Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for April 28th

I'm up to date again, but I'm not making any predictions about staying that way this time.

Fairly Legal - Have I mentioned yet how much I hate Ben?  And then to have Kate turn to him for sex?  Okay, I realize I'm not someone who sleeps around at all, but come on?  With a guy you hate that much?  Doesn't seem like Kate, even drunk Kate.  And I love how they are having Kate and Lauren actually working together some and getting along some this season.  That was my biggest complaint last year.  Of course, they've ruined it with Ben.

In Plain Sight - Wow.  Just wow.  I can't believe they actually killed Scott.  I wasn't expecting that at all.  Mary's reaction to everything going on with her dad was realistic, and Marshall confronting her on her attitude was spot on as well.  I wonder if they are going to have Marshall break up with his fiancee and try to get together with Mary.  That sure is what his dad seems to be pushing for (and I certainly did like him this time), but I hope not.  I don't see why you have to have romance with the main characters in every single TV series.  It doesn't always happen that way in real life.  Although I will take the show no matter how it plays it out.

Nikita - I guess being from the original show doesn't mean you are safe since they killed off Senator Pierce.  But I loved how they played it with Sean and Alex.  And the final scenes with Nikita and Michael were absolutely riveting because of the emotions and how well it was acted.

The Amazing Race - I was hearing people talking about having tears in their eyes as they watched the finish.  Now I get it.  Bopper and Mark can be annoying at times, but they are still the ones I am rooting for.  And their commitment to their friendship is exactly the reason why.  I hope they get back in the race (although it sure did look like the director gave them a huge hand with the last attempt in the video.)

Once Upon a Time - So that's what happened to Rumplestiltskin's son.  Is he in our world now or some other world?  And that much be why he created the curse.  Did you manipulate Regina into enacting it for him?  Who is August, really?  And can Emma be any stupider, announcing her next moves to the enemy?

Survivor - The producers still try.  They really do.  But sometimes, it's obvious who is going from very early in the episode.  As soon as Troy lost, I knew he was history.  Now, I just hope that Christina notices that they were willing to let her get voted off if Troy had that idol.  I'd be furious about that if it were me, and I don't think she's as dumb as they all think she is.

Big Bang Theory - That was just painful.  I wound up fast forwarding through parts of it.  But Howard's speech at the end was sweet and made up for much of it.  Not all, but some.

Fairly Legal - Interesting.  So the sexual harassment was a fake to get money.  Seems like someone pulled a page from the Ringer playbook.  And I'll probably be the only one to make that connection.  I love how Kate and Lauren are working on their relationship and Kate seems to almost be growing up a little.  If it weren't for Ben, I might actually like this season, although his sub-plot with Justin was actually very funny this week.

In Plain Sight - I hate that FBI guy.  However, I love to hate him since he is a villain.  But what was Mary's dad thinking?  If the wrong person sees those emeralds first, she's going to be fired and worse.  And the final scene with her arriving at the hospital was so heartbreaking.

Nikita - I love what they have done with characters this season.  They've really made Burkoff into a character and not just the guy behind the computer.  Yes, the character development and everything else was rather predictable this time.  (Well, I thought they'd get the money in the end.)  But it was still so well done and acted I didn't care.  That last scene between Nikita and Burkoff was absolutely wonderful.

New TV on DVD Reviews:

Friday, April 27, 2012

More Bowling

Actually, it's been about six weeks since I went bowling, but I made it again on Wednesday.  I wasn't sure how well I'd do, but I managed to pull out an overal win and win 3 or 4 of the games overall.

What was really funny about my score was how it fluxuated.  We played six games, and I got 150 and 143 the first two games.  But then I stumbled and got 114 and 117 for the next two.  But just look at how close together those scores were.

The finale two games were my best scores at 152 and 175.  Not only was this after bowling 4 games, but it was after 11PM.  We finished that last game just before midnight.  I actually felt like I was so exhausted the entire time and I could just curl up and go to sleep.  And it was my best score of the night.

Anyway, there were just three of us, Spencer, Michael, and me.  We had a great time, although I always am happiest when I win overall.  A few games we were only a few points apart in the third of fourth frame, too, so they were closer than the final scores would make them appear.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Word Association for April 26th

Here's this week's word association.

