Thursday, May 30, 2013

The One with an Update of Sorts

I haven’t been in a very bloggy place for a while now. I am all messed up on days and time. It seems as though, May skipped right past me. Tomorrow is the 31st and as I look at my goals, I failed in a big way. I had so much get up and go in the first couple of weeks and then I just hit a skid. I think I can blame some of it on a medication change around the middle of the month. I am starting to feel on track again.

I hope to pick up my knitting again soon. I have two new projects started, but I haven’t felt drawn to them lately. I am actually thinking about picking up my Hitchhiker and working on that. Possibly even tonight. It would be great to reclaim some of my row counters & needles. Part of the reason my knitting has been lacking is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

For the previous two playoff seasons I had picked out specific playoff projects with a specific yarn. Both times my beloved Penguins were ousted in the first round. This year I vowed no playoff projects and banished the cursed yarn. I knit a little during the Islanders series and they lost a couple of games so I put it away. This season they made it to round two. I thought, well I will knit a little and see how it goes. I did in the first period of a game and they started losing. So I put the knitting away and they started winning. Lesson learned. No knitting during Penguins playoff games. I am perfectly waiting until June 29th to knit if it means the Penguins raise the Stanley Cup. I do have a few days before the Conference Finals start so I might get a few rows done.

The end of the month snuck up on me this week. I knew it was the end of the month, but I didn’t realize just how quickly it was going until last night when I realized I had not started prepping my June spreadsheets. I started them this morning but still have a ways to go. Hoping I can get it all done by the end of the day tomorrow. Exciting and stressful at the same time. I love the fresh start of a new month.

Behind our corporate office they are building a  new brewery (never mind that our company is building a chemical dependency treatment center next door) and beginning on Tuesday, protesters showed up to protest fair wages. We were enthralled by it on Tuesday, there were almost fisticuffs and things were tense. And we had no clue what they were protesting. Then there was an article and I read it twice and it stated it was not a union issue, but it is a union issue. I know they want the carpenters to be paid the area standard. I also know that yesterday they started chanting and today they have brought a whistle with them and it is no longer entertaining. It is annoying and distracting. They obviously have no consideration for those of us who are paid a fair wage and trying to get our jobs done, or for the people who live in the area.

My mom and I took a little day trip this past Sunday to see the Tizer Gardens. It is just under an hour away and is tucked back in the mountains. It was lovely, although I expected more. I thought the separate gardens they have would be a bit more grand. As it is, they are all sort of clumped together and there is no signage so you are kind of unsure which garden you are at. Plus the trails seem to make one odd circle and you have to backtrack a lot. Just didn’t feel cohesive to me. We ended our visit just before the rain hit.

And that is a little end of the month update. I won’t promise to be on track in June, although I really hope things start to fall into place. I feel I am a bit more settled as there were some things that were up in the air, but have settled down to earth and I know better where I stand on things.

Thanks for reading. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Soap Box Saturday: May 13 - 17, 2013

  • I am a little annoyed that Cara’s secret still isn’t out. I blame it on rebooting the show with a time jump. Usually the audience is aware of the secret, but they haven’t clued the audience in yet.
  • So glad Dixie finally clued AJ in to the fact that his father, JR has been in a coma for five years and that is why he didn’t recognize him.
  •  And speaking of JR, he seems to be going home from the hospital in a hurry. He’s in a coma for five years, wakes up and goes home the next day?
  • This sex slave thing needs to be wrapped up in a hurry, I can’t handle Cassandra crying all the freaking time. Plus I am so over the half-naked people.
  • I think if JR was going to go to jail, he would already be there. I am sure they have medical wards in Pennsylvania penitentiaries.
  • Only took two weeks for me to really hate David again.
  • We all know that Miranda is going to find out about her paternity soon right? I mean why else bring it up?
  • Cinnamon is Lea, who up until now we have only seen in the opening credits. How did the FBI not know that the people they are investigating for money laundering are also in the sex slave business?
  • I really can’t stomach Pete & Celia. It is all to sugary sweet and just so Disney.
  • David is going to go into the corporate world? Really? I know he can’t practice medicine, but still… 


  • So Victor is leaving town? Does that mean they didn’t sing Trevor St. John to a contract?
  • I am assuming that Prospect Park and The Online Network got a HUGE deal from Apple because everyone is using a Mac product. EVERYONE
  • There is a lot of skin and drinking on this show. I am not sure showing youngsters getting bombed and stripping is really the way to peddle to the young crowd.
  • So the pairings will be Jeffery & Destiny and Dani & Matthew. Just in case you didn’t see the blatant writing on the wall.
  • So this nightclub thing is going to be a real presence in OLTL 2.0 and apparently that is the only place you are going to see Cutter, Rama & Natalie.
  • Victor isn’t very good at killing people. And what person uses the worst return on a web search? He probably used Bing instead of Google.
  • Nice to see that they are finally getting to the dead person from episode one.
  • Did Natalie even study forensics? Because her handling of evidence is atrocious. Watch an episode of CSI people!
  • What’s the rush Clint is in to marry Viki? It’s not like she is pregnant and unwed. Plus they have been down the marriage road before? And why doesn’t he give her money for The Banner? He must have some if he is going to jet her off to Paris and buy a whole new wardrobe with a personal shopper.
  • Yeah, Jack is pretty screwed up DNA wise. I mean look at what a little witch Starr was when she was younger. And Jack is/was a bully. It’s not like Blair is an angel, and we all know what Todd/Victor is capable of, so yeah he is screwed up.
  • Are they going to do a Catfishing storyline with Matthew & “Michelle”? Because that is really getting played out.
  • Wow. Lanview Crime Lab works as fast as the CSI Miami lab. DNA in a day? Not even a full day!
  • You would have thought Victor would have cleared the browser history on Tea’s computer.
  • Who’s watching Lanview citizens? And how did he/she get a camera in everyone’s house? Cable guy?

