Thursday, December 29, 2011

Down the Rabbit Hole...

Guilt finally caught up with me (as well as the realization that the test was scheduled two days earlier than I thought) and I finally started studying for my GMAT.

Yuck. Right now I'm halfway through the math section in the study book and can I just say, I hate this. I haven't done this sort of math in... well, about ten years. I don't remember squat, and trying to do it without a calculator is making me feel quite stupid. Add on top of that is the silly amount of panic that I feel whenever I think about taking the test. I just keep telling myself that it won't be the end of the world if I don't get into the grad program. I have other options. Like double or even triple majoring. Being a CPA really isn't what I want What I want to be is a dessert and food-laden stay-at-home mom. Or maybe a food network channel star. Watch your back Giada. What I want is a stable job that's going to pay me well enough to get out of student loan hell to keep me comfortable and my yarn stash all consuming.


Naturally with that stress inducing item on my to do list, I found time to do other things. Things such as sleep in until noon, make plans to go get coffee with a friend, decide that waking up at 6:30 in the morning just to go to a yarn store sale and then promptly rush home for said coffee date is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. And then, I got lost in an abyss of recipes.

Oh yes, the abyss.

First, it was ice cream recipes. Didn't you hear? We got an ice cream maker for Christmas!

Then it was date nut bread and an apple butter banana bread (we need to use up ingredients for both).

Then, I decided what I really need to do is utilize my crock pot more, because just using it for chili and apple sauce is a waste. I really need is more recipes for it. But then, most of the recipes for a crock pot are either meaty or photo-less, so I started adding the good ones to the note pad file I use to save recipes from forums in the like. But then I realized that I don't ever actually look at that file- they're not pretty and it's hard to find. So then I decided to start making files in the folder I have saved for recipes that I've made and deemed "housewife worthy".


I made this huge computer file system as well as a filling out a few recipes and a template approximately ten million years ago, with the intention that one day, I woud be able to zip through and find recipes with ease There would be pictures, it would be pretty, and best of all, they would all in one place with my personal notes and critiques. The only problem? I never seem to remember to update the darn thing. Until now. I just got lost in making new files for all these various recipes that I want to try in the crock pot for about two hours.

Whoops. At least the recipes will be pretty now, you know, as I'm homeless on the street because I made a negative score on my GMAT.

The Graveyard Book

book review thursday

book review thursday After listening to Good Omens, I was eager to explore more of Neil Gaiman's works. The Graveyard Book was the first of his that was available for download at my public library, so immediately seized on the opportunity to read it.

I'm going to preface this by explaining a bit about my background. If you hadn't already realized by my posts about our Halloween traditions, spooky and sometimes even supernatural is a big hit in my family. My sister and I were raised on movies like Nightmare before Christmas, Beetlejuice, and James and the Giant Peach. The fact that it's almost Christmas when I'm writing this and there is still a Mummy in our kitchen is a bit telling. The point is, even though I'm a huge wimp when it comes to scary movies (or trailers, or even slightly creepy book covers), I still love supernatural and/or macabre fiction. That alone gave this book tons of props in my mind, even though it was clearly intended for a significantly younger audience than I am.

This book was an excellent demonstration of what I loved reading as a kid. Bod Owens was an orphan adopted by a ghost and grew up in a graveyard. The story is a coming of age rendition of the trials of his childhood. It had the supernatural element, as well as the loneliness I think all kids can relate to. Not to mention an overarching mystery and an interesting take on fairy tale elements. I thought it was an extremely well written book about the trials of growing up and feeling "different". My only problem was the age of the protagonist when he's "grown up"- I don't know about you, but I was most definitely not "grown up" at fifteen. If Bod had been seventeen when the story ended, I would have been a great deal happier, but again, this was geared towards younger kiddos, and to them fifteen may seem ridiculously old...

In any case, this was a great choice for any kid who loves the spooky and magical.

(4/5 stars)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fool Moon

book review thursday

book review thursday I just finished listening to the second book in the Dresden Files series, Fool Moon. I have to admit it, I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first. I think that was due primarily to two different problems. The first, involved the plot as a whole. This book was based on the premise of werewolves, nothing something I'm inherently apposed to. What I was disturbed by was the sheer graphic quality of this book over the last. Every bloody scene and battle was described in great detail. It made it very difficult to listen to, and made me nauseous during the climax of the book. I had to frequently pause the book just because it was disturbing me so much. It wasn't that it was scary, it was that it was, well gross. The plot, as a whole was intersting, and there is a definite twist at the end that really surprised me (although I could have just been distracted by all the gore). I particularly enjoyed the background and detail the author gave to the different types of werewolves. It really added believability to his world.

The other aspect of this book that I disliked was that the author's clearly chauvinistic views toward women ran rampant during this book. While in the first book, the author made little jokes about what a "chauvinist" Harry Dresden is, you're not hit over the head, beaten down, and covered with the derogatory views toward women. In this book, you are. Every since female character is described with sexualized details. Women aren't allowed to be powerful and defend themselves capably, instead they blunder about and have to be "saved". This wouldn't have been a problem if all of the characters were treated like this, but instead, it's only the women.

