Pages

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The One On October 1st

I got a little off track with life over the summer. Actually I got super lazy and didn’t want to do anything, but it sounds better if I say I got off track. I spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos. I still watch YouTube videos but I now do something else why I do that.

I would love to tell you that I am going to take part in BlogTober (Blog + October), but I know I am bound to get off track, you I will just tell you that I hope to post a bit more this month.

I found my way to YouTube back in November I think it was. Almost a year? Really? Yikes! I am not even sure how I ended up there, but I did. I fell into the FiloWorld. An entire subculture dedicated to all things FiloFax. I imagine that someone could study this for a thesis. It is amazing. I also found the BeautyTubers. I did learn a bit about makeup application and that it is easy to spend a ton of money on makeup.

I found my way to other interests and fell out of sync with the FiloTubers and beauty gurus. In May I found BookTube. I thought there was a lot of money being spent on makeup, there is about a thousand times more on books. I suddenly found my Nook library filling up with books. And then I stopped reading. And I stopped watching BookTube. I went back to the FiloTube world and realized that most of those women (there is only one man I found) are hoarders of stickers, sticky notes, washi tape and filofaxes themselves. I bought one, a bright yellow Original A5. You know what? It is beautiful but I am not in love with it. I carry it around because it cost me some money, but I don’t use it. I always grab a blank piece of paper or whatever is handy and scribble down my lists and notes. Then I file those in a binder. Works for me and I don’t have to worry about scribbles and how pretty it is.

One thing that FiloTube turned me onto though was paper crafting. I am having so much fun making cards. Okay, I am having fun buying stuff. Lots of stuff. But the few cards I have made have been fun. I have to get started on my Halloween cards this week. I feel like I am ready.

I did finish a few things this summer (since Summer technically ended 9/21). I got two dishcloths done. TWO! I know, back up, don’t you wish you knit TWO dishcloths?!? I cleaned up my Pinterest boards. It is interesting to see how many broken links there are and how many things are in a foreign language. I would need the entire Rosetta Stone line to have made sense of a lot of pins. I got through most of my DVR recordings. I do admit to deleting Elementary & King & Maxwell. I really wish I would have caught onto Elementary, but I was just so bored most of the time. King & Maxwell was meh…I didn’t really care. Truth be told I am glad they canceled it. I love Jon Tenney but I can’t stand Rebecca Romeijn (I may have spelled her name wrong). It wasn’t a good show.

I also managed to build quite a nail polish collection. By the way, my most favorite polish is Zoya. I love it. I would not have been aware of it if it hadn’t been for a post on facebook about their new year special. You got three full size polishes for only $10 shipping. Three $8 polishes ($24) for $10? Yes please. I also got my mom in on the deal and suddenly we had 6 polishes. Then I found out that if I ordered a certain amount of $$$ I would get freebies and then they released Pixie Dust and suddenly I have a drawer full of polish. So much that I had to inventory my Zoya so that I don’t purchase duplicates. I finally realized why it took so long to get it once I ordered it…you can’t ship that stuff by air mail!?!? It was sort of a duh moment. It’s worth the wait though.

There was more furniture rearrangement and “moving”. In the span of three weeks I changed my new craft room twice. I will show photos soon. I have to clean it up a bit. Perhaps I can show before I start crafting and after and you can see what making one card entails!

Fall came and brought Winter along with him. Last week we had snow and today we had a torrential downpour that resulted in snow in the mountains. It has been cold and wet. It is all good though. I am a person who loves the wet weather. It just feels more cozy and I like cozy. Also, sweaters are good to camouflage the chunk.

I know I promised a picture, but this was written on my old laptop (hello Windows XP & low signal strength) and all the pictures are from 2009. And most of them are of our bathroom remodel, my dogs, and various knitting projects (nothing too special either.)


Soon though. I promise, soon.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The One with the Not-So-Summer Vacation

It seems as though I took a summer vacation. Except I didn’t. Things got real weird in July. There were a few doctor visits and then in August I was at the dentist three times. Yes, 3 times. Thanks to a broken tooth in July I had to get a crown put on. It’s so weird how the temporary is so much worse than the permanent. Seems like it would be opposite, but I am thankful nonetheless that it is done and as much as I like my dentist, I am hopeful that I won’t see him again until next year!

I completely failed at my Summer Challenge series. I think I read twice in July and then haven’t picked up a book since then. Unless you count EW & Soap Opera Digest, then I read constantly. I tend to start a movie and then quickly lose interest unless it is Pitch Perfect or Rock of Ages. I can’t stop watching those!

I knit a dishcloth, a small one, in August and am actually going to cast on another here in about a half an hour. Yay!

I did a lot of cleaning and then a lot of shopping. I am getting back into papercrafting. I have been making cards and am working on a small scrapbook. I have a couple more plans for Christmas gifts. I am super excited because I purchased a die cutting machine bundle. Sizzix had an awesome deal on their website and I bit the bullet that is my credit card and ordered it on Saturday. It shipped today! The next few weeks will be fun!

Next week is the beginning of the fall premiere for primetime television. I am usually really excited this time of year, but this year I don’t really have feelings one way or the other. Maybe I will get that feeling soon. Hockey is also in gear. Pre-season games have started, after just a couple of days of practice! The Penguins played on Sunday evening (they lost in OT). Pre-season is a circus of things; tryouts for the younger and some older guys to prove their worth; the NHL tests possible rule changes (hybrid icing…I am not a fan); and figuring out line combinations, who will work with whom. It is hard to believe that they will be starting in just a few weeks. Especially since last season didn’t start until January. I think this year I am going to try Game Center Live. That will give me a lot of options when it comes to viewing. Plus they have a payment plan whereas my ever-changing cable company does not offer that anymore, and I don’t know that I want to give them anymore money!

