Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hat trick.

I think I have used this for the title of a post before, when I knit three hats. Yes, I know it's a hockey term. But since it's one of the only sports related terms that I know, besides the usual Homerun, Or Strike, so I like to use it a lot. This particular hat trick involves the completion of 3 books since my last blog post. Booya!

I liked all three ok, and will attempt to make you interested in them now by horribly reviewing them.

1. Into the Blue - Robert Goddard I'm gonna give it a meh. Murder Mystery - It was pretty good, but I knew who the murderer was not even a quarter of the way through it but the writing was good enough, and there were enough plot twists (the big one I also predicted) to keep me reading until the end. Basically the story is this - kind of losery older guy lives in Greece as the caretaker to his successful friend (a Minister in Parliament)'s house. A young woman who is visiting the house disappears, the caretaker guy is the main suspect and has to figure out what happened.

Robert Goddard was Stephen King's number one recommended author for 2008. Did I already tell you guys I'm trying to read all the books on SK's list? The only problem is my little tiny library often has these books on hold or out for long periods of time, which sucks. However, I have read a number of books by the same authors and am pleased to have been introduced to some new ones. As is the case with the next book.

2. Hollywood Station - Joseph Wambaugh - This book was fantastic. Double Woot. A super fast paced novel about the LAPD-Hollywood division. It's got clear edgy writing, excellent description without being overly wordy, and fast paced plotting. Apparently Wambaugh has written a bunch of books about the LAPD and if the reviews of them are to be trusted all are equally fantastic. Cop books are not usually my thing, I prefer to watch them on tv :) but I will definitely be reading more of these. The plot is pretty simple, a bunch of LAPD Hollywood cops out busting people and stuff. It also follows a couple of tweaky meth heads as well. Which gave me the fear. I hope to god my daughter never tries drugs, especially Meth. Scary scary shit. There is a diamond heist and ATM stick up that also thread through the book to the end, which adds cohesiveness.

3. The Graveyard Book -Neil Gaiman Ok, yeah this book just won a bunch of awards and stuff but I gotta say, though I like it, it's going to get just a single woot. Don't get me wrong, it's a good book. But it felt a bit like Harry Potter lite. Let me explain - the story is about a boy whose family is murdered when he is a baby. He ends up living in a graveyard and is raised by ghosts, a vampire, and a werewolf. The story has a bit of a disjointed feel to it as many of his adventures seem to be almost like stories unto themselves. I also would have liked to have seen a lot more description and elaboration on various events. I have a feeling that if Jo Rowling had written it, it would have been twice as long. I listened to this book on my ipod, and it was read by the author, which is always a treat. But give it a listen anyway, you'll only be mildly disappointed.

I think that puts me at 20 books. Boy am I lax about recording stuff this year. Oh and yeah I know I didn't even come close to 30 posts. I got no excuses - except that it was hard, and I'm lazy. Even though this summer has been basically one continuous rain storm I haven't done much in the way of knitting. I kinda lost my mojo for a bit, but I just printed out a pattern for some cool socks I'm going to whip up for my dad's birthday. I have until the 19th of august to finish them, and by the power of Greyskull I will.

Hope y'all haven't drown in the rain.

P.S. I'm thinking of signing up for goodreads - anyone on there? Lemme know.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Home School Blues.

Oh homeschooling. I have gone back and forth on the subject almost daily for the past two years. The question of course, whether or not home school my daughter. Here are the pros - educating my kid in a way that I see fit and allowing her to explore and expand on things that she is interested in, giving her as much or as little guidance as she needs. Not having to participate in all the BS that goes on in public schools. Being able to travel and have a lot of her education outside. (This may not seem like a big deal, but for me - it is.) I would say probably half of my friends are considering or actively homeschooling their kids, so there is a fantastic support network and lots of things to do in the area. Cons - She will miss out on the whole school experience, which actually is a pro/con. I'm really terrible at math and am scared to death of being responsible for teaching it to my daughter. And even though many people have said it doesn't really matter, I am worried about socialization.

See? See how this is hard? Last year we had totally made up our minds to home school and then this year we totally made up our minds to send her to school and signed up for preschool at the local Montessori place. I feel like rainman. I go back and forth and am virtually obsessed with the topic. My biggest fear - which is not listed in the cons is that which ever I chose will not be the choice that is right for her. That my decision will be based on what is right for me. If she is homeschooled am I doing it because it's right for her, or because I don't want to let go of my little girl? If I send her to school is it because it's right for her, or because I want more time for myself?

In being a nutbag about this, I have come across a couple of pretty cool sites/blogs by moms who are homeschooling their kids. Here are my two favorites:

Handmade Homeschool
Pioneer Woman

This is a tough one. Thoughts are appreciated.

