Friday, August 31, 2012

Hitting 300: They Can't All Be Winners

I was going to do this "good, bad, and ugly"-style, but decided to get the "ugly" out of the way first.

Book #300 was, luckily, a pretty good one. Most of the previous 299 were pretty good too. I'm not saying that they're all amazing works of art, but I'm not really interested in that. I'm interested in being entertained. I'm looking for an escape.

Unfortunately, there've been some not so great books along the way. It's bound to happen, especially the more I try to branch out of my literary comfort zone (which, for the record, is not all that "literary"). So, here are some of my more bitter disappointments:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hitting 300: Let the Devil Sleep

When I write my reviews on Goodreads, I like to keep them short and sweet, because those are the reviews I like to read. I don't like a ton of details. I tend to skip right over any that are more than a paragraph long. When I'm browsing GR, I'm just looking for general impressions. Other people have their own opinions on what makes a good or a bad review, and there are probably many who think mine aren't very helpful at all. But, I write the types of reviews that I like to read, figuring that there are bound to be others out there who appreciate the simple and direct approach

Today, though, I thought I'd try my hand at a more "typical" book review. I picked a pretty good one for my 300th book, and I thought both the book and the occasion deserved a little fanfare.

Let the Devil Sleep, by John Verdon
#3 in the Dave Gurney series
Crown Publishers, July 2012
449 pages
ISBN: 9780307717924

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More from me soon™

My soon will be significantly sooner than the trademarked version. Anyway, I like Charleen's idea of doing a weekly themed post so I'm going to start writing a review of the Bears games every week. I can't promise that I'll have it posted Monday of every week, but for Sunday games, I should have it done by Tuesday at the latest. For Thursday and Monday night games, I'll probably have them posted within two days.

Hitting 300: A Look Back

A couple years ago, a little while after I'd started using Goodreads to track the books that I read, I decided I had a goal: 300 by 30, to read 300 books before turning 30. It seemed a reasonable challenge, but with that much time and that many books to go, I really had no idea. It could end up being laughably easy. Or I could get blindsided by life and fall terribly short.

Well, I just finished my 300th book yesterday, with months to spare.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Music Monday: Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue

This is going to be my last Music Monday, at least for a while. I made this decision based on a few factors.

First, the original reason I wanted to start a weekly feature was to get myself posting regularly again. That seems to have happened. Since I started this, I don't think there's been a single week that I made ONLY the one obligatory post. I'm confident I can keep that momentum going.

Second, football is starting soon. Already started, actually, but the regular season kicks off a week from Wednesday. I don't want to make any promises, but Pat has expressed interest in possibly doing a weekly post-game wrap up on the Bears. That's a whole lot of content coming at the beginning of the week. It seems a little lopsided. Sure, I could move my weekly music post to Thursday or Friday, though it wouldn't have the nice alliteration. But, that brings me to my third reason.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Why Can't I Look Nice Too?


This isn't a body image thing. I'm actually pretty satisfied with my body shape right now (which is probably why I can't seem to get back on the horse with the whole weight loss thing). Sure I have a few more curves than I'd like to, and those curves are a little bigger than I'd like them to be, but I no longer feel like the massive blob of flesh that I used to. I'm roughly 50 lbs less than I was at my highest weight. I'm about 15 lbs up from my lowest that I hit last year. At the very least, I want to get back down to where I was (since I know that I can) and ideally another 10+ beyond that (at which point I'll be looking beyond the scale to judge what my "ideal" healthy weight is).

Long story short, no I'm not where I should or could be. But that's not what this is about.

No, this is about my recent efforts into making myself look "nice." I'll never be one of those women who can't leave the house without makeup, but when I'm going out socially, I'd like to make more of an effort. I talked about this a bit last month. And while I started out strong, I seem to have settled into a new comfort zone.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Music Monday: Special Birthday Edition

It's time again for Music Monday. This week, in honor of it being Pat's birthday today (!!!) you get a two-fer.

Sorry, music geek joke.

Friday, August 17, 2012


(This was originally going to be a bullet point post, but my first bullet got a little out of hand. So . . . the rest of the bullets will have to wait for another day.)

So, everyone knows how much I love Sports Night, right? (If you don't, just trust me . . . I do.) I was obsessed with it when it aired, back when I was in high school. And I immediately bought the series when it was released on DVD, at some point in college. However, much as I love it, it still remains the only Aaron Sorkin show that I've ever watched. I never got into The West Wing. I never watched Studio 60 (a little shocking because it's Aaron Sorkin AND Chandler Bing . . . I mean, Matthew Perry). And as I currently don't even have regular TV let alone premium channels, I'm unable to check out The Newsroom.