I should let you know now that I don’t have any photos for this entry. I know everyone loves photos, but when you haven’t done anything, there is nothing to take a photo of. I promise to have some next time and I promise to write more often. I guess I should also let you know that I had my fingers crossed when I made those promises.

I will be back soon though with some sort of post/update.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Summer Movie Challenge

I find that I am missing out on a lot of good or potentially good movies and so along with my Summer Reading Challenge, I have set forth a Summer Movie Challenge for myself.

A lot of these are probably considered “older” by now. The last time I sat and watched a movie I think was last June when I went and saw Rock of Ages in the theater. Yes, an entire year ago is when I last watched a full length movie in one sitting. So very sad.

Here are the movies on my list. Again, I doubt I will get through all of them, but gosh darn it I am going to try.

Summer Movie Challenge

  1. The Dark Knight Rises
  2. Ted
  3. Pitch Perfect
  4. Step Up Revolution
  5. Identity Thief
  6. Jack Reacher
  7. Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows
  8. Silver Linings Playbook (must read the book first)
  9. Flight
  10. Hansel & Gretel
  11. Bourne Legacy
  12. Hotel Transylvania
  13. The Campaign
  14. The Hunger Games
  15. Hit & Run
  16. Taken 2
  17. Seven Psychopaths
  18. The Raven
  19. Cold Light of Day
  20. The Heat*
  21. White House Down*


*I might not make it to the theater before these movies leave.

My goal is to watch one movie per week at a minimum, but I am hoping that I will get more in. Of course movie watching competes with reading and then there is that always present pesky life thing.


Do you have any good movie suggestions? Did I miss a must see on my list? 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Summer Reading Challenge



I tend to read a lot more during the summer than I do throughout the rest of the year. I aim to read a book a week every January and this year I was lucky to finish a book a month. But then June came around and I finished four books in the final two weeks, so there you go. I am sure it has to do with me being a total homebody during the summer and not wanting to set foot outside. I am not a fan of summer at all. I am perfectly happy to hole up in the air conditioned house and read.

 I decided to set forth a summer reading challenge for myself. I am not doing any particular order, because it just depends on what I am in the mood for. I have a lot of new genre books on my list but a few of my old mystery genre standbys as well.
Summer Reading Challenge – The List
  1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  2.  Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  3. Reflected in You by Sylvia Day (yes it is smut, but I really enjoyed the first book in the series)
  4. Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag (an older book that is the first in a series)
  5.  Bad Blood by John Sandford (trying to catch up on the Virgil Flowers series)
  6.  Silver Linings Playbooks by Matthew Quick (the movie is on my challenge and I want to read the book first)
  7.  Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  8. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  10. Shockwave by John Sandford
  11. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  12. Ask for It by Sylvia Day
  13. Seven Years to Sin by Sylvia Day
  14. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  15. The Selection by Kiera Cass
  16. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  17. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
  18. Locked by Maya Cross
  19. Life Before Legend by Marie Lu


I really don’t think I will finish 19 books this summer, especially when I know some of them are quite a bit longer that some of my usual books. But I am going to try to read as many as I can.

As always, I reserve the right to change my mind and I have since I first wrote out my initial list. I added a few and subtracted a few to better suit my mind at the moment.


Do you read more or less during the summer months?  What is on your summer reading list? 

Monday, July 01, 2013

Bookmarks: The Hunger Games Trilogy - reaction

I am just going to start July off with a reaction post to …. The Hunger Games trilogy! Yes, I finally settled in and read the series and watched the movie. I could kick myself that I did not do it earlier!



I felt like I was out of the loop because I hadn’t read the series and everyone went on and on about how good it was and they were so right! I could not put it down. I did nothing other than read every single night since I picked up The Hunger Games. And as soon as I finished Catching Fire, I had to jump right into Mockingjay.

My first thoughts when I was reading The Hunger Games, were:

·         Wow! This is a YA book? Seriously? The whole premise is children killing children for the entertainment of the “wealthy & privileged.”
·         I might be on Team Gale
·         I love Haymitch & Cinna
·         If I am reincarnated, I want to be Katniss Everdeen.
·         Does Effie live in District 12? I could not figure it out.

My thoughts while reading Catching Fire were:
·         I am totally on Team Peta
·         How are they going to get them back in the arena?
·         Oh, that’s how. Interesting
·         I don’t like Johanna
·         Wait! What? That’s how this is going to end?!?
·         Must pick up Mockingjay immediately
·         I will never think of Donald Sutherland as anything but a creeper now

My thoughts while reading Mockingjay were:
·         Is she going to be in the hospital throughout the entire book?
·         Oh, sad Finnick
·         How do they do that temporary tattoo thing?
·         So they really just live way underground?
·         She has to be just like everyone else? Really? She’s Katniss Everdeen!
·         Need more Peeta
·         Still loving Haymitch
·         Is it PlutarCH or PlutarK? I went back and forth on the pronunciation
·         Oh finally some action!
·         Whoa, Peeta what are you doing?
·         Oh, poor Peeta.
·         Johanna is growing on me.
·         Happy Finnick.
·         Now I want cake
·         Yay, more action!
·         The underground creeps me out
·         What kind of freaky voodoo do they have in the Capitol
·         Wow, it is taking forever to get to the Capitol.
·         Well duh! You should have dressed up like the Capitol freaks before!
·         Wait, what are you doing to those children?
·         Who dropped the parachutes!?!
·         NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
·         I expected that arrow to fly that way. But I thought another arrow would fly from someone else, who’s name rhymes with cheetah
·         I totally get why she wanted that pill
·         Oh, Peeta you are too sweet.
·         Seriously Team Peeta
·         Home sweet sad home
·         Sniffle
·         Happiness through my tears
·         Wait? It’s over? No. It can’t be over! What will I read now!?!?