  1. Soul mate :: Spouse
  2. Design :: Clothing
  3. Line :: Straight
  4. Jane :: Tarzan
  5. Nice :: Smile
  6. Spider :: Webster
  7. Gray :: Cloudy
  8. Ruffles :: Potato Chips
  9. Inspired :: Work
  10. Fasionable :: Choice
I'm not sure where a couple of those came from, but Spider Webster is a character who pops up in a few of the Trixie Belden books.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 LA Times Festival of Books

This past weekend was the LA Times Festival of Books.  Like last year, it was at USC again.  I actually feel like I have a bit of an idea what the layout is like now.  Maybe.  I still don't feel nearly as comfortable with it as I did at UCLA.

I went with Angelique as always.  We got there just after 10 and proceeded to wander around.  Okay, so I was a man on a mission.  I had a tight schedule for getting some books signed around noon and wanted to know where I was going.  It took me an hour to find the booth, but that was because we had pretty much walked everywhere on campus by then.  Well, everywhere that the festival was using.  We were both hungry, so we grabbed an early lunch, and then I got the books signed.

That meant I got to meet Stuart Gibbs.  He's written some kid's books that I have really enjoyed.  Then it was over to see Michael Buckley, who was out from New York and selling the last Sisters Grimm book a week before it officially comes out.  Guess who bought a copy!  While waiting to get that signed, we also got to chat with an author whose first book comes out in October.  It sounds great, and I'll definitely be getting a copy.

From there, we headed over to the mystery booths.  It sure is nice having them all in one place.  So easy to stalk, I mean visit with, favorite authors.  We got to catch up with Lee Goldberg, Joanne Fluke, Laura Levine, and especially Sue Ann Jaffarian.  We had a nice long visit with her while she was between booths at one point.

The down side was the heat.  It was in the upper 90's.  When we were in the shade, it was actually a very nice day.  But the 45 minutes we spent waiting for Michael Buckley's signature was out in the sun and roasting.  And guess who missed a spot when applying sun screen.  Me, of course.

It seems like the festival is small with not as many booths to tempt us to come in and spend money.  I only bought Michael's book, for example.  But it is still a fun day and I am looking forward to next year.

We'll just have to see if I really have a feel for campus or if I'll be as lost then as I was when the day started.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Nightstand - the Transition

It's time for April's What's on Your Nightstand, hosted by the good folks over at 5 Minutes for Books.

I'm actually transitioning between books today.  At lunch time, I read the last 30 pages of Hot, Shot, and Bothered by Nora McFarland.  This book is the second in a series that stars TV news shooter (on site camera person) Lilly Hawkins.  Lilly is on hand when a body is pulled from a lake.  It's someone she knows, and she doesn't believe the official version of the death.  Meanwhile, she's supposed to be in the area to shoot the wildfire that is threatening to destroy the small town and any evidence of murder.  I didn't enjoy the fire aspect of things (hit a little too close to home at times), although I did enjoy the book overall.

I also started Twice Upon a Time by James Riley.  This book, aimed at kids, is a fractured fairy tale book.  It's a follow up to Half Upon a Time, which I really enjoyed.  But I'm not going to say any more than that so I don't spoil the first book.  That and I really don't know much about this one yet since I'm only 22 pages into it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Called to Love Tour's Southern California Stop

I took Thursday off work to go to a concert in the evening.  Okay, so I originally only asked for the afternoon off.  The concert was two hours away and started at 7.  Did I mention that's two hours of no traffic away?  If I left at 5, I'd definitely hit traffic and miss much of the concert.  But then Chris wanted to get together earlier, so I took the entire day off.

He arrived a little before noon, and we headed out for a run.  Stupid idea since it was hot.  Had to be in the 90's.  I don't mind running in the heat, but that was a bit too much even for me.  Plus it was my first run in any serious heat all year.  Definitely zapped me.  Plus I think we were running faster than normal.  Anyway, we grabbed lunch and headed out.

We got there with a couple hours to kill, so we found a place to buy the tickets and then wandered around for a while.  Even found a Jamba Juice to help rehydrate us.

