March 31, 2008

Movie - Dan in Real Life

Loved this. Steve Carrell is brilliant as the advice columnist who is watching his own life fall apart - not in a dramatic way, but in small increments. He is a widower, still grieving his wife, and living according to the rules. He meets someone who, while not perfect, is pretty close, and she turns out to be his brother's girlfriend. Of course, he is a moral person, so he wouldn't think of stealing his brother's girlfriend, and there is the tension and the drama. Add in that he doesn't understand his daughters, and it's a great story. Overall a great depiction of a "life of quiet desperation."

March 30, 2008

Movie - Enchanted

What a cute little movie. This was perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Fluffy and romantic, and so cute. Did I say that already?

March 29, 2008

Some free online books

Here's a link to a post with links to some free online SF/fantasy books:
Fantasy Book Critic

March 28, 2008

Friday's Feast 185


What does the color dark green make you think of?

It makes me think of the carpet I would like to have in my own personal library.


How many cousins do you have?

I have two first cousins on my dad's side. Lots of second cousins, though.


On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how honest are you?

Wasn't this a question before? I think I said 8 before. I do fib to save people's feelings.

Main Course

Name something that is truly free.



Using the letters in the word SPRING, write a sentence.


Not really about spring, though.

March 27, 2008

BTT: Cover Up

This week's Booking Through Thursday:

While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?

If I'm in a bookstore, the cover might entice me to pick up the book and at least read the synopsis on the back. Now that I shop for most of my books online, the cover is less likely to be a factor. I generally prefer trade paperbacks, because mass market ones seem to feel "cheap" - flimsy covers, stiff pages that fall out when you open the book too far.

March 26, 2008

Your Mind is Orange

Of all the mind types, yours is the quickest.

You are usually thinking a mile a minute, and you could be thinking about anything at all.

Your thoughts are often scattered and random - but they're also a lot of fun!

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about esoteric subjects, the meaning of life, and pop culture.

March 25, 2008

Movie - I Am Legend

I had lowered my expectations for this after reading too many other reviews, but I did enjoy this. Will Smith is great, and I thought the suspense was quite good (especially at the beginning). I thought some of the special effects were pretty fakey, though. CGI people/creatures just do not move the way normal people move - they are too bendy/bouncy or something. It bugs me and forces me out of the experience every time. (I'm thinking especially of Spiderman here.) I thought the shots of a totally empty New York were great, though - very haunting.

March 24, 2008

Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer

This is shelved in the "teen" section, but I heard about it on another blog and thought it sounded interesting. I was not disappointed! This is told as a diary of a teenage girl as she describes her experiences after an asteroid knocks the moon out of its usual orbit. The result is floods, volcanoes, and a kind of nuclear winter from all of the ash from the volcanoes. The style is very clean and the characters are interesting. I was happy to read on Amazon that there is a sequel of sorts coming out in June - not really a sequel, but a sort of parallel story about what happened in New York City during the same period. I think that is an interesting idea; one of the few flaws in this book is that the family is totally cut off from outside news, so we know very little of what is happening elsewhere.

Also, they spend a lot of the time hungry - food supplies are cut off. This made me hungry reading it, so be prepared with snacks. (I had the same problem with We the Living by Ayn Rand.)

March 23, 2008


Happy Easter to everyone celebrating it! I'm off to my sister's for brunch and to watch my nephew open 4 Easter baskets. No, he's not spoiled! (One from the Easter bunny, one from each set of grandparents, and one from me). He's getting mostly toys, not candy. Enjoy the day!

March 22, 2008

Easter quiz

What Your Easter Egg Says About You

You are truly optimistic, open, and hopeful.

And your optimism gives you the courage to live life adventurously.

You love new experiences, ideas, and challenges.

You see life as a fluid, growing process.

March 21, 2008

Friday's Feast 184

Friday's Feast:


Given the choice, would you prefer to live in the country or in the city?