Yeah, that was awesome. I agree with a lot of people who said that they enjoyed Catching Fire more than the other two and that Mockingjay is the least favored. For me Mockingjay didn’t have enough “fight”. And yes, I cried at the end. It was hard to make it through the last several pages because the tears were blurring my vision.

I watched the movie the day after finishing Mockingjay and I think they did a super job. They got in the most important things, but left out all of that stuff that just drug on, like the long trip, the fight for water, the storm in the arena. But they did keep in all the important stuff. I noticed that One thing, Seneca Crane was more visible in the movie than in the book. I guess that is because the book is told from Katniss’ point of view and they needed the presence of the Gamemakers. His look really fit the character.

I am super excited for Catching Fire in November. I just watched a trailer online and I am not sure that I can really wait four months!

I think it really helped me get a better feel for the characters knowing who the actors were in the movie. I think they hit a homerun with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch & Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. And like I mentioned, Donald Sutherland will forever been a total creeper in my mind as Snow.

I would love to know your thoughts if you have read the series and/or seen the movie. I don’t have anyone around me who has read it so I have no one to talk to and gush over it with!

If you have not read it, you should Really. It is not my usual fair, but now I am hooked and find the whole dystopian world very interesting. I took a few days to fully digest The Hunger Games as a whole and now I am reading Divergent.

Probably no need to say, but I give this series 5 out of 5 stars! 


Monday, June 24, 2013

The One with the Long Overdue Update

I thought I should let the world know that I am still around. In all honesty, I have not had a lot to write about. Perhaps it is a summer slump. But I will break down what I have and have not been doing.

Television & Movies

After what I thought was going to be a strong lineup, I haven’t been watching much of anything. I have every intention of sitting down and watching new airings, but then I just can’t seem to concentrate.

The, now three week layoff on ABC for NBA Finals interrupted Motive & Rookie Blue. I did watch the first episode of Graceland on USA, but have had a hard time getting through the second episode. I just can’t really buy into “Mike”. Plus the acting is just a little meh for my tastes.

The Killing has not grabbed me. I have two episodes on my DVR now to watch. The Killing is a show you have to really pay attention to and when you have a hard time concentrating on anything for more than a few minutes, it is really hard to get into.

I did catch the new show Crossing Lines last night on NBC. I was happy to see that the case was solved in the episode and that it is not an ongoing case like The Following. I thought for a while it was going to be like that, but it’s not. It is another show that you really have to focus on though. I had a hard time hearing everything clearly. I don’t know if it is because the sound on the film was low, I felt like I had my tv sound on full. That combined with the various accents makes it difficult for a girl with a hearing problem to catch everything. I plan on keeping it in my lineup though.

Twisted. I am not really much for teenage dramas, but so many people seem to love Pretty Little Liars, that I thought Twisted my take off like that and I don’t want to be three seasons behind before I jump on the bandwagon. I find it slightly disturbing that a channel that is a family channel by definition (ABC Family) airs shows with such dark undertones and adult themes.

Soap operas may be becoming the bane of my existence. It takes all I have to fast forward through 90% of General Hospital and it is almost impossible to watch All My Children & One Life To Live, hence the lack of Soap Box Saturday posts. The stories are so contrived and regurgitated that I would just rather read the synopsis each day and call it good. Plus it causes me less anxiety over not watching them.

Elementary still sits on my DVR. It just seems to keep getting put off. Someday right?

I watched two movies this weekend. Well one and a half. I started with Dark Shadows and was highly disappointed. I was expecting something with more laughs and it just fell short and then I fell asleep.

My second choice was The Dark Knight Rises, the last in the Christopher Nolan Batman series. Well at least what everyone expects to be the last. I think the ending was left wide open.

It was not my favorite in the series and I probably should have watched The Dark Knight again prior just to catch myself up. There were a lot of lulls for me in this movie, a lot of segments that just bored me and one big distraction. I could not wrap my head around Tom Hardy being Bane. Bane seemed so large and commanding and it was hard for me to picture Tuck in This Means War as this huge, bulky, deep voiced a-hole.

Also, somewhere along the way I must have missed the whole point of Bane. I know what his mission was, but I just didn’t find him a good adversary for Batman.

Then the whole in the hole thing took forever and just…ack.

I know a lot of people thought there was too much violence, and there was, but one thing that made it seem less violent to me was the lack of blood. There were so many shootings, yet there was no blood. Just something I noticed. And the cops in Gotham are the worst. First the commissioner goes into a shootout without a vest? What kind of leadership is that? Then Matthew Modine’s character was a total wank. His characters always seem a few seeds short of a strawberry though.