General Hospital

  • Seriously I know everyone is supposed to hate Brit, because every show needs that, but I have never wanted to punch someone so much in my entire life. Maybe it would be different if she were pretty, but she’s not. She needs to just GTFO.
  • Um, how far is NYC from Port Charles? Because it seems that Michael got to Morgan pretty damn fast.
  • And why didn’t anyone try to track Morgan’s phone to NYC? It was on the entire time! CSI reruns for the writers at GH!
  • I am not a fan of Felix.
  • This relish thing needs to go away in a hurry. How long has this been going on? A year? Five? They are completely wasting Tracy and AJ. They should have had them be co-CEO’s of ELQ. That could have been so entertaining, but instead they do this stupid relish thing just to bring in the lead in show The Chew? I want to barf like the Chew hosts all did.
  • Did they sign Tyler Christopher’s chest to a contract? That is the only reason I can think of for him to be shirtless 98% of the time. I’m not saying it’s not a nice chest, I am just seeing too much of it.
  • And speaking of Nik’s Chesticles. Kudos to the writers for Tracy’s jab about his half nakedness and daytime drama. Spot on!
  • The OLTL Trio returned to Port Charles on Monday all sporting new looks as if that would make us forget they were Todd, Starr & John.
  • All three made brief appearances not in Port Charles, but in New York City and now they are all going to transplant to Port Charles?
  •  Kiki? Love the dark hair. But her character is so hateable right from the start. Plus isn’t it going to be kind of gross when she separates from Morgan and then hooks up with Michael? You know that will happen because the fans loved Starr with Michael.
  • Uh Silas…Steven/Caleb didn’t resemble you, he had your exact everything!
  • I loved the Connie/Olivia dynamic/relationship holding the bad guy “hostage”. They were a breath of fresh air in the staleness of the Morgan gambling storyline.
  • Why did neither Carly or AJ think about telling Tracy the reference to them sleeping together was about their past hookup that produced Michael instead of being so transparent?
  • I thought it would be fun to have Scotty back, but he is just so insecure and jealous. Be a man.
  • I would love for Luke & Tracy to get back together. I think they play of each other so well and are always entertaining.
  • The Nickolas/AJ/Elizabeth thing has been done before but it was Lucky/Jason/Elizabeth.
  • Is GH the first soap of rewind aging? I could swear the last time I saw Cameron he was much older than he now appears.
  • Why isn’t Lucy at the wedding? She is like Scott’s BFF, even if she is his ex.
  • I would like to know how long they are going to draw this Lulu lost memory thing out. I realize they did it because of the change in actresses and all, but seriously it is getting old. She is always in a t-shirt and underwear at Milo’s studio and he is always shirtless. I would think she would want to get out and about a little bit. Maybe buy some pajamas. Also isn’t Wyndymere going to bring back some bad memories? It is not like anything good has ever happened there.

Other Soap Opera News

  • Y&R has decided to kill off legendary character Kay Chancellor after her portrayer, Jeanne Cooper’s passing last week. The storyline will come to fruition in late summer.
  • A special tribute to Cooper will air in the regular Y&R timeslot on May 28th.
  • Look for Dimitri Marick to resurface in Pine Valley, as Michael Nader has signed with AMC. It is reported that Brooke hires him to head up a division of Chandler Industries.
  • Susan Lucci is scheduled to sit down with Prospect Park in an attempt to bring Erica Kane back to Pine Valley.
  • It looks like one of the characters behind Cassandra’s kidnapping on AMC is none other than daytime’s best pimp Billy Clyde Tuggle as Matthew Cowles reprises his role. Who I honestly cannot remember. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Soap Box: Special Edition May 16, 2013

I didn’t have anything planned for today and was expecting to work on a Friday Focus & Sunday Share, but then something popped up that I thought would take up a post on its own. So I give you a special Soap Box.

Earlier today The Online Network issued a lengthy statement that in the end dictated that they are reducing the number of new episodes of All My Children (AMC) and One Life To Live (OLTL) it airs each week on Hulu and via download from iTunes.

The shows rebooted on April 29, 2013 with four half hour episodes that ran Monday through Thursday each week. A cut from five one hour episodes when they were on ABC. That is a lot in soap land. It is three hours of viewing , of storytelling each week. Both shows wanted to come back with a bang and they threw so much story at viewers. In three weeks not one story has been resolved and now it looks as though it will take twice as long with cutting the new episodes to one hour per week!