The concert featured downhere, Jason Gray, and Aaron Shust.  Chris and I are both fans of downhere, but I like the other two artists as well.  I loved it.  Jason came out first and did several songs from his two newer releases.  Considering I just discovered how awesome Everything Sad is Coming Untrue is, I didn't know the songs as well as I could have, but I really enjoyed it.

Next was Aaron, who did songs from three of his four discs.  The one he was missing?  Take Over, my favorite.  But singing along with "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" and "My Hope is in You." was incredible.

Then there was a break before downhere took the stage.  Honestly, I wish they had gone longer.  They focused on their last two records, but threw in their Christmas classic "How Many Kings" as well as "Someone to Love."  It felt like about half the show they did here in town in October, so I was glad I saw them then as well, but it was so great to see them again so soon.

The concert must have been a last minute addition because Chris has only spotted it a week and a half before it happened.  I'd been debating about driving up to Santa Rosa to catch the concert.  Turns out the one up there was sold out, so I'm glad I didn't.

And it was what I needed Thursday night, too.  The reminder of God's love convicted me of my need to respond to Him with my life.  It may not be the exact message they were sending out, but it was exactly what I needed to hear that night.

Anyway, I was talking about how last minute it must as been.  The concert was never up on the official tour website.  And attendence was sparse.  We're guessing maybe 100 people were there, which was nice and intimate.  Then again, the church wasn't very big to begin with.  Not too many hung around for autographs afterward, but we did, and were through the line fairly quickly.  All told, it was a wonderful evening that was over much too soon.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for April 21st

You remember how I was going to stay up to date on Friday shows now?  Didn't happen this week.  I've gotten home last the last two days, and I'm still way behind.  But here's what I have gotten watched.

The Amazing Race - You know the part I enjoyed most?  The part where the teams were going through the wilderness and getting to enjoy it.  Once they had to actually do something, so they could start fighting again, I was tired of them.  The U-Turn always brings out the worst in people, and I’m not talking about someone changing his mind, I'm talking about the "I can't believe he backed down" duo.  They made me sick.  I was sorry to see the female agents go, but with how far behind they left, they never really had a chance to catch up.  Only an hour behind, and they would have had it.

Castle - It was the Firefly reunion people have been talking about for weeks.  And I actually wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be.  I found Adam Baldwin's character to be so over the top he was annoying.  Yes, it was the same basic character he played on Chuck, but he had a few good parts there.  Here, not so much.

Ringer - Secrets reveals, and lots of season storylines ended.  I'm glad that Andrew and Juliet reacted the way they did.  I'm not saying I liked it, but it was truly realistic.  It was an emotional rollercoaster.  And now Bridget knows the truth about Shioban as well.  That last line?  "Why does she want me dead?"  Great!  I hope we get a chance to see where it goes from here, although I'm not going to hold my breath.  Even if this is all we get, it was still a wonderful ride.

Survivor - Okay, I can understand where Trozan is coming from.  Being the obvious target is a painful place to be.  But his response has done nothing but make his situation worse.  By gloating and whining, he's made no one want to align with him.  I'd like to say I'd behave better than that, but I think if I were in his shoes, I'd probably do the exact same thing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Word Association for April 18th

Here we go, the word association for this week.

  1. Message :: Bible
  2. Underground :: Railroad
  3. Hurting :: Pain
  4. Glasses :: Eyes
  5. Wholesome :: Entertainment
  6. Garden :: Flowers
  7. Plants :: Animals
  8. Windows :: Open
  9. Beard :: Shave
  10. Encryption :: Software

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Running Break

I took a break from running last week.  It wasn't that I wanted to, but that my body was telling me I had to or else.

When I headed up for Easter, my left knee was really bothering me.  I was hoping the rest would do it good, and it did, although climbing the stairs at my parents bothered it a bit.  I decided I needed to take at minimum a week off.

What was frustrating was Monday and Tuesday, my knees felt fine, but my legs were bugging me.  But on Wednesday, my knees started bugging me again.  And I was even having trouble with them sitting at home.

I did nothing over the weekend, mainly because I could and was feeling very lazy.  I also found I was feeling much better all day yesterday.