I digress. That was on my list of summer movies and I am trying to get one in per week, so week one, check.

Reading

I have been doing a lot of reading. I did finish Silken Prey by John Sandford and wrote up a review. I think I am going to change from review to reaction pieces though. I am not a good book reviewer. I can rate them and react to them, but I am not good at summing things up. I don’t want to give too much away, so I tend not to summarize things well.

I finished The Hunger Games last week. Yes, I finally gave in and started the series. I have been watching a lot of “BookTube” videos and everyone has read this series. Plus I really want to see the movie. So, I started and finished The Hunger Games and it was a pretty good book. I feel like I need to read the series all the way through before I comment/react. I did have some strong reactions in the first book and now I am nearly one hundred pages into Catching Fire. I know a lot of people list Catching Fire as their favorite in the series, and I think I might know why, but still only one hundred pages in.

I can comment that the books move fairly quickly. There is more description that I like in my books, but that might be the norm in YA fiction.

Knitting/Crafting

This is fairly simple…I haven’t done anything in a few weeks. So many great plans to get started and then I end up looking for books or playing video poker on my iPad. Yeah, that is my life.


Up next I will have my Summer Challenge! I am really excited about it and will see you soon.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bookmarks: Silken Prey by John Sandford

Title: Silken Prey (Lucas Davenport #23)
Author: John Sandford
Date Read: June 2013

Premise

Murder, scandal, political espionage, and an extremely dangerous woman. Lucas Davenport’s going to be lucky to get out of this one alive.

Very early one morning, a Minnesota political fixer answers his doorbell. The next thing he knows, he’s waking up on the floor of a moving car, lying on a plastic sheet, his body wet with blood. When the car stops, a voice says,”Hey, I think he’s breathing,” and another voice says, Yeah? Give me the bat.” And that’s the last thing he knows.    

 
Davenport is investigating another case when the trail leads to the man’s disappearance, then—very troublingly—to the Minneapolis police department, then—most troublingly of all—to a woman who could give Machiavelli lessons. She has very definite ideas about the way the world should work, and the money, ruthlessness, and sheer will to make it happen.

No matter who gets in the way.


Writing
John Sandford is a master. His books move along at an exceptional pace. Every word lends to the story and he does not get bogged down in excessive detail.

Humor/Emotions
There were three moments when I laughed out loud. The first was on page 217:

Lucas walked out to his car, calling Del as he went. Del picked up and Lucas asked, "Where are you?"
"In my backyard, looking at a tree," Del said.
"Why?"
"We got oak wilt," Del said. "We’re gonna lose it."
"Look, I’m sorry about your tree, but I need help finding a guy."

The second was on page 240:
"The big question is: Is he gonna talk, or is he gonna stonewall, or is he gonna shoot, or is he gonna run?" Jenkins said.
"That’s four questions," Shrake said. "It irritates me that you can’t count."

The third was on page 274:

“Goddamnit. I hate it when you drive," Del said. "I get so pucked up that I’ve got to pull my asshole back out with a nut pick."
"Thanks for the image," Lucas said.

All three are just every day guy conversations, but I laughed. Maybe it is because I can actually picture these characters or because I know a couple of guys who could tell these stories as if they were their own.

Characters
Sandford’s characters are not all glamorous and perfect. They are real. It is not lost on the reader that the talk of “dirty tricks” used throughout the book as a political ploy is mirrored in Davenport’s means to investigation.

I love that we get return characters in Del, Shrake, Jenkins, Weather, and even a brief appearance from Virgil Flowers.

The characters are flawed. They are true to themselves and have their own voice.

Journey
From the beginning I just kept wondering how Lucas was going to solve the case. It seemed like the perfect crime. The criminals thought it out so well and I just could not figure out where the mistake was going to be.

Towards the second third of the book another story comes into play that lends way to that little bit of information that Lucas needed. It worked so well.

I enjoyed the journey beginning to end. There was no lag. It was hard to put it down each night.

Ending
The ending was satisfying in a real world way. Not everything ended up the way it should have, but it ended the only way it really could have without seeming contrived.


Overall

This would probably rank in the top five of the Prey series for me. It was smart, clever and kept me wondering right up to the end.


Overall Ratings
Premise  5/5
Writing 5/5
Humor/Emotions 4/5
Characters 5/5
Journey 5/5
Ending 4/5
Overall 5/5


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Weekly Roundup June 5 – 11 2013



The week started out with a bang of sorts. My car wouldn’t start on Wednesday morning. It was just dead. I called for a jump from the local shop we use and they came and it started. The technician looked at the battery and said that it had a 2002-2003 date on it. Say what? My car is a 2009 and I just bought this battery in September of 2012. So…really, what? I called in, said I would be late…er than I was and headed off to the shop.

As I drove to the shop I prepared my argument to the shop owner and the police. It never hurts to be prepared. I waited as they tested my battery and I waited. On the plus side, I did start a new book and it kept me quite entertained as I waited and waited. For a shop that “opens” at 8:00, there sure were a lot of people there. Finally my car was done and it was a bad battery. Luckily I had the paperwork in my car that clearly showed I purchased said battery only 8 months prior and I left owing zero dollars. They even “comped” the jump fee of $35. I didn’t look, but I am hoping this battery is from this decade.

