Showing posts from December, 2010

Bad Timing

Those daily coupon people really have my number. They send me the most tempting offers. I can't believe I've only taken them up on two so far.

The first was my second Brazilian Blowout. I got a good price break but I'm not convinced that the solution was the same, or as good as, the stuff the stylist used the first time. The straight effect was much stronger and longer lasting. I think I'll pony up some more money next time and go back to the original place.

The second was for a combo of three facial treatments that are valued at a total of $650. I got them at a bargain!

I had the first two treatments on my vacation day on Tuesday. The first was a facial peel. Basically, they brush on an acidic solution that's supposed to exfoliate your skin. Sounds good but what it actually does is make the top layer or two of your skin peel off like a sunburn does. The theory is that it brings the healthier skin layers to the top and gives you a glowing complexion and dec…

Only Myself To Blame

The Rocket Scientist and I were at the bar (I know, shocker) a while back when I said to him, "You know what I want?"

OK, I think he was truly afraid to ask so I don't think I even let him but just continued.

"I want to go somewhere for a weekend where there's nothing on the agenda. No Parrot Head events, not parties we have to go to. Just somewhere where we can go with the flow and do whatever. I'm thinking maybe Vegas."

Being the good sport that he is, and having some vacation time to take, he considered it. Although he won't play blackjack in Vegas for hours on end like I will (because he was the worst blackjack mojo I've ever seen) he is willing to go play some poker. I can get behind that idea.

There's just one little problem.

Despite saying (more than once) that I'm not going to over-schedule myself in 2011, I've already started doing so. And, I'm not even going to be President of the Arizona Parrot Head Club so I can'…

Oh, Terriers, To Know You Was To Love You!

If only more people had known you!

I watch a lot of TV but I will do my best to watch good stuff. I realize "good" is my definition but I look for well crafted and scripted shows that make me think, make me laugh and sometimes make me cry. That leaves out reality TV, game shows, local and national news and most network series.

At the beginning of every season (which there are now several seasons throughout the year), I scour entertainment blogs and entertainment columns to look for something new to view. Sometimes, I'll just start watching a new show because it has a favorite actor in it or writer or producer behind it but usually I do my homework to make sure someone whose opinion I respect thinks it's worthy.

My DVR saves time but it still doesn't let me watch everything so I need to avoid the crap.

So, long introduction to explain why I started watching Terriers. It got great advance press and it starred Donal Logue whose work I've enjoyed for years.

I real…

Fantasy Football Update - One Week To Go

The club league is done. Crash won (girl power!) over the Jello Shot Prince and I came in third with Scott in 4th. The latter scores are only for pride as we pay out on just first and second. It was a fun season!

Pick 'Em killed me this week. I've stated I'm only one bad week away from losing my standing and this was the week. I'm now in second in the club game. We have the same points but Dave picked more winners so that puts him in the lead. One week to go. Oy, no pressure.

I've somehow managed to stay in third in the work Pick 'Em one point. Again, with the pressure for the last week's picks!

Book Review - The Emperor's Tomb

The Emperor's Tomb by Steve Berry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cotton Malone heads into danger once again, this time to save his close friend, Cassiopeia Witt. The action takes place in Belgium, Vietnam and China. As with all of Berry's books, there's a lot of actual history woven into the story along with action, double crosses, triple crosses and crosses you stop counting. China is on my bucket list of places to go so I really liked the history lesson on the country. Solid entry in the series.

View all my reviews

144 Books in 2010 Update - Goal Achieved!

Happy Christmas to me!

My year long goal from a group on has been met. I honestly thought it would be a challenge to read 144 books in one year but that I wouldn't sweat it too much. I was right and wrong. It was a big challenge and I wouldn't have met it if I hadn't done some seriously intense days of cramming when I got behind the 12 book a month pace.

There are 781 members in the group. I don't know how many have met their goal but it looks like a wide range of level of completion. Some people hit 144 in the first few months of the year, others are at less than 50 right now with less than a week to go.

Am I happy I did this? You bet. Not only do I feel like I accomplished something worthwhile, I discovered and enjoyed a lot of authors and series.

Sure, I read a lot of my favorite genre of vampires, werewolves, witches and other magical creatures. However, I would rank Harlan Coben as my favorite author for the year. I ripped through his Myron B…

Book Review - Role Models

Role Models by John Waters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I shouldn't have been surprised that John Waters (the creative genius behind Pink Flamingos and Hairspray) would have some, well, let's just say colorful, role models. Included are gay porn creators, a former Charles Manson follower, Johnny Mathis, Madalyn Murray O'Hair and several characters from his hometown of Baltimore.

Waters has a engaging style that makes even the oddest subject matter interesting and acceptable. You can tell he has a great deal of affection and admiration for the people he profiles despite how odd some of them are. I quite enjoyed this book and developed some affection of my own for Waters.