The statement throws around the big demo words, percentages and shares. It has been three weeks today of new episodes. Most people are unable to watch during the day and have to settle for nightly or weekend viewing. During that time they are competing with prime time television. Prime time is airing season finales this week and into next. So why didn’t/doesn’t the Online Network wait to see the trends? My Hulu viewing picks up during  the summer with the lack of regular prime time new series/episodes. I would imagine there are more people out there who do that as well.

From comments on their facebook posting for both shows, fans are more than happy to sit through a marathon viewing on the weekends. It is two hours per show, the same amount of time as a decent movie.

Perhaps the lack of viewership isn’t even related to time constraints but to the quality of the writing. It is blatantly obvious that the writers are not the same caliber as the previous network writers. There are unexplained time jumps, secrets that the audience is not privy to, lapses in continuity, and a dependence on adult language and semi-nudity. New characters have been thrust in, new actors taking over beloved roles. It is easy to see that this came together in a short time. Stories were hastily written, casting appears to be first come, first serve, sets are new and unrecognizable. It all screams, “We were not ready”.

I find it hard to believe that this sudden change is based solely on viewership numbers. Three weeks is not enough time to gain a foothold. You have to give the audience more time than on network to find you and be able to sit down and watch. Perhaps they should have conducted research on how many homes that viewed the shows on network have access to online streaming before launching.

It feels as though they are phasing the shows out and calling it quits. What happens in another three weeks when viewership doesn’t increase? They cancel the shows. So those viewers who came back are once again left without closure. 

Sound off in the comments below.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Weekly Roundup: May 8 – 14, 2013

Getting Older
My nephew turned 11 on the 8th. I seriously cannot comprehend how that has happened. I still expect the little boy who wanted me to help him find Lego pieces. But now he is like a young man who is into lacrosse and reading and music other than The Wiggles.

And what is worse is that in a couple of weeks I will be reporting on his brother getting older as well!

Cute Overload
This happens a lot.

 That is my dear sweet Cooper and his security friend Sabrina. Usually he pulls her out when he needs some sense of security. This was on Saturday as I was putting away groceries.

And this happens a lot as well…

 This is Elliott getting ready for bed. He doesn’t like when the light is on, so he puts his head where he can to block the light.

I say they do these things a lot which is true, but usually by the time I get the camera they have followed me around the house in hopes that I am getting them food!

Like my nephew, I can’t believe my boys are closing in on 8 years old!

Round One Goes To…
The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled out two wins last week to claim the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Islanders.

They never fail to amaze me in both good and bad ways. They came out strong in game one, claiming a 5-0 victory. Game two was a scorefest, with the Isles getting the win. Game three had some controversy, if you listen to Mike Millbury & Jeremy Roenick, which you shouldn’t. The Pens picked up a big OT win. Then in game four they were back to flip floppy play with another scoring festival. The Isles claimed a 6-4 win. Game five was back in Pittsburgh and a goalie change was in order. Tomas Vokoun had a strong showing, shutting out the Islanders. He was back for game six and held strong until we got he win in OT. So the Pens in six! Whew!

Round two began last night and the Penguins stood tall again in front of Vokoun and came away with a BIG win over the Ottawa Senators. This round has much drama behind it and is the matchup I did not want!

That would be our weather. May is generally one of our rain months, but so far it has been sunny, dry and warm. Oh and really windy.
On Monday afternoon three fires broke out all within 60 miles of our valley town. By 9:00 p.m. we were contemplating closing our windows because the smoke was chokingly strong. One fire was small and claimed a couple of houses. The other two are forest/wild fires that are contained, but continue to burn. Houses have been lost and families evacuated. I pray for rain to start falling soon. It is way too early for fire season.

Back to School
Not really. Although there are times when I would love to, it is just too hard to work all day and then try to study. But that does not mean that I am not going to expand my knowledge. I am preparing to begin working on some software certification studies in the very near future. Possibly at the end of the week. I was given the blessing of my company’s CEO to use some downtime to pursue this and I intend to take full advantage.

I am PDSAing a little schedule of sorts here on the blog. If you don’t know what PDSA is, it stands for Plan, Do, Study, Act. It is a holdover from my days working in medical offices and is a method of putting new plans/ideas into action, but planning, doing it, studying the results and then acting upon it (either yay or nay).
I am also trying to come up with a new design plan. I have a few ideas, but I need to sit down and plan a few things out. I hope to have it complete by the end of summer, but it is low on the totem pole as blogging is not my money maker.

And that is my weekly roundup. I do want to give a big shoutout Happy Birthday to my big sister. She turns another year better tomorrow. I am not ashamed to say that I have the best sister and mother in the whole world. Sorry to all, but it is true, they are the best!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

TV Talk Tuesday: May 7 - 13, 2013

TV News

  •  24 is coming back for a limited series run. Fox will launch a 12 hour mini-series in replace of a 24 movie. The format will still be the same, but 12 “filler” hours will be cut to allow for the shortened run.

