Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fall Cleaning and Murphy's Law

Since I've already had two days to loaf off and NaNoWriMo starts tonight ( I'm not going to want to much of anything tomorrow), I decided to be productive and clean the apartment. Besides the basic stuff, I'm also cleaning the carpet, dusting, spraying stuff down with vinegar, and getting organized in areas that weren't previously organized.

I think a cleaning gremlin is trying to thwart my attempts. First, the stopper in the sink broke and stuck in the drain. This is karma biting me because it always happens to Jon and I always give him a hard time about it. But he can usually get it out, and I can't. The water is draining slowly, and I was able to get some dishes done, but I need his help and he's at work, so dishes aren't going to get done.

Then, the filter on the vacuum cleaner is clogged and no matter what I do I can't seem to get it unclogged. I know, it only cost me 15 bucks and it was used and off Craigslist, so I shouldn't expect much, but it was working fine a few days ago. Now that I'm wanting to go the extra mile, it doesn't want to work. Grrrr. I only get in these crazy cleaning moods once in awhile. You'd think my household “equipment” would cooperate with me.

I'm trying to get what I can done besides vacuuming and the sink with little breaks here and there to sit down and read. This was going to be a movie day, but I wasn't feeling it. My house is currently a crazy mix of smells: coffee, carpet cleaner, vinegar, and pumpkin spice candle. I have my main door open to air out the place and it's a nice day. Sunshiny and cool but not freezing and windy like it was yesterday. I have a small dish of candy for anyone who happens to stop by, though I don't anticipate many trick-or-treaters since I live in a basement down a creepy stairwell.

Hope everyone is having a fun Halloween! Be safe!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Goodreads: One for the Money

One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, #1) One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The first time I read Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series I was living in the UP, working at the grocery store, and meeting friend's at the Merch, including the friend/coworker who introduced me to the series and let me borrow all her books. I loved them then, but it's been a few years, and with the fifteenth one coming out recently, I decided it was time to go back for a revisit. Plus, I've got my fiance reading them this time around with me.

In this first book, Stephanie starts her career as a bounty hunter assigned bring in Joe Morelli, a cop who's been charged with a murder and is hiding out while he tries to clear his name. Not only does Stephanie have a “past” with Morelli, if she catches him she'll earn $10,000, a nice chunk of change for someone who's had to hock most of her things to pay bills. But Morelli isn't easy to catch, and Stephanie, in her efforts to find him, becomes the target of a rapist boxer with a nasty masochistic streak.

There are a lot of reasons to love this book (and the series in general). First, it's funny. Stephanie Plum alone is a great character, but the secondary players are just as entertaining. Second, I can actually relate to Stephanie, not in the “I'm a bounty hunter” way, but in the “I'm depressed because I'm down to my last dollar” way. Third, it's got a great blend of action, mystery, and romance. Admittedly, this first book is not heavy on the romance, but it gets there later in the series.

I'm glad to be reading this again and can't wait to dive into the second one as soon as I can get it from the library.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Library Fail

Today was a good day to go to the library. I had the day off, Jon needed some new reading material, and I had to pick up a book on reserve. I love libraries, always have, and I generally rely on them to have a pretty good selection. I know that a lot of times they have to work within the confines of a budget and they can't always buy every single book known to man.

Yesterday, I checked the online database to see if they had the second book in the Stephanie Plum series. According to the site, they had three copies, two of which were available, and one large print edition currently checked out. I didn't think we'd have a problem getting one of the available copies.

The paperback section where they would have been was gone. Figuring the library had done a book integration, I checked regular shelves. They weren't there either. Finally, I just asked. Come to find out, they got rid of them. I'm not sure exactly what that means, whether they stripped them for credit and or boxed them up for a sale, but it kind of irritated me. Their excuse was that the books weren't in good enough shape to keep.

Here's my thoughts on this, and if anyone out there works in a library and would like to set me straight, please do.

If a library already have limited resources, why would they throw away readable books ? They said they weren't in “good enough” shape to keep, but we saw them last time we were there (too bad we didn't have the foresight to actually pick one of the copies up then) and they weren't brand new but they weren't ready for the shredder. If a book is not falling out of its spine, it should be kept so that the public can enjoy it, especially if the library in question don't have any other copies! Okay, so maybe they have the LP what? Not everyone needs LP! Did someone maybe complain because a book was not so aesthetically pleasing? I doubt it...most book lovers I know understand that a book for public consumption is bound to have a few quirks. It's a sign that it's been used for it's purpose...literary entertainment.

If space were an issue, I could understand that too. If a library is limited and has o get rid of the older books to bring in some of the newer more popular ones, okay. But walking through our library is kind of sad. There are shelves that are completely empty.

It looks like we'll have to find the book another way, probably at Hastings, and while it's not the end of the world, the whole situation is irritating. I was spoiled by the OKC Metro Library, so maybe I just expect more, but it really was a let down to be excited about reading the book to find out it wasn't available.

Does anyone else feel my pain?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thinking About Christmas

I mentioned Christmas in an earlier blog and it’s been on my mind lately since Sunday marks the beginning of November. It’s been a few years since I’ve celebrated. When I lived in Michigan, the tradition was to get together at my grandparent’s house with the aunts and uncles and cousins. In the more recent years, everyone was starting family’s of their own and getting everyone in one place was difficult.

After I moved to Oklahoma, holidays weren’t as big a deal for me. I spent some time with my grandmother and some aunts and uncles, but there was a huge difference in the social dynamic. I was used to the loud and sometimes dramatic Christmases I’d grown up with, so it was a little strange experiencing a quiet one where conversation was limited and everyone did their own thing (read, watched TV, solved Sudoku puzzles).
Last year, I didn’t celebrate Christmas. Jon and I didn’t buy presents for each other and he went to Illinois while I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day by myself. I have to admit though, that part of me really enjoyed that. There was no stress. It was quiet. I could do whatever I wanted. I made myself a nice meal, did some baking, and watched True Blood. It wasn’t a celebration per se, but it did me a world of good to experience what used to be my favorite holiday on my own for once.

This year, a lot has changed and I think I’m going to enjoy the season. With November only a few days away, I’m looking for decorations, and I’ve already bought two gifts for Jon. I want to get stockings, a cheap Xmas tree, and some decorations. I want to go crazy with baking, and I want to have a nice meal, and I want to listen to Christmas CDs, at least for a day or two before they become really annoying. I’m going to try to find some Christmas cards and send those out, even if I don’t get around to knitting everyone a scarf or other sort of gift. We might even spend it with some friends who have no plans to leave town for the holidays, and that would be fine with me.

