Tuesday, January 29, 2013

3rd Degree, 3rd Book of My Challenge

Third book of my 50/50 challenge...  I hesitate to count these quick easy reads, but a book is a book right?  I'm already not counting audiobooks!

3rd Degree (Women's Murder Club, #3)3rd Degree by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series is my first James Patterson experience.  I was looking for a new series to get into (all caught up on all the others that I read) and the library has all the Kindle editions of these, so I figured why not?  Patterson must be popular for a reason...

No high literature here, but one is not always in the mood for that type of read.  Sometimes you just need a quick mystery.  So, even though they are not exactly brilliant, I will still keep reading them...

"In case you were wondering," Jacobi said, "you snore."
"Purr," I corrected. "I purr."  

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore


Second book of my 2013 50/50 challenge:

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreMr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an interesting book!  I had seen it on a few lists and thought it had an intriguing title.  I suggested it as a possibly for our work book club read this month and even though I missed the last meeting they ran with it.  Now that I'm done reading it I'm a bit worried that no one in the group but me will like it.

It was an odd combination geekery... books, computers, codes, wizards, dragons, typeface, even a little knitting tossed in there.  How could I not like it?  Honestly, the writing could have been a little more polished, but the story was so unique that I really liked it.  Definitely quirky and different from anything else I've read in a while.  I will be keeping an eye on this author.



"Now I've resigned myself to sitting at the front desk, but I can't stop quirking.  If fidgets were Wikipedia edits, I would have completely revamped the entry on guilt by now, and translated it into five new languages."

"You can never escape the sixth grade entirely."

"I explain it like the setup for a Rockets & Warlocks adventure: the backstory, the characters, the quest before us. The party is forming, I say: I have a rogue (that's me) and a wizard (that's Kat).  Now I need a warrior.  (Why does the typical adventuring group consist of a wizard, a warrior, and a rogue, anyway?  It should really be a wizard, a warrior, and a rich guy.  Otherwise who's going to pay for all the swords and spells and hotel rooms?)

"We have writing supplies down below, but you'll have to bring your own tools."  That's almost cute: Don't forget your ruler on your first day of cult! But where is "down below"?

Neel takes a sharp breath and I know exactly what it means.  It means: I have waited my whole life to walk through a secret passage built into a bookshelf.

"I blink and wait and wonder about the mice and/or bats and/or minotaur."

"Why do organizations need to mark everything with their insignias?  It's like a dog peeing on every tree.  Google is the same way.  So was NewBagel."

"These days, the phone only carries bad news.  It's all "your student load is past due" and "your uncle Chris is in the hospital."  If it's anything fun or exciting, like an invitations to a party or a secret project in the works, it will come through the internet."

"KNITTING IS NEAT"

"It's so simple.  Of course, of course.  The first-grader is right.  It's easy to find a needle in a haystack! Ask the hays to find it!"

"I'm really starting to think the whole world isjust a patchwork quilt of crazy little cults, all with their own secret spaces, their own records, their own rules."

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I'd rather dream...



Symphony of silver tears,
Sing to me and sooth the ring in my ears,
Overcast these gloomy nights wear on,
But I'm holding fast because it's darkest just before the dawn.

I sang my princess fast asleep,
'Cause she was my dream come true,
Oh Annmarie, believe me, I loved you.

But now those lonely lullabies,
Just dampen my tired eyes,
Because I can't forget you.
Because I can't forget you.

I'll dissolve when the rain pours in,
When the nightmares take me,
I will scream with the howling wind,
'Cause it's a bitter world and I'd rather dream.


Dizzy love turned a star lily pink,
And hung above our lids too flushed to blink,
But icy blue froze the fairytale cold,
Though I treasured you and you sparkled with someone to hold.

I sang my princess fast asleep,
'Cause she was my dream come true,
Oh Annmarie, believe me, I loved you.

But now those lonely lullabies,
Just dampen my tired eyes,
Because I can't forget you.
Because I can't forget you.

I'll dissolve when the rain pours in,
When the nightmares take me,
I will scream with the howling wind,
'Cause it's a bitter world and I'd rather dream.

I'll dissolve when the rain pours in,
When the nightmares take me,
I will scream with the howling wind,
'Cause it's a bitter world and I'd rather dream.
And I'd rather dream.


Annmarie, I'll never forget you.
Annmarie, I'll never forget you.
Annmarie, remember me?
I'll never forget you.
Annmarie, remember me?
I'll never forget you.
Annmarie, remember me?
I'll never forget you.


~Owl City, Lonely Lullaby

Monday, January 21, 2013

HANNA

First movie I have watched in 2013.  I have a tendency to record a lot of television shows and focus mainly on staying up to date on those and have really gotten out of the habit of watching many movies. I used to go to see movies all the time, but I don't really have anyone to go with anymore.  I don't hate going alone, but it makes me a little sad.  Yet, I really do love movies and miss them.  So,  I think the 50-50 challenge will be great motivation for me to get back into the habit of watching them more regularly.  