I just wanted to shake the author. It's not "cute" to be a sexist pig, which is the general feeling I got from this book. It's incredibly insulting and alienating to your female readers. While I do think he redeemed himself a bit in the end with Murphy's successful takedown of a baddie, he negates even THAT by having Dresden "allow" Murphy to take the credit.

Oh, gee thanks.

Overall, I wasn't impressed with this book. While I think the plot was better as a whole (with the exception of Dresden's conversations with himself, that was just a waste of space), the sexism left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm still confident that I'll like later books in the series, but I'm hoping it doesn't get any worse before it gets better.

(3/5 stars)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Friday Night Knitting Club

book review thursday

book review thursdayI jumped back into my reading spree by listening to Friday Night Knitting Club. I had this detailed review all planned out, but frankly, I'm not going to get a chance to flesh it out until after my exams, and frankly, I'd rather just get this done and not worry about it. So, a brief summary of my impressions on this book: this was okay, mindless reading, great for when you need to unwind. There was a lot I disliked about this book, but it was an entertaining and engaging piece of fluff. Spoilers and more details are below the cut.

(2/5 stars)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A list

What I've been up to that I haven't been posting about:

  • I made home-made eggnog. Delicious!

  • I baked about ninety cupcakes for an event that got cancelled. Thankfully, I hadn't frosted them, so I was able to give them away during my Thanksgiving break.

  • I made home-made applesauce in my crock pot. Delicious!

  • I made home-made apple butter in my crock pot

  • I found my favorite pizza crust brand is now being stocked at Walmart again. They come in sets of three individual sized pizzas and are amazing.

  • Monkey and I are almost finished watching the second season of Doctor Who! I hope we get more for Christmas or he might go through withdrawal

  • I've been horribly lax about knitting mittens. I re-evaluated my goal a while ago, and settled on twenty five, rather than fifty and I'm still nowhere near close to that amount. I think I'm actually at fourteen...

  • I bought two pretty new dresses from Target, and loads of nail polish. I can't wait to try them all.

  • My apartment is a train wreck. Unfortunately, that doesn't look like it's going to change any time soon...

  • I have a fabulous new ring, and nails to match!


Please ignore the fact that I have the world's ugliest fingers, and that I gnaw my nails... Plus the polish is chipping since I've had it on a few days...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Time Warp

First off, I'd like to apologize for not posting anything other than weekly book reviews for the past while. To make matters worse, I write the reviews as soon as I finish a book, then set it to automatically post at the next available Thursday. So in reality, I haven't written anything in quite a few weeks.

Hopefully, that will change soon. I've been super busy with my classes, so I haven't had very many opportunities to enjoy myself. Lately, I've been so exhausted that the only real source of entertainment Monkey and I have been having has been eating out (MUCH too often) and dozing while watching Doctor Who.

Christmas break is coming up soon for me, so I should be able to bunker down and enjoy myself. I do have a few important things to do during the break, but they won't eat up all my time like studying has done lately. Until then, here's a video I found particularly interesting.

And then finally, one of the women had a few thinsg she wanted to set straight.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Naked Heat

book review thursday

book review thursday I'm going to preface this by saying Monkey and I are *huge* Castle fans. We watch every episode and giggle for hours over the jokes. So I'm going into this review with that in mind.

I listened to Heat Wave as an audiobook a few months ago. That was an experience I thoroughly did not enjoy. The narrator was absolutely grating, and the whole tone of the book was ruined because of it. Because the narrator attempted to be so... gritty, the entire novel had a depressing, anti-climatic feel to it, rather than the light-hearted humor that peaks through even in the most serious episodes of the television show. Consequentially, I actually read this books.

Naked Heat was a bit better than the last book. The plot was intersting, and there was slightly better humor in this book. One thing I *adored* was that you got a glimpse of "Castle's" writing process in the show- he acts out a scene written in the book. I zoomed through this book, full throttle, and ultimately, decided that it wasn't bad.

It certainly wasn't great though. Again, it lacked the silliness that I love about the show, and that is entirely unrealistic in my opinion if it were supposedly written by Castle. I think, ultimately, I've decided that I enjoy the concept of the books. I love that these are novels "written" by a fiction TV show character about another fictional TV show character. I really enjoy the mystery aspect of the books themselves. But the writing just falls flat. It's the worst sort of flat charcters, utterly engaging and completely, well, boring. I just couldn't care about Nikki or Jameson. It's like it's the TV show, devoid of all of the loveable characteristics.

The lack of likeable characters is one of the reasons I don't enjoy shows like CSI. I want a character I can enjoy and commentary to liven up the mystery. Even true crime shows like Snapped and Dateline do a great job of livening up the players involved. This story was just too much like CSI. The characters were complete shells, nothing more than props for the mystery. As creative as the mystery is, I just can't enjoy it.

I fully intend to read the next book in the series. I'm hoping that as the series progresses, the novels improve as well. A lot of my issue is that I'm looking for great writing and characterization, like you see on the show, and instead I'm left with a dry murder mystery without much flavor.

(2/5 stars)