TV Talk

NCIS – Tuesday, May 7, 2013
  •     I admit to skipping the final two episodes of NCIS. I have never been a fan of the time honored witch hunt and I am not going to start now. I miss the days of them solving actual murders and stuff.

Arrow– Wednesday, May 8, 2013
  • Can you blame Walter for wanting a divorce from Moira on Arrow? She kept him in the dark, lied to him, had him kidnapped and then is all like, “No Walter. I love you.” Uh, yeah, I don’t think so.
  • Is Felicity the best character on Arrow? Yes, yes I think she is.
  • Does anyone else get the feeling that Tommy is going to morph into some sort of Arrow sidekick?
  • Laurel has curtains; perhaps she should close them so that anyone on the street can’t spy her knocking boots with Oliver.

The Vampire Diaries– Thursday, May 9, 2013
  • Can Bonnie finally be really dead on The Vampire Diaries? Please? She is a whiner and I am not a fan of those.
  • Alaric returned and not a moment to soon. I would gladly exchange Bonnie for Alaric. Make it happen TVD PTB (The Vampire Diaries Powers That Be)
  • I wanted Silas to not be just some old pile of melted flesh. I thought he would be a really svelt man that you weren’t quite sure whether to hate or be all hot for.
  • Can Stefan and Caroline just do it already? Because they dynamic between them is getting stale.
  • Something tells me they gang will make it to graduation just in the nick of time.

Grey’s Anatomy– Thursday, May 9, 2013
  • A Super Storm in Seattle? Really? I think I am more surprised it took this long.
  • I am so happy that Alex didn’t nearly kill Chest Pecwell. And I don’t get Shepard’s beef with Alex over the whole thing at the end. He didn’t really blackmail him, he more or less told him the truth…you will always be the guy that beat up the girl. No matter what she did to him. It’s the truth!
  • And Shepard would have done the same thing, so he doesn’t get to be all self-righteous.
  • I wish Bailey’s husband would take her back to LA with him. I can’t stand her whining. And watching an old episode last week, I realized she has always been this way. Plus, she is always quick to blame someone else instead of owning her mistakes.
  • Could Owen have shipped out the happy family any quicker? Geez dude I know you wanted the kid, but Christina did exactly what you asked her to do!
  • I still really wish Arizona would have died in that plane crash. Now we are going to have to go through the whole thing with her cheating on Callie and it is a bunch of women crying and begging for forgiveness. They should spin that off into a new daytime drama, that I won’t be tuning in to.

Scandal – Thursday, May 9, 2013
  • Dear Scandal, WTF? Every time you answer one big question, you develop 60 new ones. Stop it
  • I am really over the entire Fitz/Olivia thing. Either be together or don’t be together. I don’t care which. I am just sick of the “you hurt me”, “you hurt me”, “I can’t be without you” back and forth. I am left to wonder how either of them makes it in the world of politics because they lack backbones.
  • So, um Charlie is still out there and he is NOT working with Billy Chambers.
  • But David is. So the question is, how long has David been working with Billy? And who let Billy live?
  • I believe the writers who write Cyrus are bipolar. One minute you enjoy him, the next he is a ginormous dick who makes his husband cry.
  • I get the feeling the mysterious black man in the trench coat isn’t working for the US government. He told Jake to stay close to the president, which leads me to believe he was planted long before he showed up on screen.

Revolution – Monday, May 13, 2013
  • We still don’t know why Aaron is in the book or even when the book was written!
  •  Uh, I don’t know what those magical little lights are that completely reconstruct a smashed leg in seconds, but I do know a NHL superstar that could totally use that in his mouth.  I’m thinking of you Sid.
  • Bass isn’t having a lot of luck these days. He looks like he needs a hug.
  • I really thought Jason would die. Or maybe I just hoped for it. Either way, I am disappointed.
  • And dear sweet Nora. She is in a world of shit right now.

Castle – Monday, May 13, 201
  •     I am so thankful that Castle didn’t do the split between Beckett interviewing and the case work.
  •  The season finale seemed to lack those little laughs I am so used to having each episode. Even the dramatic Alexis kidnapping episode had some laughs.
  •  I am never sure if I am a fan of the cliffhanger or not. In this case it makes total sense that they would end it the way they did. I will be interested to see if there is a time jump in the season premiere in September.
  •  With the action of the last few season finales, it was sort of nice to have a more toned down ending.

Sorry I am missing links today. I am having some spotty internet issues. Hopefully things will be on track next week.

I am already starting on next week's T.V. Talk Tuesday and a special edition that is tentatively scheduled for Monday, so be on the lookout.

I would love to know your thoughts. Hit the comments below. Happy viewing.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Share: May 12, 2013

A few weeks ago I was browsing the Knit Picks Lovers forum on Ravelry and stumbled upon a Palette Co-Op. I was intrigued and decided to sign up for a 10 yd share.

The way it works is the organizer, in this case Sara, takes sign ups and yardage requests (5, 10, 15, 20 yard increments). When the co-op was full she ordered the yarn and then settled in and measured, cut and wrapped/skeined 150 balls of KP Palette yarn and then she shipped them all out in record time! I was amazed at how fast it all went.