The rest of the week was pretty darn tame after that. I did have a work meeting, a rare occurrence, on Thursday that was both very eye-opening and vague. I was volunteered for something, but I am not 100% sure what that is. Also, I am not sure anyone else knows what it is either. I have another meeting tomorrow out of town. I have a feeling it is going to take longer to get there than the meeting will last, but we shall see.

I did do some knitting. I didn’t get done what I wanted to, but I did some knitting. And I did it while watching some hockey…

Which didn’t seem to really matter, because the Penguins lost anyways and I in no way feel responsible for that. They were swept by the Bruins. A moment of silence…

I really thought that if they could have won game three, then there was a good chance of making the comeback and winning. I really did. But, when Boston won on a play that should have been blown dead (not being a homer, you can even ask Milbury), it just didn’t look good. They played really well in games three and four, but alas it was not meant to be. There has been a lot of talk on twitter about relieving Dan Bylsma of his duties as head coach, but I tend to agree with the players, he’s not playing the game, they are. I do question his line pairings. I think he underutilized Jarome Iginla. He had him playing opposite the wing he has played his entire career and while I know he believes that a forward should be able to play whatever position they are needed for, would it have killed him to put him on his usual wing? I also question the defense. Big time. I cringed every time I saw Letang in too deep and behind the oppositions net because that meant there was only one person back on defense and a two or three on one was a huge possibility. I never questioned goaltending. I think Vokoun was the right choice. I think his head was in the game and I think his teammates let him down.

I worry that Pascal Dupuis & Matt Cooke won’t be back next year. I would love to see the forward roster intact. I would love to keep Dupuis & Cooke along with Iginla & Morrow. I love Douglas Murray on defense and Paul Martin. I am okay with Letang being shopped and Engelland just being left on a trip somewhere. I just feel that we are defense rich and the young guys need a chance to play. Fleury is an enigma. Sometimes he is good and sometimes he is not even at the same game. He is a huge question mark. I think he is too unpredictable. Anyways, that is what I think. It will be an interesting summer.

I am reading Silken Prey by John Sandford and I hope to have a review up by the end of the weekend. I just started it, but it is going well and the story is progressing nicely. It is so nice to read an author that advances the story and doesn’t drag the reader down with time jumps and a ton of unnecessary description. I’m looking at you Gillian Flynn.

Coming up next week: I’m not really sure. There is not a ton of stuff going on around here this time of year. Hopefully some knitting and some reading. I am toying with some extra post ideas, but nothing is concrete yet. Definitely stay tuned because I will have some pictures to share soon.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

T.V. Talk Tuesday Notes – June 4 – 10, 2013



The Killing – Episodes 1-3

I finally got around to watching The Killing season premiere. I love this show. It is dark, edgy and smart. I am loving the new cast as well. Peter Saarsgard is amazing as Ray Seward, chilling and smart. Hugh Dillon has been a favorite of mine for several years and it is interesting to see him in such a different role. I am loving Bex Taylor-Klaus, the young actress who plays Bullet. She is so captivating.

After last night’s episode three, I am happy that Linden is back on SPD & hope that she starts pairing up with Holder soon. While I am enjoying his new partner, I know how great Holder & Linden are together.

There was a lot of buzz on twitter about who the killer might be after the season premiere and I have to say that I am sort of on the fence. I have a suspect, but I need more information. I have ruled some people out as they seem to obvious and I am also not sure that they introduced the killer in the first few episodes. 

As was expected, I give the season premiere an A+. They got right to the story and are not wasting any time filling in a lot of backstory.

Stay tuned, because I will be on the case every week!

Graceland
This new drama from USA premiered on June 6th. When I first read the premise, I was intrigued, but when I started looking into the cast, I was a lot less intrigued, but decided to give it a go anyways.

The only actors I am familiar with in this series, are Daniel Sunjata (Paul Briggs), Vanessa Ferlito (Charlie DeMarco) and Scottie Thompson (Lauren Kincaid). And to be completely honest, I have never been impressed by any of them.

The premise of the show is a seized house in California is the home of undercover agents from various government law enforcement agencies (Customs, FBI, CIA…). When an agent is exposed, a new graduate is brought in to replace him. He is young, green and seems completely inept. It is a classic formula. New guy + sticky situation + screw up = “losing” job. Then there is a mix up and new guy gets a second chance and the skeptical mentor saves the day and then new guy learns his real task is to investigate skeptical mentor.

I was prepared to give this show maybe two episodes and then cutting it loose, based on the cast alone. But then the premiere was pretty darn good and I am upset that I have to wait until Thursday to see the next episode.

I give the season premiere an A-. Mostly because it was a classic formula but did keep me interested. I give the casting a C at best. While I did enjoy Sunjata’s character, Scottie Thompson is not a good actress. I have seen her in a few different shows and it always seems like she is trying too hard. It is not natural and I just can’t get on board with her. Also I wish that they would have cast Mike Warren with another name that I recognize. I think Aaron Tveit is fine, I just wish I knew him better.

Motive

I did watch the first few episodes of Motive. It is a new drama out of Canada that is airing on ABC on Thursday nights before Rookie Blue.

Um, the jury is still out. I am not 100% on board with the format. You learn who the victim is and who the killer is in the first few minutes and then watch as the police make the connection. It’s a little different take on the classic cop drama. In a way I feel like I am being cheated the opportunity to figure out who did it. But then I think about the books that I read where I know who the killer is and how it goes on to tell the tale of how the police solve it. So…

The actors are I believe all Canadian, much like Rookie Blue. There were a few guest stars I remember from both Rookie Blue and Flashpoint.

