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Showing posts from April, 2012

Book Review - Hard Bitten

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Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, I did not see that coming! No, I won't spoil it.

Merit and Ethan are threatened by the mayor of Chicago. Apparently, vampire raves have gotten out of hand and three young women were bled to death. If the vampires can't control the issue, the mayor is putting Ethan in jail. All this is happening while they get a visit from one of ruling vampire council members who threatens to take control of their House.

Lots of shenanigans and violence and the surprise ending. This is a good series.

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It's Bigger On The Inside

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We are counting down the days to going live with the project that will not end. (I should trademark or copyright or whatever it is you do to own verbiage.) Everyone's on their last nerve but at the same time so worn down that it's hard to get emotional. We just all seem beat. I know I am since I've gone home  this week and not even looked at my computer for hours. And, one night, I didn't even log in at all.

However, my day and week and month were completely made today when I came in to find this in my cube:

Is that cool or what!?!?

It made my heart happy.

Of course, I had to post it on Facebook right away where I soon found that some of my friends are not Whovians. I might have to rethink those relationships. ;-)

It was a gift from one of my co-workers and I suspect it will move around the department quite a bit. We may put it in front of an empty cube and use it as our getaway spot.

"Where's IT?"

"Oh, they're in the Tardis!"

Now, I'm j…

It's Still Bitchen'

As I was driving into work this morning, I caught a partial glimpse of a white car in the lane next to me. I thought, "That's a nice looking car." A second glance and my thought was, "Ha ha, that's my car just in a different color!"

Even funnier to me is that it's not the first time that sequence of events has occurred.

I still really, really, really love my car. So much so that I ran it through the car wash first thing this morning to get the rain drops off from yesterday. I didn't want it to look messy.

Now, if only I could feel compelled to keep my house that clean.

Book Review - Partials

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Partials by Dan Wells
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another dystopian story. Humans were nearly wiped out in a battle with Partials. Partials are genetically engineered beings created by humans (of course). While both sides seem to be at a truce, the humans are frantic. None of their newborn children live past a few days.

Our heroine, a young medic name Kira Walker, is determined to find a cure for the newborns even if it means making contact with the Partials who haven't been seen in 11 years. And, even if it means giving up her own life.

This was a good young adult book. It brings up lots of questions about state control, bigotry and what it means to be "human". I'm looking forward to the next book which looks to be out in 2013.

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Theme Song

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You know how when you hear certain songs, you immediately are brought back to a place or time in your life that will always be associated with that song?

Well, this song is irrevocably tied to my trip to Des Moines last week for me.




Not that anything mentioned in the song related to my last trip. We didn't go on any back roads, we didn't drink cold beers while we were driving and we didn't do any rapping.

The reason that it's tied to Des Moines forever is that we heard it ALL THE DAMN TIME!

Dawnie had it on her iPod. I don't know if she had it on there a gazillion times (doubtful) or if it somehow got marked as the most popular or if her random algorithm was busted but we couldn't escape the song.

Driving from the airport to Tyson's house, the song came on. Heading to some friends' place, we heard it. Running to the grocery store, it played. Just listening to the iPod in the house and it came on several times.

I don't want to exaggerate but I wish w…

Book Review - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was our book club selection for this month and I know we're way behind the curve on it as this book has been way popular for several years.

I really dug it.

The story takes place right after WWII in England and the island of Guernsey. The clever part is that the story is told in letters and telegrams between a free spirited female author, her friends and many inhabitants of Guernsey.

Besides developing some wonderful characters and a full story, the book is a great history lesson on the occupation of Guernsey by the Germans during the war. The war stories are tragic and horrific. The relationships and the characters are warm and charming.

Really, really enjoyable.

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Mentally Still on Vacation...Or, Trying To Be

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I went to Des Moines last week for a Jimmy Buffett show. It was a delightful break from the hell that is my work right now. I flew in on Saturday, telecommuted on Monday then was on a serious vacation on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Though I did get a phone call from work on Tuesday morning. "Hey, Kathy, are we having a meeting today? "I don't know, I'm in Des Moines. Good luck with that, bye!")