So, thoughts on HANNA....  Adapt or die.  I remember seeing trailers for this movie when it came out in 2011.  It looked intriguing and I had wanted to see it, but never got around to it (which is true of pretty much every movie over the past year or so).  It was a pretty fast paced movie with lots of action.  Interesting storyline.  Unfortunately it felt unfinished.  I think the characters needed a bit more development and more details could have been explored.  Either that, or I just wasn't paying close enough attention...

Favorite quotes:
"Hanna, what did your mom die of?"
"Three bullets."

"Are you afraid?"
"Of what?"


Girls - Season One

I just finished season one of Girls, and I'm pretty hooked.  I was planning on canceling HBO (because it's stupid expensive, and once I was all caught up on True Blood and Game of Thrones I wasn't really watching it much), but now I am pondering keeping it.

I don't know exactly what it is about the show that I enjoy so much...  It's funny and it's dramatic.  It certainly wins the most awkward sex scenes award.  I can't say I completely related to any one of the 4 girls, but I think we can all find pieces of them we understand and see in ourselves.  I like sci-fi and fantasy, but it's nice to get into a show that is based in the real word for a change (not that I don't love vampires, werewolves, and witches, oh my).

In the last episode of season 1, Hannah tells Adam that she is scared all the time.  That feeling struck a cord with me, I spend the majority of everyday either terrified or paranoid.  Then in season 2, episode 1: "I used to like any guy that liked me."  Umm... yeah... that would be me.  Not even going to get into that at the moment... 

It's funny, watching the show makes me want to write more.  I'm slightly in awe of Lena Dunham at the moment.  I miss writing.  It has been so long since I wrote anything (well anything other than pointless bullshit for grad school) that I'm not even sure how to get started again.  So, for the time being, I'm just committing to blogging more.  We will see how that goes...  Particularly since I'm a terrible proofreader.  There are always so many mistakes I don't catch... It can really make my writing unreadable.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Cornbread Casserole

I threw myself a graduation party yesterday.  I just finished up my C.A.G.S. and wanted to celebrate.  Really I just wanted an excuse to have a party!  Anyway, I don't cook.  I mean I NEVER cook.  It isn't that I can't cook, I just don't.  I don't really see the point of cooking for one, nor do I really have time during the week.  So, since I was having people over I thought I'd attempt to be a good little hostess and make some home cooked grub for the party.

On the menu were a couple super easy dishes.  These really aren't recipes, just store bought mixes with enhancements.  I made sweet and sour meatballs.  Though "made" is a very loose definition of what I did.  I bought a package of frozen swedish meatballs and dumped them in the crockpot.  I added a bottle of chili sauce and a jar of grape jelly, then turned the crockpot on low for 4 hours.  Done.  That simple, and they are quite tasty.

I also "made" jambalaya.  Cut up three bell peppers, two onions, three beef kielbasas.  Sautéed in olive oil and put in large pot.  Add two boxes jambalaya mix and one box of red beans and rice.  Added 8 cups of water and however much olive olive the box called for.  Normally a make a smaller batch and kick the spice up with some added seasoning and hot sauce, but I wasn't sure if everyone would like the level of spice I like.  Top with shredded cheese and/or diced tomato and enjoy.

The only things I actually really made were the mini Oreo cheesecakes I had made for a party back in December (see an older post for more details on the first time I made them) and a buffalo chicken cornbread casserole.  Someone at work had mention this recipe in passing and it sounded good so I went searching the inter-webs to find it.  I found a couple different versions and sort of picked the parts that sounded the best and combined them.  Here's my pilfered recipe (it's essentially Rachael Ray's with some Betty Crocker modifications--chicken breast instead of thighs, corn in the topping, chopped green onions).

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil (for browning chicken and sautéing veggies)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of flower
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of hot sauce
  • 1 box of cornbread mix
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 can cream style corn
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  • Cut up into bite size pieces and brown 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (use olive oil in pan and season with salt and pepper).  Put chicken aside.
  • Cut up and sauté 1 onion, 2 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, and 2 cloves of garlic.
  • Once veggies are tender push to side of pan.
  • Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and mix in 3 tablespoons of flour.  Cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add 2 cups of chicken stock and 1/4 of a cup of hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot Wing sauce and WAY MORE than 1/4 of a cup.
  • Add chicken back in and simmer until sauce thickens (about 2-3 minutes) and then pout into casserole pan.
  • Mix up a package of cornbread mix according to the directions on the box, except instead of adding milk substitute a can of cream style corn.  Also mix in 1/2 cup of blue cheese crumbles.
  • Cover top of casserole evenly with mixture.
  • Bake at around 375-400 for about 20 minutes (filling should be bubbling and cornbread golden brown).
I didn't think a double batch would fit in the pan, but I did make about a 1.5 batch.  This recipe was a HUGE hit.  Everyone seemed to like it and there was very little left over.  Lots of people asked for the recipe so I am considering it a success.  

Some things I might think about for next time:
-topping with green onion as a garnish (they did this in one of the recipes online and looked nice.  I actually bought green onions but forgot about them!)
-adding in some green chilies for a little more kick (I like the hot)


Sweater Update

Well, now that the holiday knitting season is over I have focussed my knitting efforts on my sweater project again.  This was a supposed to be a knit-a-long project with my friends A and B, however they've both finished theirs already even though we started at the same time.  I'm not a slower knitter, I just don't have much free time to knit during the week, and was distracted by some holiday knitting.