The reason I was really interested is not that I needed another 1500 yards of yarn. Because believe me I do not. I have worked with Palette several times and I love it. Sure I wish it was a superwash wool, but I am more than happy to hand wash what I make from it. There are, like I said 150 colors and now I have a little bit of each color.

Admittedly I did not plan on what I would make with 10 yard increments, so I am just admiring it for now. I know I can do the Bee Keeper's hexagons, but I don't want to. I don't want those. I am thinking maybe mini mitered squares or mini flat hexagons. I plan on experimenting with cutting some 10 yd increments of some Palette colors I already have.

I can see just from looking through the bag there are some colors that are just to gorgeous.

If you have any ideas for 10 yd projects in fingering weight, please let me know. I am super open to ideas!

I hope that you all had a wonderful Mother's Day, whether you are an actual mother or not. I had a lovely day with my mom.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Focus: May 10, 2013

Bear with me. I am trying something new...yet again.

Welcome to Friday Focus. Since I was running out of ideas for Friday Favorites, I thought instead I could focus on one thing. Much easier than coming up with a list of favorite things. Also it is wide open topic wise as is evidenced by today's post.

Let's jump in. And yes it is still technically Friday where I am...

I have been trying to find a way to manage my tasks and life with MS Outlook. Here is this amazing program that I use every single day and I am not using it to anywhere near its potential. I started at work since that is where I use email the most and where I have more things to keep track of.

I always have my open page set to Outlook Today. I like to have a glimpse of what's ahead. Here you can see the only thing happening today was pay day (very important to have that on my calendar). Nothing is scheduled for the next few days. Usually there are room reservations on here. We don't have a fully functional setup at work that utilizes out of office replies, or fully functional scheduling. But we are now using the limited scheduling feature to announce out of office days and reservations for our conference and training rooms. It is working quite well I think. I like knowing who is in and out of the office each day. There are still some that are reluctant to use it, but we try to work with those people.

I also schedule some personal appointments on my calendar since it is not able to be viewed by others.

You can't see it, but I have the Penguins Playoff games scheduled.

Next, I have been making great use of the Tasks feature.

I track my AR each month and can monitor those that are "past due" easily. What is great is that I can keep notes in the task detail portion about any phone calls/correspondence. So far it has been working great and I keep up to date on getting us paid. There are still a few recurring tasks in there, reminders of once-a-month type things that are easily lost in the bustle of daily tasks.

One thing that carries through from work to home is the way I organize my emails.

I have a folder for each month numbered 01 through 12 to correspond with our fiscal periods and year (July is 01 and June is 12). In these I keep requests, memos, credit card purchases, etc.

There are a few things I keep in their own folder: Billing; Grants; Corporate; Invoices. It helps immensely when I can just go to a folder and search by person, date, subject. I have used this system for a few years now and have had zero problems with it. To keep it tidy, I delete emails in the folders at the beginning of each month (May 2012 information was deleted May 1, 2013). If I have accessed it in a year, I don't need to keep it.

My Inbox looks like this:

I keep emails that I have to respond to, perform an action, or orders that have not arrived yet. I only move something after I have completed the task. At the beginning of the month, this gets pretty full. I hate having a full inbox, so I clean it at least weekly, usually twice a week. I am thinking about exploring the flag system within Outlook to handle emails more timely.

At home, I am implementing a similar system with tasks and the calendar (with the exception of Out of Office and Room Reservations. There is no need to schedule my bedroom for sleeping each night).

If you can read it, ignore the 2:00 - 8:00 scheduling of the Penguins game on Saturday. The start time depended upon another series and that was the range it could be between. In case you want to watch, it begins at 7:00 pm EST, 5:00 MDT.

I am just starting to use the task feature so it is still a work in progress, but I decided to highlight (ALL CAPS) the different categories so at first glance I could see where I needed to spend my time. I like having a due date to keep me on track.

Similar to work, I have folders to organize the email I hold on to. I use the following:

  • Bills/Invoices/Receipts for online purchases with subcategories for specific vendors.
  • Family for photos, gift lists, etc.
  • Funnies for those joke type emails that make me laugh
  • Help/Tutorials/Tips & Tricks is mostly for knitting related stuff 
  • Ideas & Inspiration is mostly filled with pattern & gift ideas. It needs to be completely gutted though.
  • Patterns are for patterns I have purchased that are emailed and not through Ravelry
  • Registration/Subscriptions is mostly for password resets and login information when I sign up for a new site
  • School is for all things learning related
  • To Do is a touchy one. I throw things in there that I am tired of seeing in my inbox. It is on the list for May to be completely gutted and dealt with.
  • WW/Health is for all things that are of interest for weight loss and health. Sadly I don't access that folder enough.
I employ the same Inbox system at home that I do at work. It stays until it is dealt with or sent to To Do limbo.

I am just starting to explore all the features and how I can utilize them best. As I find my groove, I hope to update with changes and things that work and don't work.