It is frustrating that they aired a few episodes and then are taking a two week break for the NBA playoffs/finals. It is a momentum killer.

First impression grade is a B. I was entertained, but still need time to figure out if it is a keeper.

Rookie Blue

This is almost like a guilty pleasure show for me. It is a different sort of cop drama. It doesn’t feel like a drama most of the time. It feels light and airy. Not in a bad way, they deal with serious subjects, but there really isn’t an edge to it. It’s in its fourth season and most of the cast is still intact, last season saw the loss of one of my most favorite characters, Jerry. And so far this season we have yet to see Luke.

I am in love with Ben Bass’s Sam Swarek. He is probably the edgiest character on the show. Oliver is light hearted and offers a comedic punch when you need it. As far as the females go, Andy is the main character, but I much prefer Nash. She is smart and driven. Gail is spoiled, but it appears she doesn’t expect everything to be handed to her anymore.

I guess I think of it as a guilty pleasure because it isn’t really a thinking man’s show. Things just easily fall into place and everything is wrapped up in an hour with plenty of time for the gang to hang out at The Penny.

I give the premiere & first few episodes a B. There was nothing that was stellar, just a regular episode that cleared up all the hangers in the season three finale.

Major Crimes

Season two premiered on Monday, June 10th. It was a good episode. There wasn’t a cliffhanger in the season one finale, so it was basically a stand-alone episode. I enjoyed the case, I thought it was smart and clever.

I liked that there was still a continuity of story from the series finale of The Closer in the mention of the case against Phillip Stroh and the testimony needed from Rusty.

There is one new character, Deputy DA Emma Rios. I didn’t really care for her, but that could be what they were going for.

I love the dynamic between Rader & Rusty. I just think that there is such a high level of respect and love between them, without it needing to be shown or said.

I give it an A-. I was impressed with the carry over of Stroh, but felt the story was a regular season case, nothing too dramatic.

King & Maxwell

This is a new series that debuted on Monday, June 10th, starring Jon Tenney & Rebecca Romijn. My first reaction was mixed. I love Jon Tenney. I think he pulls off his character well, I enjoyed him. My problem comes with Rebecca Romijn. I am not a fan of hers. I just think her acting is blah. I won’t lie, I do not really go into things with an open mind. I didn’t hate her in this, I need to see more to make a final decision.

Some thoughts on the episode…

·         Really that bus only hit a couple of cars? I find that a little hard to believe since the guy driving it was in a beaver suit.
·         Nice, they addressed the bus/beaver suit thing
·         I must admit I did enjoy the “reading of the rights” bit.
·         A senator vouched for them? Was that their “one phone call”?
·         No way she carries one little item.
·         Oh how sad, Hilary.
·         The FBI guy seems like a stereotypical tv FBI guy.
·         So she keeps clothes at the office? What about laundering them?
·         So he is a lawyer.
·         I would love to know how these two came together to be private investigators. They seem to have a history, it would be nice to know what it is. Perhaps they will explore that. I hope.
·         Uh, what kind of prison were they holding this guy in?
·         Oh, I see, his autism played into it, but it still doesn’t explain why nobody was watching him.
·         I still find it hard to follow all of the different government law enforcement agencies and their jurisdictions.
·         He is holding his hand in pain, yet she is not? Let’s not do this whole “girl’s are tougher” thing. If it hurts a dude, it hurts a chick.
·         See, Homeland, FBI, CIA, now NSA…what?
·         This show doesn’t really inspire a sense of security in government law enforcement agencies.
·         Oh look, a Macbook.
·         There are too many names in this show. Way too many names to keep straight.
·         Never turn your back. There is always someone there to hit you on the head. Rookie mistake.
·         Megan is not too smart.
·         Now see if CSPAN was more like that, I might watch more. And by more, I mean at all.
·         Ooh, I hope Edgar is going to be a regular character. I really like him and find him endearing.
·         Wait, Megan was in the agency? CIA? They scrubbed her because she was mental? Really? She just seemed really dumb.
·         I’m going to ask the unpopular question. Why is it okay for a woman to hit a man in self-defense and a woman, but a man never hits a woman in self-defense? It’s a double-standard that no show has ever addressed and probably never will address. It just bothers me. In real life, if I were a bad person and holding a gun on a guy and he overtook me, I would totally expect to get punched in the face. I probably wouldn’t be happy about it, but it wouldn’t be unexpected.

I give the premiere a B. I had a hard time figuring out all the different agencies and the “players”. I would have liked a little bit of backstory as to how these two became partners, hoping that is to come. I have not read the David Baldacci books that this series is based on, but I hope to read the first one soon (waiting on the e-library). I will definitely be giving this a full summer season run, so you can look forward to more thoughts on it.

What are you watching this summer? Hit the comments and let me know. Also, I am looking for some recommendations/thoughts on the following shows that I am considering beginning this summer.
1.       Game of Thrones – is it worth it? Is it hard to get into?
2.       Pretty Little Liars – I am a 30+ year old adult…okay a 35+ year old adult, but I think if something is good, age doesn’t matter. Will these girls intrigue or repel me?
3.       Burn Notice – a little late since the final season is airing now, but is it something worth watching?

Any other suggestions? I have Netflix & Hulu plus the premium channels so I get OnDemand stuff. Let me know!

