Showing posts from June, 2011

Time vs Money

I know it's simply supply and demand but, dang, why can't I find cheap airfares at convenient times?

My last trip (to Milwaukee) was not too bad on the way out. I left at 9:35 AM and got there at 2:50 PM. Just enough time to have a beer (OK, two) before my peeps got there to pick me up.

The way home, though, ugh. I left at 5:01 PM which was later than I wanted to. My friends had to drive back to Des Moines and I didn't want to hold them up so we had lunch then they dropped me off at 1. Time for another two beers and half of a book.

I was OK with the late departure because I thought, with the time change, I'd still get home before 7.

Au contraire, mon frere. I'd somehow blocked out the part where I had to go to Denver and change planes. I was completely surprised when I checked in and saw the second flight on my itinerary. Dammit.

I'm sure when I booked it, I deemed it too much money to come home earlier or on a direct flight. But, now I wonder how much more was it? …

The Fonz


If you're old, you think of Milwaukee and remember Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. The former started when I was actually quite young (trying to convince myself that I'm not old). There were a lot of great characters on those shows but none as cool as Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli.

Seriously, he was the guy we all wanted to be like. Until he jumped the shark and then it was just sad.

I still use a Fonzie line to this day. "I was woo-oo-oo." Steven practically pees his pants for joy when I actually articulate the full word of wrong.

So, imagine our joy at finding a statue of Fonzie down by the river in Milwaukee. Coolness. In true Midwestern fashion, it's just kind of there. No big fanfare, not really a central location, just sitting there.

Here's a list who paid for the statue. What I wish to be able to say that I'm related to the Pfister Hotel people in some way but, alas, I'm not.

My friend and Trop Rock musician, Bob Karwin has said t…

Safe House

If you're ever in Milwaukee, WI, you must go to the Safe House. It's a frakking hoot!

It's a super secret lair. So secret that I couldn't even figure out how to get past the homepage of their website.

I can't even tell you how to get there because it's a secret location. Here's a hint though:

Just finding the place isn't enough to guarantee your entry. You either need to know the password or you must prove that you're not a double agent. How do you prove it? By this lady making you do incredibly silly stuff.

We had to fight off invisible ninjas. You should see Dawnie's impressive ninja kicks. Another group had to sing Ring-around-a-rosie finishing with an actual fall down. It's all in good fun.

I hadn't been there in years and a new addition was bar Blackjack. You bought in for a certain amount of chips then had to get to $1500 to get a free drink. The dealer was great. Not only did he "hint" at his cards, he told us some stories ab…

Going Home

I was off last weekend for my semi-annual Jimmy Buffett show at Alpine Valley which is in East Troy, WI. I usually fly in and out of Des Moines to visit my peeps there and drive up to the show with some of the gang. Airfare between Phoenix and Des Moines has been incredibly expensive this year so my friend Dawnie suggested I look at going in to Milwaukee instead. It was a lot cheaper so that's what I booked.

I don't even want to know how many flights I've been on lately between work and fun but I think they're starting to recognize me at the airport. It's that many. I'm not complaining, though. Flying is fun and it signifies being off on an adventure.

I always try to get a window seat for two reasons. One, because I never get up and I don't want people crawling over me if they need to. And, two, because I love looking out of the window on take off and landing.

When it's the out of town end, I like trying to get a lay of the land and a feel for what kind o…

Team Initech Takes First Place!

Our weight loss/activity departmental challenge at work ended two weeks ago and they announced the winners while I was off on vacation.

We won!

First place prize is one paid day off from work for each team member. That's awesome. I'm so glad we (and by we, I mean mostly one of my co-workers) bullied everyone in the department to participate. It would have been sad if not all of us got that prize.

We actually had the top score in both activity points and weight loss. The latter was due to one employee (our newest one, in fact) who lost 40 pounds. That's an incredible amount.

I've managed to regain most of what I lost already. Sigh.

Book Review - Divine by Blood

Divine By Blood by P.C. Cast

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Of the three books I read in this series, I liked this one the least. It was still interesting but Morrigan, the main character, was such a spoiled, angry brat for most of the book that I didn't like her at all.