I so did not want to come back to reality.

One of the Iowa Parrot Head clubs was applying these in the pre-concert parking lot party:


I've been trying to preserve it as long as possible because if I stare at it long enough, I can almost convince myself that I'm still on vacation.

Travel Reading

I usually take several books with me when I travel. For trips with layovers, I can get through two books before I even reach my destination. It's a great opportunity to catch up on my reading list.

However, I need to be more selective in what I take with me so I don't look like a loon.

On my way to Des Moines last week, I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Because I'm a total sap, I got choked up twice and literally had tears running down my cheeks. I'm sure the guy next to me was afraid I was going to start blubbering because I was sniffing and trying to secretly wipe away the tears. I don't think I was very successful at the secret part.

On the way home, I read Tina Fey's Bossypants. Instead of having to hide my crying, I was trying to not burst out in guffaws. It was so very funny and I would have literally laughed out loud more than once if I hadn't been controlling myself. I'm sure more than a few chuckles were emitted, though When…

Book Review - I've Got Your Number

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I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I should not have started reading this at 10:30 at night. I finished it at 1:30 AM and it made for a very tough time getting out of bed when my alarm went off.

Kinsella has a pattern. Slightly unusual girl meets hot guy and complications and hijinks ensue. What made this book better than most of hers is the poignant relationship that she develops between the two main characters.

Poppy loses the heirloom engagement ring that her fiance gave her and, in the panic of trying to track it down, her phone is stolen. She finds a discarded phone that was dumped by the departing Personal Assistant of businessman Sam Roxton. She talks Sam into letting her use the phone until she finds her ring and promises to forward all of his messages to him. Of course, she does more than that and starts responding to his emails which doesn't go over so well with Sam.

There's some intrigue and some character building and a very sweet l…

Book Review - Bossypants

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Bossypants by Tina Fey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great read!

I love Tina Fey and want to be friends with her. She offers up humorous personal anecdotes and practical analysis, often in the same paragraph, in this memoir. There are stories from her childhood, Second City days, and working on SNL and 30 Rock. You can feel her genuine affection for the special people in her life and appreciate her disdain for the not so nice folks.

If you're looking for something that's a fast read and that will make you laugh, this is the book for you.

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Book Review - Kill Shot

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Kill Shot by Vince Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a continuation of Mitch Rapp's backstory as to how he became the most deadly man in the employ of the CIA. Actually, maybe even the world.

Rapp has been out in the field nearly a year and terminating terrorists right and left until a hit goes horribly amiss. Nine people are killed, Rapp goes on the lam and he doesn't know if he can trust anyone at Langley.

Good story. I really like that Flynn has gone back and recreated this history.

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File Under "Things you didn't know you needed until you got them"

When I got my bitchen' new car (which I am still totally in love with in case you couldn't tell), it had SiriusXM radio. I would never have subscribed to it because I'm content with the radio and a handful of CDs and I was already looking at a car payment for the first time in two years. Ouch.

The car came with three sets of preset so I can program in 18 channels. The first week I got the car, my bestest Canadian friend and I sat in a parking lot after beer and wings and set the first six channels.

Of course, Radio Margaritaville was in position number one, followed by Classic Rewind, Classic Vinyl, Deep Tracks, The Highway and Willie's Roadhouse. I thought it was a nice mixture of trop rock, classic rock and new and old country.

Between my local country FM station for their morning show and traffic updates and those six stations the rest of the time, I was content. But, I decided it was silly not to fill up the other twelve presets so I did a little research and came …

Sweet!

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I saw these Dr. Who magnets on Facebook and I had to have them. The guy who made them is in Calgary and he shipped promptly. They're fairly thin so I don't know how many papers or photos they can hold up but I just wanted to put them on the metal in my cube as decorations.