View all my reviews

Book Review - The Reversal

The Reversal by Michael Connelly

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Connelly's Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller and this book had them both! Haller is persuaded to take a case for the prosecution and retry a man convicted of killing a 12 year old girl 24 years ago. He gets Bosch assigned as the investigator and the story alternates between the two of them. I liked that Haller's part was in first person and Bosch's was in third. It's indicative of their personalities and made following the story easier.

Good story, good suspense and a nice delve into both Bosch and Haller's psyches.

View all my reviews

Patagonia Video: Sonnie Trotter Climbs First Free Ascent...

My buddy is totally into this crazy climbing stuff. I don't know if he's trying to get me interested but he keeps showing me pics and videos of these really buff young dudes climbing. I'll take the buff young dudes any day.

Great Job, Huskies!

Great column today by The Arizona Republic’s, Paola Boivin about UConn Women’s Basketball Coach, Geno Auriemma’s comments on the Huskies beating the longstanding UCLA Men’s team winning streak. I couldn’t agree with Boivin and Auriemma more.

I’ve thought for years (because it’s been years) that what UConn has done is amazing. They keep reeling off wins and Championships and yet no one seems to talk about them much. Just like no one talks much about the WNBA, even when our very own Mercury were the champs.

A friend of mine says he doesn’t like watching women’s basketball because they’re not as smooth as, and make more mistakes than, the male players. (I paraphrase because our conversation was a while ago and I don’t recall his exact words but I think I got the sentiment.)

To me, it’s not about skill levels so I won’t even debate that point. I actually prefer watching the women (professional and collegiate) play and also prefer men’s college ball over the pro games. The women and th…

Fantasy Football Update - Playoffs Week 2

For the first time all season, I joined some of the peeps in the club league to watch football on Sunday. What a debacle of a football day it turned out to be.

I went into the day down 41 points to my opponent, the erstwhile Jello Shot Prince. He started Vincent Jackson on Thursday night. Who would have known the dude would score 29 points? I sent JSP a text: Frak me. Vincent Jackson. Really? (Only I didn’t say frak.) I was unhappy.

It actually looked like I had a remote chance to win still on Sunday. Michael Vick’s poor start was just teasing me, though. JSP took way too much delight in updating me as Vick’s points went up and up and up in the latter part of the game.

Hey, Giants, how about some defense? Frakkers.

I ultimately lost by quite a few points and it’s now down to JSP and Crash for the Championship.

Oh, JSP also delighted in pointing out how many points Mario Manningham was racking up...while on my bench in my work league. What a bonehead move I made on that one and I…

Book Review - Wicked Appetite

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

One would think that being a fan of both Evanovich and paranormal mystery/romance that I would love this book by her that's about a paranormal mystery. One would be wrong.

It was just OK. Typical fare in the genre - unsuspecting woman finds out she is magically gifted and has to deal with her mystical mission while working with a mysterious hunky guy. It had all the requisite goofiness of Evanovich's other books including a supporting cast who seemed way too willing to accept the magic. And, there's a monkey. Really, a monkey named Carl needed to be part of this story?

View all my reviews

Book Review - Discord's Apple

Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a fan of Vaughn's Kitty Norville books so it was a no-brainer to pick this book up.

Very interesting blend of history, magic, ancient gods and a modern time that's not so different than ours. The latter is unfortunate since Homeland Security has evolved into stand alone militias, food and gas are rationed and the major world powers are at war with terrorists and each other.

Evie Walker is a great main character. She writes the story for a patriotic best selling comic book but comes home to West Texas to care for her ailing Father. Once there, she immediately encounters strange characters, magical events and discovers a long-time family secret involving magical stewardship.

View all my reviews

Book Review - Liar, Liar

Liar, Liar: A Cat DeLuca Mystery by K.J. Larsen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun first novel co-written by three sisters and published by our very own Poisoned Pen Press.

Cat DeLuca is a PI specializing in cheating spouses when she gets dragged into a mystery involving the FBI, stolen diamonds, gun running and multiple murders. She's helped and hindered along the way by her big, Italian, Chicago cop filled family and flirts with some hunks.

Very Evanovich in style and a nice, escapist read.

View all my reviews

Book Review - Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary by David Sedaris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I suspect this book is an acquired taste. It's a series of animal stories that are often violent and disturbing. The illustrations that accompany them are disturbing as well.

However, Sedaris uses the short tales to exemplify the less desirable human traits of selfishness, bigotry, narcissism and closed mindedness. Very cleverly done.

View all my reviews

Bad Timing

I came home to a blinking message light on my answering machine. I usually ignore those for a while because everyone I want to talk to has my cell phone number. Something made me say, what the hell, go check it.

Good thing.

It was from Wells Fargo reporting that my Visa was suspected as being compromised. I called back and, sure enough, there was a small charge that wasn't mine and a much larger charge to some company that I never heard of attempted. The latter was somehow rejected but it was over $300.