When I got home, it was still upper 70's, so it was too good a day not to run.  I figured I'd go and see how I felt.  I'd turn around at any point along the way.  But I made my goal of 3 miles.

Of course, I felt horrid when I was done.  Dinner hadn't settled, so that was part of the problem.  And I hadn't slept well the night before, so I was tired.  But after a good night sleep, I'm feeling better today.  My legs are back to sore, but it feels like I've been running on them, which is a good kind of sore.

I'm planning another easy run this week, and then I'll get back to the harder training next week, although I'll probably build up again a little to get back to 8 miles.  Hopefully, I'm doing better and not seriously injured, but we'll see.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Weekly TV Recap

A fairly typical week of April TV.  Some shows in reruns, others not.  It allowed me to catch up on Friday from last week.

Fairly Legal - Marshal was on Fairly Legal!  Okay, so it helped that I'm rewatching Alias right now, but it was great to see him doing something again.  And I'm a sucker for the happy ending, so I loved that Kate figured out how to make it all work.

In Plain Sight - They actually did pretty well with this one.  I felt sorry for everyone involved.  Okay, almost everyone.  The "husband" is a jerk who doesn't deserve either family.

The Amazing Race - I was so hoping for a non-elimination leg because I think I've figured out which team I'm rooting for.  The teachers.  Everyone else can just go away.  They're either too whiny or too arrogant.

Ringer - For once, I didn't find the ending shocking.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out next week.  I want Bridget to at least start to come clean with someone.  I'll be interested to see just how much gets wrapped up and how much is left hanging (since I don't expect the show to come back next year).  Looks to me like plenty of things will come to a head from this season, at least.

Psych - That was a very fun send up of noir films.  Although the ending has me a bit worried.  I'm assuming that Shawn's dad will be back next year, but I haven't heard for sure.  Granted, he's not a main character, but I do like what he adds to the show.

Survivor - At least the person who went home was the stupid, clueless guy.  I can't believe how stupid all the guys are being and have been all season.  I'm not sure if I'm rooting for them because I am rooting for the underdog and some guys or I'm rooting against them because they are just that stupid.

Fairly Legal - I really, really, really hate Ben.  I don't see how he is adding anything to the show.  Please soften him up and soon!

In Plain Sight - I called it as soon as I saw the teaser.  When they wouldn't tell us who was going to show up in the final moments, I knew it would be her dad.  They couldn't end the show without us meeting him at some point.  In other news, I did like seeing Raf again.  I feel like they are trying to wrap up some stuff like that.  And I'm curious to see if they are going to close the whole office as the finale.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cruisin' Thru the Cozies

I really did mean it when I said I wasn't going to go overboard in joining reading challenges this year, but how can I not join Cruisin' Thru the Cozies?  Again, it's just an excuse to read cozy mysteries, which I already love to do.

I'll be signing up for the Super Sleuth level, which means I need to read at least 13 cozies between now and the end of the year.

The only ironic part of joining this month is that I've been reading kid's books instead of cozies.  Oh well, I'll make up for it in May and June, I'm sure, based on my Spring Reading Thing list.

I'll come back and fill in the list (and link to my reviews) as I read them.

1. Hot, Shot, and Bothered by Nora McFarland
2. Murder on Monday by Ann Purser
3. Shadows on the Sand by Gayle Roper
4. Swift Justice by Laura DiSilverio
5. Echoes of Titanic by Mindy Starns Clark and John Campbell Clark
6. The Cat who Talked Turkey by Lillian Jackson Braun
7. Dead Man Waltzing by Ella Barrick
8. Deadly Shoals by Joan Druett
9. Going to the Bad by Nora McFarland
10. Hide and Snoop by Sue Ann Jaffarian
11. Death of a Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine
12. The Chocolate Moose Motive by JoAnna Carl
13. Skating Around the Law by Joelle Charbboneau
14. Popped Off by Jeffrey Allen
15. How to Dine on Killer Wine by Penny Warner
16. The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Word Association for April 12th

Just enough time to get some word association in.