Morrigan finds out she's the daughter of a god's chosen one and that she's not really of Earth. She gets sent to Partholon through a violent incident and discovers she's really the chosen one of a god in spite of her heritage. Yet, that doesn't seem to make her happy even when she hooks up with a hottie dude.

The last part of the book made Morrigan much more sympathetic and I enjoyed the conclusion. I think my less liking of this book was because I really liked Shannon, the heroine of the first two books, much more than Morrigan. Still a good read and I liked the world P.C. Cast created.

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Book Review - Divine By Choice

Divine By Choice by P.C. Cast

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shannon has learned to love her life in Partholon (a far place from Oklahoma) when she's suddenly sent back to Earth. She encounters love and well, really icky sado-masochistic goings on, as she tries to get back to Partholon. Some good character development, some sweet family moments and more magic fills out the story. A nice follow-up to the first novel in the series.

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Book Review - Divine by Mistake

Divine By Mistake by P.C. Cast

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun book!

Shannon Parker is a high school English teacher in Oklahoma who goes to an estate sale. She buys a vase and, whoosh, she's sent to an alternate world where she's the doppelganger for a huge beeyatch who happens to be the chose representative of a god. Toss in romance with a hot centaur, magic and a war with some evil creatures and it's a great story.

I liked Shannon a lot. She was a mature yet fun character and had a lot of snark. Which reminds me of me. ;-)

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My Political Manifesto

I posted a couple of political items on my Facebook this morning that started some long conversations. While I do post things related to politics here and there, I’m not always about the politics. Mostly because I’m a lover, not a fighter, and politics makes people argue.

One of the articles was about Herman Cain allegedly saying that he wouldn’t allow Muslims to serve in his cabinet. You know, because they can’t be trusted to support the U.S. The other was about the National Republican Senatorial Committee creating fake retweets from some Democratic persons. Not only poor taste, but a violation of Twitter rules. Both made my blood boil.

A friend commented, “Did you accidentally put on your political hat on the way out the door this morning?” I had to confess that I did. The elections are over a year away and I’m already riled up by so many things being said and done that I’m disgusted by the entire process.

Here’s what I’d like to say to all those running for office:
Citing the fact that…

Book Review - Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm going to go with this one was OK but not as compelling as the previous books have been. I'm not sure why as a lot happens in here but it's a lot of the same old, same old.

Sookie has an old enemy out to kill her. Sookie realizes that people (I include the vamps and faeries here) are not telling her the whole story. Sookie comes up with an idea to solve their vamp boss issue. Sookie misses her Gram. Eric is still Eric and Bill is still Bill (although he's really almost an afterthought in here).

I'm not sure what more I'm looking for in this series but I know it's something.

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The League

If you’ve ever played Fantasy sports (or had to be with someone who was), you’ll find a lot to laugh at in this series. I caught the first season on Netflix and I watched all of the episodes in one night even though I really should have gone to bed. It was that funny.

All of it was there:
That one guy who drafts someone who isn’t playing.The commissioner begging everyone to pay up.The wife who’s really running the team.The agony of the injury report (it really doesn’t tell you if the player’s going to start).The trash talking.The owner who forgets to set a full lineup and still wins.The unreasonable anger when a player goes off in a game and causes you to lose with their extraordinary performance (I still hate Vince Young for keeping me out of the playoffs last year).The debate of who to start come playoff time.
Besides football, there’s some friendship and relationship storylines. The guys in the show have known each other since school. I can only surmise they still hang out together be…

Movie Review - Green Lantern

I chose this picture because Ryan Reynolds' abs should have gotten their own billing in this movie. They're on display a LOT and they look mah-ve-lous!

I went into this movie without high expectations. That was good because I wasn't disappointed. Don't get me wrong. It was entertaining, had a lot of humor and some decent action. It just wasn't great. Reynolds is always likeable and I thought he did a good job of portraying the smartassedness that is Hal Jordan.

Steven was not happy with the way the story played with the comic book mythology. He also thought it funny that Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were supposed to have grown up together but he's 11 years older than she in real life. Making her a brunette did make her look older, though. I thought it more odd that they cast Tim Robbins as Peter Sarsgaard's father and there's only a 13 year gap between the two.

