Showing posts from May, 2012

Book Review - Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, I had to read this since everyone else is. Yep, reads like Twilight fan fiction all right. Innocent heroine stalked by older, very experienced male with instant love based on nothing more than pheromones. Or, in this case, how a dude looks in grey pants and how a girl bites her lip.

I didn't think the writing was great and the emails as exposition device was lazy.

However, I have to give it up to James on the sex scenes. They are well worth the rest of the book. Man, smoking hot. I think every dude with a lady should be looking for some tips there.

I'll probably read the next two books and feel ashamed of myself that I fell into the hype just as I did when I finished the third Twilight book.

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Those Were The Days

Maybe not the best days, but memorable.

I had the 70s on 7 on Sirius on my radio this morning and the first song I heard was One Bad Apple. Do you remember that Osmond Brothers hit? Apparently, I'm the only one that I know who does.

Granted, it was a hit before my time (released in 1970 and I was clearly not into pop music then) but I was still a fan. But behind the times because when I got this lunch box in the Fifth Grade, I was seriously ridiculed.

I thought I was styling
Regardless of my childhood trauma, hearing the song today convinced me it was going to be a great day. And, it was. Right up until about 3 PM but that's another story.
For those who can't remember the song, or have no idea what it even is, here's a YouTube:
Those outfits, those dance moves!

Technology Terror Stories

I admit, I'm addicted to my electronics. Even when they're ticking me off (another blue screen of death!?!?!), I know I don't want to live without them. I really don't.

So, picture this situation. I was at the airport for my last trip to Des Moines to see Jimmy Buffett. Phred Parrot and I were at the bar having breakfast beers (OK, one beer and it was just for me) when I decided I needed to get his picture.

Except I couldn't find my phone.

Panic immediately ensued. I had switched to my travel purse and frantically went through it several times then searched my backpack in the off chance that I'd put my camera in there. The more I searched, the more this line of thought developed.

"I'll just have to buy a new camera right when I get there."

Did I need a new camera? No. Was I willing to go without one for one weekend? No. Would I have been happy with just a cheap digital to get me through the weekend? No.

I saved myself several hundred bucks by fina…

Book Review - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was our book club selection this month. Surprisingly, even though it's a classic, none of us had read it.

I really liked it. The story takes place in Brooklyn before WWI and our heroine is Francie. Her family is poor, her Dad's an alcoholic and this is back in the day when people were lucky to get to even an eighth grade education. However, as grim as their life may be, there was hope, love and determination.

A wonderful cast of characters with Aunt Sissy being my favorite. She was an unapologetic promiscuous woman for her time but had a great heart. Francie's Mom, Katie, was a strong woman determined to do things right by her children. And, Francie was pragmatic, observant and caring in her own right.

If you haven't read it, you should. Not only because of its status in American literature but because it's a good story with both humor and pathos.

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The Most Interesting Parrot In The World

I don't want to say that Phred Parrot gets around but, damn, that bird gets around and gets remembered!
On my last trip to Des Moines, Phred was my companion and we headed to the bar for breakfast beers after we got through security. (He was smuggled through security in my backpack. I'm not paying for his own plane ticket.)
As I got him set up for a picture, the bartender said, "Hey, I know him. That's Phred with a P H."
Yep, it really happened.
Turns out that Gretchen the bartender remembered Phred from a previous visit to the bar while he was on his way to "somewhere beachy". That doesn't really narrow it done for his travels so I described some of the humans he'd been with lately but she only remembered him.
Turns out the trip was with Goat and Queen as they visited Hawaii. 
Gretchen also said that she'd tried to find him on FB so I told her to try again under "Phred Parrot". They are now FB buddies. 
Phred's got a lof of FB…

Book Review - Death of Kings

Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this series about the consolidation of England under the reign of Alfred The Great.