  1. Justice :: League
  2. Catching :: Flies
  3. Date :: Night
  4. Horoscope :: Prediction
  5. Jerry :: Rigged
  6. 21 :: Blackjack
  7. Paper :: Writing
  8. Holistic :: Healing
  9. Ghostly :: Presence
  10. Movie :: Watch

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Weekend

You know what the joy of having all my family in the same area again?  I can see them all in one trip.

Yes, I drove home this weekend for a visit with my family.  They gave us all of Good Friday off work this year, so I left Friday morning.  My friends Josh and Beth have family in the area as well, so we carpooled up.  I dropped them off and then met up with Donald for minigolf and dinner before driving on home.

The only time I left Mom and Dad's all weekend was for church on Sunday.  We were hosting Easter dinner, so there was plenty to do.  Plus I wanted to soak up as much niece time as I could.  Boy is she cute!  We got to dye Easter eggs and hide them as well, something I haven't done in years.  That was an absolute blast.

Sunday, we wound up all going to my brother's new church.  I wanted to see where he'd be working, and Mom and Dad wanted to be there at least to hear my niece sing.  Okay, at almost 3 she didn't really get what they were doing, but it was fun.  Plus my sister-in-law was singing in the choir cantada.  It was a very nice service.

Then that afternoon, my SiL's parents and my uncle, aunt, cousin, and his daughter came up for Easter dinner.  It was wonderful catching up with all of them, and the food was delicious.

Really, it was a full weekend and a wonderful weekend.  I was so not ready to come back to work yesterday.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Weekly TV Recap for April 7th

True Confessions time.  Instead of doing this as I went along, I wrote this post up just now.  That's why some things are hazier than they would have been if I'd written it over a week like I normally do.

Also, I'm behind on Friday snows again.  But next week I should be able to catch up and stay caught up.

Once Upon a Time - So that's the big secret?  As a child, Snow betrayed a confidence when she was manipulated?  It seems to be that Regina is blaming the wrong person and going way overboard.  Fortunately, it seems most everyone agrees with me.  But it's a minor point in a series I'm still loving.

Castle - Castle was hardly around that episode.  It was the Beckett and guest star episode.  Of course, I realize they were doing it from a plot point standpoint of showing how Castle is pulling away from Beckett.  The episode was fun overall, and I'm curious to see where they'll go from here to wrap up the season.

Ringer - First time in a long time I actually saw the ending of the episode coming from a little ways away.  I would say that Bridget is in major trouble, however it's not quite immediate as I thought it would be based on the preview from last week.  And Shioban needs to learn to stop plotting soon because every time she does, she makes it so much worse.  Love how she and Bridget seem to have changed roles from years ago when her son died.

Psych - Their angry client was not nearly as funny as they tried to make him out to be.  But Shawn and Juliette on opposite sides of things was very funny.  Those were definitely some of the best laughs of the night.

Survivor - The guys are stupid and don't deserve to win.  I doubt anything can save them at this point.  If only Colton were around to see how his ego and stupidity has come back to bite all of them.  I would pay good money to see that, in fact.

The Big Bang Theory - It would be nice for Sheldon to actually be nice for a change.  It would destroy his character, but it would be nice.  Still, I thought Howard was great in the episode, and the ending was absolutely perfect.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

My March Reads

Here's what I read in March.  All ratings are on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (great).  Links take you to my full review at Epinions.

THE FALL OF THE LOUSE OF USHER by Lisa Lideks and Mara Lideks - 4
A fun ebook that finds three sisters banning together when one of them is accused of killing the husband who had just left her. The book was quite humorous and the plot was fun.

CINNAMON ROLL MURDER by Joanne Fluke - 3
When the piano player of a jazz band is killed, Hannah springs into action to find his killer.  Meanwhile, she's also looking for a way to stop Hannah from marrying Dr. Bev.  The characters were great as always, and the mystery was fun.  But the Norman/Dr. Bev story was unrealistic.  I'm hoping, however, that it is leading to the end of the Hannah/Norman/Mike love triangle.

Trixie is determined to help neighbor Mrs. Elliot when someone seems determined to ruin her flower business.  Despite the lack of Di and Dan acting abnormal, I find this summer mystery to be lots of fun.

