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Showing posts from July, 2009

Book Review - Flint

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Flint by Paul Eddy


My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Flint was a book club choice that this month's moderator heard about (in a roundabout fashion) via NPR. The hope was to select a book with a strong heroine.

Grace Flint filled the bill. This is a cop/spy story and Flint goes underground to track down a really bad dude from her past. Trying to track her down and save her (the cops don't know for sure why she's missing) are a collection of British and U.S. secret service types.Flint's a flawed character with a horrific past who survived a brutal beating while being undercover. She has to fight her inner demons while not being able to trust nearly everyone around her. Being a spy story, of course there are bad guys working in the government out to get her so she decides to go on her own.

I found it interesting that several people in my group were truly disturbed by the violence in this book. I read so many of these stories that it didn't seem that bad to me. I'd take t…

Dinner(s) at The Keg

I was recently introduced to a very nice restaurant, The Keg Steakhouse and Bar. One has been open at Tempe Marketplace for a while but I'd heard it was pricey so hadn't checked it out.

A friend suggested we do dinner there and, being a Type A, he made reservations. It was a Sunday night and the reservation was not needed but it did get us a nice corner table. The décor is very pleasant – dark wood, white linen tablecloths and fancy enough to be romantic but not overwhelmingly so.

I was immediately impressed with the menu as they offered to cook beef Blue Rare (Cool, blue, all the way through.) That is just how I like my cow! I ordered the Three Mushroom Sirloin (A perfectly grilled top sirloin with sautéed portabella,
shiitake and button mushrooms in a balsamic cream sauce, according to the menu). It was quite yummy and came with a loaded potato. My friend had the Prime Rib and that was also good.

The prices were not outrageous except for the wine list. I felt there were …

Game On!

I love playing games. Card games, board games, puzzles, etc., not physical make you sweat games. The former are all fun. However, it seems like all I play lately is Poker with the occasional game of Euchre. My choice for the most part but I also lacked someone to play with.

Recently, a friend of mine and I have started spending our evenings playing games. Of course, we played head to head Hold 'Em because I am all about poker. The first night we played, I dominated him. In his defense, he got crappy cards the whole night. The second night, we played to a tie. I know, hard to fathom that the super-competitive person that I am would accept a tie but I was good with it.

We also played Megiddo. That's a game from my college years that my best friend Andy and I used to play. It's like Pente and it requires some lateral thinking. My friend had never even heard of it and he started beating me right away (until the alcohol kicked in then I took advantage of his less than…

Squeaky Cheese

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The Rocket Scientist, Crime Dog and TFMCD caravaned up to Utah for a house concert with Brent Burns. CD and TFMCD broke away from us at Beaver, UT so they could go to the Cache Valley Cheese Factory. I was all over with the "buy me some curds!" request.

There's nothing like the squeaky cheese. It reminds me of the homeland and my family always brings some back at AZ after visiting Wisconsin.

They came through with a bag of fresh curds. And, yes, they squeaked when we ate them. I broke them out at the concert to share with my phellow cheesehead, Sue, who now lives in SLC.



Yummy!

The bag ended up spending a few days in TRS's fridge then another few days in another friend's fridge before I got it home. They're still tasty, but no longer squeaky. :-(

It's My Own Damn Fault

A few of the gang decided to get together last night. It was actually Annette's idea so she picked the place. She decided the Teakwoods on Ray and Kyrene (so she said). Being the stickler (and easily lost), I had her email me the address which I passed on to the gang.

Unfortunately, the address she gave me was for a Teakwoods on Ray and 38th St. And, it's no longer a Teakwoods, either.

The Rocket Scientist and Pirate Captain got there first and TRS sent me a text with the name change. Very helpful. Thrill called me as I was heading over and I gave him the name update. We both got there without problems.

It looked like Unruly Julie had some difficulty getting there, though. I wasn't there yet to hear the conversation between the Pirate Captain and her as she was trying to find the place but you could almost see the steam coming off of her when she did arrive.

So, that made 5 out of 6 there. But, no Annette who called the party. I sent her a text, "where are you?&…

But It's Good For Me...

My latest foray into the world of organic produce isn't going so well. I cleaned out the fridge to find out what died in there and it was more a case of what hadn't died. Carrots, tomatoes, a cucumber, two heads of lettuce, squash…all were goopy messes. What a waste.

