Showing posts from August, 2010

An Evening With Kathy Reichs

OK, technically I spent the evening with Annette and Joanne. But, we went to a Meet & Greet and Author Talk and Book Signing with Kathy Reichs. She writes the Temperance Brennan series that the TV show Bones is based on.

Reichs is promoting the 12th Brennan book, Spider Bones, which just came out. She's also going to publish a Young Adult book in November that she co-wrote with her son so we got to hear a little about that as well.

Before I get into the evening, let me provide a little background. I've read the first six Brennan books and have watched every episode of Bones. I also follow Reichs on Twitter where she's not a frequent poster but I did enjoy her Comic-Con tweets.

The evening started at Arcadia Farms in downtown Scottsdale. The Scottsdale Civic Center for the Arts was hosting a Meet & Greet. What a huge bargain for $10! Generous on the wine, yummy quiche, mini-sandwiches, cheese and fruit and an opportunity to chat one on one with Reichs. I woul…

Book Review - Insatiable

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I got this as a loaner from a friend who won't take it back so I'll have to pass it on now before it starts collecting dust.

Fun vamp story - Meena Harper (yes, I got the name right away) is a writer for a soap opera and rails against the vampire craze sweeping the nation. She's especially ticked that they're going to add a vampire story line to her show against her will. Of course, that's just the person who meets the Prince of vampires and gets involved with a vampire hunter.

I liked how Cabot mocked the vampire mania while including it in her story line. The ending leaves a sequel opening. I hope so, I'd like to read more about these characters.

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Book Review - Poppy Done to Death

Poppy Done to Death by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The last in the series and I "think" it was worth getting all the way through. I have to say that Harris' storytelling much improved from the first book to this one.

The big story lines in this book revolve around Roe's half-brother showing up on her doorstep without notice and her stepsister-in-law being stabbed to death. Of course, Roe finds the body and feels compelled to discover the culprit.

The ending leaves a nice, hopeful view of the rest of Roe's life. After 8 books with her, I liked her but only because she matured and became less self-absorbed over time.

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Book Review - Last Scene Alive

Last Scene Alive by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I gave this 4 stars because it was by far the best of the series.

A movie company comes to town to film the events from the first book that author Robin Crusoe (yeah, she really named a character that) turned into a bestseller. Robin returns along with Martin's jerky son Barrett and murder ensues. Along with some actual sex details instead of the usual "we ran upstairs" or "he made it up to me" like hints. The side mystery was also a good one so, all in all, I enjoyed this a lot.

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Book Review - A Fool and His Honey

A Fool and His Honey by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think I'm just reading these to say I finished the series at this point. This book finds Roe's husband's niece showing up at her front door with a baby no one knew she had. The niece disappears, leaving the baby and a dead body behind. Roe and Martin then head back to his hometown to try to give the baby to some relatives. Any relatives, I think.

There were lots of deaths in this one, an implausible story and again with the final explanation right at the end. Also, a lot more of Roe feeling sorry for herself and being mad at Martin. For someone in her 30s, she doesn't seem very mature.

Two more to go then I can move on with my life. Man, I'm just too stubborn sometimes.

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The Big Blowout

I don't know of any woman who loves her natural hair. If there's one who says she does, she's lying. If it's not too curly or too straight, it's the wrong color or style.

I am one of the too curly AND wrong color crowd. I've had brown, blond and red hair and I think red suits me. What doesn't suit me is the poodle like curls that I have. If it would curl without frizz, I'd be good. But, it doesn't.

For a while, I was blowing my hair dry every morning to straighten it but then I would have to use a big curling iron on it to eliminate the frizz. That was a pain and I got lazy so, lately, I just put a lot of product on it and let it go or put it in a ponytail on really humid days.

A few months ago, I heard of a straightening treatment called a Brazilian Blowout (insert own dirty joke here, everyone else does). It's a semi-permanent treatment that's not supposed to damage your hair and it looked awesome. It also cost a fortune - the ad I s…

Football Team One

We had our club Fantasy Football draft yesterday. There are 14 teams in the league and I got the 13th pick. That made me sad because I couldn't get Ryan Grant or Aaron Rodgers as they got picked before my turn. In fact, the only Packer I did get was Donald Driver. Someone even jumped early on the Packers' Defense. Sigh.