There’s a Christmas craft show in a couple weeks I’m going to attend and I’ll be keeping my eye out for a tree. A friend sent me a bunch of Christmas cookie recipes and I’m going to start looking for candy recipes. I figure while I’ve been in a major baking mode, I might as well start making and freezing in preparation.

If anyone has any recipes or brilliant ideas for the holidays, please share them with me. I don’t want stress, but I do want to stay busy and have a season I can remember.

Goodreads: Dead to the World

Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4) Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Last year I started reading the Southern Vampire series on eBook, but I only finished three and a half of them before stopping. I thought they were good, but I have this weird reader’s ADD which keeps me from reading two books in the same series in a row. I’d actually tried to get through this series all at once, and by book 4, I needed something new.

Revisiting these, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel. I remembered liking them, but at the time I’d just finished watching Season 1 of True Blood and was having a hard time making the series mesh with the books. I know you’re probably thinking “duh,” since rarely is a book series like its television counterpart, but there were things I really wanted to jive that just weren’t jiving.

Then I watched season 2 of True Blood and decided to give the books another try, because after the annoying Maenad storyline, I needed something different. Even though I really liked the books the first time I started reading them, this go round was even better.

In “Dead to the World,” Sookie has broken up with Bill Compton who spends most of the story in Peru on business of the Queen (of Louisiana). Things seem to be settling down for Sookie when she comes across Eric Northman running down the road near her house. Eric has lost his memory, and the other vampires of Fangtasia recruit Sookie to keep him hidden from a coven of dangerous witches, who also happen to be weres and vampire blood drinkers. Meanwhile, Sookie’s brother Jason goes missing after being seen with a shifter at the New Year’s party.

There was definitely a contrast between this book and the Anita Blake book I’d read prior. Though still violent, Sookie’s world is lighter and quicker to read. It helps to have visuals from the show for the characters, though they’re not all spot on with the descriptions in the book. Harris doesn’t skimp on the eroticism when the time comes, but she doesn’t make it the focus of the story.

Sookie as the main character in the book is preferable to Sookie on TV (as are most of the characters) and at this point, not only am I planning on finishing the series, but if I was told I had to choose between the two, I’d definitely take the books.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

One Week Until NaNoWriMo – Thoughts and Plans

Less than a week to go until National Novel Writing Month kicks off and I’m still excited for it. What makes this any different from just writing a story? I don’t know. I think it’s a mix of the hype surrounding it and the fact that so many other people are taking part in it. It’s also the chance to create something. Let’s face it…this story could be totally awesome, or totally horrible, and you really don’t know until you get to the end. Of course, even if it’s totally horrible, there could be potential, and potential is a huge aspect when it comes to writing.

Last year’s project was a fluffy romance. This year I’m going to attempt a mystery of sorts. I’ve admitted to my writer’s group that I feel overwhelmed at the prospect of writing a mystery, so for me to attempt it is going to be interesting. It’s going to be a mystery/supernatural/romance about a security firm owned and ran by vampires in a world where vampires are just another part of society. The main story involves the head of V-Sec Industries acting as bodyguard to a local heiress who’s been leading a double life to escape her family’s expectations. She starts receiving threatening letters, so her father hires V-Sec to keep her safe.

That’s the general outline, anyway. I have a few aspects figured out in my head but the story will most likely take its own shape as I write it. I was inspired not only by basic vampire lore, but by aspects of the Southern Vampire/True Blood world. My biggest inspiration as far as the mystery/action part of the plot comes from Suzanne Brockman’s Troubleshooter series. I’ve only read two of them, but they are fabulous. I’m not even trying to reach her level of talent, I just want to see if I can do something fun with my muses.

This past weekend, I came close to changing my concept. I was watching a documentary about “Deep Throat” (the film) and had a spark of an idea for a new story. However, I’ve decided to let that one simmer for a little while and revisit it if it keeps nagging at me.

If anyone else is doing NaNoWriMo, you can add me as a friend if you’d like. I’m “mystressmanda.” If you’re not sure but want to check it out, you can go  here and poke around or sign up. The point is to write 50,000 words in a month. Think of it as a month long free writing exercise with the potential to turn into something fantastic.

I may be posting my story on this blog, but I’ll be sure to title it with “NaNoWriMo” or something of the like so you can skip if you want. Constructive criticism on what will essentially be a rough draft is always welcome.

Updates & Nostalgia

I’ve been pretty lazy as far as updating goes lately. I’ve been doing things, just haven’t felt like blogging. My good intentions for blogging about The Biggest Loser and Survivor have fallen to the wayside because to be honest, there’s nothing really to blog about. Survivor was pretty epic last week with Good Russell passing out, but overall, it’s been sort of a boring season for me. In fact, I’ll even go as far to stay that Evil Russell is the reason I’m still watching.

As for The Biggest Loser, I can’t stand Tracey and wish she’d get voted off. It’s the same thing every week, product placements, a lot of tears, and a good amount of drama which I’m pretty sure is producer induced. I heard that Jillian Michaels is getting her own show on NBC, and I’m kind of interested in that because she’s one of the few reasons that I’m still watching TBL.

As for the nostalgia reference in the title, I recently, I noticed how absolutely gorgeous this time of year is. Awhile ago (and maybe not in this blog) I noted that I missed the colors of Michigan because the colors here were so dull. That may have been true at the time, but over the past week the feel of autumn has definitely hit Manhattan, KS. It’s gorgeous to look at. Spring and summer have always been my favorite times of year, but I have a newfound love of the fall, despite the fact that it precedes my least favorite season.

I think part of fall’s appeal is in the nostalgia it brings. I have a lot of good memories from high school and college, and while I don’t consider myself one to “live in the past,” I do tend to remember the good times over the bad ones. High school was marching band and football games. College was fraternity parties, Halloween, and sorority rush and pledge. I even get sad remembering my year in Oklahoma City, because along with the change in weather, it signifies a really important transition in my life. I moved there right before fall and so got to experience two fall seasons before moving to Kansas. I still miss Oklahoma.