I guess it says something about the story that the ages of the actors could take us out of it …

The IT Crowd

Sugar Daddy told me this was a good show so I started watching it on Netflix. He's totally right! It's very, very funny. And, very British.

Chris O'Dowd (whom I became besotted with in Bridesmaids) plays Roy, the less socially challenged IT guy, Richard Ayoade plays the OCD uber-nerd Moss and Katherine Parkinson plays their boss who knows nothing about IT but talked her way in to the job. Matt Perry came on in season two and was a fabulous addition as the sex addicted company president.

While the actual IT stuff isn't always accurate, the show had me at Roy's first line (answering the phone), "Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it off and on?" The show got better as time went on with season four being especially strong.

Very funny if you like British and/or nerd humor.

Book Review - The Jefferson Key

The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love the historical research that Berry does for his books. I always feel like I've learned something while being entertained. This book taught me about privateers/pirates, Thomas Jefferson's love of cyphers and the assassinations of the U.S. Presidents.

Cotton and Cassiopeia have their NYC weekend interrupted by an attempt on the President's life that is traced back to a group called the Commonwealth. Descendents of pirates who became Government sanctioned privateers, the Commonwealth considers themselves patriots while ignoring U.S. and international law.

Violence and puzzle solving abound as the mysteries are solved. While entertaining, I thought there were too many players in the story. I had a bit of trouble keeping everyone straight until well in to the book. However, not to give a spoiler, there was one new character that I think would be fun to see again.

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Clearly, They Didn't Ask Me

From Thanks for helping choose all the great music last weekend! We crunched the numbes from your ballots and it produced quite a list! In case you missed it, here they are — Your Favorite Jimmy Buffett Songs:1. A Pirate Looks at Forty
2. One Particular Harbour
3. Tin Cup Chalice
4. Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
5. Margaritaville
6. Come Monday
7. Son of a Son of a Sailor
8. Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season
9. It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere
10. Banana Republics
11. Southern Cross
12. Fins
13. The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful
14. Last Mango in Paris
15. Bama Breeze
16. Cowboy in the Jungle
17. He Went to Paris
18. Havana Daydreamin’
19. Schoolboy Heart
20. Boat Drinks21. Volcano
22. We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About
23. Cheeseburger in Paradise
24. Fruitcakes
25. Little Miss Magic
26. Jamaica Mistaica
27. Gypsies in the Palace
28. Why Don’t We Get Dr…

Book Review - Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I avoided this book for a while because it just seemed "too" popular. That's a holdover attitude from my bookselling days when we turned up our noses at any Oprah Book Club selection and other major sellers. I had no desire to see the movie either.

However, it was picked as our book club selection this month so I read it. In one sitting. Granted, I was on a plane and couldn't get up but it kept my attention the entire time.

Alternating between present day and the early 1930s, this is the story of Jacob Jankowski, a young Veterinarian student close to graduation. A tragic event leaves him shell shocked and homeless. He finds his way to a traveling circus where the life is tough and the people are tougher. As we learn about how he fits into circus life, we also see him spending his old age in a assisted living home.

The story is well researched and I found the circus life details very interesting. I also enjoyed seei…


I've committed to participating in #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Each day you get a new message/task and can write about it in a journal, in a blog, on Twitter, even Facebook as long as you write something.

Divine Idea by Fabian KruseImitation is Suicide. Insist on yourself; never imitate. – Ralph Waldo EmersonWrite down in which areas of your life you have to overcome these suicidal tendencies of imitation, and how you can transform them into a newborn you – one that doesn’t hide its uniqueness, but thrives on it. There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?(Author: Fabian Kruse)
Hmmm. Suicidal tendencies of imitation sounds really severe. It’s not like I’m a follower of Bob Jones or David Koresh or an actual lemming. This is another prompt where I’m not sure exactly what’s a proper response so I’m just going to ramble on and hope I can bring…

What Would You Like To Tell A Million People?

I've committed to participating in #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Each day you get a new message/task and can write about it in a journal, in a blog, on Twitter, even Facebook as long as you write something.