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Soap Box Saturday: June 3 - 7, 2013

You can definitely tell that sweeps are over because the soaps were so boring this week. But, I watched anyway, most of it.

General Hospital

  • Finally people are realizing that Franco is a legit Quartermaine. That is except for the monkey that runs their facebook & twitter accounts because they legit asked if you wanted to see Kiki & Morgan together or Kiki & Michael together. Yes, they are apparently condoning incest, as Michael & Kiki are blood relatives…
  • Why are soap opera courtroom proceedings so quick and awkward? I realize it is a soap opera but you would think that since they spend nine months trying to figure out who the killer is, they could spend more than nine minutes on throwing the case against said criminal out!
  • Holy Boobs Batman!! First, during the Nurse’s Ball, Alexis was flaunting some boobage and then when Franco was being arraigned this week, Diane was about to burst out of the top of her dress!
  • And speaking of clothing & cleavage, have you ever noticed the clothing these “professional” women wear? I can’t imagine a corporate office that would be cool with an employee sporting a strapless tube top with a skirt that barely covers her ass cheeks.
  • I admit that I fast-forwarded through a lot of this week’s episodes. I cannot get on board with the Patrick/Britt/Sabrina/Felix gang. It is too contrived for me and I just have to say no. You know, for my sanity.
  • Further, I can’t watch Spinelli & Ellie. I have never been a Spinelli fan, he is so freaking annoying that I want to punch him every time he opens his mouth.
  • And I am sure that everyone who watches can see where the Baby Danny cancer story is going. And if you can’t, let me help you along. He is going to have leukemia (poor thing) and need a bone marrow transplant. There is only one person who will be a match and that person will be Franco. Since, you know he is Jason’s twin. Yeah, fun summer ahead.
  • I have to honestly admit that I do like Roger Howarth as Franco. Of course I don’t really consider him to be the same Franco. He is nuFranco, somewhat likable and almost lovable.


All My Children
  • AMC is getting difficult to watch. Not that I was ever a huge fan or anything, but there was a summer I started watching and I tuned in a lot during the primetime t.v. writer’s strike. Plus I am a loyal Soap Opera Digest reader, so I always knew what was going on. But, I am just not a fan and these are some of the reasons why.
  • It will be interesting to see if the actress playing Cassandra can speak without crying.
  • I don’t like nuJR. He is just too goody goody for my taste.
  • Are they leading up to a JR/Cara relationship?
  • I cannot get on board with Pete(y) running a multi-million dollar business and dating an 18 year old.
  • Pine Valley is not that big of a city is it? It shouldn’t be that hard to find Russian sex traffickers.
  • And why would Russian sex traffickers set up shop in Pine Valley? I would think you would want to be closer to a big city, a metropolis.
  • I am so over Angie having these monologue moments where she does nothing but cry and wail about her missing daughter.
  • Ugh, nuColby. The show has enough ditzy characters, they didn’t really need to add the stereotypical blonde one.



One Life To Live
  • I know I am supposed to remember Snoop Dog’s connection to Llanview, but I don’t. I don’t think he would be sticking around some hole in the wall town in PA and randomly dropping by Matthew’s apartment. 
  • What app is Tea using to chat with? It looks pretty weak. She’s still working right? She can afford $1.99 for a decent app.
  • I would think that Destiny’s family would be more than willing to help her out. They were super supportive on OLTL 1.0. Plus her brother Shaun was her biggest supporter.
  • And where the hell is she getting the money for that apartment? That is a really nice apartment and she wears some pretty skanky clothes, so I am not buying that she is having a tough time. Plus I don’t like her.
  • The whole Viki/Pellegrino/Clint/Dorian saga is already old and it is just getting started.
  • I cannot take David seriously anymore. I used to love him, but this whole actor/producer/reality thing is just too much for me.


There was some additional breaking news this week concerning the AMC/OLTL production. They are now on hiatus because of a labor dispute. Sigh.

First they went from four episodes per week per show, to two episodes per week per show, to now not even filming. The schedule is going to be uninterrupted through September, but if an agreement is not reached or if they move production there could be a delay and how many people are going to stick around?


They have brought new writers, but is it too late? I guess time will tell. But perhaps it is time to cut them loose and welcome in Y&R to my schedule?

Friday, June 07, 2013

Bookmarks: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn



I started Dark Places back in May, but my elibrary copy expired before I could finish it, so I got back on the list (at two different libraries) and it finally came in a few weeks ago. I tried to finish the book. I tried really hard, but I just couldn’t do it.

I’ve read two of Flynn’s other books; Sharp Objects & Gone Girl. I am not a fan of hers. I do not like her writing style at all. If I had to pick her best book, it would be Sharp Objects, which I did not expect. Usually the first book is not the author’s best, but Flynn’s was, in my opinion. In Dark Places and in Gone Girl she employs changing points of view and back and forth time jumps. I am not a fan of that most of the time and this was no exception. I made it through Gone Girl because I was promised a twisty end, which I guess there was, but I sort of expected everything that happened.

Dark Places follows Libby Day in the present, trying to “earn” money to live off of. She was the lone survivor of her family’s massacre that was perpetrated by her brother Ben. She bounced around as a child and has been living off of a small inheritance. She is a depressing character, who is unable to remember to eat and buy cat food. She is a kleptomaniac with no future, no desire to be anything or do anything. She finds out that her trust fund is depleted and while she cares, she doesn’t seem in a hurry to really do anything worthwhile to support herself. She is invited to speak at The Kill Club, a society of true crime “freaks” who try and solve or reenact headline and not so headline crimes.

