Showing posts from June, 2010

Book Review - What Was I Thinking?

What Was I Thinking?: 58 Bad Boyfriend Stories by Barbara Davilman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very funny collection from women talking about failed relationships and the moment when they knew the relationships were going to end (even if they ended long after those moments). Some were sad, most were funny and my essay on the Six Month Mistake could have fit right in. Not really man-hating material, truth be told.

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Book Review - After the Workshop

After the Workshop: A Novel by John McNally

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an impulse pickup from the new book section at the library. Loved it. Great writing that felt very real as it mocked the egos and eccentricities of writers while developing the story of the main character. The action takes place in Iowa City, home to the Iowa Writers' Workshop and features some great characters.

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I didn’t have the most pleasant experience giving blood today. I could tell right away that she didn’t get the needle in the right spot because it pinched. She moved it around which pinched more but it still wouldn’t flow. After another adjustment that hurt enough that I said “Ouch” out loud, we were finally good to go. She apologized and I told her it was all good even if it wasn’t “quite” all good.

Despite being worried that it still wasn’t properly aligned, I got done in 8 minutes then moved to the canteen area for my juice reward. The tech was clearly worried about me as she repeatedly asked if I was OK. My assurances must not have been enough, though, because she offered me a cold pack and said she was afraid she bruised my arm.

I accepted based on a previous donation where the area around the needle stick ballooned into a big, bruised bump when I removed the bandage. I ended up walking around with a cold soda can held against the spot the rest of the day.


Book Review - Bare Bones

Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh, that Reichs! I tore in to this one because I wanted to know who Brennan decided to hook up with in the last book. It took almost 70 pages to find out. Grrrr.

Brennan's vacation plans are put on hold when she gets involved with several investigations. A small plane crash, a burned newborn and some bags of bones that yield a surprise or two.

As in her other books, Reichs educates as well as entertains.

One quibble, though. Brennan gets in to impossible situations then fade to black and we're left with an exposition from a point forward on how she got out. I'd like to read the actual action.

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Great Getaway Spot

So, about 30 of my closest Parrot Head friends and I decided to head North for a weekend. It was great to get away from 110 degrees, let me tell you. We ended up in Lakeside, AZ at Rainbow Lake Lodge. Some of the gang had already checked out the place as the managers, Colleen and Brad, are long time friends of theirs.

We couldn't have asked for more gracious hosts. My partner in Crime for the weekend was Leslie and as we drove up on Friday afternoon, we were both looking forward to our first beers. As we got out of the car, Colleen and Brad walked over to check us in. Brad had two Bud Lights in his hands and I said, "How nice of you to bring a beer for Leslie!" He immediately offered it to her, she declined politely, he then offered again and she accepted. He offered me the other but I declined for religious reasons as I prefer to worship at the altar of Miller Lite.

The cabins were very nice. We had a one bedroom with a queen sized bed and a pull out couch. It …

Book Review - The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a book club selection and I'm very happy it was chosen. I've read The Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver and really enjoyed it so I expected to like this as well. For a first novel, it's really quite good.

The story revolves (mostly) around a young girl who leaves a small town in Kentucky to end up in Tucson, Arizona. Along the way, she acquires a toddler girl that she takes responsibility for. That part was a bit far fetched. However, the rest of the story was believable as long as you remembered it was published in 1988. Some of the situations wouldn't happen in today's world.

A great character study with rich descriptions of Tucson that are very accurate. As they should be since Kingsolver lived there for many years.

Interestingly, this was classified as a Teen Classic at the library. While it didn't have anything inappropriate for teens, it seems like it should be an adult book.

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Nature vs. Nurture

I’m a firm believer on the side that thinks that nurture is stronger than nature. I only need to look as far as my son - sarcastic, smart mouthed, loud, know it all, frakking genius in his own mind...hmmm, sounds familiar.

I don’t think the theory travels to other species, though. If it did, George would be one of the most gregarious and social cats on the planet instead of the scaredy cat, anti-social creature that she is. I mean, come on, who’s more friendly and outgoing than her Mommy and her Grandpa Shorty?