$10,000 IN SMALL UNMARKED PUZZLES by Parnell Hall - 4
Cora is asked to make the drop for a blackmail payment.  But instead of an empty dumpster, she finds a dead body seconds before the police show up.  As always the story is very funny, but it also had the usual too quick wrap up.

HUSH NOW, DON'T YOU CRY by Rhys Bowen - 4
Molly and Daniel are off on their honeymoon, but their dream trip to Newport turns bad when Daniel gets sick and the family of the estate where they are staying shows up.  And that's before the body appears.  I always enjoy spending time with Molly, and sickness certainly softened Daniel.  But I felt the climax to the mystery was weak.

The Spellman clan is highered for several different survelience cases.  Meanwhile, the mom is taking random classes every evening and David and Rae aren't speaking.  Will the family survive the latest round of craziness.  As always, I laughed my way through the book and had a hard time putting it down.  Fans will not be disappointed.

4th of July is right around the corner, and between the health festival, the big costume party, and the designer drugs, the HankMed gang is very busy.  As fun visit with these great characters, and I enjoyed the emphasis on crime over medicine.  However, I really hated season 1 Evan returning.

SPY SCHOOL by Stuart Gibbs - 5
Ben is delighted when the CIA asks him to join an elite spy school.  But when his life is endangered within hours of arriving on campus, he begins to rethink things.  Can he stay alive long enough to find out who wants to kill him?  Yes, the book is aimed at kids, but I had a blast reading it.  The story moved quickly with some good twists, and I really liked Ben.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Word Association for April 4th

Here we go - this week's word association.

  1. Whispering :: Secret
  2. Braided :: Hair
  3. Ruin :: Spoil
  4. Parasite :: Bug
  5. Mineral :: Water
  6. Engines :: Car
  7. Buddy :: Friend
  8. Tic :: Tac
  9. Small :: Large
  10. Tackled :: Wrestling

Monday, April 02, 2012

Irvine Lake Mud Run - Spring Break at the Lake 2012

Saturday was my first mud run of 2012.  I did it with my friend Josh and his younger brother Caleb.  It was my Christmas and Caleb's birthday present.  And we had a blast.

I finally made it back to Irvine Lake.  This was the site of my first mud run almost two years ago.  I'd wanted to go back last year, but the dates were always days I couldn't make it.

This is a 3.9 mile course.  While it's on the edge of a lake, you don't actually get in the lake.  It has one of the largest count of mud pits, although most of them you run through.  And I was glad for that by the end.

The weather was cold with a slight breeze blowing.  It was okay when we were running, but the standing still part really hurt us.  And showering off afterward was very cold.  I'm over doing these in the cold.  My next one (end of April) had better be warm.

We started off, and it wasn't long before they put is in our first mud pit.  So our shoes were wet the entire way through.  Most of the obstacles were fairly shallow pits or the 3 foot high walls.

However, they had a couple of great ones.  First up, they had a slide.  Now I've done a slip and slide kind of thing before, but that's not what this was.  It was a tube like a waterslide.  They only had two of them, so the line was very long.  We're guessing we waited 45 minutes at least to do it.  But it was worth it.  At the bottom was a pool of muddy water deep enough that you didn't hit bottom, although you could stand.  It was also cold, and we'd cooled down while waiting.  Still, it was worth it.

The second obstacles was a mud swamp.  In the past, I've said this mud run has some watery mud.  That wasn't the case in this part.  Apparently, they had been watering this for a couple of weeks, and it paid off.  You sunk in up past your ankle with no hesitation.  The further into it you got, the more you sunk.  Eventually, it was mid thigh.  No, I'm not joking.  And the mud would made a suction, so you had a hard time getting each foot out.  Eventually, everyone resorted to crawling (which got you good a muddy).  I wound up rolling at one point to get to the edge so I could run and catch up.

Yes, it was fun, but it was also a bit on the long side.  They didn't need to make it that long.

And yes, I lost a shoe on this part.  Fortunately, I was able to dig it out (with Caleb's help), but I didn't put it back on until the end of the mud swamp.

If the weather had been 10-15 degrees warmer, it would have been perfect.  Even as cold as it was, we still had a blast.