So, now I get to report a new card number to everyone who has it stored for payment purposes. And, I can't do that for 7 to 10 days because that's how long it will take my new card to arrive. They could have expedited it but I would have to be home during business hours to sign for it. Not possible since I have someone on vacation starting tomorrow through next week so I have to cover the Help Desk.

Right before Christmas...ugh. I'm trying to do a cash Christmas but …

Book Review - Devil Bones

Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kind of refreshing to have a story in Brennan's home base of Charlotte. Voodoo/Santeria/etc plays a part in this mystery and Ryan's back in the picture. Or, is he? Good mystery and a sad farewell to a recurring character. Only two more books to get current then I'll be stuck waiting for the next one. :-(

View all my reviews

Fantasy Football Update - Playoffs Week 1

There’s good news and bad news...

The good news is that I won my playoff game in the club league so I’m on to the final four. I wish I hadn’t needed to take The Rocket Scientist out to do so but, them’s the breaks. I actually left a lot of points on my bench but my inspired starting of Tim Hightower carried the day. That and the crappy performance of Carson Palmer for TRS.

Next game is against The Jello Shot Prince. That’s not going to be easy. He scored the most points all season (by far) and, this year, had the best record as well. He scored the most points last season, too, but had the worst luck of running into hot opponents and didn’t even make the playoffs.

The bad news is that I got absolutely annihilated in my work league. I knew I was in deep trouble when Chris Johnson scored 26 against me on Thursday night. I knew it was nearly hopeless when Aaron Rodgers went out with a concussion but I didn’t think it would be a 144-67 massacre. Ouch. I had a few injuries on my team…

Book Review - Bones To Ashes

Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lots going on in this one. Brennan and Ryan investigate a possible serial killer who targets young girls. There's also an unofficial investigation into an old skeleton that a cop had as a souvenir that leads Brennan to explore a missing childhood friend. More personal angst for Brennan in her love life occurs as well which brings her sister Harry up to visit and get involved with the investigations. Solid read filled with lots of history.

View all my reviews

Book Review - Break No Bones

Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brennan spends time in South Carolina in this book where she's asked to fill in for an archeologist colleague and oversee a dig on some soon to be developed land. The dig finds a more recent body than expected and soon we're off on to a complex multiple murder case.

We also get some more personal material as Brennan is joined in SC by her estranged hubby and hot lover Ryan.

A good solid entry in to the series.

View all my reviews

LOL, Indeed!

Book Review - The Prostitute's Ball

The Prostitute's Ball by Stephen J. Cannell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was very sad reading this book as Cannell just passed away. What an amazing talent he was and he will be missed.

This was a very different Shane Scully story than what I'm used to. More light-hearted and funny. I really liked it.

Scully catches a triple homicide case involving a high profile Hollywood dude and some high class escorts a la Heidi Fleiss' ladies. He also gets a new partner, Sumner Hitchens, whom he reluctantly accepts. The new guy is Mr. Hollywood and already made a fortune from selling the rights to a previous case for a movie that ultimately starred Jamie Foxx.

What appears to be a quickly solved case turns into an investigation of an old case with lots of intrigue and highly placed players involved. Hitch seems more intent on making it his next movie deal while Scully is committed to solving the case.

Cannell did a nice job on jabbing at the movie and TV industry and life in the LA fast…

Fantasy Football Update - Week 13

Holy crap, I somehow lucked out in the club league and made the playoffs!

I thought I was a goner even if I won (which I did) but I ended up the 5th seed (6 teams made the playoffs) and I am playing against The Rocket Scientist this week. That could have engendered a fun bet but he's already in the "I don't care what happens because I don't have that much invested" mode. Sigh. I didn't even try to make a bet because he doesn't understand...

It's about the winning!

OK, he doesn't get it but I do. Chalk it up to another one of our differences in temperament.

Steven didn't make the playoffs which makes me a bit sad but I think him not making it allowed me to do so. Oh well, better me than you, son. I'm sure you'll get over it with a good therapist's help somewhere down the road.

I ended up third in my work league for the regular season. Only four teams make the playoffs and I'm guaranteed to get at least $70 (from a buy-in o…

Book Review - Even Vampires Get the Blues

Even Vampires Get the Blues by Katie MacAlister

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An elf, a fairy, demons, sexy male vampires and hot sex scenes. What's not to like in this fun literary romp?

View all my reviews

Book Review - How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first impression of this book was that it was going to be a "look how clever" type. You know the type; an author takes a strange idea (time traveler mechanic in sci-fi universes) and adds extra-lyrical and pseudo-philosophical prose. And, all the critics applaud.

However, the more I got into it, I realized it was really about the basic themes of love, family, friendship and living up to one's potential. It was quite sweet and even moving. I quite enjoyed it.

View all my reviews