Well, where I currently live has the best of both worlds: I'm in the city, but the country (well, desert) is only a 15 minute drive (at most). So we have all of the cultural benefits of the city, and the good shopping, but can get out into nature quickly.


Who is the cutest kid you know?

My nephew, of course!


Fill in the blank: I couldn’t believe it when I heard ___________.

...Caprica had been greenlit! This is the prequel to Battlestar Galactica, and it seems the writer's strike helped with getting it approved, as the idea had already been tossed around.

Main Course

If you could star in a commercial for one of your favorite products, which one would you want to advertise?



What type(s) of vitamins and/or supplements do you take on a regular basis?

I take a generic multivitamin. I don't like taking a lot of pills, but I like the extra vitamin C and the iron.

March 20, 2008

BTT: The End

From Booking Through Thursday:

You’ve just reached the end of a book . . . what do you do now? Savor and muse over the book? Dive right into the next one? Go take the dog for a walk, the kids to the park, before even thinking about the next book you’re going to read? What?

(Obviously, there can be more than one answer, here–a book with a cliff-hanger is going to engender different reactions than a serene, stand-alone, but you get the idea!)

It does depend on the book to some extent. If it was a "heavy" book, I might wait until the next day to start something new. Of course, I usually have more than one book going at once, so it would be unusual for me to finish everything all at once. I do tend to take a break before reading more of the same genre, unless it is a series that I am anxious to find out what happens next.

March 19, 2008

Battlestar Galactica

The BSG cast will be on Letterman tonight. Here's a link to the top 10 list they'll be doing. I can't wait for the premiere of the new season!

March 18, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke

Clarke and Asimov were the writers who got me interested in science fiction. I'm sad to read that Mr. Clarke has passed away. Story here.

March 17, 2008

Movie: Michael Clayton

I think my expectations were too high for this movie. I thought it was good, but not great. I loved George Clooney, and the plot was interesting enough, but I thought the pace was too slow. Maybe I'm just impatient, though.

March 16, 2008

Movie - Right At Your Door

I posted back in August that I was looking forward to this movie, and I finally got it from Netflix. I was not disappointed. The characters and dialogue are sharp, the people are interesting, and it keeps you guessing right to the end. I love movies with unexpected endings, and this one did not disappoint.

March 15, 2008

A Pooh Quiz

Your Score: Rabbit

You scored 17 Ego, 15 Anxiety, and 17 Agency!

IT was going to be one of Rabbit's busy days. As soon as he
woke up he felt important, as if everything depended upon him.
It was just the day for Organizing Something, or for Writing a
Notice Signed Rabbit, or for Seeing What Everybody Else Thought
About It. It was a perfect morning for hurrying round to Pooh,
and saying, "Very well, then, I'll tell Piglet," and then going
to Piglet, and saying, "Pooh thinks--but perhaps I'd better see
Owl first." It was a Captainish sort of day, when everybody
said, "Yes, Rabbit " and "No, Rabbit," and waited until he had
told them.

You scored as Rabbit!

ABOUT RABBIT: Rabbit is generally considered Clever by his many friends and relations. He is actually a much better reader and writer than Owl, but he doesn't consider it worth mentioning. Instead, Rabbit's real talent lies in Organizing Plans. He organizes rescue parties, makes schemes to reduce Tigger's bounciness, and goes on missions to find out what Christopher Robin does when he's not at the Hundred Acre Woods. Sometimes, however, his Plans do not always go as Planned.

WHAT THIS SAYS ABOUT YOU: You are smart, practical and you plan ahead. People sometimes think that you don't stress or worry, but this is not the case. You are the kind of person who worries in a practical way. You think a) What are my anxieties about and b)what can be done about them? No useless fretting for you. You don't see the point in sitting around and waiting for things to work out, when you could actually work them out today and save yourself a lot of time and worry. Your friends tend to rely on you, because they know that they can trust you help them work things out.