Do you use Outlook and its features? Let me know what works and doesn't work for you.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Bookmarks: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I put Sharp Objects on hold through the Free Library of Philadelphia after I read Gone Girl back in January.  Actually I put Sharp Objects and Dark Places on hold. When I got notification that Sharp Objects was in, I was a little hesitant about reading it as I had trouble getting through the first half of Gone Girl and I hadn’t quite made it to the half-way point of Dark Places when I had to return it (I am on the list again through both Philadelphia and Montana Library 2 Go, just to see who gets it to me first). In the end, I loaded it onto my Nook.

I started reading it on Saturday night and on Sunday morning I was reading non-spoilery reviews to see if I should continue. After several reviews promised me a twisted story and majorly “effed” characters, I decided to push through it. By the end of Sunday I was almost to the half-way point and Monday had passed it. Tuesday was an off night for me and I just didn’t feel like reading. I finished it last night (Wednesday). I am glad I read it.

I always heard writers saying “Write what you know”. Perhaps that is why I have not written that great novel, because what I know is pretty boring. I hope that Gillian Flynn is not writing what she knows. Because she is a master at creating tortured, disturbed characters and she looks so friendly and normal.

Sharp Objects is Flynn’s first novel and out of the two and a half I have read, I think it is the best. Gone Girl was a hard read. It was hard to get through the slog of the first half. I wanted to quit, but everyone said to just keep going. So I did. And it was an okay payoff at the end. Dark Places, like Gone Girl alternates between the present and that past. Sharp Objects is in the present throughout, with references to the past, but now entire chapters devoted to it. It stays in first person throughout, which is a change as well. Perhaps it is because it is her first novel and she felt less confidence in breaking point of view, or not. I don’t really know, but what I do know is that I appreciated it much more.

The characters are beyond disturbed. I had a hard time picturing the main character, Camille as well as get a real fix on Adora, Alan, Richard, John, and Meredith. I could picture Amma and Jackie without problem. It’s not a huge issue for me, I just prefer to have an image in mind and in this book I didn’t.

The story moves along at a decent pace and I think that can be attributed to not going back and forth in time and point of view. 

The characters and their history were well developed and quite twisty and tormented. I enjoyed the relationship between Camille & Curry and I rooted for her to find someone who could accept her. The ending left me satisfied and I felt that it was a good standalone book, unlike Gone Girl.
I read a couple of reviews that mentioned there was a lot of sex and violence and for me that didn’t really ring true. That is not to say there was not sex and violence; I just didn’t feel it had the enormous presence some felt it did. But then, I have read Fifty Shades of Grey, so take that for what it’s worth.
I am giving Sharp Objects 4 bookmarks. Again, the pace was spot on, the characters were well developed, the point of view carried throughout in first person. There was suspense and a clear mystery and as is always a fun thing, a total mind-blowing twist.

If you have read or plan on reading Sharp Objects, I am curious to hear your thoughts on the book.

Other places you can find me.

Instagram: @LdyPngn
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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Weekly Roundup: May 1 - 7, 2013

I’ve decided to forego WiP Wednesday since it doesn’t seem quite right to show the same picture week after week of zero progress. Instead, I have decided to do a Weekly Roundup mish mash of a post.

Summer Goals

I have set myself some Summer goals this year. I do this every year, but for the first time I feel like I am in the right place to get some done. I decided to start my “summer” in May because it seemed like a good starting point and who wants to wait until mid June?

I have a list of fifteen or sixteen books to read, and I have crossed one off my list. I read 12th of Never last week (you can read my review here). I was set to start Silken Prey yesterday, but I am trying to get through Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. I had hoped to be done today, but it isn’t looking like that is going to happen. My reading list is very flexible as there are always books I am finding to read. I do hope to read the rest of the Virgil Flowers series and maybe be ready to read Rizzoli & Isles starting in the fall. Time will tell.

I couldn’t go a whole summer without some knitting goals. Some are just tidying things up, but there are a few new projects. I haven’t really felt like knitting the last week. I just haven’t felt inspired. I feel like this entire year has been one big knitting funk. I hope to break free of that soon.

I spent a lot of time trying to decide what I would do with myself once all the prime time shows aired their finales and hockey ends. So I thought about movies I want to see and compiled a list. But the more and more I think about it, I think there are going to be plenty of things airing this summer for me to watch and if not, that is more time for reading! We will see though. The good thing is, by the time I am ready to watch a movie, I can usually get it on a premium cable channel and not have to pay extra.

I have my summer lined up workwise. I often have down time throughout the month where I am searching out things to do, but this year I have solved that problem.  I will be studying software programs in hopes of getting my certification(s). That is exciting and will keep me busy & interested. I hope to be that go to person in the office. That is something I think I would LOVE.