_oe you totally inspired this. I started writing comments on your blog and then just said screw it, this should be a separate blog :)

Later Taters.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Only the Good Die Young

Yeah, I missed posting yesterday, so I will do two today. Don't cry. This morning I'm up bright and early preparing to go for a walk, but first I will give you this list of the Top 6 TV shows canceled before their time. I'm sure there are a lot of other people out there with similar lists, but trust me this is the best one. You should probably cancel all of your plans for this weekend and rent them all.
Here we go:

6. Pushing Daisies. This one just bit the dust after just two seasons. Although this was one of those "mystery solving" shows, Pushing Daisies was completely original. This guy Ned has the ability to bring people back to life by touching them, but only for 60 seconds. Then he has to touch them again so that they die, or else someone else will. Anyhow, he also runs a pie shop and has a PI company where he solves crimes by going to the morgue and asking dead people who killed them. I know this sounds confusing, but it's really good. The whole show is done in this weird surreal like theme, everything is bright colors and kind of 60s/Willy Wonka-ish. The narration for the show is in rhyme. It's a lot like that movie Big Fish.

5. Carnivale. HBO killed this bad boy, also after only 2 seasons. It won 5 emmys. That's right - 5, and was supposed to have run for 6 seasons. It had the highest rated opening ever for an HBO series. So what happened? I don't know. People are stupid I guess. This was a story about a Carnival - duh - during the depression. However it's also a story about a battle between good and evil. There is the scariest freaking preacher dude ever in this show, his nemesis is a guy in the Carnival who can heal people. It's beautifully written and beautifully shot. It was only two seasons and I don't want to give to much away.

4. Dead Like Me. Ohhh this was a good show. Another 2 season-er. Coolest premise ever. Ok so there's this young woman - Georgia - who dies. She then ends up becoming a Grim Reaper and hanging out with other Grim Reapers, who's job it is to release people's souls. But here's the thing, even though they are Grim Reapers, they don't get any special benefits and still have live among us common folk, and have jobs etc. Fantastic. Hilarious. So sad it was cancelled.

3. Arrested Develoment. Arrested got 3 seasons before it was toasted, during which time it received 6 emmys and a golden globe. WTF people, really? Why are all these fantastic shows cancelled? Oh because the American public wants American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. Sorry, I forgot. Anyway, I would be willing to say, publicly that Arrested Development is the funniest show to have ever been on TV. It follows the Bluth family, who own an ailing housing development corp, through their antics. This show has so many little jokes and twists, it's amazing. Nothing is ever left hanging, it's all tied up and brought back around. This show will make you laugh out loud, well it did me anyway and that's hard to do when watching a TV show. I just read that a movie is being made from the show, so that's good I guess.

2. Veronica Mars. Why is this little girl-PI story so close to the top? In the number 2 spot?! Because it's fracking awesome, that's why. Oh Veronica. Such good writing. Such good plotting. Keeps you guessing all season. Veronica is a high-school and then college girl who works for her dad, the former sheriff, now PI, solving mysteries. Sounds super lame right? It's not. This show has some of the best writing I've seen since, well, since Buffy. If you liked Buffy, you will love Veronica. In fact, a lot of the old faces you loved from Buffy and Angel are players in Veronica as well. Allegedly a movie of this show is also in the works. It still won't heal my broken broken heart that it got cancelled.

1. Firefly. Of course. One season. Killed. Best TV show that has been on TV ever, at anytime, and all we get is one lousy season? Fuck you Fox. Seriously. Not only did they cancel it, but their poor treatment/promotion/placement of this show is stuff of legend. They aired the episodes out of order, they changed the time slots. They did little to no promotion for it. And STILL when it got cancelled people freaked out. Assholes. Joss Whedon wrote/created this show which is a space western. That's right, a Space Western. It's fantastic. A band of outlaws cruising around in a spaceship doing crime. There's a movie too - Serenity.

Ok, I did a horrible job describing these shows. Clearly I need more practice. Also I want to get out of here and take a walk. Which is why I posted the wiki links for all the shows. Despite my horrible efforts, watch these Mmmk?

I'm out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Driveway Magic.

Here's a shot of the most extensively damaged area. It's about halfway down. It's pretty deep. I don't care to estimate.

And here you can see a long shot of the driveway - that's my car at the bottom. This shows the river bed that was carved out when the storm happend. For those of you who that haven't seen my driveway before this is the "bottom half". We now have to park and walk up and down when we leave. Again - wahhhhhh!

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Day 3 of Blog posts. This is haaarrrdddd.