You sometimes tend to be impatient with people who are less practical in their ways. You don't have much patience for idiots who moan about things but never actually DO anything about them. You have high expectations of everyone, including yourself. When you don't succeed at something, or when something goes wrong despite your best efforts to prevent it, you can get quite hard on yourself. You need to cut yourself some slack and accept that everyone has their faults, even you, and THAT IS OKAY. Let yourself be faulty, every now and then, for the sake of your own sanity.

Link: The Deep and Meaningful Winnie-The-Pooh Character Test

March 14, 2008

Negativity Meme

From Dewey:

1. When you dislike a book, do you say so in your blog? Why or why not?

Those of you who have been reading my blog know the answer is yes. I try to explain why I disliked something, but I try to be honest.

2. Do you temper your feelings about books you didn’t like, so as not to completely slam them? Why or why not?

I try to be fair and explain what it was I didn't like. And if there is anything I did like about the book, I try to mention that as well.

3. What do you think is the best way to respond when you see a negative review about a book you enjoyed?

I try to recognize that different people like different things. I might try to explain what I did like and why, but it's hard to change someone's opinion (including my own!).

4. What is your own most common reaction when you see a negative review of a book you loved or a positive review of a book you hated?

I might wonder if they read the same book, but I don't often feel I need to comment. Different people like different things, and expect different things from what they read.

5. What is your own most common reaction when you get a comment that disagrees with your opinion of a book?

Unless the comment is offensive or abusive, I leave it. Sometimes I'll respond, especially if I think they make a good point. I enjoy the dialogue, though, and I'm usually glad my opinion at least encouraged someone to respond!

6. What if you don’t like a book that was a free review copy? What then?

This is a tough one. I never promise to review a book I get as a free copy. If I finish the book, I'll probably review it, and I'll be honest.

7. What do you do if you don’t finish a book? Do you review it or not? If you review it, do you mention that you didn’t finish it?

I give up on a lot of books. If I've mentioned the book previously, I might mention that I've abandoned it. If there's something I think is really awful about the book I might spend more time explaining why I abandoned it.

March 13, 2008

BTT: Playing Editor

Booking Through Thursday time again:

How about a chance to play editor-in-chief? Fill in the blanks:

__________ would have been a much better book if ______________________.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" would have been a much better book if it had not had the epilogue at the end. I know this is sacrelige to say that there is anything wrong with the HP books. However, I think the final book would have been better without the little peek into the future offered at the end. I would have preferred if JK Rowling had left it to us to imagine what might happen to all of our beloved friends, rather than wrapping it all up for us quite so neatly. The cynic in me thinks she was trying to control the fan fiction versions of the future, but I suspect really she didn't want to let them all go yet, and wanted to put us at ease that everything turns out right in the end. I can understand that; I want an easy life for our Harry as well. Life isn't really like that, and his personality and talent for finding trouble would suggest his adult life would be as interesting as his childhood was, Voldemort or no.

March 12, 2008

What I'm Reading

Firefly Lane
Sense and Sensibility
Recovery Man - Kristine Rusch
various magazines

March 11, 2008

What I'm planning for my two days of vacation this week:

I have two days off this week: the judge is off, so I am too!

1. Sleep.
2. Read.
3. Shop!
4. Cook! I want to try out some new recipes, and maybe bake some cookies or something.
5. Spring clean - I want to clean out my closet to make room for new spring clothes!
6. Watch Movies: I have Michael Clayton and Right Outside Your Door on the way from Netflix.
7. Read some more!

What would you do with two days off?

March 10, 2008

They have a quiz for everything...

What Your Sleeping Position Says

You are calm and rational person with a good deal of balance in your life.

Friends consider you to be kind, caring, and truly loyal.

You are easy going and trusting. However, you are too sensible to fall for mind games.

Open to the world, you are not afraid to be yourself.

