Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book Review

Northfield: A Western StoryNorthfield: A Western Story by Johnny D. Boggs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I love the writing style! Each chapter is told from a different person's perspective. Sometimes they overlap so that you really get a feel for what happened in, before, and after the James/Younger gang attempted to rob the bank in Northfield, MN. The book is short enough to hold your attention throughout, but had enough details to make you feel like the author was there doing interviews of everyone involved. All in all it was very well researched and set out in a very readable and enjoyable manner.

(Also, Jesse James' jump at the Palisades in SD was mentioned in first person, which was super exciting!! Lame, I know, but I've been there lots and it just makes me happy. Like it's part of my life story to or something...)  ^_^





Shoe Addicts AnonymousShoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This book was kind of like if you mashed "The Friday Night Knitting Club" and "The Devil Wears Prada" (the book, not the movie) together and then put a shoe-fetish twist to the whole thing.

It was definitely a fluff book and was pretty enjoyable until you got to the last few chapters where it felt super rushed and poorly executed. These chapters just felt like the author didn't spend as much time with the exit details as she did with introducing the characters and their plot-lines. I was left with the unsatisfied feeling of having been promised a nice, original ending and instead getting a bunch of bad cliches thrown together quickly and poorly just to wrap things up for the publishers.


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If you get your own copy of "Northfield: A Western Story" by Johnny D. Boggs or "Shoe Addicts Anonymous" by Beth Harbison, tell me what you thought of it/them. I'd love to discuss these books with someone!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Review

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy, #1)The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This book was kind of slow going at the beginning, but it did pick-up and get pretty exciting at times. The biggest problem was that there were so many different storylines going that some of them got somewhat repetitive after awhile. That, in turn, kinda killed the mood.

The writing style the authors used in this book was very reminiscent of my experience with Stephen King's "Under the Dome". I liked it, it had it's slow times and its quick times, the characters were well written and connected logically with each other. "The Strain" wasn't as gory as Stephen King, but it wasn't a fluffy vampire story by any means.

The twist that the authors put on vampire-ism was pretty neat and makes it seem scientifically possible. (Yeah, it's still a pretty good stretch, but it's more believable than some theories.) There's still some aspects of the story that were left open and I'm hoping that they will be addressed in the next two books and not just dropped. With as thorough as the authors have been with everything else in this book, though, I'm not too worried and am kind of looking forward to the next book in the trilogy: "The Fall".

(P.S. Setrakain really reminds me of an older Van Helsing.)



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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Frustrated

So, I'm slightly irritated right now. When I was making Charlie, my favorite crochet hook snapped in half. It was an Addi, so it wasn't the cheapest hook that I could find. You would think that they would have just continued the metal through the core of the handle to prevent something like this. (Like they do with the good sets of knives.)   -_-




Wednesday, October 6, 2010

All Sorts of New Stuff!!

I'm so super psyched!! I spent a good portion of yesterday updating my blog and generally geeking-out with it. There are still a few things that I want to tweek, but it's eons better than it was and I love it.

Yesterday was a day of accomplishing things. I got most of the living-room-mess gone through, found my deep cleaning book (Yes, I do have a book on how to clean. The peanut gallery can remain silent, thank you. Dan has already pointed out how sad it is that I need one.), bought household stuff, groceries, and some Christmas, Birthday (literally), and Halloween gifts. Also, I tackled the kitchen and am half-way through with getting it thoroughly scoured. Those dust bunnies didn't know what hit them!

While I was out shopping, I stopped by a few craft stores because they were having sales. You have to check out the sales, right? Jo-Ann's didn't have much for yarn (no surprise there) but I made a huge find at Michaels:

(In the perfect shade of orange, no less...)
SNB-Full-o-Sheep---clementi

I bought one ball of "Full o' Sheep" in the Clementine colorway. "Full o' Sheep" is an Aran weight, 100% Peruvian Wool. This means that it's a hand-wash only yarn, but it's so buttery and delicious that I don't care!! The spin on it kind of reminds me of Brown Sheep's Lambs Pride Worsted. The yarn does tend to shed a bit if you have to frog/tink back so I'm thinking that it will have a high-pill-factor in garments. (Or anything else that will have a decent amount of friction, for that matter.) This yarn is so soft and lovely, though, that I'm seriously thinking about getting enough to make a sweater for myself out of it.
Until I have the money saved up for that, though... (At about $5 per ball, weighing in at 155 yards, I'm gonna need about 10 balls to make the sweater that I want.) I had to at least try out the yarn that I have, right? So, I made an Amigurumi Happy Pumpkin. His name is Charlie, and he's too amazing for that leaf. (Besides, the leaf kinda makes him look like an apple...)