This year I’ve decided to look forward to the holidays again and autumn has become synonymous with the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas. You would think it would be the other way around. With losing my grandmother this past year, I shouldn’t want to have anything to do with the holidays. At the same time, I almost feel like this signifies that I need to start my own traditions now, even if they’re small and don’t involve kids (since I don’t have any). Because of work, Jon will most likely not be traveling with the rest of his family this year, so it’ll be the two of us (plus a puppy and two snakes, but since none of them will be helping bake or decorate, they’re just minor players). I’m determined to make the most out of the season, and for me, this includes just taking a few seconds to appreciate the beauty of the season.

Goodreads: Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #1) Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It took me forever to finally start the Anita Blake series, partially because it was just lower on my to-do list and partially because a lot of people had some issues with it, the main one being that it starts out strong and then suddenly enters the land of NC-17. Of course, if I was to take my mother’s recommendation, it’s the best thing since sliced bread because you can never have too much vampire porn.

After having finished “Guilty Pleasures,” I’m a little torn. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read. It was dark, and a little hard to follow in some places. If I were to base my opinion of Hamilton’s writing on this one book, I wouldn’t be able to say she’s a great writer, even though, once again, the consensus among my circle of book lovers is that this is one of her better works in this series. The character of Anita Blake is fun. She’s snarky, skeptical, and an overall “bad ass” when it comes to the vampire hunting. I was a little confused about her main work as an “Animator,” but it all came together by the end of the book.

The side characters are hit and miss. None of them were developed enough to make me care much about them one way or another. Even Jean-Claude, who comes across as a strange sort of romantic adversary for Anita, wasn’t all that likable, reminding me of a dark haired Lestat more than anything.

I spent most of the book wondering what was going on. It was a mystery, but it read like an independent film mystery, with just enough bits and pieces to keep you going in a confused state of limbo. I liked the graphic way that Hamilton tells the story and isn’t afraid to kill of the characters you might actually have taken a liking to. The “villain” in GP is Nikolaos, the thousand year old vampire in the body of a young girl. She is a great character for what she is…brilliantly psychotic.

Having been a little underwhelmed with “Guilty Pleasures,” I’m still determined to read more in the series. I want to see if the books improve and I want to see what everyone else is talking about when they discuss the change in Anita’s character. And of course, I want to see what the big fuss over the vampire porn is and if it really is porn or just a way to fill 300 pages of writer’s block.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Goodreads: And Eternity

And Eternity (Incarnations of Immortality, #7) And Eternity by Piers Anthony

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I’m now almost done with the whole Incarnations of Immortality series. Had I read this several years ago, I would have been done, but Anthony snuck in one last book about the Incarnation of Night and so I still have that one to read.

I had been looking forward to “And Eternity,” but I was slightly disappointed in most of it. For me, it was kind of boring and the character of Vita was annoying. I understood her to be young and naïve and she was that, I just didn’t think she was good at being that. Mostly, I just found her irritating.

The process of reading the book wasn’t great, but the story itself tied the rest of them together nicely and I liked how it ended. I get a kick out of books that wrap together and whose characters connect so neatly, the author did a good job. There was a lot of foreshadowing, and though he seemed to try to throw the reader off at points, I had the ending figured out. Really, if you pay attention it’s not that difficult.

So while not my favorite, “And Eternity” definitely had its place in the series.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Goodreads: Out of Control by Suzanne Brockman

Out of Control (Troubleshooters #4) Out of Control by Suzanne Brockmann

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If there was any question after I read one of the later books in this series, this one clinched the fact that I really need to read all of the Troubleshooter books. I like the way Brockmann writes, I like the characters, and I love the mental movies these books give me.

In "Out of Control," Savannah van Hopf goes to San Diego to find Ken "WildCard" Karmody. Having known him in college (and having more than a passing crush on him), she believes the Navy SEAL to be the perfect escort to Indonesia, where she must go to free her uncle from ransom demanding terrorists. Her plans take a different turn when she sleeps with Ken before telling him her intentions, and when he finds out, the start to a beautiful relationship turns sour...temporarily.

Despite his anger and hurt, Ken accompanies Savannah to Indonesia, but they're barely off the plane when things get crazy. They find themselves in the jungle, surviving and staying out of sight of the bad guys until they can get to safety. Of course, being alone in the jungle together sets the perfect stage for "getting to know you" dialogue and alot of sexual tension.

The book follows three other main romantic plot lines as well. One is told as different characters read the autobiography of Rose van Hopf, Savannah's grandmother and a double agent for America during WWII. Another is the interaction between Molly, a missionary, and Jones, a man who has to hide his past because he betrayed a big name drug lord. And then there's details about the relationship between Alyssa Lock and Sam Starrett, which has the feel of a continuing story line and which I know continues because it's alluded to in "Hot Target," the other Troubleshooters book I've read.

"Action" heavy books tend to lose me in the details, but this one was hard to put down. I do believe I need to go hunt up the first book and make my valiant attempt at the whole series before the year is over.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goodreads: Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie

Charlie All Night Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book shouldn’t have taken me a week to read, but it did, mostly because I’ve been doing other things like playing video games, watching TV, and knitting. But I have been making it to the gym, so that’s good right?

This book though was just what was needed for a light pre-sleep read, especially after the last dark book I read.

Allie is a producer at a local radio station who’s just been dumped both personally and professionally by one of the DJs. Charlie is the new nighttime DJ who’s only there to investigate a letter concerning drugs at the station. When Allie is given the job of producing his show, she’s determined to make him a star. She’s also determined to seduce him to get over her ex. In the tradition of great romances, she succeeds, and turns a one night stand into a month long affair during which Charlie stirs up controversy with the town. Aside from the controversy though, the two become close, dealing with studio sabotage, a sickly puppy, and the mysterious drug dealings.

As I’ve mentioned before, Crusie gives me warm fuzzies with her books. This one seems to be an earlier work but it’s still great. There’s not as much hate for the evil side characters and it’s missing the mother figure. But it was racy enough, romantic enough, and funny enough to be exactly what I needed between the heavier dramatic novels.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Survivor 19 - Ep. 4 Recap with Spoilers

This week's episode started out with a heavy dose of positivity from Jaison who admitted that this was the worst thing he'd ever done (referencing the game). Shambo reiterated that she missed Foa Foa (yuck) and then the tribes had to send a couple people on a special "mission" where Jeff was conspicuously absent. The challenge was for a reward of chickens and the tribes...on their own, had to play a beach game of bocce ball.