I haven't been home enough to cook so the veggies aren't getting used. I do get through the fruit because I take it to work for my afternoon snack. My new plan of action is to have veggie breakfasts. Today's breakfast was chard (cooked with two slices of bacon because everything is good with bacon). Tomorrow's may be salad as I need to get through the lettuce.

Next delivery day is this Thursday. Time to get disciplined and to plan out some meals. Oh, and to stay home to have the meals.

Sigh.

RIP - Frank McCourt

I was quite saddened to read in this morning's paper that Frank McCourt passed away.

Angela's Ashes was an amazing book, the more so because it was non-fiction. It should be required reading for anyone who thinks they're "poor". Most of us will never know poor like McCourt's family did. It certainly makes you appreciate your life and admire what he did with his despite his upbringing.

Sail on, Frank.

Well, That Sucked

We've been eagerly awaiting the latest Harry Potter movie for frakking ever. The studio pushed it from last November to this July to maximize sales. I don't know if that was necessary because the HP fans are going to go regardless of what else is playing.

This year, I decided to not do the midnight showing. Actually, it was Sugar Daddy who decided. He said he's too old for that. So, The Rocket Scientist and some of my chick poker pals and I got tickets to the Cine Capri at Tempe Marketplace for the 7 PM showing last night. For the out of towners, that's the biggest theater screen in Arizona (30 by 70) and it's an awesome venue to see a flick.

Chris got there at 4:15 to get in line so we had perfect seats. Fourth row from the rail and dead center. The theater was buzzing though there weren't many costumed folks. I'm guessing they went at midnight.

It seemed like it took forever for the actual movie to start but, once it did, I found myself a bit ambiva…

Facebook Rocks

Yes, it's another love story about Facebook…

Last weekend, The Rocket Scientist and I drove up and back from Utah. That's a lot of car time to fill. He does all of the driving and is less interested in talking than I am. And, let's face it, not even I can talk for 10 ½ hours straight which is what it took to get home.

I usually read and sleep. I finished my book on the way up but I forgot my pillow. It's not easy trying to sleep in the front seat of a Jeep Wrangler without a pillow so I was at a loose end.

OK, not exactly. I had my phone and it has Facebook Mobile on it. I spent most of the drive updating my status with where we were and what we were seeing. I'm sure there were some people who weren't happy about the constant additions to their news feeds but there were a BUNCH who were following and commenting on nearly every status.

It was so fun. I felt like we were in one big chat room and I kept TRS updated so he could feel like it, too. Crime Dog and…

Book Review - Undead and Unworthy

Undead and Unworthy by MaryJanice Davidson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Despite the fact that there's lots of sex and violence in these books, I think of them as Vampire Light. I think it's because the heroine is not exactly a ditz but also not all on the ball. And the other characters are, well, characters.

Regardless, these books are fun and quick reads. This one finds Betsy discovering new powers, being haunted, asked to look for a serial killer and attacked by The Fiends. Plenty of action with still a lot of unanswered questions at the end to be followed up on in future books.

View all my reviews >>

An Evening With The Family

My Mom's birthday is Friday but I'm going to be out of town so we celebrated it tonight. I said I would take us all out to dinner if she picked the place. I knew what would actually happen is that Steven would tell her what place to pick but at least a decision would be made.

We ended up at our traditional birthday restaurant, The Outback. Steven mauled the loaf of bread and demanded a Bloomin' Onion. He also ordered a big Miller Lite which is not like him. My Mom stuck with her usual Raspberry iced tea but still had to ask the server if they had flavored teas and what the flavors are. We really go there a lot and she always orders the same beverage but, OK, whatever.

I decided to order a glass of their house Cabernet so I said to the server, "I'll have the Cab". She asked if I wanted the Jacob whatever it was and I said yes. Shorty then said, "I'll have a tab."

Huh? The server, Steven and I all just looked at him in bewilderment. He the…

Bob, Give Up!

So, some dude named Bob keeps sending me "helpful" emails. In the past week alone I've gotten:

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That's Italiano!

My buddy Dave and I took our boss out to lunch for his one year anniversary at our company. (You can insert your own brown nosing joking here but we're actually glad to have him on our team). The boss picked the restaurant and it was a mighty fine choice.