035 10-6-10
Charlie




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dear Old El Paso,

Why did you change your mild enchilada sauce recipe? It now tastes gross and smells even worse reheated. These enchiladas were my fall-back recipe that everyone loved and that tasted amazing. Now what am I supposed to make when I don't really feel like cooking?

I suppose that I could look at this as a way for me to be cooking healthier at home. I'm pretty sure that a pound of hamburger and 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese isn't the best dinner ever. (No, we didn't eat it all in one sitting, but still...)

I guess that I'm now on a quest to find another enchilada recipe that Dan will eat...


Monday, October 4, 2010

Thoughts

So, our apartment is disgusting. Everything, but our bedroom needs cleaning because we hit it so hard in there the other day that it just kind of exploded into the rest of the apartment. I've got a few hours today so I'm gonna try to do some power cleaning. If anyone wants some free crap, I'll be happy to share.

Yesterday, I opened at the store and have decided that the extra-caffeine gas station coffee is a life saver. Sure, it doesn't taste that great, but, what do you expect from a gas station? I just gets me going enough that I don't feel like a zombie for the rest of the day. Which is really helpful when you're trying to convince people to buy stuff from you and give you their e-mail.

I'm kinda thinking about getting a new e-mail, myself, due to all the spam. However, I'm not quite sure that I've convinced myself that it's worth it. Where do you draw the line on who is acceptable to share your e-mail with and who isn't? Because I guarantee you that the moment you release the new one anywhere online, even if it's just in a post, some spy-ware engine will pick it up and sell it to someone else. That someone else, in turn, will spam the hell out of your nice, shiny, new e-mail account. So is it really even worth it?

Last night I saw The Social Network with a few friends and it was pretty good. Mark is such a super-dick to everyone, but it did make me want to totally geek out and get into web-design again. I have been thinking for a few months now that I want to do a make-over on the blog because it's not really what I want anymore. Besides, coding is just so amazing to me. It's kind of like magic, and I love it.

On the reading front...


So far, I rate it: Meh.

The authors will start with a neat idea, but they focus so freakin' much on details that are irrelevant to the storyline that you really get pulled out of what's actually going on. Also, can we please not have anymore beginnings? I've never read an author who liked to start a new story so much. The first 50-ish pages were nothing but intros to various storylines and the next 50 pages were nothing but a pointless over-exaggeration of an eclipse. Other than the fact that, apparently, everyone in New York was creeped-out by this five-minute event, I can't understand why this emphasis is needed. There was one event that occurred during the eclipse that was key to the storyline, but it didn't need 50 pages of covering everybody else in the entire city. Put simply: the first 1/3 of the book has been pretty boring.

Now that I'm past that part, though, the story is progressing at a pretty good clip. I'm wondering if the interludes with Abraham's story are written by one of the authors and the rest of the book is by the other author. These parts tend to hold my interest more and keep me turning pages. The writing style just feels different and isn't so chopped-up with technicalities.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review: Super Sad True Love Story

Super Sad True Love StorySuper Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is one of those books that you can just live in.

I love that the characters are so real. It isn't some sappy love story about a tragic pair of star-crossed lovers. You could pass these people on the street. They're just normal individuals living there lives and you, the reader, are just along for the ride for a few months.



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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review: Mockingjay

Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Page 379. The discussion between Plutarch and Katniss. This is what earns Mockingjay 3 stars instead of more. Suzanne Collins, you're a better writer than this. In the future, please don't degrade your readers by spoon-feeding us what to take away from your work.



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Monday, June 14, 2010

Book Review

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
For being just another way to make a few more pennies off the Twilight Series, this book really isn't too bad. I'm glad that it was short, though. It would have gotten somewhat boring if it had been a full-length book since you know the ending from the get go.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

What's (New) On My Needles: Ashley's Baby Blanket

I've finally started work on Ashley's Baby Blanket. The original pattern is free from The Running Yarn. As written, the blanket is large and worked in intarsia. I wanted to have it a bit more portable (and baby-sized), though. So I'm making it with 3x3 blocks using double knitting to avoid having a wrong side.

The method that I'm using involves carrying both colors of yarn across while you knit a 1x1 ribbing. Color A is used for the knit stitches and Color B is used for the Purl stitches. The nice thing about this method is that when you wnat to add a design to the pattern, all you have to do is reverse which color is used for which stitch. (Example: Color B will be used for the knit stitches and Color A will now be used for the Purls.) If you are following a graph for the image, keep in mind that each block on the graph will actually be 2 stitches (one knit and one purl) so that you get the same image on both sides of your fabric.

I had some hesitation with using the double knitting method for this blanket because the fabric it produces can get very dense and I had also been told that this is a very tedious form of knitting. However, I've found that I really love this technique. Watching the double-sided fabric emerge from the needles is still just as thrilling to me as when I started and, in my opinion, the fabric is a nice thickness for a blanket. If I was planning on making a reversible sweater with this method, though, I would definitely use a yarn of a thinner weight (think sport or fingering).