Did Jeff have a late night? A touch of the flu? Oh wait...this is probably another twist in the dynamic of the game. Evil Russell was closest to the pole with one ball from Galu left and somehow, Dave won with their last ball. They won some chickens and Shambo spoke chicken so that worked out pretty well. At camp, Erik found Galu's hidden immunity idol. Later, he admitted his tribed sucked when Shambo lost a chicken and no one was looking for it. It also seems that Yasmin the Hooker isn't well liked by her own tribe either.

At the immunity challenge, Galu kept a lead but Foa Foa made up alot of time on the rope bridges. ER trucked it across that rope bridge. Maybe he has more phyical talent than I gave him credit for? And holy cow it's a miracle! Foa Foa won their first immunity challenge. As much as I don't like them, I was kind of relieved. There wasn't much competition. Monica was targeted as the slow link during discussion, but I was holding out that they'd get rid of Yasmin. She did crack me up though with her little "I'm stepping up and if you're going to vote me out do it 'cause I need a rest" speech. And a tribe they should vote out the weakest person for challenges.

At tribal council, Yasmin wore heels and Monica deluded herself into thinking she was actually useful at the challenge. I never thought I'd admit this, but by this time, I'd switched my own decision and was hoping Monica would go home. But I got my first wish and Yasmin went home. Still okay. I'm sure Monica will be useless again at some point. I think it was a bad move on the tribe's part, but whatever. I can't think that the merge is too far off since we're already 4 episodes in.

It was a pretty mellow show this week. Some more ER action would have mnade it a little more exciting, but c'est la vie. I still haven't decided who I think is a true contender to win and I don't have any favorites...maybe Mick and Dave. Good Russell is okay. Give me a few weeks to make an educated opinion on this one.

The Biggest Loser 8 Episode 4 (w/ Spoilers)

I watched this on a Saturday afternoon when I should have been cleaning or doing any number of other useful things. But hey, catching up on TV is important, right?? Ironically, before watching this week's episode, I watched Penn & Teller's B.S on obesity and I'm not going to made me look at the show a little bit differently.

The show started with flashbacks of what a psycho Tracey is and how she managed to lie and alienate alot of her team members. For the new episode, Shay called her on it. Tracey is still a psycho and has no idea what she's saying and doing. But Bob and Jillian reminded everyone that they were here for themselves, blah blah and that it was a new week, blah blah. Yeah...a new week to stomp on Tracey!

The doctor was the one who stomped on her when he told her she couldn't workout, not even in the pool. Sucks to be her. I wish I could feel sorry for her. If it was anyone else I probably would, but not her. It sounded to me like she was saying the doctor didn't want her to lose weight, which isn't quite what's going on, but she's a weirdo and you can tell she's only in it to compete.

Allison went crazy and decided to deny the contestants food. Or so it would seem. In actuality, she gave them the challenge that they had to order out every night. This is actually a really good idea and a good change for TBL to give the contestants. It mimics reality alot more than giving them everything they need to eat healthy. This announcement came with a pop challenge for people to pick the healthiest of three meals. The winner would receive a kitchen stocked with healthy meals for a whole year.

Before we got the answer, I voted C (fyi) just to see how smart I was. Creamed spinach looked gross. I was wrong, and it was A, and apparently I'm not that smart (but I'd rather enjoy a higher calorie one sans the creamed spinach). The teams who had the answer right had to guess how many cals were in it and the team who was the closest won. The pink team won because they didn't go over.

It was sort of depressing watching them order out because it didn't seem like I could eat anything good. Where's the moderation? And no, Jillian, I will not eat cauliflower. Gross.

I think it's funny that Jillian and Bob are seemingly never given a heads up on what the producers have planned. In their alleged surprise over the locked kitchen, they offered to take the contestants out to dinner. I at first thought it was going to be dinner at Subway, but they took them to an actual Mexican restaurant. They gave them some good ideas, but none of them would be easy for someone who loves food (ahem). I'm feeling very cynical this week, but alot of the tips were good, so credit is due to the trainers.

For immunity, the contestants had to hold onto a handlebar on a platform above water. Poor Shay, she had a point. This was going to be a hard challenge for her. It's impossible for me and she's got a few on me. But she hung on and oulasted several other people. I was bummed that she didn't win, but she was still awesome. Liz from the brown team was first down and her partner followed within seconds broadcast time.

It came down to Dan and Allen (orange and green), both of which I really like. Dan ended up winning which meant that he beat his time at the ranch from last season when he went home in week 4. During last chance workout, Jillian "picked" on Rudy. I think Rudy would have about a three pound advantage if he'd shave his beard.

At the weigh in, it was inferred that Daniel is playing the game because he didn't lose any weight but had immunity. His game playing doesn't bother me though. He's worked hard to get where he is, and he's a nice kid. Somehow, crackhead Tracey lost four pounds which kept her team on the ranch another week.

Julio fell below the yellow line against Liz and Danny of the brown team. The purple team was split on who to vote for and big shocker, Tracey got her way, so Julio went home. At home, he lost over a hundred pounds, so yay Julio!

This week seemed kind of boring to me, but halfway through the show I had the urge to break out my DDR game for some exercise. There's a product placement..tadah!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Television Watching

Besides “Survivor” and the “The Biggest Loser” which I recap on this blog, I’ve also started watching a few other things. I’ve already talked about “Wire in the Blood” probably more times than people appreciate, so I won’t re-hash anything there. One of my all-time favorites in “The Amazing Race,” which I’ve been watching but I decided not to blog the episode recaps since it usually takes me a week to watch the previous episode.

I’ve also started watching “Glee” and “Flash Forward.”

“Glee” is a cute show. For anyone who hasn’t watched it, it’s about a high school glee club composed of a politically correct and slightly nerdy group of students led by the Spanish teacher who’s trying to bring back the glory days of the club. While the teacher, Will, is a neat character, he’s also flawed. He makes mistakes with his students and he seems to ignore the fact that he’d be better off without his wife. Of course I’m rooting for the germaphobe teacher who is cute and quirky. As far as the students go, you have the athlete who is tricked into joining the club but actually realizes that singing is his thing, the overachieving really annoying girl who gets a little bit better by episode 2 (which is as far as I’ve gotten at press time) and the few as-of-yet-not-important but diverse group of the club.

You also have the “bad guys,” which include the cheerleader girlfriend of the singer athlete, the cheerleader coach (I love the actress who plays her), Will’s materialistic dingbat wife, and the stereotypical jocks who pick on the “nerdy” kids.

“Glee” is light and fluffy with good music. Sure, I get a little angry about the bad guys, but I suppose that’s the point. I’m guessing too that the whole “Celibacy Club” is supposed to be ironic.