Uhtred has spent his life and his money in the service of the dying Alfred and then his son Edward in order to fight the Danes and others who don't share Alfred's vision of one great land under a Christian God. There are graphic fights, politics, murders, intrigue and romance. The heathen in me especially enjoys Uhtred's goading of the corrupt clergy that surrounded the devout Alfred.

The entire series is a fine set of historical fiction.

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Book Review - The Technologists

The Technologists by Matthew Pearl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always worry when I read historical fiction that I'm going to "misremember" historical facts afterwards. I don't think I have too much to fear from this book, however, because it's a rather outrageous tale.

The story revolves around the first graduation class of MIT. Back in the day, technology was feared and misunderstood. Workers feared automation would eliminate their jobs and the general public had little or no knowledge of what even the word technology meant.

When Boston comes under attack from an unknown person(s), it's up to our fledging scientists to determine how the terrorist like attacks were achieved and how to predict and prevent the next incident. There was a lot of science talk, well developed characters and, as it's a mystery, several red herrings. Good read and it gave a good feeling for what Boston was like right after the Civil War.

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Counting My Blessings

It's been easy to focus on all the negatives going on around me. Incessant work, overwhelming social activities, challenging's all been a pain in the arse.

The thing is, no matter how bad or frustrating your life is, someone has it worse. And, I found that out last Friday night.

My friend Morgan sent me a text while I was in Canada asking if I wanted to play in a charity poker tournament at his house on Friday night. I went directly from the airport to the game. Half of the money was going to the prize fund and the other half was going to his co-worker for medical bills.

The medical bills were for his co-worker's step-daughter who just had a heart transplant.

OK, imagine that you're a 16 year old girl who thinks you have the flu. You don't get better so your parents take you to the emergency room. They tell you that you just need an IV to get rehydrated but then, within days, you find out your heart is failing and you need a transplant.

Now, imagine tha…

So Pretty!

Disclaimer:  this is not a paid endorsement for lia sophia jewelry.

Another Disclaimer:  I would happily be paid to endorse lia sophia jewelry since I sing its praises to everyone. Seriously, I've earned some dough for them.

I love jewelry. From the fancy to the simply elegant, I feel better and prettier when I'm wearing it. But, there are some pieces that I really, really, really love and I catch myself staring at them throughout the day because of my adoration.

Today, I'm wearing a new necklace.

The picture doesn't do it justice. It's very bright and summery and very sparkly. A co-worker and I flew by each other in the hall and she called out, "That's a pretty necklace." I beamed.
I'm also wearing a new ring.
I love it! It's very sparkly and there's a touch of white enamel on two of the flowers that add just the right touch of color.
The good thing about hosting a party is that you get a lot of product at a screaming deal. The bad news a…

Movie Review - The Avengers

Steven and I caught The Avengers on Saturday morning. As long as I didn't think too much about the plot, it was fantastic. Lots of action and lots of humor. You could see Joss Whedon's fingerprints all over it.

If you don't know who Joss Whedon is I probably don't want to be your friend. He's the guy behind Buffy, Angel and Firefly and I think he's brilliant. And aggravating. I still haven't forgiven him for killing Wash in Serenity. It does make watching his stuff interesting because he will off very popular characters.

Back to the movie, I really enjoyed Black Widow in this one. She hardly did anything in the last Iron Man movie except dress up like a secretary, pout and toss her hair about while fighting. Seriously, why didn't any of those bad guys just grab on to that mane and yank it? In this movie, she gets lots of screen time (almost as much as Iron Man and Captain America) and shows her brains as well as her fighting skills. Oh, and her hair wa…

I Feel Really, Really, Really Old

I had another birthday last week. Yes, it beats the alternative but I'm having major denial issues when I do the math.

Seriously, I cannot be this old.

To add insult to injury, I was sitting in the airport on my way to Calgary (where I spent my birthday on a business trip) when I saw this sign.

WTF? If you were born in 1991, you're old enough to drink?!!? It seems like 1991 was only a few years ago.


At least I haven't been hit up by AARP. Yet.