I'm fairly happy with my team except my Running Backs don't have a lot of depth. Not sure how I managed that since I hit them early but there's not a lot of depth out there in general.

My Team Logo

Here it is:

Peyton Manning
Matt Leinart

Running Backs:
DeAngelo Williams
Jamaal Charles
Reggie Bush
Tim Hightower
Larry Johnson

Wide Receivers:
Steve Smith (NYG)
Donald Driver
Jerricho Cotchery
Nate Washington
Kevin Walter

Tight End:
Jason Witten


Lawrence Tynes
David Buehler

It was funny to notice that everyone avoided Oakland and Detroit players for quite a while. Man, those teams are just that bad. It was also funny when someone pic…

Book Review - Dead Over Heels

Dead Over Heels by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This one was OK. I'm getting a little tired of Roe and her two emotions - despair to the point of crying followed by resolute, blind avoidance of any issues. The mysteries are just an excuse for her to not deal with her life.

I also didn't like the quick wrap up again. I had no shot at figuring out the mystery because the ultimate culprit/reason was so out of left field.

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Book Review - The Julius House

The Julius House by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some things to like about this series: the characters actually progress in their lives (are you listening, Janet Evanovich?), the mysteries are entertaining and there's actually some mentions of sex to go with the violence.

This book finds Roe getting married and investigating the disappearance of an entire family 6 years prior. I had part of the mystery figured out but not all and I enjoyed the addition of the new characters.

I'm still not completely liking the amount of detail about every day life which I feel is at the expense of the mystery which gets resolved in a rush at the end.

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Book Review - Three Bedrooms, One Corpse

Three Bedrooms, One Corpse by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series is getting jucier. Finally.

Roe is trying out the Realtor life and discovers a gruesome murder. She also gets a hot boyfriend and discovers a second murder victim. There's a lot of small town, everyone knows your business background and I did figure out the killer before he/she was revealed but I still enjoyed the story.

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Don't Like The Weather? Wait An Hour...

Here's how you pack for trips to Phoenix:

May through September you bring t-shirts and shorts.
October through April you bring t-shirts and jeans and shorts.

Here's how you pack for Iowa in August:

T-shirts, shorts, capris, tank tops, windbreaker, jeans and a sweatshirt would not be amiss.

Why? Because the weather is completely unpredictable and varies like crazy.

I submit evidence from my latest long weekend in Des Moines.

Friday morning was hot and humid. Very hot and humid. You broke a sweat just standing outside. Miserable.

Friday mid-day was warm and raining. The clouds cooled it down but it was still humid after the rain. Oh, and it rained more than once.

Friday night was reasonable. A little warm but bearable.

Saturday was warm, sunny and pleasant. A little hot in the direct sun but nice in the shade.

Saturday night (late) it was cold and windy. Brrrr. It was probably no lower than 70 degrees but the wind made it chillier.

Sunday was absolutely gorgeous. Clear skies, not…

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Are you ready for some football?

I am. One of my co-workers, not so much.

Some of the guys at work have had a fantasy football league for a few years. A couple people dropped out this season so they were looking for some replacements. I decided, what the hell, I'm already in another league with the club so what's one more?

I had a meeting today with a guy whom I'll call “Matthew” (because that's his name) who also decided to play in the league. He's never played fantasy football before and he figured they invited him because he'll be easy money.

After talking to him for a few minutes, I think he's right. Holey moley. The dude knows pretty much nothing about fantasy football. I tried to explain as much as I could but, crikey, there was so much he didn't know.

Like the fact that you can drop and add players as the season goes on. Apparently, he thought whom you drafted was it. He didn't know you could trade with other owners either.

He asked me if…

Not My Night

So, I was making some pasta sauce with organic Yellow Crookneck Squash tonight. I just finished stirring it when I knocked the big spoon on the floor. Sauce all over the place! But, that didn't happen until the spoon bounced off my shorts and my knee and splattered sauce on them.

I cleaned everything up, ate dinner then settled myself on the floor in front of the TV. That's when I noticed something on my toes. Yeah, sauce. Dammit.

