Showing posts from November, 2011

Missed It By *That* Much

I set a goal halfway through this year to average at least one blog post per day for every month. It didn’t matter what the post was. It could be a story, a book review, a picture. It was all about getting the frequency up.

I was doing pretty well until November. Between a week in Key West and coming back to 11 hour work days, I just didn’t have the energy to post a lot. Thank the gods for book reviews. I had a lot of those to get me close to my quota so I didn’t feel like a complete slacker.

Now, you may ask why, if I had time to read so much, why didn’t I have time to create original posts? Well, it all comes down to mental effort. It’s much easier to read a frothy book about vampires or werewolves than it is to try to put together an articulate and entertaining (hopefully) story for a post. It’s even easier to watch TV then to read so most November evenings found me vegging on the couch because I was too drained to do much else.

Hopefully, I’ll get back on track for December. Why it’s…

Peppers of Key West

There should be a city ordinance in Key West that you must visit Peppers during your stay on the island. It's just that fantastic!

What is Peppers? Well, it's a sauce and spice store with its own tasting bar. What you need to do is bring a 12 pack (or more) of beer with you when you go and you should share with the Peppers' employees. They'll let you store your beer in their fridge and you're going to want to drink it all because those sauces can get damn hot.

They start you off with some mild yet interesting selections. Based on your response, they will either go hotter or more to the sweet or more to the BBQ. It really is catered to your tastes. We, despite some diversions, always end up with the super hot as our ultimate destination. So hot that they'll only give it to you on a toothpick and they're very specific as to where you should apply the toothpick to your tongue.

As you go through each sauce sample, you set aside the ones you really like. At the …

Movie Review - Fast Food Nation

I finally got around to seeing this 2006 film. Wow. It's a massive indictment. An indictment of what, you may ask? Well, let's see. The fast food industry, obviously. The US cattle industry, corporate greed, treatment of illegal immigrants, ineffective eco-warrior wannabes and selling out to "The Man" are also thoroughly bashed.

Most of the story takes place in a town in Colorado that has the cattle slaughterhouse that provides all of the meat for the Big One from fast food chain Mickey's. While it looks safe and clean on the surface, it's actually filled with dangers both to humans and to the meat they eat. The workforce is also made up of many illegal immigrants who are paid in cash and then tossed aside when they're no longer useful.

Clearly, this is a big issue for celebrities as there are some famous names in here and some of them play small roles. Kris Kristofferson, Ethan Hawke, Bruce Willis and Avril Lavigne are some of the cameos.

There's a p…

Demon Cat Strikes Again

Apparently, George has been bored of late as she really had to go looking for something bad to do.

I got my new cell phone a year ago. The cord is just a tad short from the wall plug to my bedside table so I put an extension cord in the mix.

In the past few weeks, I could hear George gnawing on something in my room and I finally figured out what it was. There were two tags on the cord. One the big don't sue us if you're stupid warning and the other a little tag with I don't know what on it.

Why, after a year of it being there did she decide to chew on it? I have no idea but the chewing wasn't all that was going on. She also pulled the cord out of the socket. But, I didn't realize that right away.

I plugged in my phone late one night this weekend and the little lightening bolt didn't show it was charging. I tried reinserting the cord several times before I thought to trace it back to the wall.

After a "Godammit, George!", I went to the kitchen for a pa…

Fantasy Football - Week 12

A tie is like kissing your sister. So, I've heard. I don't have one to kiss. But, Woody and I managed to tie in our club league game at 103 points. I still have a chance to make the playoffs but I think I need a win this week. Not bad for a record of 6-5-1. Kind of like the real NFL.

I had a nice win in the work league.My 7-5 record has me solely in 3rd place. If I can win and the 2nd place team loses, I think I have a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

A fairly good Pick 'Em week has me back up to third place in the club game and tied for 3rd in the work game. And, I think I had the high score (based on tie breakers) at work so I should be getting some dinero for that. Sweet!

Oh, but I have to whine about injuries. I picked up Kevin Smith from the Lions last week. Guess who went out in the first quarter with an injury? If that rat bastage could have run for 10 more yards before going out, I would have won my game.

Please, sir. May I have some more?

Or, whatever the frak the exact quote is.

This four day weekend couldn't have come at a better time for me. Work has been crazy and my social calendar has been fully booked. It was so nice to have some down time.

Not that I didn't have things to do. Or, that I didn't add things in.

Thursday was great. I slept in a tad, rode my exercise bike, did my hair (back to red!), watched my Green Bay Packers win over the Detroit Lions then went to my parents' house for dinner with our extended family. Steven and I managed to get all (too much for the amount of people there) of the food on the table at the right temperatures. I also banned any talk of illness, surgery or death of someone that Steven and I had never heard of from the table in exchange for us giving up the kids' table. It was nice.