As far as I'm concerned, though, double knitting will probably be my choice for any color-work projects that I attempt in the future. It's much less fiddly than Intarsia and Fair-Isle and it produces no wrong side. (For whatever reason, having a wrong side on a knitted object really really bothers me.)

Ashley is due in about a week, so I doubt that the blanket will be done before the baby is here. Hopefully, though, I'll have it ready shortly thereafter. Right now I'm just really hoping that the doctor is right and that it is a girl. ^_^

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Book Review: Under The Dome

Under the Dome Under the Dome by Stephen King


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book!! This was my first experience with reading a Stephen King. (If his other books are just as good, I'm hooked!) While listening to the audio-book, I was constantly amazed at the amount of detail that was included in every aspect of life under the dome. Everything from the eco-system, to nuclear missiles, to lists of extensive biblical quotations was researched very thoroughly to create a truer sense of what it would have been like had a dome actually descended on a small farm town.

Stephen King had an extensive cast of characters to personalize and orchestrate, he did so amazingly well. All the main characters were well developed, of course, but I loved that even the side characters had their own lives and traits that rounded the story to include perspectives from every person trapped in Chester's Mill. The ending certainly held no twist (in my opinion), but I think that it was better that way. This book really was one that had a pretty obvious beginning and ending, but the way that you got from one to the other was what made it so very enjoyable.

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hat #3


Hat #3, originally uploaded by EdwardRad.

Hat #3 for the 2010 Ravelympics!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Merecedes Christmas Socks 2009


Merecedes Christmas Socks 2009, originally uploaded by EdwardRad.

A little late, but better than never. Here's the second sock about 1/2 done.

Still Alice, Now In Cheap Format!

I am super excited about this book! The Trade paperback version has been out for awhile now, but I just can't justify spending $15 on a paperback book when I know that it'll be destroyed by the time I'm done with it. Enter: the new Mass Market version available for $7.99 + employee discount!! That, I can handle parting with for a paperback.

Still Alice is about a lady (Alice) who gets Alzheimer's disease and how it affects her life. Unlike other books, though, the story is told from the perspective of the person who has Alzheimer's instead of the view of those around her. Here's a quote from the back cover:

"Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she's a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life - and her relationship with her family and the world - forever.

At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early onset Alzheimer's disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Ordinary People."

This book has been used in lots of the local book groups and in the past I've had good luck trusting their picks. Lets hope that this one is just as good. ^_^

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bugs and Fungi!! O.O


Bugs and Fungi!! O.O, originally uploaded by EdwardRad.

A few weeks ago, I bought this cute little mini-poinsettia for $0.50 at the grocery store along with a larger red one thinking that it would be a lot of fun to try my hand at taking care of plants. (I have never once had a plant live for very long after I got a hold of it.)

Things were going great until I noticed that the soil around the plant was molding. Not the plant itself, just the dirt. Also, we started to get all these little flying bugs in our apartment that seem to love my plants. The same thing had happened a few months ago (the mold, not the bugs) when I was going to grow an herb garden and once I put the plants on the deck, the mold went away. Unfortunately, right now the average temp is right around 0 degrees (F) so putting it outside isn't an option unless I want to kill the whole thing. So, today I hauled my little guy over to my local plant doctor (aka: Mom). She can fix any plant no matter how close it is to dying, so I left Petey (that's what I named my plant) in her care and tomorrow I'll be bringing Petunia (my large red poinsettia) over as well.

Hopefully, they'll get to come back home soon. I want to make sure that they're all better before I try to take them on by myself again, though. I have no faith at all in my own gardening abilities. -_-

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dog On It


Dog On It, originally uploaded by EdwardRad.

This is a super awesome book!! I started reading it a couple days ago intending to read 3 chapters a day (I'm not ambitious, they're really short) but today I got sucked right in and am now about half-way done with it. Originally, I had recommended it to my aunt and cousin to read because some of my co-workers had recommended it to me. I kept putting off reading it until my aunt sent it home with me because she just adored it. Now I'm seeing why everyone liked it so much. The story is told from the dog's (Chet's) perspective so any tense bits get broken up by his either getting distracted or sleepy. You would think that key plot points would be skipped by relating the story this way, but they aren't, you just don't have to read all the technical details about what's going on. This is a great quick read if you're looking for something light and humorous. A nice little bonus is that it was just released in paperback so it's perfect for reading groups and tucking inside your knitting bag. ^_^

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ooops, PomPom Socks

So, I meant to make these for my sister for Christmas. However, the yarn changed my gauge enough that instead of fitting her 9-year-old feet, they fit my 23-year-old feet... Don't worry, I'm almost done with the pair for her. ^_^