Anyway, I decided to get the first season of WW from my library. And I watched the first couple episodes. And . . . then I stopped. It's not that it's not good. It is good. And it's very typically Sorkin (like I'm some kind of expert, never having seen most of his work). And I'm sure that I would enjoy it. But this is not a show that I'm going to be able to just whip through. It's a little too intense for me, and not what I need right now. I'd still like to watch through the whole thing eventually, but it's going to be a slow process.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Music Monday: Elgar's Cello Concerto

Each Monday, I share a piece of music I really enjoy. This week, I've chosen Elgar's Cello Concerto.

Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
Cello Concerto (1919)

This might have been more appropriate two weeks ago, as the Olympics were starting, rather than the day after the Closing Ceremony. But, I realized that I hadn't featured any English composers on the blog yet, so I figured now was as good a time as any.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Eleven Questions

I got tagged by Wilhelmina. It's been a while since I've done one of these survey-type things, but I'll give it a go.

1. What’s the place or country you would want to visit the most if you could just pack your bags and go?
Italy, most definitely. It's one place I've never been to but have always wanted to. And then a detour up to Switzerland, which I have been to before, but it was amazing and I'd love to go back.

2. What do a lot of people assume about you which is not true at all?
I am one of the millions of people who are so shy and socially awkward that people I meet tend to assume I'm just a bitch, because I avoid interacting with others as much as I can, and when I do interact with others I tend to do it badly. There may be other assumptions floating around out there, but this is the one I'm most aware of.

3. What is your favourite number?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Other Matters

Couple of things.

First, I haven't commented on Pat's post from the other day, mostly because I agree with the main point, that gay marriage should be allowed, and that any additional points I tried to make would probably get out of hand. Not in a ragey way, just in a rambley way. I do tend to ramble. Not sure if you've noticed.

Second, I've updated the About Us page. Nothing major, mostly bringing the time frame up to date (our move to Dubuque isn't really "recent" anymore) and adding a couple pictures.

Now, onto other matters.

I was thinking about this the past couple days. I actually felt really weird writing my last post. I mean, Pat actually takes a leap and writes about something that's really important . . . and then I, less than 24 hours later, switch the topic to television. I mean, they're blog posts, and topics generally don't carry over from one to the other, but it still just felt . . . weird. To not even acknowledge this really important issue (although I already explained why I didn't want to say anything more) before jumping back to my random crap that doesn't really matter.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Talking About Television

So, Amy over at Lucy's Football was talking about television, those shows from last season that did or didn't live up to expectations, and those she's looking forward to this year. It got me thinking about my own TV-watching habits.

When I was younger, I used to LOVE getting all excited for the new fall season to start. My parents used to get TV Guide (maybe they still do?) and I would scour the fall preview issue, and plan out my ideal TV-watching schedule. Pretty much every night of the week, I was planted on the couch during primetime, and the sad thing is that looking back on it I couldn't even tell you most of what I watched. For the most part, it was just filler. Hours and hours and hours, wasted.

Which is part of the reason why, these days, I don't typically get too excited about TV. I have a few current shows that I watch. How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, and Castle are the three big ones, the ones that Pat and I watch together. I also keep myself up-to-date on Glee and The Office, although I'm kind of over Glee. I'm curious how exactly they're going to include the recently graduated seniors in the coming season (I heard something about a "show within a show," which makes no sense to me, but I'm thinking that maybe they're not using the phrase to mean what I think it means), but I'll probably just watch the first episode or two and then stop.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Charleen's been writing blog posts like crazy lately! She's been gently prodding me to post something so that she doesn't feel like she's completely taken over our blog. I mentioned something about the Bears the other day and she responded that it sounded like good blog material. *hint, hint, nudge, nudge* I just feel like all I have been writing about lately (when I've written something) has been football. Especially with the season starting in a month, I'll probably be writing a lot more about it, so I'd like to write about something else for a change.

It's an issue that's been in the news, in ads, and on facebook a lot lately. I've been trying to avoid posting about it in any form until I had really thought about what my opinion is. The issue is gay marriage. Now, I realize it's an issue that crops up in many different forms from politics and law to the boy scouts and even to advertising. I'm going to try to focus only on the law part in the interests of not making this post 10 pages long.

Should gay marriage be legalized across the entire US? In my opinion, the answer to this question is a simple yes. Now, if you haven't decided to boycott this blog, send me hate mail, or any other ridiculous reaction to someone sharing a personal opinion, I'll explain why.

Music Monday: Beethoven's Choral Fantasy

Each Monday, I share a piece of music I really enjoy. This week, it's Beethoven's Choral Fantasy.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Fantasy in C minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra (1808)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Photo A Day August

So, I've seen this floating around the web the past few months, and I always thought it seemed interesting and creative, but this is the first month I've actually decided to take the plunge. I've hesitated in the past because I doubt I can actually stick with it, but I'll never know until I try, will I?

Here's a link to the blog hosting the challenge: Photo A Day August

I'll be posting my pictures from my phone straight to Twitter. Not sure how much it will spill over to the blog, if at all, so I guess we'll just see what happens as the month unfolds. This is an experiment, after all.