Week in Review
The first 7 days of May just flew by! I love when the first falls on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. It is a busy day for us at work, always a scramble to get our bed day invoicing done. When it falls on one of these three days, it makes the weekend much more relaxing. You don’t have to worry about the people who don’t work on Monday being there. So having it on Wednesday was great. It went well too. Thursday was a great day to get caught up and prep things for ap for this week. Friday was a short day. Our CEO always has a nice luncheon for Administrative Professional’s Day a week or so after the actual day. The last few years it has been on a Friday and then we are done for the day. The last couple of years we have gone to a local Mexican restaurant. This was the first year he told us we could drink if we wanted to. It is always a nice time. We always receive a very generous gift certificate to a local “fancier” restaurant and the last few years there have been extra drawings as well. It was a nice way to end the workweek and enter the weekend.

The weekend was a weird one for us. Usually we have a list of errands to run, but this weekend we didn’t really have anything we had to do. We went to a local nursery to look at flowers and hoping to see their made up fairy gardens. Alas the gardens were gone. It is still too early to purchase flowers for the garden beds as I am sure we are due for some snow before the month ends. It’s Montana. It is to be expected. We had a very nice lunch and then spent the day just relaxing.

On Sunday I watched hockey and did some knitting. I spent most of the afternoon and evening reading. Again just a very unusual day for us.

The rest has been work, work and work. Work has been great. I am ahead of schedule (my own imposed schedule) and that feels great. I can start clearing out my email in the next few days.


Well the Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing and things have been iffy. The first game for my beloved Penguins went extremely well. A 5-0 win. The second game was where things started to become questionable. They lost the game late. They definitely were not in game one form. When Sunday arrived, I expected a different team to show up. A team that was set on winning. The team that showed up, while they one, was not the team I had hoped for. And last night? Game 4? Ugh. It was awful. I love my team, but this just isn’t them. They seem to have a problem getting through the first round. I don’t know how they expect to win the Stanley Cup with the last few performances they have had. Something is not right.

And twitter? Oh my twitter. I was so fed up last night that I had to finally just turn it off. The way the fans were blaming players and turning on them. That is not my definition of a fan. I fully admit when the team doesn’t play well and nobody likes their team to lose, but the way these “fans” were going on and on, you would think they all play in the NHL and are destined to be Jack Adams coaches. (Jack Adams is the coaching trophy awarded at season end). I actually made the comment that my timeline was the very definition of bipolar!

And that is my week. I hope you are having a great May and that your week is going well. Our weather has changed into a definite Spring. It is quite lovely and warm. The carnival is coming to town over Memorial Day weekend, so we are bound for a lot of cold, rainy/snowy weather. But for now, we will take all we can get.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Bookmarks: 12th of Never

I remember a time when James Patterson actually wrote Women’s Murder Club (WMC) books. It seems so so long ago.

I haven’t been pleased with the last four or five WMC books, but I keep reading in hopes that they will once again be engaging reads. One thing, they are fast reads.

The last several books have been severely lacking in actual police/detective work. The cases, yes there are more than one, are laid out, checked in on every four chapters or so and then wrapped up nicely with a pretty bow on top at the end. 12th of Never was no exception.

The book takes you through six different story lines. SIX, 6! That is insane. There is no way even the greatest of authors could manage that many storylines. And let me tell you, Maxine Paetro is not a great author. James Patterson is not fooling anyone into thinking that he is actually writing any of the drivel that is contained in this book.

First there is Lindsay, Joe and the baby. There is quite a story in there, that I am probably horrible for saying this, didn’t satisfy me in the end.

Second, there is the story of a murdered designer, whose body goes missing from the lab. The jacket teases the story with a hotshot NFL boyfriend, but really fails to flesh that out.

Third, there is the always present courtroom drama so that Yuki Castellano (whom I dislike with a fiery passion by the way) is able to star in half the book. I fully believe that she is the pet character of Paetro, thus the need to have some sort of court case in every book. This case involves a shady lawyer, his dead wife and missing child.

Fourth, there is a clairvoyant of sorts who dreams murders. A potential for a stand alone storyline, they cram this in and fail to give it teeth and in the end completely fail to explain the outcome.

Fifth, there is the small vignette of Cindy & Rich. A storyline best held for a future book. It has a moment. That is it, a single moment and then the bow is placed on top and the present sits in the back of a closet.

Finally, there is a story that comes out of nowhere involving a serial killer, who wakes from a coma and is ready to talk. But only to Lindsay, who apparently helped the FBI catch this guy. What? Maybe they thought they wrote this story into another book, but it rings no bells with me.

I give the book 3 bookmarks, which I feel is quite generous.

My reasoning is:
·         I read the whole thing (that alone gets a star). I thought there would be this great ending or at least a cliffhanger to make me want to read the next book…if there is a lucky 13
·         After a few chapters, I was invested in the stories. 
·         The characters are well established and I am invested in them. Even though, they failed to do any of them justice.
My pet peeves:
·         Bubbleen Waters. An actual character’s name. I am not joking. That has to be the lamest attempt at sly humor ever. I direct Paetro to John Sandford’s Del Capslock. That is clever. Bubbleen Waters not so much.
·         The tidy happy ending. That twist at the end was not a cliffhanger and was not even plausible. I like things to go awry once in a while. I like there to be some darkness. But in this everyone is happy in the end.
·         The fact that these books sell because James Patterson’s name is on them. If you insist on “guest” authors, please reconnect with Andrew Gross because at least he was a real writer, unlike the soap scribe (at best), Paetro.