Another Test

Trying another test. This time, I'm running OpenOffice 3.2.1.
Will it put in extra lines between my text?
How about getting the picture right?

Trying Some New Technology

This is a test...I'm using OpenOffice and the sun-weblog-publisher extension.
In theory, it should publish this to my blog as is.
Will it:Do the bullet notes correctly?Insert an image nicely?Change the font as I wish?What about color?We shall see...

Hate The Game, Not The Player

So, there we were at the Iowa State Fair. Dawnie was leading us out of the little rain shower that was happening when Annette saw a giant Plinko game. She said, "I want to play Plinko" but only loud enough for me to hear her. Because Dawnie was already way ahead of us.

Right after that, an older lady started screaming at her companion, "I want to play Plinko!" It was incredibly whiny and loud. She kept saying it and, when Annette repeated her wish loud enough for Dawnie to hear, Dawnie thought she was mocking the lady and kept walking.

Finally, we got it across that Annette really wanted to play Plinko.

That in itself was funny but not as funny as playing the game.

The booth was sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau. You had to answer three questions and got a Plinko chip for each correct answer. Dawnie played first and got two out of three. No Plinkos when she played the chips, though.

Annette was up next. One question was, "Sugar is healthier than high fruct…

Book Review - A Bone to Pick

A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a very slowly developed story. Roe inherits a house with a skull in it. That should be most of the story, right?

It was more about her newly inherited cat, conflicted feelings for her old boyfriend and describing her new neighbors. The actual mystery got wrapped up in just the last pages and in a pretty abrupt fashion. I felt like this was a setup book for the rest of the series without a lot of substance on its own.

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Book Review - Real Murders

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A friend loaned me this series and I thought my vacation would be the perfect time to read them. I got through most of this book on my plane flight alone.

It was a pleasant diversion. Very different from the Harris I'm used to reading, though. This is barely a PG rated book with no sex. The main character is a rather mild librarian with some Mommy issues from a small town where nothing much happens. Until the murders, of course.

The mystery was interesting and disturbing and I didn't predict the outcome ahead of time which was nice. But, it wasn't the most dynamic story I've read lately.

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No Living Without Internet

I'm off to visit some friends in Iowa. Dawnie's hosting us and she sent me a message to let me know that she's switching internet providers so she's currently without service. She knows how much I love to be connected.

I replied that it was not a problem as I can tether the computer to my Crackberry so I'll still be able to upload all of our pictures to Facebook ASAP.

She replied, "you crack me up".

I crack myself up. I'm going to be with Dawnie and Annette who are the two people I know who are least excited about my constant updates on our shenanigans. In fact, they would prefer to not have anything out there at all.

Too bad for them...the digital camera, laptop and Crackberry are good to go!

Must Have and Now!

I am always unhappy with my hair. This is not news to anyone who knows me even remotely well. It's poodle curly and the underneath section in the back tends to turn into a huge bundle of snarls by the end of the day. It's also frizzy unless I put on a ton of product and then it looks greased up. Even when I blow it dry, it's still so frizzy that I have to run it all through a big curling iron. And, don't get me started on what humidity does to it.

In short, like most women, I hate it.

Many months ago, I came across an article on a technique called the Brazilian Blowout. No, it's not a hygiene or oral technique. It didn't go into a lot of detail but the gist was that it straightened your hair without harsh chemicals, left it smooth and shiny and lasted up to three months. Sounded awesome! Until, I got to the part where it said it was $350.

Yikes. Doing the mental math, it didn't seem worth almost $4 a day. So, I fought my natural immediate gratificat…

Best State Fair Ever!

I was in a meeting today and the person I was with asked if she could get back to me in the next few days on something. I told her to take her time because I was going on vacation to Iowa. She's from Iowa and couldn't imagine why I'd vacation there even when I told her it was to go to the Iowa State Fair. I have to follow that up with a loud, "Best state fair ever!" shout. That's been ingrained from talking to my friend Dawnie.

See, Dawnie is the one who can't wait for the fair and for Annette and me to come enjoy it with her. She's actually quite sad that we get in too late on Thursday to go for opening day but she's making the most of it.