I got home about 8:30 and my neighbor to the front heard me walk up. She called over her fence, "Hey Kathy, my friend Angel and I are about to get into the hot tub. Want to come …

Book Review - Undead and Undermined

Undead and Undermined by MaryJanice Davidson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm starting to get to the point where I don't understand why Betsy has any friends at all. She's become so annoying. She does all of this harebrained stuff, cuts off everyone who's trying to explain things to her and can't articulate her own thoughts. Davidson wrote this book as a second part to a story trilogy (this is actually the 10th book in the series). I'll read the next one but then I may be done.

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Phred's (Latest) Big Adventure

The Arizona Parrot Head Club has a long time mascot named Phred. Phred was liberated from a garage sale by club members Moose and Carol years ago. A peg-legged parrot pirate seemed to fit in with us very well. 
As time went by, Phred came to a lot of club events, travelled to locations far and near and accumulated enough of a wardrobe that he needed his own travel bag. He also freeloaded off of several members' households until he ended up at the Queen and Goat's house.
The Queen decided it was time for Phred to get back some actual mascot work instead of just hanging out in a closet so she started bringing him to events again. It was good to see him mingling with club members and posing for pictures with complete strangers who found him entertaining.
As we were getting ready to head for Meeting of The Minds in Key West, the Queen asked Crash to take Phred with her and get lots of pictures of him enjoying the convention. Now, this is where everyone who knows Crash is asking, …

Book Review - Specials

Specials by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I liked this book the least of the three. Yes, we got closure but we also got beat about the head and shoulders on the concept of free will.

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Book Review - Pretties

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The second in the series. Tally has gone back to the city to become a Pretty so she can test the "cure". But, will she want to take it when her Pretty life is everything she dreamed of and more? This was an interesting chapter to the story.

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Book Review - A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read a lot of great reviews of this book and my friend loaned me her copy ages ago but I just got around to reading it this weekend. While I think the premise was interesting, it was too dense. I think she could have effectively told the story without nearly 600 pages.

It's a world where witches, vampires and daemons exist in a tense truce while trying to keep under humanity's radar. Diana Bishop is a descendent from a long line of famous witches but she's determined to not use magic. Matthew Clairmont is an extremely old vampire who develops an interest in Diana after she discovers an old book that may have the secret of the origins of supernatural creatures. Other forces are out to get the book as well so Matthew takes it upon himself to protect Diana.

Lots of characters, history lessons and plot lines to follow. I'm somewhat interested in the next book but I don't feel compelled to read it. Di…

Classic TV - WKRP - "Oh, the humanity!"

A friend of mine posted this mashed up video of what was one of the funniest bits in TV history on Facebook yesterday and I had to repost it. As did several others. I also sent it out to my team at work for a little pre-Thanksgiving Day fun.
One of my co-workers and I went off on how much we loved this show. We both crushed on Andy. I admitted that I wanted to be as cool as Johnny Fever. What was amazing, considering it was on the air from 1978 to 1982, was how much I remembered of it.
I rattled off the characters' names like they were members of my own family. Andy Travis, Les Nesman, Herb Tarlek, Mr. Carlson, Mrs. Carlson, Bailey Quarters, Venus Flytrap and the aforementioned Johnny Fever. The only character's whose last name I couldn't come up with was Jennifer's. I even remembered Herb's wife, Bunny.
There are some TV shows that I watch now and that I've been watching for several years and I can't name all of the characters. Detective Ryan's first …

Book Review - Last Breath

Last Breath by Rachel Caine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'd go 3 1/2 stars if I could.

Things are never good in the vampire run town of Morganville. This time, vamps start going missing, head vamp Amelie gets a disturbing message that sends her into a tailspin and one of the main characters dies. Action packed as usual and I did tear up a few times. What I like about this series is that Caine actually changes the environment so we can see progression in the overall storyline. (Hint, hint, Laurell K. Hamilton.)

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Midwest Potluck Of A Different Sort

My Regional Communicator friends from the PHiP Midwest Region, Dawnie and Jim, decided to put together a regional party during MOTM week. Lots of clubs have events but I think this was the first sponsored by a region. It was advertised as a potluck because each of the entertainers brought just a little bit to share. Though, one guy didn't get it and asked Dawnie where the food was.

I don't know whose idea it originally was but Barb Herzog was the workhorse as she tried to schedule and manage the entertainment. Her husband Dave was also invaluable working the equipment and played with several of the entertainers, too. He's a great pan player.

Oh, and there was sooooo much entertainment! The official party was from 7 PM to midnight on Wednesday night at Schooner Wharf Bar. Dawnie had to evict the last performer from the stage right at midnight, it was that full of an evening. Our gig was following up the CD release party for the band Homemade Wine.