Poor Shorty. He got to come over to my house for dinner on Father’s Day but he didn’t get to play with his Grand-kitty at all. He soooooo wants to interact with her.

As soon as my parents came in the front door, she was off to hide under the furthest part of the bed. I left her alone for a while then tried to entice her out with kitty treats. No success on that at all.

The only glimpse Shorty and my Mom got of her was when she came to the end of the hallwa…

Book Review - Grave Secrets

Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brennan goes to Guatemala to help identify the remains of people who were "disappeared" by the then military. While there, she gets involved in the search for four missing teenage girls. She also meets a hottie Guatemalan detective...who happens to know hottie Canadian detective, Andrew Ryan. It's apparently a small cop world.

What I enjoy about Reichs' books is that she educates about social, political and ecological issues while telling a damn fine mystery. I feel like I'm learning while enjoying the story.

Good thing I had the next one in the series in hand when this finished as Brennan finally (finally!) decides to do something about her romantic life but we're left hanging on the identity of the dude.

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Book Review - Immortal

Immortal by Christopher Golden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first foray in to Buffy fiction and I'll be going back. Buffy and gang take on Veronique, a very old vampire who can take new form after being staked. She's up to nefarious schemes to make Hell on Earth (pretty much like every Buffy villain). Buffy also has to deal with her Mom's serious illness at the same time. Good stuff, I miss these characters.

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Book Review - First Contact

First Contact: Or, It's Later Than You Think by Evan Mandery

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun book that I would call Vonnegut Lite and that's a compliment. The story revolves around a highly advanced race contacting humans for the first time. There are lots of silly humans (especially the US President), lots of silly aliens who act quite a bit like the humans and a love story. Oh, and raccoons. Several raccoons.

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I’m the keeper of the candy jar at work. It sits on my desk and attracts pests (like the CFO) on a daily basis. (Just kidding, he’s great, really, I mean that.) I try to buy bags of mixed chocolate snack items when they’re on sale.

The last bag I bought was called All Time Greats and had Hershey’s bars, Reese’s, KitKats and Whoppers. The item count is 105.

I swear at least 50 of the 105 items were Whoppers.

Whoppers are DIS-gusting! Who wants to eat chocolate covered chalk? No one, based on the buildup in the jar. Except for the CFO so I hope he comes by several times a day now.

I just emptied the rest of the bag in to the jar and the current count is:

0 KitKats
2 Reese’s
4 Hershey’s
33 Whoppers

I think I’m going to end up throwing the Whoppers out and starting over.

The Good Guys

I love Bradley Whitford. I think he's great in comedy and drama. Colin Hanks? Don't think I've seen him in anything but he's got the pedigree. So, when I read some good pre-press about The Good Guys on Fox, I decided to check it out.

Man, I'm glad I did. Love it!

Whitford and Hanks have great chemistry. Whitford sports a Magnum PI stache that rocks. The characters go beyond the stereotype of the washed up rule breaker and the uptight rule follower. The guest stars have been well cast. And, the plots are just funny.

Check it out, I think you'll like the tongue in cheek cop show aspect of it all.

Well, That's Finally Over

I so haven't cared about the NBA finals. Once the Suns were out, I was done. But, I wasn't even that into it to begin with.

Oh, I used to be a huge NBA fan. We went to numerous games at Veteran's Memorial Coliseum through the years. I had Suns gear aplenty, especially with Dan Majerle on it.

A little Dan and me trivia; I actually watched the NBA draft and cheered when the Suns picked him in the 1988 draft. I was totally ticked off at the fans who booed. I knew he was going to be great for the team. I'm still waiting for him to call me because I know we'd be great together. ;-)

My love for the game and the players ended with the lockout in the 98/99 season. I had no sympathy for millionaire owners and millionaire players fighting over money while the game was becoming too costly for the average fans to attend. It was crazy to me.