The premise of “Flash Forward” is that almost everyone in the world loses consciousness for 2 minutes and 17 seconds and has a memory of the future, specifically April 29, 2010. Some people have really good flash forwards and others have bad ones. Some see nothing, leading them to believe that they’ll be dead by that date. This has caused kind of an uproar, and the agency in charge sets up a Mosaic program for everyone to log what they saw while tracking down those they found who didn’t go out in those two minutes.

This weekend will be all about catching up on these shows and maybe some other ones that look interesting. If anyone has any TV show suggestions, throw them at me and I’ll check them out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Goodreads: The Mermaids Singing

The Mermaids Singing (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #1) The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“The Mermaids Singing” is the first book in the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series and the basis for the first episode of the British crime drama “Wire in the Blood.” After watching four seasons of the television series, I was compelled to read the books if for no other reason than I wanted more of Tony Hill, as I find him to be one of the intriguing characters I’ve ever watched (“Wire in the Blood” beats CSI by a few miles in my opinion).

When the police finally admit that the bodies that keep turning up in the city’s gay district may be the work of a serial killer, they bring in Tony Hill to profile for the department. Carol Jordan is the police liaison working with him to solve them crime. As a clinical psychologist who works with murderers, Tony’s mind is geared to this direction, making him valuable in the search. It probably also helps that his background has shaped his own psyche to be more empathetic to the thoughts of the off-balanced.

As the story progresses, the reader is also given first person glimpses into the world of the serial killer, who builds torture devices for his victims and records their murders for his own pleasure. The story also follows the strange relationship Tony builds with a prank caller and Carol’s attraction to Tony that he fights to not reciprocate.

I was impressed with how closely the book matched with the show, and I enjoyed the extra insight about Tony in the print version. I will say that the book gives Carol Jordan a little more intelligence. She’s a good character in the show, and I like her, but she comes across as the hardcore cop who has to ride Tony’s coattails of intelligence (in my opinion). Of course this is only book 1 which may only correspond to episode 1, so a better assessment may come after reading a few more books in the series.

I think I may have also been thrown off by the British slang a little bit too if I hadn’t already watched the show and had some background context. Not that this should deter anyone. It’s still a good book and I enjoy the characters a lot. I’m excited to read more from this author, though I'll need to read something light before diving back into something this dark.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fear of Rejection

In a conversation today with a co-worker (somewhere between money problems and V.C. Andrews novels), there came a short discourse on the fact that I have a fear of rejection.

The rejection isn’t about people or social settings. I do have social anxiety, but this was more about the fear of putting pieces of myself out there, things I love to do, with the chance that they’ll be rejected. The two main examples are knitting and writing.

I haven’t been knitting long, a few years for standard knitting and a few months for purling and some “extras.” I’ve made some neat stuff, including the Alien Illusion Scarf for Jon and a couple of multi-colored hats. They’re not the best made things, but I ‘m sure they’re better than the potential product of a baboon with knitting needles and some yarn. I have a couple scarves which are actually pretty and at one time, I’d really wanted to put them on etsy. I even set up a store.

Guess what hasn’t made it on etsy? I keep thinking it’s because I’m too lazy to do it. I’m too lazy to find the right angle and lighting to take a picture and oh goodness, even though I’m already on the computer for hours at a time, those extra clicks would just take too much out of me. But seriously? I’m pretty sure I’m just worried they won’t sell and that I’ll have wasted the time doing it and I’ll feel slapped in the face because no one will want my stuff.

I know that sounds ridiculous. People list things on there all the time that doesn’t sell. I follow some people on Twitter who relist regularly, and Craftastrophe has proven that people sell things for a lot of money that look like a can of paint and some cement threw up after a wild night at the bar. I know I’m not the only one who’s ever had something that no one else wanted.

Maybe it’s because I have no confidence in what I make.

Then there’s my writing. On any day, I’ll tell you that I love to write. On a good day, I’ll say that my writing isn’t too bad. On a bad day, or any day that I’m on the verge of writing a query letter or sending in a manuscript, I’ll say that my writing is horrible, there’s no way anyone would publish it, and there’s no point in even trying. Granted, there are a few more steps to sending in a potential novel than listing a handmade item on etsy, but I think my mind processes it the same and says “I don’t want to be rejected.”

My co-worker made a good point. “Either you never try and nothing happens. Or you try and something might happen.” It makes sense in that context, so how come I can’t get my head and emotions around it?

Conclusion drawn: At some point, I have to suck it up and just go for it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Recipe on the Cheap: Homemade Chocolate Pudding

In one of the communities I’m part of on another site, someone posted the recipe for homemade pudding. The community is dedicated to living cheap and there’s been some really useful things I’ve picked up from it.

Because I’m always late to the party, I have a feeling that most of the free world knows how to make this stuff, but it was a revelation to me. Jon and I don’t buy junk food to “keep” in the house because it wouldn’t keep for long, so we generally buy things here and there when we’re feeling the sweet tooth. Sometimes though, and especially now with money being what it is, we can’t just run out and grab something.

I’ve been kind of experimenting with “ingredients on hand” recipes. Friday, Jon made cocoa cookies that were actually pretty good. This pudding recipe though is awesome. Jon made it last night and chilled it overnight so I could have some with lunch today. The recipe is extremely easy and uses ingredients that we tend to have on hand for baking and cooking purposes.

1/2 c sugar
1/3 c cocoa powder
3 tbsp cornstarch*
2 c milk
2 tsp vanilla

Mix together the dry ingredients. Add the milk. Stirring constantly, cook on med heat until it comes to a light boil. Add vanilla.

*We didn’t have any cornstarch, so we substituted with 6 tbsps of all purpose flour.

I know there are variations to this recipe just waiting to be tried, but this basic recipe came out great and I would think that if you broke down the cost, it would be much less than even a fifty cent box of mix.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sneaky Comments

So I was going through this blog late last night and realized that I'd gotten some comments. I thought I'd receive an email when anyone commented, but apparently not. I know that it's usually polite to comment back, and I probably look snotty for not having done so before.

Rather than replying to each one right now, I'll just say thank you to everyone who's reading and commenting and you're all freakin' awesome. I recently changed my comment settings to allow for anyone to comment, including anonymous users, which means I'm probably going to get some hateful comments, but oh well. I'll delete them and if it gets bad I'll just moderate them before posting.

Plus, I'm now following my own comments in Google Reader, so I'll know to reply next time.