Wow, Homemade Wine has a l…

Pretty Sure It Was The Axe Murderer...

...or maybe a raccoon because they scare me, too.

George and I were awakened at 1:30 this morning. At first, I couldn't figure out why. But, then I realized it was from someone tapping on my front security door. Or, scratching. I couldn't quite tell but they weren't actually knocking.

We both left the bedroom to investigate. I only made it to the kitchen where I tried to peek through the big window next to the door without being seen.

George bounded out into the dining room, growled then jumped into her kitty condo which is in front of the big window. She repeatedly looked out the window then looked back at me.

I actually said, "George, is it a human out there?" like she could tell me. I swear she was trying to tell me something and she's probably still disappointed that her Mommy is such a dunce that she couldn't figure the message out.

There was no more noise after she showed herself in the window. My fierce little hero. She scared them away!

We headed …

What's His Name VS The Coral Reefers

There are still some Key West tales to tell...

One of my for sure "want to do" agenda items for MOTM was to see my pal Bob Karwin play at the host hotel, Casa Marina, on Saturday. Bob wasn't going to be on the island long and I knew that was one gig I could make so we made a point of being there.

We got a table just off the front side of the stage and settled in for the usual fun music, snarky stories about other performers and crowd heckling. Typical Karwin fare.

Of course, he did his classic rendition of Ring Of Fire. Some of our club members established the tradition of playing kazoos where the trumpets usually are. If you don't have a kazoo, you can fake it. Of course, Tracy the Overachiever actually had her kazoo.

At one point, we could hear music coming from the main stage which is at the other end of the property. Karwin paused for a bit but then kept going. However, it got louder and he stopped again, stood on stage and stared. It was Jimmy Buffett's band…

Fantasy Football - Week 11

I won in both my club and work leagues and my record in both is 6-5. Talk about consistent mediocrity. The good news is that I'm currently in 4th place in the work league and the top 6 make the playoffs. There's two weeks remaining in the regular season so I'm just hoping for wins so no one can move ahead of me.

Pick 'Em wasn't a horrible week but it wasn't great. I'm in 4th place in both leagues. Man, I wish I could get back up in the work game because that's where the money is. I mucked a pick two weeks ago and selected Indy by mistake and that margin is what's keeping me down. Bummer.

Oh, let's see who's injured. Between both teams: Adrian Peterson, Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub, Jahvid Best, Frank Gore, Fred Jackson, Greg Jennings and Deion Branch. That's not counting the guys I've already dropped for injuries. This has been a very unlucky year for me in that regard.

Two weeks of the regular season to go...

Separation Anxiety

On the last day of our Meeting of the Minds trip in 2010, the Pirate Captain and I got into a little dustup. I said I missed my baby and couldn't wait to get home to see her. That sent him into a long speech about how she doesn't love me and only cares about her food and if her dish stayed full she wouldn't care if I was there or not.

Of course, he was very wrong.

Each time I come home from a trip, I walk around the corner to my front door and I can hear George crying on the inside. Seriously, it's the most pathetic meowing of all time. She doesn't do it when I come home from work, only when I've been gone overnight. And, for the record, her food dish is seldom empty.

Apparently, I've been gone too much of late because she was really affected by my last MOTM trip. Not only did she cry when I got home, she's been like white on rice with me since then.

I got home late Monday night last week and I wanted nothing more than to sleep. I gave her lovings and t…

Fantasy Football - Weeks 9 and 10

I've been too dang busy to post much and too frustrated with football to even care. Many of my starters in both leagues were on a bye in week 9 and it showed. I lost both games. I totally kicked butt in the club league this week but lost a much needed game against the first place team in the work league.

Adrian Peterson - how could you fail me? Damn Viking.

To add to my injury issues, Cam Newton is banged up so I was considering starting my back up QB, Matt Schaub. Yeah, he's probably out for the rest of the year. I can't believe the NFL wants to add more games to the season. The players are dropping like flies this year.

I've lost all skill at Pick 'Em and have dropped to 4th in the club game but am hanging on to 2nd in the work game.

Books - Cross Fire

Cross Fire by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I clearly had lost steam on this series since I didn't know I missed a book until I saw that a new one was coming out.

Cross deals with a sniper taking out high profile baddies. Bad in that they're corrupt corporate officials, congressman, lobbyist, etc. While covering the case, the psychotic Kyle Craig makes his reappearance after breaking out of prison and threatens Cross and his entire family.

Without giving any spoilers, I was glad to see some movement forward on a few of the story lines.

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Brunch Fun

There's a Club Leader's Brunch on Friday morning during Meeting of the Minds. PHiP (Parrot Heads in Paradise which is our national organization) sponsors it and there are presentations by the officers and several guest speakers from our various charities and sponsors. Each club is entitled to send two members. They don't have to be club officers but they often are. It's the best free meal on the island and a great chance to catch up with old friends from other clubs. 