They're mostly current but the addition of Tom Baker and K-9 is a nice touch. Poor Martha Jones didn't  make the cut but she was my least favorite of the new companions so I don't mind. Donna! I miss Donna!
As if my nerd factor weren't already high, go check out this video. It's awesome!

Book Review - Twice Bitten

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Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally, some hot vampire sex! Oh, and a battle royale of shifters. I like the progression of the storyline in this series. Merit keeps improving her vampire skills. New characters are introduced while existing characters are more fully fleshed out.

The gist of it is that the shifters are having a big Pack meeting in Chicago and their big Kahuna asks Ethan and Merit to bodyguard the event. After Merit literally takes a bullet to protect one of the shifters, she and Ethan are in the head shifter's inner circle. It's actually not that safe there but Merit proves worthy though not without cost.

I'm digging this series a lot. Especially since Merit is a Cubs fan. Come on, combing vamps and my Cubbies is genius!

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Two Babies I Didn't Steal

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But, I was tempted.

I loves me the babies. Kids after they can start talking back to you? Not so much. But give me a little one to snuggle with and I'm extremely happy.

We had a company picnic the weekend before last and one of my co-workers said he was bringing his daughter. I couldn't wait to see her. They showed up with her in her stroller and I was immediately baby talking to her and telling her that her Daddy would know where she was if she went missing because I would have her. She played shy but she did smile at me a lot.

Later in the day, he was carrying her around to visit and stopped to see Steven and me as we were running the balloon toss event. He asked if I wanted to hold her and I mentally thought "Uh, duh" but I was more gracious than that verbally. What a doll!

The first victim was my hoop earring which she pulled out and tried to put in her mouth. Steven rescued that. My sunglasses were next so Steven took those, too. That left just my hair to pull o…

Book Review - Friday Night Bites

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Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Second in the series, this story finds two month old vampire Merit up to her neck in intrigue. Someone's threatening to expose vampire raves (think of a rave with a lot of blood and possibly a few deaths) and it's up to Merit, her master Ethan and their team to discover the truth about a blackmail scheme before everything goes public. Since vampires have only been visibly out in the world for ten months, bad press could lead to a violent human reaction.

We get more of Merit's human family and new vampire family, hot make out sessions, physical combat lessons and a search for a traitor as well as the possible return of an old enemy.

These are fun reads.

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Book Review - The Next One to Fall

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The Next One to Fall by Hilary Davidson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This sequel to The Damage Done was somewhat disappointing. The story starts three months after travel writer Lily Moore has discovered the facts behind her sister's death. Severely depressed, she lets her best friend, Jesse, talk her into going to Peru as a combination work/pleasure trip. (He's a professional photographer.) They're barely there when Lily witnesses the death of a woman on the steps of Machu Picchu.

The police are blaming the woman's drug use for her death. Haunted by her sister's drug abuse and the final words of the woman, Lily is determined to find the truth despite many warnings and injuries that she and Jesse both get.

The description of Peru and its people was good. Jesse is a too good to be true character that everyone would love to have as a best friend. Lily is smart and determined. However, the mystery itself was just too full of red herrings, convoluted drama and a villan out …

Best Laid Plans

I had four job candidates lined up for interviews Friday afternoon. I have them come in on a staggered schedule then they suffer through, er, enjoy?, six half hour interviews with various people with the last half hour being with me for final questions.

One of my interviewers went home sick on Thursday so I emailed a backup who kindly agreed to cover if needed even though he hates doing interviews. However, the sick one was back in the afternoon so I was covered. I thought, anyway.

One of the candidates showed up 15 minutes early, and another showed up 45 minutes early. Oh, and one showed up 15 minutes late (he said he got into a fender bender on the way). I eventually got them all squared away when the receptionist stopped me to say one of my interviewers had a family emergency and had to go home right away.

I pulled him out of his interview and frantically tried to replace him. My backup guy, feeling safe, was offsite so I roped in one of our Help Desk guys. The other HD guy was in…