Wahhhh. Writing every day is hard. That's why I don't usually do it, and consequently have not written the greatest novel of the past century yet. I'm lazy. It's true. Ok, today's update. I worked on the farm in the pouring fracking driving rain for a few hours. Then the misery got the best of everyone and I came home, took a blazing hot shower, put on my pj's and went to bed - at 2 o'clock. Yeah, I have a lot to whine about. I did get up at 5 and go pick up Mags from my 'rents so I wasn't in bed all day. Just half of it. It was rad.

I did finish a book today: A Brief History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson - Audio. This book scared the bejesus out of me. You should give it a listen. I hate science but this was really interesting, even if it did contain the names of nearly everyone who had ever discovered anything of consequence during the past ohhh 300 years or so, it was still really good. It scared the crap out of me because apparently at any time, we could be completely be wiped out by an asteroid, and nearly have been on many occasions, and if that isn't scary enough we are due to have the poles shift places (north becomes south etc.) AND for a giant super volcano under Yellowstone to blow up. Great. Maybe I should spend less time napping and more time doing exciting things. You know, before I blow up. Although in the great scheme of things I guess it doesn't matter.

I started another book, but can't remember the name of it right now. It's suspsense/mystery by some British dude. It's good so far but I'm only 50 or so pages in.

I'm going to post some pictures of my driveway now, directly from Picasa - which I think will bing them to new entries, but I'm not sure. Anyway - here goes nothing.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Not a whole lot I care to post on today, due to the fact my mood had been generally annoyed bordering on completely enraged pretty much all day. Here's the dealio: it's raining. Again. Have you been to/read about/talked to someone who lives in Maine this summer? It has sucked. Here's some perspective. Today is July 7. On June 30th, the National weather service posted an announcement that said out of the past 22 days in June there had been 0 minutes of measurable sunshine. That's right ZERO. Zip. Nada. None. Not even a hint of sun peaking through the clouds for a few minutes. This statistic doesn't count the days that turned out mildly meh and then turned incredibly shitty. The weather has killed my garden, made the mosquito and slug population explode and generally sucked my sport dry for the past month. Since they posted that little announcement there have been at least 3 days that have been entirely devoid of sun.

To add insult to injury we had had whopping freaking rain storm last week which washed my driveway completely out. Remember last winter when I was bitching about how much I hated my driveway because of the plowing situation, but the summer would come and make me feel better? Well the universe decided to smack me in the face yet again. We now have to park at the bottom of our driveway and walk up. Wahhhh. Have you seen my driveway? It's really really long. About 1/8 of a mile. Also, I have a kid and tons of stuff to carry. It's going to cost a ton of dough to fix. We don't have a ton of dough to fix it, so we will be hiking up it for quite some time. Hopefully we get it taken care of before winter, because that would be a level of shit I don't think I could get deal with. I have some pictures that I can post later.

I had to go to a meeting for a company I freelance for which could have easily been taken care of over the phone. Not only that, they called me at 9am and basically told me they HAD to meet with me today. I had shit to do. I rearranged my schedule so I could go and sit there for 35 minutes. Boooo.

Then I had to go to a 4 year old's birthday party. Yeah my kid had a good time, I think. Maggie doesn't play super well with this particular girl, I don't know why. They are both great kids, they just bicker and fight constantly. Anyhow it was a long afternoon. Maggie has also been "testing her boundaries" which is a really nice parental way of saying "She won't do a goddamned thing I tell her to and argues with me constantly." It's incredibly waring. In case you were wondering the con column of my list of reasons to/not to have another kid are definitely outweighing the pros this week.

So - here's a big old poopsandwich to you. Hope you enjoyed it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Action Pants

The list is fluid. The list is ever changing. Especially since I change my mind and reprioritize things constantly. About 4 months ago I started taking karate classes. I know! Right? Pretty crazy huh? Not on the list, but I have been devoting a significant amount of time and energy to it. Karate is something I have always wanted to learn, but just never have gotten around to it. Also, I didn't want to take classes alone, and the class I am in now was totally my friend Erin's idea. I take the class with her, my friend Tabby, Tabby's husband Kevin, and some other random people.

I love karate. I seriously love it. Also, it's seriously hard. Which is one of the reasons I love it. I am only a yellow belt, which takes about 4 months to achieve. Within each level, or belt you receive 3 stripes. You test for each stripe about every three weeks. There is a lot of memorization in karate, not only punches, kicks, and blocks but various fighting techniques which are combinations of punches kicks and blocks that you use to fight opponents based on how they attack you. You learn 12 techniques for each belt, and each time you move up you are tested on the new techniques as well as the old. When I test for my orange belt - I will have to perform all 24 techniques as well as demonstrating the aforementioned kicks, punches, and blocks, and also these things called forms. Forms are combinations of blocks combined together in a long sequence. Long story long, by the time someone gets to black belt level, they have put in years of training, and hundreds if not thousands of hours of practicing and memorization.