The event has changed over the years. When I first started attending, it was a free for all. Grab seats where you could find them and make some new friends. I actually liked that because it was a chance to meet people from the other side of the country. However, a few years ago, they decided to put all of the folks in the same region together.

I belong to the Western Region which covers Arizona - California - Colorado - Idaho - Hawaii - Montana - Nevada - New Mexico - Oregon - Utah - Washington Alberta - Br…

Waiting For Jimmy*

The big question at every Meeting of the Minds is whether Jimmy Buffett will show up. Rumors abound, numerous JB sightings are reported and everyone follows up their hellos to friends with "So, do you think he's coming?"

This year the questions were even more prevalent as it was the 20th convention. How could Jimmy not show? Well, we've asked that same question in years past and he didn't even when I had it on good authority that he was scheduled to appear.

We really didn't have much time to speculate this year because the official word was out on Wednesday morning. JB was going to play at the Street Festival on Friday with Mac McAnnaly at 4 PM.

Some of our gang has a brunch that we have to go to on Friday morning so we send a few peeps to mark out our space in front of the stage. We don't try to get to the very front but we do get a nice spot for viewing and it's usually not so crowded that you can't get out to use the washroom.

Not so uncrowded …

Book Review - Kitty's House of Horrors

Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Werewolf Kitty is talked into filming a supernatural reality show. Along with some other weres, a couple of vamps, a magician, some psychics and a skeptic, she's sent off to a secluded ranch for a Big Brother like experience. It all turns to hell as people start getting killed off. Stranded, the supes and teams have to fight their way to survival.

I like this series a lot. Kitty and friends are interesting and the individual stories are good while also containing enough for a continuing storyline.

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Book Review - Voices of Dragons

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An alternative timeline story from the teen section of the library. The nukes of WWII awakened the sleeping dragons. Literally. The world is still recovering when a war between dragons and humans breaks out. A peace treaty is established with parts of the world becoming dragon territory and no crossing of the border is permitted. Years pass.

Kay is a 17 year old living in a town on the border of the dragon territory. She likes to flirt with danger and a mishap causes her to be on the wrong side of the border where she meets a young dragon. The two become friends and, when the human military hawks decide to provoke another war with the dragons, they do their best to stop it.

Vaughn does a good job of developing characters as well as stories. Kay and her friends are typical teenagers; worried about dating, pushing their limits with their parents and trying to get through the sometimes agonizing teenage years.

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Space Invader

Flying is not the fun that it used to be. Planes are full, everyone and their brother tries to stuff too many carry ons in to too few bins and there are too many yahoos who apparently either don't know traveling etiquette or don't care.

I was lucky to have a direct flight from Phoenix to Miami on my way to Key West. I always book early so I can get the window seat. Mostly because I like to lean on it and sleep but also because I never get up and I don't want to have to get up to let other people go by me.

So, there I was, all tucked in to my seat with all my gear stowed when what appeared to be a whole multi-generational family filled in the two seats next to me, the two rows in front of me and another row on the other side of the aisle next to me. It looked like Grandma and her sister, parents and a bunch of teens and young adults. All Spanish speaking and I'm not sure any of them spoke English. I know the older ones near me didn't.

Dad and Mom sat in my row with …

Book Review - Uglies

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very intriguing idea. "Society" has decided that mankind's problems lay in our biological urges. We naturally gravitate to people who are physically ideal and treat those who aren't perfect poorly. The answer is to have everyone undergo a massive makeover at age 16. Before the surgery, teens are called Uglies. After, they're called Pretties and are seemingly nothing more than a huge group of beautiful revelers.

However, there's a group that rejects the idea of Pretties and refuse the surgery. The main character, Tally, falls in with this group despite desperately wanting to be Pretty and this first book in the series provides not only a good story but a nice background for the future books.

We decided to read this for our book club but have now decided to read the trilogy then discuss. That's a clear indicator that people are liking it.

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Did You Miss Me?

Sometimes, I don't post very often because life gets too busy or I get too lazy. This past week, I didn't post because I was in Key West and I didn't want to write about that in case someone decided to come rob my house while I was gone. I don't care so much about my stuff but I do care about someone letting my cat out. My baby doesn't go outside.

I could have set up some post-dated posts but I was so swamped before I left, I was lucky to get packed and to the airport in time. My life has been hectic, to say the least. And, I'm not really looking forward to coming home to it.

What a week it was, though! This was the 20th Meeting of the Minds event. That's the annual Parrot Head convention for those not in the know. And, for those really out of the loop, that's a group that formed up around Jimmy Buffett. If you don't know who Jimmy Buffett is, then I refuse to help you anymore. Wikipedia or getting out of the cave you live in might help.

Coming up o…