And if you're not commenting, that's totally cool too, but I didn't want anyone to feel ignored.

Happy Sunday to everyone and I hope you're coming week is gearing up to be a good one.

Free Coffee and the Starbuck's Taste Test

If you're a coffee drinker and/or a Starbucks fan (and I know I have friends who are either or both), then you may already know that this weekend Starbucks is having a "taste test" for their instant coffee. It goes until Monday, so get in there if you want to check it out. I'm horrible about passing information along, since I've seen that this was going on for two days and didn't really give it much of a thought.

This morning I went to Dillons for some bread and dishwashing liquid. Our main store has a Starbucks inside and I noticed the blackboard that advertised the test, so I asked about it. Starbucks is handing out samples of their instant coffee and along with that they're giving out two coupons, one for $1 off their instant coffee and one for a FREE tall brewed coffee on your next visit.

I like Starbucks, but I'm usually more about their creamier drinks, like the caramel macchatio or their frappuccinnos. I tasted one of their more "exotic" brews one time in Oklahoma City and thought it was horrible. But I realized today that I don't think I've ever given their standard coffee a chance and lately, I haven't been craving the frou frou drinks, I've been craving black coffee.

The barista let me take two sample pouches each of Columbian and Italian Roast. Instant coffee gets a bad rap but if I want to drink coffee at home than that's what I use because we don't have a coffee pot, and I know that the minute I break down and buy one, I'm not going to want coffee anymore (Murphy's Law of Amanda's Interests and Cravings).

I tried the Columbian with 8 oz of water rather than the 6 oz for the weaker brew and really liked it. It tasted like, caffeinated, ulcer inducing coffee. So now I have coffee at home for today and next weekend and a coupon to get myself a store brewed tall on next Sunday's inevitable trip to Dillons....all for the win!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Recipe: Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Tonight for dinner, I made this recipe for Slow Cooker Orange Chicken. A word about the blog "A Year of Slow Cooking": it's awesome. Last year, Stephanie O'Dea made something in her slow cooker every day. That's 365 slow cooker recipes. Some things didn't turn out so well, but other things are fantastic. And while her year is over, she still posts recipes on the blog. I have a ton of her recipes starred in my Google Reader and this is about the fourth recipe we've tried and really liked.

She also has a lemon chicken recipe which I think we'll make next time. I've never had orange chicken at a restaurant to tell the truth, so this was a new experience for me. I followed the recipe, though I may have cut the chicken a little different and I used flour rather than the mix. Be warned, this is not a "throw it all in the pot and turn it on" type of meal. There was some prep in cutting, breading, and searing the chicken. But it was definitely worth it and prep time was only about 15 minutes (and I'm slow, so it would probably only take most people 5 or 10 minutes).

We ate it with instant white rice. I'm still not a fan of rice, but it was good here. Next time maybe I'll try brown rice.

As far as frugality goes, here's the breakdown:
Chicken - on sale for 1.69 a lb. This amount cost a little over 3 dollars (Dillons)
Orange juice - .99 at Aldi and I had half of the mix to make drinkable juice

We had everything else on hand this time around, and since it's mostly pantry staples, this meal comes in at leses than 3 dollars per person.

Survivor 19 - Ep. 3 Recap with Spoilers

I knew how this episode ended before I even watched it. My curiosity got the best of me and I asked a friend to give me the scoop. Didn't deter me from watching it. For the moment, I'm finding Evil Russell amusing, Foa Foa pathetic, and most of the players kind of dumb.

At the beginning, Jaison and Mick were discussing Ben's attitude and the whole "ghetto trash" thing from last week (apparently the "hooker" moniker didn't bother anyone). From the get go, Ben was bragging about how the tribe needed him and telling them as much, along with a recount of his bodily functions. Please, someone stomp him in the face.

Galu was all about the yoga. That's cool. I mean if you're tribe is running like a well-oiled machine. Shambo is the cog in the gears, unless she wasn't just blowing off steam and really was providing the tribe with everything. Then sure, that's cool. But she's forgetting to the social part of the game and that's going to hurt her. So what if you have no water. If everyone else is getting zen, join in!

ER planted some seeds in Ben's head...not hard to do since his mind is a fertile field of jack-assery. "These people are idiots." Yes, Evil Russell...yes they are. "Days of Our Tribe" is showing signs that they're taking a cue from "The Hills." ("OMG, I can't believe she said that!" "OMG, I didn't say it!" "OMG!") Even Galu has an annoying giggly girl group.

I have to wonder what the point is in mixing immunity with reward for the challenges. Are they saving time to show more of the tribe shenanigans? This week's reward was pillows and candles and what looked like yoga mats (ha, that's funny). Galu took the lead early and won again. In past seasons, I usually start getting sick of the tribe that seems to be winning all the time and start cheering for the underdog. This season, I just can't make myself like Foa Foa.  Russell was given the choice between comfort and function and took comfort, which made the girls happy (Russell is pimpin') and the guys (and most likely Shambo) not so much.

Shambo was chosen to go sit in on Foa Foa and was definitely more impressive than Yasmin. Smart move as an individual since if she makes it to the merger she'll have the allies she's not making at Galu. Not so smart to bad mouth her own tribe in my opinion, but I guess at this point she has to play a solo game. What was up with ER's look of death? Does he not like Shambo? Does he find her sexy? Are either of them married, or could we be in for Rumbo?

Russell back at Galu gave his "we gotta take care of our women" speech and even though I like the guy, he sounded a little skeezy.

Jaison threw the race card and gave the "it's me or him" ultimatum in reference to Ben. ER wasn't on board with that and wanted Ashley out. He asked Mick to promise him that he wouldn't write his name down and showed him the hidden immunity idol. Shambo showed everyone how to make Blair Witch dolls...oh wait, no that was a torch. My bad. She went looking for the immunity idol which wasn't there. Jaison gave ER his thoughts on Ben, and I don't know if it was the camera angle or if there really is a massive height difference, but I think Jaison could probably eat him alive.

Tribal Council: Jaison flat out said he liked Shambo and wanted to trade her for Ben and called him out on his negativity.Their shouting match was highly amusing. Truthfully, I'm glad Jaison called Ben out on his crap, but Yasmin deserved what she got (sans the racism, but I don't know if Ben meant it racially or not). Of course I didn't really need the history lesson from Jaison, but I'd still take him over Ben any day.