Your Personal Message by Eric HandlerTo believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius. – Ralph Waldo EmersonWhat is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say?(Author: Eric Handler)Oh, man. Where to start? That we're killing our planet? That we're hastening our own demises with pesticides and the evil HFCS (among so many other things we ingest)? That our politics and politicians are so flawed that we'd be better off picking people by lottery? (I actually believe that would be better.)
As I continue to think about on…

Too Scary To Write About?

I've committed to participating in #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Each day you get a new message/task and can write about it in a journal, in a blog, on Twitter, even Facebook as long as you write something.

Afraid to Do by Mary Jaksch The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. - Ralph Waldo EmersonEmerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now.(Author: Mary Jaksch)Man, I'm really struggling with this one. I have no idea what "too scary to write about" means. I'm afraid of axe murderers but they're not too scary to write about. Ditto, snakes, spiders and horses. I even read about 10 posts from others on today's…

Advice To Self

I've committed to participating in #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Each day you get a new message/task and can write about it in a journal, in a blog, on Twitter, even Facebook as long as you write something.

Five Years by Corbett BarrThere will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. – Ralph Waldo EmersonWhat would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?(Author: Corbett Barr)
Advice I wish I'd given and followed five years ago: trust your gut, proceed with abandon and let go of failures.

If something, or someone, seems too good to be true, it's not. Too often, I've let myself get persuaded that people and situations are better than they really are and sometimes worse than they really are. Looking back, my gut instinct was trying to tell me the truth but I ig…

Movie Review - Scott Pilgrim vs The World

My first Netlfix disc...

I never read the graphic novel series that this movie was based on so I had really no idea what to expect. Well, I did know that it was a nerd/geek film but that was about it.

Michael Cera plays his usual Michael Cera role but it fit well with the story. Pilgrim has to best his new girlfriend's "seven evil exes" who are out to kill him. It's surreal, comic book like and ridiculous and I loved it!

I thought the images, music and special effects made it very fun. The supporting cast was great, especially Kieran Culkin, and I enjoy seeing Jason Schwartzman in anything.

I doubt that this movie is everyone's cup of tea but if you like silly and fun, you'll like this.

The One Thing You're Afraid to Pursue

I've committed to participating in #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Each day you get a new message/task and can write about it in a journal, in a blog, on Twitter, even Facebook as long as you write something.

Dare to be bold by Matt CheuvrontOur arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion, we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born. – Ralph Waldo Emerson“Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneurs worst enemy. Bad things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego. Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious.A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. Its only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and over…

One Week Left To Live

I've committed to participating in #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Each day you get a new message/task and can write about it in a journal, in a blog, on Twitter, even Facebook as long as you write something.

Come Alive by Jonathan MeadLife wastes itself while we are preparing to live. – Ralph Waldo EmersonIf you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive.Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?(Author: Jonathan Mead)
Hmmmm. I would imagine most people would say they certainly wouldn't be going to work. I know I wouldn't.
I would do a lot of what I still do. Spend times with friends and family (both in person and online). Take …

One Place To Visit Before I Die

I've committed to participating in #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Each day you get a new message/task and can write about it in a journal, in a blog, on Twitter, even Facebook as long as you write something.

Travel by Chris GuillebeauIf we live truly, we shall see truly. - Ralph Waldo EmersonNot everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?(Author: Chris Guillebeau)
My immediate response to this question is Ireland. After further pondering, it's still Ireland. Sure, I'd love to go to Russia, China, Australia and most of Europe but Ireland is where my roots are. Both sides of my family can be traced back there (along with a lot of other places as I'm a true American mutt) but it's the one place where I think I'd fe…

Movie Review - X-Men First Class

X-Men First Class is a solid entry in to the comic book movie category. It runs a bit long (2 hours and 12 minutes) but a lot of the film is tied to character and story development. We get a deep view into how and why Xavier and Erik become Professor X and Magneto. And, into how their different view on humanity lead to the schism between them.

If you're looking for established storyline accuracy, you won't find it here. Some characters are the wrong age, Xavier and Magneto's friendship is much shorter and Hank McCoy designs, well, pretty much everything.