In fact, I didn't watch or attend an NBA game for years. Probably nearly 10 years. It was only Steven getting into it and mono…

Ignite Phoenix 7

I had another great experience at Ignite Phoenix last Friday night. And, I'm happy to report that the two Ignite virgins that I took with me really enjoyed it, too. Yay! More companions for the next time.

Before I get in to the presentation itself, let me write a few words about the venue. The last Ignite was the Mesa Arts Center. It was good for viewing but not so much for socializing. It was also dang expensive in the cocktail department.

Ignite 7 was at the Phoenix Art Museum. Much better for socialization since they utilized the patio for the pre and post parties and the break. There were also tables set up in the hall for each of the presenters so it was easy to find and chat with them.

Booze was cheaper, too! PBRs were going for $3 and they sold out of them.

I also appreciated that they added the presenters' Twitter logins on the program. Last time, I had to copy them down from the slides and it distracted me from the start of each presentation.

The only knocks on th…

Book Review - Men of the Otherworld

Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great backstory of werewolves Clayton and Jeremy. Told from Clayton's unique point of view (what 6 year old asks to be bitten by a werewolf?), the story is both funny and dangerous. I really enjoy Armstrong's work.

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Book Review - Undateable

Undateable by Ellen Rakieten

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Funny book of dating offenses for guys. They're broken down into warnings: Red Flag, Storm Cloud, Not Getting Any and Kiss of Death. The sections are What Not to Wear, What Not to Say, What Not to Do and What Not to Be.

Most of the guys I know would be safe from ridicule by the book's standards. The either means the book is overly-critical or that I hang out with some cool guys. I suspect both could be true. ;-)

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Book Review - The Messenger

The Messenger by Jan Burke

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Interesting story of an immortal who has the gift of communicating with the near-dead so that they can pass on their last thoughts to their loved ones. After 200 years, he's being sought by an old enemy and falling in love. It was an OK book, not a great one. Fast to read, though.

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Book Review - Psych: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read

Psych: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Read by William Rabkin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fun read with the characters from one of my favorite shows. Told mostly from Gus' point of view, the story revolves (among other things) around a woman who thinks Shawn is sending her psychic commands. Soon, the bodies are piling up and it's up to Shawn and Gus to solve the mysteries. I figured out part of the whodunit but not all.

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Aaron's The Man!

I confess...I gave up on 24 this season after 3 and 1/2 hours. I would have given up on it even earlier, like a few seasons ago, except for one man.


Who's Aaron? Only the coolest, most dedicated Secret Service agent ever with the most integrity of anyone I know (OK, that I would like to know).

Full of Awesome!

Now that the show is over, I have to content myself with Aaron sightings on TV. Whenever I see him on a show, I yell out "Aaron!" Which scares my cat.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was crap. However, Aaron was the cool General who believed in his men and the Autobots.

Lie to Me last night was good (in part to guest star Jason Dohring) but the highlight for me was Aaron as an Air Force officer.

He was also on Dollhouse, Eli Stone, Monk, Deadwood and Bones and, yes, I yelled out "Aaron!" each time.

Oh, allegedly his name is Glenn Morshower but he'll always be Aaron to me.

I Don't Think I Want To Know

I sometimes wonder what George does all day when I'm at work. I suspect she does a lot of napping in her kitty condo. But, sometimes, I find things rearranged when I get home.

I swear there weren't two feather on a stick toys in my bed this morning and George tried to play innocent when I asked her about them. What is going on in there? Yikes.

144 Books in 2010 Update

I caught up a little in May and am at 57 books. The only good thing that came out of being sick for two weeks was that I couldn't do much more than read. My short term goal is to get back on track by the end of June. That should be doable since we're in the summer and most of my TV shows are on break.

Book Review - Play Dead

Play Dead by Anne Frasier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nice mystery with some supernatural overtones. Elise and David are cops in Savannah. Elise was abandoned as a child in a cemetery and is rumored to be the child of an infamous "root doctor" (not exactly voodoo but close). David is escaping a tragic background. The two catch a case where victims are declared dead but come back to life. Zombies or a crazed serial killer? Had me guessing until the end.

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