I finished the sleeves way back in November and had cast on the body and made a bit of progress, then I tackled some Christmas gifts.  I'm now on row 104.  Here's a quick snapshot of how it's coming out.


I am definitely liking it, but it's always hard to tell if there will be fit issues before you finish (I'm worried because B said hers doesn't fit very well).  Also, the pattern is not good.  Poorly written, poor layout, and lots of mistakes.  Definitely needs some editing.  I wouldn't be upset if it was a free pattern, but I'm rather frustrated considering I paid for it!  

Ravelry Project Page: Waiting Cardi

The Shoemaker's Wife

The Shoemaker's WifeThe Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First finished book for my fifty-fifty challenge (http://www.fiftyfifty.me).

I don't really have strong feelings about this one... It was a sweet story, and being Italian myself (well at least having a very Italian last name) kept me invested in the fates of the characters. I enjoyed reading about Italy and Italian traditions. However, at points the author's never ending descriptions of food were endearing, and then at other points they just got annoying. I think the whole book could have been trimmed down a bit with some good editing.

It was a love story, with sad parts, and predictable in places, yet it held my interest well enough. I wish they had developed the mother character a little more. She is the start of the story but then we don't really see her at all. I'm also not sure how I felt about the ending.

Spider Who Can't Hide

Monday, January 14, 2013

but you're just a line in a song...

Am I more than you bargained for? yet,
I've been dying to tell you,
anything you want to hear,
cause that's just who I am this week.
Lie in the grass, next to the mausoleum,
I'm just a notch in your bedpost...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fifty Books, Fifty Movies

Now this is a New Year's Resolution I can get on board with!

Here’s the challenge: commit to reading 50 books and watching 50 movies in the next year, 2013.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

red...

Most people have either loved it or hated it.  But it's definitely red...


Saturday, January 05, 2013

hey ah na na...

what i see is unreal
i've written my own part
eat of the apple so young
i'm crawling back to start...

Friday, January 04, 2013

ABRIDGED! NO!!!


Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous IdeasChuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas by Chuck Klosterman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I accidentally bought the abridged version of this book from Audible.  I cannot describe how angry this makes me.  I do not read abridged versions of books EVER.  I'm a little OCD about stuff like that.  It's the same thing that makes me watch the tv shows on my DVR in alphabetical order and makes me incapable of watching a series of movies, or read a series of books, without starting at the beginning.

Anyway...  I am a bit of a pop-culture junkie, so I like Klosterman.  I liked the book, but didn't have super strong feelings about it good or bad.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

On a Roll!

Finished another project, though a much smaller one this time.  As you may have read in a previous post I knit a coworker a scarf for our Secret Santa gift exchange.  I had some yarn leftover so I figured why not make her a hat as well?

Pattern: Chicabean Hat
By: Rogue2408


The Fault In Our Stars


The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book.  It is beautifully written and painfully heartbreaking.  And also one of the most quotable books I have ever read.  Screw Twilight, this is what good young adult literature looks like.


-------------------------------------------------------------

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”

“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”

“That's the thing about pain...it demands to be felt.”

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

“You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world...but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices.”

“What a slut time is. She screws everybody.”

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There's .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I'm likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.”

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.”

“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”

'Everyone in this tale has a rock-solid hamartia: hers, that she is so sick, yours, that you are so well. Were she better or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius not, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves." Easy enough to say when you're a Roman nobleman (or Shakespeare!), but there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars.'

“Our fearlessness shall be our secret weapon.”

“You do not immortalize the lost by writing about them. Language buries, but does not resurrect.”

“What's that?"
"The laundry basket?"
"No, next to it."
"I don't see anything next to it."
"It's my last shred of dignity. It's very small.”

“So I wasn't lying, exactly. I was just choosing among truths.”

“it is the nature of stars to cross”

“I love you present tense.”

“I'm not saying it was your fault. I'm saying it wasn't nice.”

"Our city has a rich history, even though many tourists are only wanting to see the Red Light District. ... Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin."

"You know how we make a Scotch and water in this home?  We pour Scotch into a glass and then call to mind the thoughts of water, and then we mix the actual Scotch with the abstract idea of water."

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

What I Watched Over Break


I watched a lot of tv over holiday break.  I got all caught up on Grey's Anatomy.  I used to watch it regularly and then gave it up when it conflicted with something else (can't remember what).  I don't love it, and I don't understand why they keep killing off characters, but now that I'm caught up I will probably keep watching until it's cancelled (I have a hard time letting go). 



I also watched Season 1 of Being Human.  I had watched the first episode a long time go and liked it but then didn't keep watching.  I also watched the first episode of the UK version.  I know it's the original, but I didn't dig it as much.  I mostly think it was because I was already attached to the US characters.  I really liked the US version and I wish there was more available on Netflix to watch!  I'll definitely be checking out future seasons of this one.  Who doesn't love a hot tortured vampire?  And Josh might just be the most adorable werewolf I've ever seen.

Welcome 2013


For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
~T. S. Eliot