That's a pretty technical way of explaining karate. Truth be told, we also do a lot of beating the shit out of things. We beat the shit out of these standing up punching bag things, and we beat the shit out of each other while wearing blockers. I have come home from many classes with bloody knuckles from the punching bag. Gross? No way. So fun. This class is also making me super strong. When I first started I could barely do 10 lady-style push ups. Now I can do 6 "man style" - don't laugh pushups are fracking hard. Go try it right now. See? Hard. Ok so 6 man pushups and 44 lady push ups. Take that. I can also do a bunch of other rad things that I couldn't do before but mostly I'm proud of the pushups.

Why else do I love it? Because I want to feel safe. I want to be able to know that if someone messes with me, ever, I will always have the upper hand. Guess who else will be taking karate soon? Maggie. I think that all girls should have to take mandatory karate from age 8 until they are black belts. How many assaults on women would occur they were all trained in karate from the 4th grade? I bet significantly fewer than there are now.

Karate - not on the 30 list, but definitely one of the things on my life list. It rocks. Oh also, because I'm taking karate doesn't mean you should come up to me and punch me on the arm. Seriously, why do people do that? Oh you're taking karate? Punch. That's just stupid. Knock it off.

I'm out.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

30 in 30

After abandoning this blog for quite some time, I am going to write 30 posts in 30 days. Why? Because my friend Joe is also doing this. Also, I like the whole do something for 30 days thing. Remember when I wrote a novel in 30 days? Yeah. That was awesome.

So. Here's the news, progress, etc.

Knitting - has been a bit meh, though I did whip up a sweet sweater for my friend Alice's new baby. Knitting is hard to do in the summer, when you are lazy and hot. But if I was industrious I would be working on my X-mas gifts right now instead of waiting until Dec. 15 to start 4 pairs of mittens, 3 hats, and 2 pair of socks - which is precisely what I did last year. Did I learn my lesson? Time will tell, but I am doubtful.

Books - I have read a number of fantastic books as of late. Ok, so when I last wrote a blog I had just finished The Watchmen. Since then I have read or listened to:

American Gods - Neil Gaiman. Fantastic. Basically a bunch of gods from ye olden times live in America and are fighting a war with new gods, such as TV, Internet etc. That description sounds lame, but trust me, it's good.

Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip-Confessions of a Cynical Waiter Steve Dublanica - Audio. Poop Sandwich. I almost didn't finish this one. I thought it was going to be stories/essays from a waiter in the trenches. But instead this blog turned memoir really ended up just being some dude's story of how he went from waiter to writer. And honestly I couldn't have cared less. Don't bother. It's suckiness was highlighted because I had just finished -

The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute- Michael Ruhlman. Which is fan-freaking-tastic. Ruhlman (who I learned about because of his bud status with Anthony Bourdain) spends a year at the CIA. No, not that CIA -the other one - the Culinary Institute of America where he - yup you guessed it, trains to be a chef. This book could have been totally boring, but it wasn't. If you are interested at all in chefs, cooking, etc. Read this book.

The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo - Audio - Steig Larrson. Holy crap this was good. Good and suspenseful and surprising. I read a lot of mysteries, suspense etc. It is hard to pull one over on me or get me to be actually surprised. This one did the trick. It has a totally atypical heroine, takes place in Sweden, and is about finding a murdered girl forty or so years after the fact. That is basically all I can tell you without giving it away. Give it a try. The audio version was great. I also was happy to learn that this is part of a trilogy, the second one - The Girl Who Played with Fire - will be out on July 28. Huzzah!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Mark Haddon Ok, I loved this one too. This was a great read, and super fast. Told through the eyes of an autistic 14 year old boy, I was a bit reluctant to read it at first, but am super glad I did. Christopher tries to solve the mystery of his neighbor's murdered dog, and ends up uncovering layers of unpleasantness that any person would have a hard time dealing with, but his autism makes it even harder. Super. Read it.

Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuck. Still haven't seen the movie. I loved this book. Another super short read. It was quite disturbing but well worth my time. It's about a dude who creates a bunch of fight clubs and also causes tons of trouble all over Seattle. It has a great twist and is well written. You should read this even if you have seen the movie.

I think that's it. I'm almost finished with The Brief History of Everything, which is totally freaking me out, but I'll blog about it when I'm finished. This puts me at 15 books, or half way though my goal for the year, which is about right. I have started listening to audio books when I take walks in the morning, so I have been rolling through them pretty quickly.

I'm outta here. Cya tomorrow.

Oldies but Goodies: