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Monday, September 22, 2008

Movie: Wall-E

How on Earth do you make a little robotic piece of dirty junk that lovable?! I mean, for crying out loud, even the roach was cute! I actually saw this one the same weekend as jezebelsk at Walking on Sunshine, but I'm a slow poke and only now am getting around to posting about it!

The basic premise of the movie was that the earth was getting so overrun with trash that they decided to take all the people off on an enormous space ship, leaving the Wall-E units to clean everything up. In theory they would come back eventually and the place would all be cleaned up and ready to live in again. Only they didn't come back. And the Wall-E units kept faithfully doing their jobs until they finally all broke down except one, our lovable little star. And every day he continued to process trash into cubes and build with them, saving bits and pieces of this and that to add to his collection. They did an amazing job of building Wall-E's personality by showing the things he collected, his friendship with the little roach, the fact that he loved to watch old musicals...

The people cruising around on the ship were not out of the picture however, periodically probes were sent out to check for life on Earth, to see if anything was yet sustainable. Eve was one one these, and during her visit to Earth, she meets Wall-E and discovers the plant which triggers the process that is to eventually bring the ship back to earth. Wall-E's caring for Eve after she shuts down to await pickup is just heart breaking, once again showing an amazing ability at character building for a robot who really only says 1 or 2 words!

There is definitely some social commentary going on, about how people are too dependent on the virtual world, losing the ability to do anything for themselves as computers do it all for them, but overall the ending is hopeful, showing that humanity isn't a complete loss. All of Wall-E and Eve's adventures are just hysterical, and their interaction doesn't need a script it's so well built.

I thoroughly enjoyed Wall-E, and highly recommend it to anyone! I just wanted to hug him so much of the time, in spite of the fact that he was just a dirty little beat up robot!

Movie: Evan Almighty

Evan Almighty starring Steve Carell was a lot of fun. It is a "sequel" to Bruce Almighty, though I don't know if you really need to have watched it in order to enjoy this one. I love the Noah's Ark theme because I'm an animal lover and have always enjoyed that motif. Many funny moments, and Morgan Freeman was great as always in the role of God! I think one of my favorite parts was the animals helping him to build the ark. I cannot even imagine how complicated it was to have all of those animals together at one time. Especially on the group shots. I don't know if they were all really there together, or if they were digitized in somehow. Definitely a lot of fun if you're looking for something humorous and light!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Book Giveaway: Retrieval by Jeanie London

In life Roman Barrymore was the head of Sanctus, a secret security organization. In death, he's been charged with leadership once again, to fight a battle for control of the passage between life and death. He must rally a force to defend against the demons, the key to this force is one woman with the power to see things as they truly are. The only problem is she is currently residing in the body of a living woman, unaware of who and what she is. Roman's first engagement in this war is to win her back, then he must convince her, and her companions to join him, and that's just the beginning...

I have mixed feelings about this one. The writing style was fine, Jeanie London is the recipient of many awards, so there's no question she's a talented writer. Roman himself was my favorite character, but he just seemed to have a total disregard for the fact that he had died, it was almost like, ho-hum, another day at the office, here's the next big situation I have to defuse. I mean, I think I'd be a little more upset at being dead than he was! LOL! The ideas behind the story were very good, but it was a little tedious getting there in my opinion. I felt almost like the author felt guilty about some of the plot lines and had to make up for it by putting in a lot of agonizing over right and wrong. It felt like a lot of bouncing from one side of the spectrum to the other.

I liked it, about halfway through I went to see if there were any more in a series with it, and discovered that this is the last book FantasticFiction has listed for Jeanie London since 2006. So I went an looked at Jeanie's website to see that she had been diagnosed with cancer, and after coming through that, had decided to devote her career to a more religious focus. Jeanie's deep religious beliefs come through strongly, even in Retrieval, written before this change of professional direction. She is working on two writing projects currently according to the site, one a non-fiction look at miracles in which she invites anyone to share the miracles in their lives in a blog. The second project is a fiction series called Shadow-Seekers and in her words "deals with the darker side of miracles and how the devil works to deceive us into believing they don't exist. It's a fiction project about an FBI-type agency battling against the spiritual warfare struggles happening in our country today--struggles all too many people won't acknowledge exist." Hmmm... sounds a lot like Retrieval!

Does this sound intriguing? Great! Because I'm putting my copy of Retrieval up for Giveaway! As always it is a gently loved, Bookcrossing labeled copy. I would love for the winner to make a journal entry when they receive it, you can do so completely anonymously if you decide Bookcrossing is not for you, and whether you do or do not, the book is yours to do with as you please. :)

Giveaway Details: I'm going to make you work for this one a little. All bloggers that are open to the public view like to know that people are viewing what they're posting, right? I'm no different, I want comments and ego strokes as much as anyone else! ;) So... since this book is called Retrieval, I'm going to make you retrieve some info from my past blog posts to gain extra entries in the giveaway. Ready? Okay! Please feel free to comment on any of these old posts if you see something you like, and take the time to enjoy the pictures, I've posted them because I want to share!

First entry: You get one entry just for posting here that you're interested.

Now, the rest of these we're going to handle like this. To answer the questions, please post a comment ON THE POST IT APPEARS IN, NOT HERE! If you post it here, it will not count! I will tally your extra entries by the comment notifications I receive that you have posted there.

Second entry: You get a second entry if you can tell me what Chapungu is. (hint: can be found in a post under the Gardening category)

Third entry: You get a third entry if you can tell me some of the places that I visited on my honeymoon. (hint: can be found in a post under the Vacation category)

Fourth entry: You get a fourth entry if you can tell me what I grew in my flower pots instead of petunias last year. (hint: This post can be found under the Animals Category, but you might also see it under Gardening!)

Fifth entry: You get a fifth entry if you answer this correctly: True or False, the streetlights of downtown Hershey, Pennsylvania are shaped like Hershey's Kisses. (hint: This post can be found in the Food category, and a few other places as well!)

I will tally all the entries, and choose my winner from them randomly on October 4th!

I promise I won't make you work so hard on the next giveaway, but I just wanted to see if anyone would play along with me, and I wanted to share my pictures with people! ;)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Book: Because Your Vampire Said So by Michele Bardsley

Because Your Vampire Said So is the third installment of the Broken Heart, Oklahoma series by Michele Bardsley.

For those who have not started this series, the Consortium, which was founded by Ruadan's sons Patrick and Lorcan and is dedicated to making the world a better place for all beings, has decided to make Broken Heart it's headquarters. This came after a brutal, but unintentional attack by Lorcan on some of the people of the town, which left no choice but to turn them in order to save them. Each book so far has focused on one of these victims.

This time our star is Patsy the town hairdresser and undead single mom. Lucky Patsy, her special vampire family abilities include seeing ghosts, a couple of which have taken up residence with her, one being her feisty grandmother. A mysterious, and of course gorgeous stranger keeps appearing just in time to save Patsy from demons and other dangers, then disappearing when anyone from the Consortium comes. Just because Patsy is a vampire though, doesn't mean she's exempt from the trials of parenthood. Her son has reached that rebellious and destructive age, is into drugs and goes against everything Patsy tries to get him to do. We learn more about the seven ancients in this one through short excerpts from Ruadan who turned them all. But wait, there's more! You've got to have a prophecy right? Of course!

Who is the mysterious stranger? Is Patsy really part of the prophecy? And just how many bad guys are there? A mother's work is just never done!

If you're completely confused, I recommend starting with I'm the Vampire, That's Why where this whole thing begins. It's a super fun series, light hearted, fast moving, action packed, and sometimes down right silly, but that's it's draw for me! My favorite scene in Because Your Vampire Said So has got to be the zombies, and that's all I'm going to say! ;)

The titles just crack me up, I can't wait for Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home, coming soon! LOL!

You can check out Michele Bardsley's Website for more information!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Geocaching taken too far?

It's been very rainy here these last few days, so we haven't really indulged in any geocaching. I was perusing the listings this morning to see if there was anything nearby where we were going to go to lunch when I noticed there appears to be a cache at the cemetary that my grandparents have chosen to have their plots in. Luckily they are both still with us, and honestly cemetaries seem to be a fairly common place to hide a micro cache, nice and quiet, peaceful, not terribly crowded most of the time. So I mentioned this to the husband, and he gets this look of "oh oh oh" on his face that wives know so well, he had an idea... he has many ideas, like everyone, some of them are good, some of them are bad, and some of them are just plain silly and meant to be that way! Today's idea just has to be shared: He decided that we should get ourselves a headstone with a special built in compartment to hide a cache in, so we could be assured that people would come to visit us, you know, later on, when we're gone... okaaaaaaay... funny, sort of, but I don't plan on being gone for a long time I hope! Talk about advance planning! :P

To be fair, I have plenty of my own bizarro ideas, so it's not just a guy thing! (Love you honey!)

Winner: Wicked Ways

And the winner of Wicked Ways by Kate Hoffmann is....


MsValerie, please send me your snail mail address using shaunesay at gmail dot com as I'm not able to access your profile to send you a note. If I do not hear back from you by September 27th, I will pick a new winner.

Thanks everyone!

Blog Rating

I stole this one from Walking on Sunshine (and just the word "stole" might make it change who knows!) and decided to find out how family friendly I am! Turns out, I must be pretty good! jezebelsk must be way naughtier than me! ;)

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Sites

Friday, September 12, 2008

Audiobook: Ireland by Frank Delaney

Ronan O'Mara is 9 years old the first time a travelling story teller visits their home. He is so enthralled by the old man's stories of ancient and medieval Ireland that he becomes obssessed with finding the old man after he is forced to leave the area rather abruptly.

Throughout his young life he seems to be just a step behind the storyteller, but never quite catching up to him. He collects the stories the man has told, and eventually becomes a student of history at college. As he grows older and becomes more aware of the adults around him, he begins to feel that people are keeping secrets from him, that they always seem to change the subject or veer away whenever he's just about to find out more about the old man that so affected his life.

He reaches a breaking point one night when his aunt Kate informs him that they will take in a boarder at the home the two have been sharing while he's been going to school and she's been teaching. Finally having had enough of the secrets he feels are being kept from him (and there is much more going on, but I don't want to spoil the read for anyone!) he leaves after a blowup, and walks, with no real purpose in mind except to get away.

For the first time in his life he's on his own with no one dictating his every move, and is amazed at the freedom he feels. He travels the country of Ireland, visiting many of the places that the storyteller told of, meeting many people, and continuing to search for the old man. During this trip he learns and grows, tries his own hand at some story telling. He does finally return home, and eventually learns the secrets that it seems were only kept from him. He also learns how to fit these into his life, and goes on to become a top student and then professor of history. There is one last surprise for him though in his continued search for the storyteller, who by now he is not even sure is still alive...

This was an amazing story. The copy I had was actually read by the author himself, and his voice was perfect, very resonant and colorful. I enjoyed this very much. To me the beauty of this story was not so much the plot line, but just the imparting of the stories, and what they and the storyteller meant to the people he shared them with. He really brings Ronan's struggle to life, and you feel the frustration of the boy becoming a man as he always seems to be one step behind the elusive old man that he longs so much to be like. You also feel the closure of everything coming full circle in the end, and how everything fits together. It was beautifully done, there's just no other description of it for me.

I will definitely be looking for more of Frank Delany's novels, preferrably audiobooks if he's read them himself! You can check out his website HERE.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Book: Dog Days by John Levitt

Dog Days is the story of a boy and his dog... well, not really, because Mason isn't a boy, and Louie isn't really a dog. Mason is a practitioner, one of those with magical ability. Louie is an Ifrit, which we'd probably equate to the term familiar. No one really knows for sure where the Ifrits come from or why, or to who when, they just appear and stick around. Sometimes they disappear, and that too has no real explanation. Mason is making his living as a jazz musician, picking up gigs here and there, not really staying with any one group, and is well known for his ability to improvise. That seems to be the case in his magic as well, the ability to take elements from the things around him to create the effect he needs on the spot.

Life is going okay, he gets by, he has Louie, and while things aren't as great as they could be, Mason is fairly content. Until weird unexplainable and dangerous things start happening to him. He has to turn to past friends (and not such friends) for help on this one, as the events are getting beyond his ability to deal with. Someone wants to be rid of him, but why? The mystery seems to revolve around a type of gem that Mason discovers while trapped in one of these situations. It's unlike anything he's ever seen before. Add to that the sudden increase in power of a previously unimpressive practitioner, Christoph, and there seems to be a full on emergency going on that Mason, Eli his mentor, and Victor (the not such a friend, but definitely someone to have on your side in this case) must get to the bottom of, and quickly. Then one on top of it all, Louie disappears... but that's just the way it goes sometimes... or is it?

This was an interesting beginning to a series, and I'm looking forward to more. I like the way he describes Mason's abilities when he needs to use power for something, and he draws energy from sometimes every day objects around him to get the effect he needs. Mason is a likeable character, basically a live and let live type of guy, sometimes hotheaded, sometimes not the most observant, and has a self-deprecating humor. Poor Louie got the lion's share of the trouble in this one! Poor little guy was getting it every time he turned around! I think I would recommend it to those who are into the urban fantasy/detective/mysteries with just a smidgen of horror. I'm liking this type a lot and am always on the lookout for more.

The next book in the series, New Tricks is due out in November, and on his website Mr. Levitt says that Ace has signed him to do two more after that, so it looks like we have a few more adventures of Mason and Lou to check out!

See John Levitt's Website for more information.

Location, Location, Location!

Last weekend we placed our first cache. As usual when doing something for the first time, your expections and the reality don't quite meet. I thought, hey, we'll place it on Monday afternoon, and go post it on the site, and that way someone can still discover it today on this holiday weekend. Yeah... no... So it takes 36-72 hours to be reviewed and posted. It finally got posted on Thursday I believe it was. So once again I'm all excited waiting for our first finder. Except we'd goofed, and the poor first person (luckily very experienced so he knew better than to stick his hand in there) got sent to the wrong coordinates. As soon as he posted this, I quickly disabled the listing so I could fix it. I was mortified. You see, we had a couple spots in mind. The first one we ruled out because there was poison ivy there. Only we forgot to tell our GPS that, and being still newbies at using it, what coordinates do you think we mistakenly put down? Yep, that's right, the bad ones. *sigh* And did we think to check it against the satellite map which would have clearly shown me it was in the wrong place? NOPE! So, when placing a cache, it is VERY important to check your location again and again and again! Luckily our very experienced first attempter is good natured (as is the second one, also very experienced) and went back out that very night to find it after I had posted that I had fixed the coordinates! We also quickly got several more entries, all successful, so now we're on our way! But hey, now I know how to use all those different types of updating posts that are available! LOL!

Here's another no-no I've discovered... I'm not sure what the real term for it is, but it happens when someone mistakenly (or intentionally, in my case it was mistakenly) posts pictures of travel bugs with the tracking number clearly visible. This allows someone who has never seen the item to discover/grab/place it wherever they want. I think I may have had this happen to me, and it was very puzzling. I posted pictures awhile back from the picnic we attended of our first travel bug, unfortunately I didn't think about the number being visible in the picture. We took it to the picnic, all the attendees "discovered it" (meaning logged it without taking it, just to show they'd seen it) and then someone from the picnic had taken it with them to eventually place in a cache, perfectly acceptable, and what we had intended. Several days later, I get a few weird log entries, culminating in a placement in Iraq! Excuse me? I suppose it was possible, but it seemed unlikely. The logs said it had been placed in a cache. The next logs for that cache, very soon after, said it was not there, and I believed it had been lost. Oh well, that's why you don't want to use anything near and dear or expensive as a travel bug, there's always that chance it will go missing. Then, I get another log for it, a local area cacher has found it again. Still in town... hmmmm... Obviously whoever logged it placed in Iraq, was full of you know what. So, all I can think it that someone took the number from the picture, and posted these false logs. I don't know why they would do this, but then I don't know why people do a lot of things! ;) I was able to delete the bad logs, bring the bug's mileage back to a correct couple of miles rather than over 6,000, and I've learned a valuable lesson, don't post pictures of trackables with their numbers visible! The reason? You didn't see it, you don't deserve to count it in your numbers, and it's not fair to disappoint people expecting to find it when it was never there!

In spite of these newbie goofs, we're still very enthusiastic, and managed to find several caches this weekend that we had tried and missed on the first time, so we feel quite successful this weekend at having hit 50 finds. :)

The adventure continues!

Our second travel bug is a keychain of my college mascot, placed in a nearby park, so far lying undiscovered...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Book: Stardoc by S. L. Viehl

Cherijo Grey Veil is a surgeon on Terra, who has discovered a secret kept by her father so dark that she feels she must flee for her life. The story opens with Cherijo trying to find passage off planet in the seedy taverns frequented by non-Terran regulated pilots. It's the only hope she has of getting enough of a headstart to get away before her father gets wind of her plans. She finally picks out a pilot, Dhreen, a non-human, and makes the flight with him to Kevarzangia Two, where she's signed on to work as a Free Clinic doctor.

Cherijo has never been off planet before, and now she's surrounded by aliens of all different types, and Terrans like herself are few and far between. She has many challenges ahead of her, fitting in with the staff of the Free Clinic as the new kid, learning how to treat many alien races that are structured completely differently than the human bodies she's used to, and retaining her independence once her father finds out what she's done.

This is actually an action packed and emotional story, with many twists and turns, colorful secondary characters that you come to love or despise, and conflicts that though taking place on an alien world, are very easy to understand and relate to.

Stardoc was brought to my attention through a group read and I'm glad it was! I had briefly glanced at this one before on the shelves of the store, but never gone so far as to pick it up until Wendy chose it for our group. If you look back a few posts on her blog, she's already finished the 3rd book of the series! How's that for a recommendation? ;) Thanks for bringing this one to my attention Wendy!

S. L. Viehl has a few aliases as well, one of which is Lynn Viehl, of the Darkyn series fame that's making quite a splash in the Paranormal Romance genre. I haven't read them yet, but I do have them all, and plan to get to them! Must read faster! :D

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hide and Seek

*insert Mission Impossible theme music here*

We've done it, we've just placed our very first geocache. I'm so excited and can't wait for someone to log it! Oh yeah, I guess we have to log it on the site in order for anyone to know it's there huh? *blush*

Off to do that RIGHT NOW!


Winner of A Babe in Ghostland by Lisa Cach

And the winner is....

A Real Librarian!

I'll be contacting you shortly for your snail mail addy. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone who signed up!

Check back mid-September to see what my next giveaway will be!
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