Deciding that she can make some money, she meets up with Lyle and finds out that the Day Kill Club sect is bent on proving that her brother Ben was not the killer, even though Libby testified in court and Ben did and has done nothing to clear his name. She earns some money doing little tasks and by selling off some memorabilia.

The story jumps from Libby’s in the present “investigation” of the murders and the events of the day of the murder through the points of view of Ben & her mother Patricia.

I stopped reading just before the three quarter mark and sought out spoilers. The kind of spoilers I was looking for are not so easy to find. I basically wanted someone to tell me who did it and why. I read enough to know what happened and feel okay about not finishing the book. It is not hanging over my head and I am quite happy to have put it behind me and feel even better about my decision to avoid any more Gillian Flynn books.

From my spoiler research, I don’t believe I would have been satisfied with the ending. I think I would have been really disappointed. It appears to have been a sort of ill-conceived ending without the kind of resolution I would have been looking for.
It feels wrong to rate a book I didn’t finish reading, but I think I read enough to give it one bookmark and that is because I felt that the concept was interesting, but the execution was poor, descriptions were lengthy and mind numbing. I thought the different points of view/”eras” were difficult to navigate through (Libby in the now, Ben in the past, Libby in the now, Patricia in the past), I found myself trying to remember where we left off with each character (not an easy task to flip back when you are using an ereader). It just didn’t flow well for me.


I think that Gillian Flynn is a good writer, readers love her books, but for me, Dark Places and Gone Girl were too much work. I don’t believe reading should be work, I believe it is a time to get lost in another world, in a story. Having to work so hard to get the story is just not how I want to spend my time.


Did you read Dark Places? Was I unfair in not giving it my full attention? Are you able to just quit reading a book? Hit the comments and let me know.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Weekly Roundup May 29 – June 4, 2013



Well the last week has sort of sucked if you are a Penguins fan. After eight days off, that is 8 days off, the Penguins have come back to the playoffs looking like a team of blind monkeys. No offense to monkeys.

I’m finding it hard to believe that a team can be so great in the regular season, okay to get through the first round of playoffs, pretty exceptional during round two, and then completely suck ass in the conference finals. Not impossible to believe, because it is happening, but still hard.

I am not sure where my arrow lies on the hope meter. I know that a team can come back from being two games down and win, I just don’t know if the team I saw last night is hungry enough to do it.

May is over. Like really over. I didn’t get much done. Nothing near what I had thought was reasonable. That is always disappointing for me and leaves me with little hope and motivation for the next month. I am going to try though.

Reading
I only managed two books this month; 12th of Never by Maxine Paetro with a special cover appearance by James Patterson and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.  Something left me not wanting to read after Sharp Objects. I think Gillian Flynn ruins reading for me. I had the same problem after I read Gone Girl.

I had started to read Dark Places back in April and then just could not get through it in time so I put a hold on it again and this past Saturday decided to pick up where I left off. Yesterday I searched out spoilers because I just cannot read it. I do not understand how/why people think Gillian Flynn is a good author. Her books seem so disjointed and things do not flow well. I like the thought of the dark and twisty concepts, I just think her execution is poor. And from reading the Dark Places spoilers, it looks like I dodged a major time suck bullet.

Television & Movies
I am not much of a movie watcher. It is hard for me to sit still and concentrate long enough to get through a movie. If I do, it happens quite by accident. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon the movie, the old movie, 13 Going On 30 starring Jennifer Garner & Mark Ruffalo. It is from 2004. It is the only full length movie I have watched this year. Last week I did turn on Magic Mike. Surprisingly I made it through 20 minutes before my brain needed life support. I can only imagine I had this on my to see list from last year because I was sick of watching the Flyers. There is no other acceptable explanation.

As you know, if you read my T.V. Talk Tuesday post, I have managed to watch all of the season finales, except for Elementary, but that is because I am still trying to watch Elementary episodes dating back to February. All in good time. I am also caught up on most of the new summer shows that have started. I sat down on Sunday night to watch The Killing, but in the year long absence, I forgot that it is a “must watch” show and not something you can follow while also watching twitter. Oops.

There are two new shows I am most looking forward to this summer. First is King & Maxwell on TNT. I am not a big Rebecca Romijn fan, but I do love Jon Tenney. I felt he was seriously underused in The Closer and and happy that TNT has found an outlet for him.

Second I am extremely interested in Crossing Lines airing on NBC later in the month. A lot of unknown actors, but two well known; William Fichtner & Donald Sutherland.  At first glance it looks like a legitimate, more serious Covert Affairs.

For what it’s worth I do watch Covert Affairs, I am just not on board with the legitimacy of it or Piper Perabo.

Knitting – What is that again?

So I barely picked up the needles in May. I looked at hundreds of projects and patterns and even started two projects. I nearly cried with each row I knit. I just hated every minute of it. I don’t know if it was because I knew how long and boring they are going to be or if my knitting switch is broken.

I knit a 8 rows on Sunday and 8 last night and it was all I could do to just get through them. Perhaps I have too many projects going and feel guilty about not finishing or even working on any of them. I might need to just pick one project and finish it to feel better and get back on track. The only problem is what project do I pick? They are all in the beginning stages or at best in the middle and are all lengthy for a part-time knitter. I guess I should just do the one that needs to be done first…more to come.