That's Italiano Ristorante is at 3717 E Indian School Rd in Phoenix so it's very conveniently located to work. In fact, we often drive by it on our way to other lunch places. I think we did go there once a few years ago but that meal wasn't enough to get us to put it on the lunch rotation.

It's somewhat fancy looking for lunch which translates into being expensive in my mind. However, the prices actually weren't bad, especially considering the portion sizes.

We started with a Fried Calamari appetizer. It was perfect. Light and crispy breading on the outside and flavorful and tender in. The fear with calamari for me is that it's going to be rubbery. No worries on this one, it was just right.

Dave got …

It Was More Like "I Like This Bar"

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Between my schedule and hers, my bud Doona and I have a hard time getting together.It feels like we have to schedule weeks in advance.So, when we do go out, we need a place where it's comfortable to sit and BS for hours.Some restaurants make you feel a little uncomfortable because their money is made in turning over tables but bars are good.Bars want you to sit for hours…and order drinks, of course.After tossing several dates back and forth, we finally agreed to meet at a new place last week.Toby Keith opened one of his "I Love This Bar & Grill" operations at Mesa Riverview so we decided to check it out.I got there before Doona so I wandered around the place a bit.The whole thing is pretty big with a huge bar in the middle that has lots of seating.There are several well placed TVs and they open early on Sunday so it might be a good football/sports place.There are several pictures of Toby, signed albums, framed uniforms from his troop visits and lots of picture of the…

Book Review - Turn Coat

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Turn Coat by Jim Butcher


My review
rating: 4 of 5 stars

Arghhhhhh! I'm all caught up on the series and I want more. And, I don't want to wait!

This story finds Harry protecting and defending Morgan, the Warden who's been itching to kill Harry for years. Apparently, Morgan gets framed for killing a member of the White Council and Harry's the only one willing to defend him and find the real killer.

Lots of intrigue, some good battles and the introduction of a new character that I hope sticks around. And, several people bite it. I like that Butcher is willing to kill people off - it makes the danger in the stories feel that much more believable.

This is a great series - if you like Sci-Fi/Fantasy it's a must read.

View all my reviews.

Book Review - Revenge of the Spellmans

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Revenge of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz


My review
rating: 4 of 5 stars

The latest tome about the crazy detective family, the Spellmans. Izzy is seeing two therapists, investigating her brother's weird behavior, negotiating peace between her sister and Henry's new girlfriend, is blackmailed...pretty much life as usual.

There was less of the footnotes (at least it seemed that way to me) than in the previous books and much more character development. I like this series even though I don't really relate to anyone in them. They're all a little too out there for me but entertaining, nonetheless.

View all my reviews.

My Morning

3:00 AM(ish) Wide awake for no apparent reason.
Toss.
Turn.
4:06 Look at time.
Curse.
Sigh.
Discover that George is wide awake at 4:06.
Play fetch with crackle ball.
Headbutted into giving ear and neck scratches.
Receive kitty bath.
Go to bathroom.
Return to find stuffed mouse in my sleep spot.
Try to decide if mouse was already there and the reason I woke up or a new addition courtesy of George.
George isn't talking so I give up.
Fling mouse down hallway hoping to get George out of the room.
Try to think happy thoughts.
Contemplate lack of love life. (NOT a happy thought.)
Make mental grocery shopping list.
Toss.
Turn.
Get up to see if paper was delivered early.
No paper, so grabbed book.
Read 10 chapters of book.
6:20 Eyes are very tired.
Try to go to sleep.
Distracted by toilet running.
Try to figure out why toilet is running but have no clue.
Try to go to sleep.
Get up and put hammer under bar in back of toilet to keep it from running. Leak somewhere, I guess.
Try to sleep.
Read more of my book.
Make sna…

Weigh-In Results

T, Sugar Daddy and I completed our 3 month percentage weight loss bet today. We each put up $25 a month for the three months then $100 for overall.

I won the first month, Tyler won the next two. However, I won the overall so I'm up $200. Sweet! Of course, I don't have the $200 because Sugar Daddy didn't have the cash on him. He's good for it, though.

The funny thing is, the money didn't really motivate us nor did the competition. I only lost 8 pounds in the three months so it's not like I was really, really working at it. I think we've all just gotten to the point where it feels like too much work for the results.

So, no more bets.

I am still going to work on losing more; I just need to find a good motivator to get me to put in a full effort.