Kevin Bacon is really good as the villainous Sebastian Shaw. His first scene with the young Erik in a German concentration camp is chilling. His plan to start a nuclear war between the US and Soviet Union in 1962 is crazy yet comes across as plausible. Tying the story to the Cuban missile crisis was a nice touch.

James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique stand out the most of the cast. He was well…

One Strong Belief Not Shared? I Think Not.

I've committed to participating in #Trust30, an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Each day you get a new message/task and can write about it in a journal, in a blog, on Twitter, even Facebook as long as you write something.

One Strong Belief by Buster BensonIt is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-RelianceThe world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?(Author: Buster Benson)
I've given this thought all day and my response is probably not quite what was intended but here goes. I don't think you can have a belief…

Why Wasn't I Already Watching Archer?

Netflix is going to make me the biggest couch potato ever!

I spent the past two nights going through the first season of FX’s show Archer. I’d heard it was funny but had no idea just how much. Oh my. The things you can get away with saying and doing when it’s a cartoon.

Archer is a master spy (think of a moronic James Bond) with Mommy issues. Sample tweet: @codenameduchess Sterling Archer
This might be a stupid question, but do they have to kill cows to get the cheese out? What about goats and sheeps? (Sorry, two questions.)

His Mommy (wonderfully voiced by Jessica Walter) is, Malory Archer, the hard drinking, promiscuous head of the spy agency, ISIS. The rest of the characters include a super girl spy, the HR Director, the Controller and an Administrative Assistant. They are just as entertaining and well developed as Archer and Malory.

If you like raunchy, politically incorrect, outrageous laugh out loud humor, watch this show. I have Season 2 on my DVD queue already.

Loves Me The Cow

I’m pretty open about the fact that I love cow. Give me a good steak and I’m happy. I don’t even need anything to go with it. Though, mushrooms are always a nice touch.

The most consistently great beef that I’ve had is in Calgary. It’s become a long standing joke when I go up there as to which beef item I’m going to order off the menu for both lunch and dinner. It’s also pretty much known that I’m going to prefer a steakhouse over any other restaurant, too. You should have seen how I tried to poker face the Thai food suggestion on one of my visits. Oh, and sushi, too. Ick.

How well known is my love? Well, one of my Canadian workmates gave me this bumper sticker and it’s proudly hanging in my cube. (On the other side of the monitor from my stuffed cow because I think it would be in poor taste to put those two together.)

There are two reasons why I enjoy the beef so much up there. The first is that they grass finish the cattle. That means they switch the diet from corn (which the US cattle…

Ships and Dip 4 - The Reunion

I had just about the most fun one can legally have on Sunday. Our gang from the January Ships and Dip 4 cruise got together for a BBQ, some pool time and to exchange disc/flash drives of all of our digital pictures. The only one missing was Norene because she was working but she wasn’t forgotten. We took a picture of all of us and a cutout of her and sent it to her.

Blondie played the pics on one of their TVs and it was a blast. We laughed and retold stories and even told a few new ones. We also chatted about all sorts of other topics and were captivated by Evan’s 4 year old daughter who spent most of her time in the still brisk pool.

Let's get the gang back together!

An announcement was made by Bare Naked Ladies and Sixthman that there won’t be a cruise in 2012. That made us sad. Not only because those cruises are so fun, but because we all truly enjoyed vacationing together.

I think Jared was the first to float the idea that we should all plan on going to an all inclusive resort and…

Book Review - Losing It

Losing It: False Hopes and Fat Profits in the Diet Industry by Laura Fraser

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I vacillated between four and five stars on this but, after reflecting on how much thought I've given to the text, it deserved a five.

Fraser ties together an incredible amount of research with her own stories of dieting and going undercover as a potential managed diet program participant. It took me a long time to get through this book because, as a lifetime fat girl, a lot of the subject matter was emotionally charged for me.

She covered how our society has changed over the years to one where unrealistically thin women (mostly women, not so much on the men in this one) are the ideal that all should strive for. There was a lot on diet fads, scams and programs and the possibly dangerous side effects associated with them. And, quite a bit on groups that are promoting acceptance of peoples' natural weight and rejecting the you have to be thin to be healthy mentality.

Published in the l…