If you don't get enough sleep, you are: Able to cope

It's hard to sleep next to you because: You're a bed hog

March 9, 2008

Feast 182

Friday - er - Sunday's Feast:


If you could be any current celebrity for one whole week, who would you want to be?

This is a tough question. Would I be me, just in a celebrity's body (like Freaky Friday)? Or would I actually become that person? If I could be me in another person's body, I think I would be Britney Spears, so maybe I could help her out of her sad situation. If I would actually be that celebrity, I think Jennifer Garner, because she seems so normal, and hey, Ben Affleck.


On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how much do you enjoy talking on the phone?

I think a 5 or so? I don't talk on the phone a lot, and then mostly to my sister. Email is the way to go.


Name a charitable organization to which you have donated (or would like to).

The food bank.

Main Course

What is a food you like so much you could eat it every single day for a month?

This one's easy: Chocolate!


Have you or anyone in your family had the flu this year?

No, we all had our flu shots as usual, and so far we've been lucky. I did have a pretty bad cold earlier in the winter.

March 8, 2008

Not a bad way to spend the day

My nephew is crazy about trains. Last year they heard about a "garden" train club here in town, where people have these elaborate setups in their backyards, and once a year they open them up for tours. We went to 4 of the houses today and had a blast. Here's a sample:

March 7, 2008

I love this

The Reader's Bill of Rights:

1. The Right to Not Read
2. The Right to Skip Pages
3. The Right to Not Finish
4. The Right to Reread
5. The Right To Read Anything
6. The Right to Escapism
7. The Right to Read Anywhere
8. The Right to Browse
9. The Right to Read Out Loud
10. The Right to Not Defend Your Tastes

(by Daniel Pennac, via Becky's Book Reviews)

March 6, 2008

BTT: Hero

From Booking Through Thursday:

You should have seen this one coming … Who is your favorite Male lead character? And why?

As with last week's BTT, I have a few: Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, Mr. Darcy (of course), Corwin (From Nine Princes in Amber), Stu Redman from "The Stand" (although perhaps more because Gary Sinise did such a great job in the miniseries). But if I had to pick just one, it would be Harry Potter, for being brave, and true to himself, and turning into a wonderful young man despite his relatives' best efforts.

March 5, 2008


This blogging every day thing is hard! Work has been taking up a lot of time and mental energy, and I don't feel comfortable blogging about most of what goes on there for confidentiality reasons, so I don't have much to contribute. But here are some random thoughts:

1. I'm jealous that the Republicans already know who their candidate is. The whole Clinton/Obama thing just shows how diverse the Democratic party is, so I don't see how we'll ever agree on a candidate enough to actually install a Democrat in the White House. I liked Edwards, myself.

2. I still hate pledge week on PBS.

3. I still love American Idol.

4. I think I need to move my TBR pile because it threatens to tumble down on top of my bed, which is probably a safety hazard.

5. March really is windy.

6. Some people do terrible things to their children. And some children do terrible things themselves. Every time I think I've heard the worst at work, I hear something even more awful.

7. Some people are amazingly wonderful to children not biologically their own. What would we do without foster/adoptive parents!

March 4, 2008

It's not quite espresso, but the Senseo is fun...

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

March 3, 2008

Sense and Sensibility

Becky is hosting an online book group for "Sense and Sensibility." I'm planning to participate, but I'm already behind in the reading, so we'll see how that goes.

Why does PBS show only "special" programming during pledge week? Actually, it seems to just be "Celtic Woman." It seems like it would make more sense to show the regular programs, so that the people who watch PBS would actually pledge, because they are watching the show anyway. I rarely watch during pledge week, because they programming is so annoying. Just my two cents.

March 2, 2008

March 1, 2008

I had pizza for dinner....

Cheese Pizza

Traditional and comforting.

You focus on living a quality life.

You're not easily impressed with novelty.

Yet, you easily impress others.