Ashley got one vote, but Ben ended up going home. Thank God. This was good because 1) he's gone and I couldn't stand the jack ass and 2) even though it looks like Russell voted with the rest of the crew, he didn't have control this time. I doubt that will take him down any, but it's reassuring..sort of.

Beefgate 2009

We got up bright and early this morning to get in on Hy-Vee's six hour sale. Now I could have took Jon to work then went by myself, but what fun would that have been? Besides, I wanted to get four rolls of their .99 ground beef special, but there was a limit of 2 per customer (or so we thought), so I figured I'd save an extra trip and get Jon to go through the line separately.

We're in line and Jon decides to go through with his beef first. I heard the cashier ask him if they were his and he said "yes," but then I heard the old lady in front of Jon say they were hers. According to Jon, he said they were his like three times, but the cashier rang them out for the old lady instead, then told Jon to go back and get two more.

There are a couple things wrong with this scenario. First of all, I have a feeling the lady knew they weren't hers but thought she'd be really slick and get two more than the limit, so she claimed them as her own. I could be wrong, and it could have been an honest mistake, but do you ever just get that feeling? I had it. The second thing wrong was that the cashier told Jon to go back and get his own meat. That's kind of a big no as far as customer service goes. She should have called a bag boy or a manager and asked them to go get Jon the two rolls that were swiped from him. To be fair, she apologized to me about 20 times, and I said it was fine, but Jon was not amused, and after he checked out in another line, he gave that poor cashier such a mean look!

The whole thing wasn't that big of an issue. I was probably mellow about it because Jon was pissed off and I didn't want him hurting anyone (he rarely gets mad about things to tell the truth), but I see his point. It was bad service to tell a customer to go get something they'd actually already picked up. In hindsight, it was an amusing way to start a Saturday.

Friday, October 2, 2009

My Hair: A Love Story

Not sure why I feel the need to share this. Maybe because it’s Friday afternoon and my attention span is about the length of a nanometer. Maybe it’s because deep down I’m sort of kind of flattered and want to have a moment of being fabulous. Then again, it’s probably because I’m an attention whore and want to make something all about me.

At the beginning of this relationship, I was young and my hair was long. We’re talking really long. When I was about 5 or 6, I believe it may have reached my butt, but it was also thick and hard to wash and brush. Not for me. I was a little girl, I didn’t wash or brush my own hair. But I apparently cried a lot and made it hard for my mom and grandma to do that particular chore.

So they chopped it. My memory is hazy, but I think it was my grandma who took me to have it hacked at the beauty salon one summer when I was visiting. I remember that for the next several years it remained this weird boy cut. Seriously? Yeah…take a chubby girl with glasses and red hair and give her a boy cut. I don’t blame anyone for this, obviously my family hadn’t mean to cause me anguish. In fact, I’m sure most of them thought it was cute (maybe), but the truth is, I look at pictures now and wonder why I’m not in therapy.

Eventually it grew out. I’ve had a few run-ins with bangs, but eventually I let it all grow to one length. In high school I tried to go sans bangs and my mom said it looked weird, so I got them back. When I realized how horrible the growing out process for bangs was, I said screw it and let them grow out again. The second time around seemed much better. In college, I went very short and fairly long. I always preferred the short look myself. When I did go long, it was up in a pony tail all the time and it was so heavy, especially after a shower, that I would get a sore neck and headaches. I guess those could have been attributed to bad posture or hours in front of the computer…but it was the hair, I tell you! The hair!

Sometime in college, I finally came to terms with being a redhead. Enough people obviously mentioned that they coveted red hair, and I was finally able to say “Okay, I actually do have something cool going on here.” It didn’t change the fact that it was a frizzy, thick mess that had absolutely no styling capability. Curling iron curls wouldn’t stay when I wanted curly hair, and when I wanted straight hair, waves and curlicues would pop up all over the place.

In the past year, this relationship between me and my hair has changed for the better. First, I’ve received more compliments on it. People seem to think it looks styled when it isn’t. What prompted this blog today was a comment by a co-worker. Not that it looks good every day, and I’m in no way fending off fan mail from people wanting autographs from me or my hair, but even one compliment a month is more than I’m used to.

I wash my hair every three or four days, sometimes less if the weather is really dry. After two days, I’ll generally do a vinegar rinse or I’ll condition it. I let it air dry no matter the weather. Sometimes I brush, but most days it’s a quick finger comb through to get out the tangles. I never get trims, I only get it cut when it’s long enough to bother me, and the past two times I’ve had it cut, I’ve just given the scissors to the fiancé and said “Do your worst.”

So it’s not the best way to take care of hair, but remember that it was never the “crowning glory” most people have. Truthfully, if someone asked me to shave my head for a good cause (like charity or winning a shortcut challenge in The Amazing Race) I wouldn’t hesitate. I don’t have a lot to work with in the looks department as is, so what difference would a bald head make. Besides, there’s a little part of me that wants to know what that would feel like, though if there’s not a good reason to do it, I really can’t justify it. I’m not a crazy wild rebel…I just know I could if I had to.

Now at 30, my hair and I have come to an understanding. If I don’t stress it out by trying to actually make it look good, it’ll generally be nice and behave. Once in awhile I’ll give it a head band or a barrette for something new, and I’ve promised to stay away from perms (though we’re still debating on highlights). We get on well enough, even if I have to break out the scissors once in awhile and the hairspray for special occasions.

Let’s hope the good times are here to stay because it’s been a long journey that I am now too old to make again.

Hy-Vee 6-Hour Sale in Manhattan, KS

If you live near a Hy-Vee grocery store, check your local ad to see if it’s having a six hour sale ( Ours is having one this Saturday from 8am to 2pm and they have some really great buys like a gallon of milk for 99 cents (limit one), ground beef pound rolls for 99 cents each (limit two), bananas for 29 cents per pound, 2 liters of Coke products for 69 cents, and deli ham for 99 cents per pound. Those are just a few of the ones I want to take advantage of.

It’s deals like this that are keeping my love affair with Hy-Vee alive and well. While this won’t be a huge shopping week for us since we have a lot of meals from last week’s meal planning, it won’t hurt to stock up on a few things to get us through and to have on hand for quick dinners.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Biggest Loser 8 - Episode 3 (w/spoilers)

When I finally got around to watching this week's TBL, two days late, I was already in a really bad mood. It was a Murphy's Law kind of night. On top of that, both my mom and my friend had some pretty strong words about one of the contestants on TBL, so I was almost wondering if this was going to be a bad idea.