How eager is she to share it all with us? Well, she queried a bunch of people on their top five fair foods and put it on a spreadsheet. Page two of the spreadsheet has their top five fair activities. She wanted to make sure we had the opportunity to pick the best stuff to partake of.

I think she's a li…

Book Review - Sizzling Sixteen

Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would have said this was a spoiler about four books ago but can Stephanie just pick between Joe and Ranger, please? It's getting old.

Other than that, this was a typical (which is fun) Plum tale. Vinnie gets kidnapped and Connie, Lula and Stephanie have to rescue him. Add in an alligator, big time criminals, funny brownies and Hobbits (yeah, I know) and it was a full tale.

I no longer feel compelled to read these right as they're published but I'll continue to catch them when they become available at the library. There's still some amusement in there.

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Book Review - The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm embarrassed to admit this but, while I knew people were raving about this book, I thought it was yet another of those tales about rich people in NYC (or LA) where they're mean to their staff. OK, way wrong on that one.

It's actually the story of Black maids in the early 60s in Jacksonville, MS. Not just the maids but also the women who employ them. It's beautifully told in the voices of two maids and a recent college grad who finds she no longer fits in with her friends and their views on segregation.

I absolutely loved this book and can't wait to discuss it at book club this week.

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Book Review - Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoy this series for two reasons. One, is that I feel like I'm actually in Botswana with the great descriptions of the towns, the people and the bush. Maybe it's because I live in a hot oven that I can relate so well. The second is the gentleness of the mysteries. Nothing too violent or earth shattering but more personal and pleasant.

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It Nearly Kills Me...

As much as it pains me to admit it, I owe The Rocket Scientist an apology.

Way back in the day (so far back that he may not even remember), he told me a story about his cat Dixie. She was on top of the bed and started hacking something up so he kicked her on to the floor.

I told him he was a terrible, mean person for doing that to his cat.

His response to my reprimand was to say it was better she hit the floor than he has to clean the blanket. I still thought it was mean.

Sooooo, this morning I was lying half awake and could feel George by my feet. She started coughing and the cough sounded like something was coming up.

What did I do?

I pushed (albeit with my foot so that could count as a kick but I just can’t say I kicked my baby) her on to the floor and told her, “Don’t throw up on my comforter”.

So, sorry, TRS. I guess you aren’t that mean. Or, I’m just as mean as you so I have no room to criticize.

BTW, she never actually threw up even after another extended coughing jag.

Book Review - This is Just Exactly Like You

This is Just Exactly Like You by Drew Perry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this on Sunday night and the only thing that kept me from reading it in one sitting is knowing I had to get some sleep before work on Monday. What an engrossing story!

Jack is not having a good time. His wife has moved out and is shacking up with his best friend. His son is autistic and developing new savant abilities without any warning. His life is out of his control and he's not sure how to put it back on course.

How does he react? By doing some crazy stuff that I won't get into because it would be a spoiler. This is an interesting view into the lives of every day type people who seem eccentric until you realize you know someone just like them. Loved it!

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Damn HFCS!

I was looking for something light for dinner tonight since I had some popcorn in the late afternoon. Looking through the cupboards, I came across what I thought would be perfect. A can of Campbell's Tomato Soup.

Something made me read the label first. Sure enough, the evil High Fructose Corn Syrup was in the list of ingredients. The can went in to the garbage and I ended up heating up some Chicken Noodle instead.

144 Books in 2010 Update

I'm almost back on pace. I've read 82 books through July so just 2 behind a 12 per month rate. I've got some upcoming travel this month so that's a good opportunity to get the extra books in I need to get caught up.

Book Review - The Facebook Effect

The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World by David Kirkpatrick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was afraid this was going to be a fanboy report but it was actually a very deep story on Zuckerberg and the start and evolution of Facebook. Kirkpatrick interviewed a lot of people which provided him lots of detail on the strategies, design changes, philosophy and the personalities involved in FB.

The book appeals to both the FB user in me and the MBA holder. It's really an amazing story. Harvard dropout creates and builds a multi-billion dollar company that has changed the way many of us communicate. FB hit 500 million users a short time ago and the growth rate doesn't seem to be slowing. Truly amazing.

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