I posted Saturday night.

And Saturday night, I went to see And Then There Were None (aka Ten Little Indians) at a theater in North Hollywood.  It was a small theater, but very well done.  And it was nice because you could see everything, too.  My friend Angelique went, too, and we really enjoyed it.  Glendale Centre Theatre is mostly likely going to do it next fall, and I can't wait to see it again there.

Of course, Sunday morning was church.  But I didn't get to go hang out with my normal Sunday night crew due to sickness and late soccer games.  I haven't seen them for several weeks now, so hopefully we can connect this weekend.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekly TV Recap for October 22nd

So close.  I'm caught up on everything but The Sing-Off.  Won't get to that tonight, so I'll have to try to work it in over the next couple of days.  I just don't see myself watching it all at once, but we'll see what happens.  Meanwhile, here's my take on the new stuff from this week.

The Amazing Race - I'll admit, I wasn't only half watching the race this week.  Again.  Even so, I wasn't at all surprised that the snowboarders came in first on this leg.  As soon as I saw the tasks at the detour, I knew it was theirs to lose.  I hope they keep it up because I like them.  They just need to avoid mistakes like they did at the airport.

Terra Nova - For a while I was thinking they were leaving the dinosaurs out of that episode, but one did make a cameo.  Interesting ideas they are forming about the leader of Terra Nova.  I'm wondering what the real story is.  And I'm wondering what that devise the girl was sent to retrieve is.

Castle - "I don't take things that belong to other people."  Talk about a great line.  And I really like how they played with Castle and Beckett's relationship.  Plus I can't believe that Ryan and Sharpay Evan's mom was the killer.

Dancing with the Stars - So, apparently I'm the only one who thought it was beyond time for Carson to go.  He's fun, don't get me wrong.  But he's not a good dancer.  For him to stay while a better dancer left wouldn't have been right.  And yes, I've figured that out without watching the entire performances the last two weeks.

Last Man Standing - I'm torn on this show.  In all three episodes, it seems like we're supposed to be mocking Tim Allen's character, who is ultra conservative.  But he happens to be right, at least some of the time.  Are we going with an Archie Bunker thing here or are they going to prove that maybe he's not so bad after all more often like at the end where his daughter was defending him?

Ringer - Watched the two episodes I hadn't seen back to back.  So Shaban had Gemma killed for some reason?  What was it?  And why did Bridgette make sure her prints were on the evidence?  I knew they wouldn't find Bridget's sponser since they had tipped off the bad guys.  So how long will he be their prisoner, and did he give Bridget up?  This show gets more intriguing every week.

Psych - The Hangover didn't interest me.  Royal Pains did an episode based on the premise that was okay.  So I wasn't expecting much from this episode, but it was lots of fun.  The mystery was pretty good as well.  And the ending had me in stitches.  Much better than last week's premier.

Survivor - Ozzie wasn't quite as bad the whole way through, but I can understand his reaction at being blindsided.  And yes, some weeks I think people are over reacting.  But when you think you are in charge of things and they vote out your closest allie, it's going to hurt.  Meanwhile, at the other tribe, Brandon is indeed a lose cannon, but keeping secrets from him, especially when you are going to keep talking about being honest, is just going to make the situation worse.  Yes, Coach, I'm looking directly at you.  And speaking of which, threatening to punch someone for using your real name?  So over the top I don't even know where to start.

Charlie's Angels - I'm really sorry this show has been canceled.  The pilot was by far the weakest episode.  The rest have been fun.  No, it's not amazing or spectacular, but it's escapist fair, and that's all it was trying to be, really.  And I felt it fit the original pretty well, not that I've watched the originals that recently.

The Big Bang Theory - I'm not a huge fan of Sheldon's mom just because she is usually an excuse to mock Christians based on stereotypes.  Even so, I found the episode very funny.  I laughed so hard at this episode.  It's nice to find a batch of decent episodes on the show again.  They seem to be finding their groove in season 5.

Nikita - Last week was some more back story on Nikita as we finally saw the mission where she escaped Division.  This week, we got a little bit more on Michael, and it was interesting.  I expected Alex to figure out that Nikita was around, so I liked the fact that she never did.  This may be my favorite episode of the season so far since it feels like the story is beginning to move forward again.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Word Association for October 21st

Running late, so I guess it's a good thing that I'm just posting this week's word association today.

  1. Neglected :: Forgotten
  2. Sirens :: Police
  3. Coordinate :: Avoid Duplication
  4. Mellow :: Relaxed
  5. Oscar :: Winner
  6. Facebook :: Friends
  7. Whoop :: Excitement
  8. Affluent :: Rich
  9. Battle :: War
  10. Kisses :: Love

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall Into Reading Questions 3 and 4

Since I was internet less last week, I'm going to do questions 3 and 4 from Callapidder Days this week.  (Why didn't I do this yesterday?  Because I just plan ran out of time.)

On what devices, if any, do you read books? Or are you strictly a “physical book” reader?

I do have some reading apps on my iPod Touch, specifically Kindle for iPhone and Barnes and Noble's reading apps.  But I've read one story and one book on them, I think.  If that.  I am very much a physical book person.  Which leads into this week's question.

How large is your personal/family collection of books? And where do you keep them?

Large.  I don't know how many books I actually have.  I have some boxes down in the garage.  And I have bookcases in the condo overflowing with books.  I should probably weed through them and cut some of them out, but I hate to get rid of books, even giving them away.  If only I could fit more physical books into my crowded condo (along with my DVD's).