The first decision the contestants got to make was whether they wanted their trainers or a 2lb advantage at the weigh in. Shay made a good point when she said that 2lbs was nothing compared to what their trainers did for them. I had to agree. But good ole Tracey jumped right over, took the 2lbs, and didn't even consult her partner. Already my friend's "crazy bitch" assessment of her was right on. For someone who'd been in the hospital for a week and was already at a disadvantage, she's not really playing with a full deck. When the trainers came in and made her feel like a dumb ass, the look on her face was pretty priceless.

Oh yeah, between my mood and her stupidity, I wanted to see her cry. Big time. She did and yes, I had satisfaction. Sort of. Just a little bit. And Bob's guilt trip was priceless. I would have loved someone to just kick her in the leg (oh my God, I really shouldn't blog these things when I'm in a bad mood).

Abby was down to pool activity due to shin splints. She had a good attitude about it and is one of the few contestants I've ever seen who has any perspective on life. Of course with what she'd been through, that's not surprising. It also put her in position to be part of Bob's Product Placement for Yoplait Yogurt. It's so good to know that anytime I'm feeling a bit sore, all I have to do is eat yogurt and life will be all happy sunshine again. TBL needs to lay off the PP moments.

At the Temptation, Allison told the teams that only one of them would be weighing in for the team, and the winner of this challenge would get to control as to who's weight would count. She threw out big words like "ULTIMATE TEMPTATION" and crazy ass Tracey was starting to scare me. The winner would be the one who ate the most 100 calorie cupcakes than anyone else. The brown lady (I don't know her name) said that having control this early in the game was not a good idea since it would put a target on their back.

Antoine of the red team had one cupcake, then Tracey started chowing down. Twenty minutes into the show and I'm ready for her to be gone. If the looks from everyone else say anything, they're ready for her to be gone too. Jillian did a little screaming afterwards, which was fun. I wanted to see more Tracey tears.

Green team won immunity (yay!) and then everyone went to Tracey to find out who she was putting on the scale and once again, she got all crazy. What is it with crazy purple people? Last season and now this one. Total nutters.

At the weigh in she said she wouldn't make the same decisions because of the stress and alienation. Mo wanted to try to support her and Jillian called bull on Tracey.

Considering that everyone had a good week 2, it was to be expected that week 3 would be crummy. Rudy on the blue team lost over 10 lbs and for someone who wants to play the game, Tracey didn't play it smart when she chose his weight to count. Common sense would have told her he's a larger male, so the chances of him pulling bigger numbers are better. When the pink team came up, Tracey chose Amanda after she said she wouldn't, which was a bitch move completely. She pulled the same crap on the orange team which put them below the yellow line.

Tracey was so clueless. She said there was nothing wrong with playing the game to stay longer, but Bob said it best earlier when he said that game players don't keep the weight off.  During her weigh in, she lost 11 pounds. Bob went to clap and stopped immediately, and no one else clapped because...big clue here...she's playing a crap game and no one likes her. This pushed the red team below the gold team. Both teams were awesome and I totally saw why my mom was so pissed off.

The red team, during their plea moment, actually said that they both have strong support systems at home while Shay doesn't. It was a very cool thing of them to do, and everyone else listened and voted them off. I hope they get to individuals quickly and boot crazy ass out of the game. I want Mo to stay though. It's not his fault he got stuck with a psycho for a partner.

The after story: Sean lost 120 lbs. Antoine lost 105 lbs and the big secret of Alexandra's crush was revealed. Okay, they make a really cute couple, I have to admit it. These guys will be fun to see at the finale.

Did my mood improve? Not so much. Maybe if someone had punched Tracey...or given me a Yoplait yogurt....things would have turned out all rosie.


I love NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The point is for any would be author to take one month to write a novel of 30,000 words or more. If you do it, you win, simple as that. No one critiques or proofs your work. If you want to go back and proof and submit, you can since it’s still your work. The point is to write freely and see what happens.

I’ve done this for two years. Last year I worked on a story set in Sault Ste. Marie that I had an absolute blast with. Of course it’s been shelved for a year, waiting for proofing and a re-write, but I still remember enjoying the writing process of it, and I think I’ll even like it when I go back and review. To be honest, I don’t remember what I wrote in 2006 and I’m not sure why I missed 2007.

I have my concept picked out for this year’s NaNo. The challenge is going to be to NOT start until the first of November, but to let the ideas simmer. It’s actually an idea I started awhile back and then gave up on. I’m sticking with the idea but changing the basic outline. I will be jumping (back) on the vampire bandwagon for this one (even though I failed to ever revisit my college vampire stories), and I will also be attempting a mystery of sorts.

I think we have a group here in Manhattan, KS, but I’m trying to get a few people I know and work with to join up too. To sign up, go here (even if you don’t live in Manhattan, KS) and give it a shot. Okay, I know not everyone likes to write, but it’s still kind of fun, it’s only one month out of the year, and it makes for an interesting challenge.


I was sick for two days. In that time, I did nothing except watch TV, and not even the TV I said I was going to blog about. I still haven’t watched the season premiere of The Amazing Race, and I was going to watch Glee and Flash Forward and never got around to doing that either. C’est la vie. I could have read three books, knitted two hats and watched half my Netflix queue if I’d been feeling up to it. Slight exaggeration, but let’s face it…when you’re sick, nothing sounds good.

I did watch “Wire in the Blood” and am now in Season 5 (I think). This stands as one of my favorite shows. I can’t get into American crime dramas, but this import has me hooked. Dr. Tony Hill could very well be the second love of my life besides my fiancé. Creepy as it sounds, I am truly a fan of his character. A few reviews have said that the show is better than the books, but I’m curious to read the books too.

I also watched “Bedtime Stories” with Adam Sandler and give it high marks for cuteness and all around Adam Sandler funniness. This was followed by “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” I love this movie. I remember being young, probably junior high, and going with my aunt to see it in the theater. My mom bought it for me on VHS when it came out. Somewhere along the way, I lost that VHS (my mom might actually still have it, come to think of it). The movie is currently on Netflix and I was surprised to see a few things I didn’t remember from the original.

Now that the sickness has begun to make itself absent (still a little yucky but able to function) I’m hoping to catch up on my blogging. Of course my blogs are generally erratic anyway, but I’m trying to be routine, I really am. Tonight we’re going to see Zombieland, courtesy of free pre-screening passes, and if it’s good enough (or bad enough) I might just have something to say about it.