Hit the comments and let me know what you think/thought of James Patterson & the Women's Murder Club.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Soap Box: Week of April 29, 2013

All My Children

AMC returned last week with four all new half hour episodes. It was explained early in the first episode that there is a five year time jump, which allowed for a few things:
·         AJ (Ace) & Miranda are teenagers
·         Petey is a Silicon Valley app mogul
·         Brooke & Adam are not yet married
·         David Hayward spent five years in jail for manslaughter and was released in the first episode
·         Angie & Jessie’s kids all moved away
·         Dixie is in mourning…
·         Someone is in a coma
·         There is a girl’s school

Throughout the week we learned:
·         Zach & Kendal are not together
·         Marissa died (looks like David killed her)
·         JR is the one in the coma
·         Miranda is taking some heat over Bianca (her mother) being gay
·         Angie went to the parole board and vouched for David
·         Cara did something shady with the baby she was carrying (it was David’s baby)
·         New character Celia has an unknown guardian that I am sure is going to be the center of a mystery for a little while

I learned a few things this week as well:
·         The term Vagitarian – I must admit it is clever and I have never heard it until the first episode.  Presumably it is a play on vegetarian in the sense that the proclaimed Vagitarian prefers the company of women.
·         Dixie is still an annoying character
·         David is always going to be hated
·         Too much Angie & Jessie will cause a person to lapse into a diabetic coma

One Life To Live

OLTL also returned this week with the same structure as AMC. It has yet to be explained how much time has passed, but here are the things we now know:
·         Natalie has a new place to live & little Liam is now walking and talking quite well
·         Matthew is/was living with Bo & Nora and was caught with Oxy
·         The Oxy belonged to troubled Dani
·         Tea is not accepting the loss of her and Victor’s child (the loss was carried out on General Hospital)
·         Todd is back in town, presumably from Port Charles
·         There is a new club opening, Shelter, owned by Blair and managed by Cutter
·         Rama is still around (I still don’t understand this character)
·         Clint & Vicki are engaged.
·         Vicki is out to get Dorian as her new crack reporter Jeffrey broke a story about some senatorial wrong doings on Dorian’s behalf.
·         David Vickers is still trying to make it in film, now filming his own reality series
·         Victor is alive & sort of well
·         Dani od’d on Oxy & alcohol at the opening of Shelter.
·         Destiny is raising Drew, her son with Matthew and receiving money and babysitting help from Bo & Nora
·         Victor was held by Allison Perkins of all people and has a new mysterious tattoo. I also think he killed someone
I read that there was a six month time jump, but on today’s episode (May 6th) Dani proclaimed to be 21, which negates a six month time jump and puts it at 3 years. This makes more sense with the age of Natalie’s son and the changes that have happened.

I think having the characters of Starr, Cole, Hope, Tea, Tomas, Blair, Todd & John McBain on General Hospital did a lot of damage to stories on OLTL. The actors who portrayed Starr, Todd & John are set to return to GH at the end of this week as all new characters as ABC/GH & Prospect Park could not come to an agreement on licensing the characters. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

General Hospital
GH continues its 50th Anniversary year. This week…
·         The secret is out. Ellie knows that Maxie’s baby is not Dante & Lulu’s but Maxie’s & Spinelli’s.
·         Nikolas is out of the hospital and in bed with Tracy. At least as far as relish is concerned.
·         AJ & Carly knocked boots in his childhood bedroom much to Monica’s and every viewer’s chagrin.
·         Johnny try to contact Carly, but she refused to talk to him. So he reached out to Connie & she paid him a visit.
·         Turns out Morgan is in some gambling trouble and will be heading back to town. Just as soon as Sonny can find him and drag him back. Look for a new aged Morgan soon.
·         Britt needed someone to hold her hand while she decided NOT to have an abortion. Her plan all along.
·         Felix & Sabrina are on to the Britch’s lying ways and Sabrina confronts her on Cliffhanger Friday.
·         Spinelli is hot on the heels of Franco’s mystery daughter after talking to his adopted mom, who has a secret of her own.
·         AJ, Michael & Duke are set to take the new recipe Pickle Lila to The Chew to face off against Prince Nik & Tracy’s, Pickle Eddie.
·         Elizabeth turned down the Prince to take another chance on AJ
·         Looks like Olivia might be getting a little closer to Sonny than just a friend.
·         Lulu still doesn’t know who she is and spent most of the week with Milo in his studio apartment.
I was super excited when AJ returned, but this version of him is a little too much for me. He is a little too in my face. Between, him & Elizabeth and him & Tracy and him & Carly and him & Michael and him & Relsih…blech.

I can see that Olivia is on her way to Sonny’s bed, and so can Johnny and he is in Pentonville!

The fun that was the 50th Anniversary is winding down into what looks to be a long and boring summer.  There will be an infusion of new characters with the OLTL trio returning, plus the aged Morgan. Also heading to GH is Maura West. The awful actress from As The World Turns and Young & the Restless. It looks as though she could be the new wave of mob drama in Port Charles.