Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter Ice

The Ohio River crested on Saturday January 23, leaving behind some really awesome ice. These were all taken along or on the road that Woodland Mound built down by the river. (Seems like a bad place for a road... this wasn't at any sort of flood stage... just under water.)
 


  

  

  



Wolf Moon

The first full moon in January is called the Wolf Moon (Native American legends about the cold making wolves howl louder is to blame for that cliche).

However, it also happened to be the largest full moon of the year. With the moon at its closest perigee, only a distance of 221,577 miles from Earth*, Friday's full moon was huge.  No really. It was '14% wider and approximately 30% brighter' than any other full Moon we'll see in 2010.

Unfortunately, I haven't progressed to learning how to take pictures of things like that, but look how nice and steady my new lil' tripod is!


Hope you got to go out and see it!



*Well crap. I closed whatever website it was I looked that up on... oh well...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shades of Gray- Jasper Fford

I was sooooo excited that Jasper FForde wrote a new book. Not to say that I disliked his old books; I rather loved most of them. But I was getting pretty burnt out on the whole literary-pun-thingy.

So hooray, a new book, new world, new awesome.

I made it to page 7.

During those seven pages I managed to discern that the book is:
A. About a male (boy? man? Couldn't tell)
B. He lives in a world where only certain people can see certain colors.
C. This innate ability determines their social hierarchy AND last names.
D.Some colors can be faked.
E. There is only one rabbit left alive, and possibly something to do with The Wizard of Oz....

Apparently I've managed to do something that has turned my brain to sludge, leaving me unable to adapt to strange new books. I was so NOT drawn in by anything going on in the first chapter of Shades of Grey. Usually odd slang and strange customs make me want to delve deeper into books (I did major in Anthropology... I think... Didn't I?). But this was just... painful for my head.

I'm sorry, I have failed. My first grown-up book of the year is an EPIC fail

Since there was such a long hold list waiting for the title, it didn't seem right to keep it, moldering on my shelve (translate: in a pile of dirty towels under my bed) while other waited patiently. So I've shipped it on.

Goodbye chance at reviewing adult materials.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Wedding shoes

What do you think of my wedding shoes?


 With this dress...

Except it's this color...
 

Fed-Up Friday: This is why no one likes anthropologists.

This is why people look at me like I'm crazy when I say I majored in Anthropology. 

Anthropologists in Italy are on a quest to discover if the great Italian painter Caravaggio was A. murdered on his way to see the pope; B. died of malaria on some random beach. Because it's really important to EVERYONE. Oh, but first they have to sort through a Tuscan crypt full with hundreds of remains, because they MIGHT contain Caravaggio.

While I can understand our need to solve mysteries. It's human nature. 

But the amount of money that is going into sorting through an entire crypt full of bones and then DNA testing ALL of them to compare with the 'male decedents of Caravaggio's brother,' just to figure out how he died?

Feed some African babies. Donate to cancer research. Do ANYTHING that will impact or better humanity.  Jack-asses.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

GREY HAIR!?!

Grey hair!? I'm too young!!
I haven't begun to live!!
... At least it sparkles...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wonderful Wednesdays

A new blog feature. Wednesdays stink. Everyone knows it's true. So I give you a new thing to look forward to (yeah right!).

Every Wednesday I will pick a picture from the previous week on my 365 photo blog and write a haiku about it. Awesome I know!



Salisbury steak. Yum!
Your glistening gravy drips
So brown off my fork.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Two'for Tuesdays

New blog feature!

Tuesday Ill post my daily picture on Project 365 AND one that didn't make it here. Get it? Two photos... price of one? No... well it works for the classic rock radio station!!!!


The Salisbury Steak Project

It all started with an interesting blog link: Fed Up: A School Lunch Project.
Interesting, I thought to myself. Finally someone of sound mind is taking a look at the flaws in today's school lunches. (I mean, let's not kid ourselves, they try awfully hard, but things still aren't too great in that department.)

And then I actually read what this lady is saying about lunches. What a condescending hypocrite! On the one hand she's spouting her noble drivel about  how this is the only mean some kids get all day, and how poor the nutritional value is... blah blah blah. She's probably correct, it is a massive problem. But then instead of sticking to it and eating what these kids eat, she claims she just can't stomach the meals, but that's OK, it isn't affecting her health since she eats plenty of "good, organic" food at home. She says things like this:

"I survived today's meal just fine. I was offered the peanut butter and jelly sandwich or the cheese sandwich. I couldn't stomach the pb&j this time, but next time I'm offered it, I'll force myself to eat it."
Lady, it's peanut butter and jelly. Get over yourself.

Here is an entire entry, found at this link- Check out the picture, I think it looks not only delicious but fairly balanced.


"Today's menu: Pepperoni pizza, milk, baby carrots, multi-grain apple mini-crisps, fruit cup. Our first repeat meal! I strongly dislike the pizza so for me this one was rough. I got excited by the 'mini-crisps' because I thought they might be dehydrated apple slices, but unfortunately they were bland, rice cake-like disks.
I liked the baby carrots, but i asked one of my students if he ate them and he told me, 'No.' The fruit cup was partially frozen AGAIN. I did attempt to eat it, but I didn't even eat half of it. 
NOTE: The second picture is a decent shot of the mini rice cakes. Also you can see the pizza in the background. It's got a glassy film on top, which is called cheese. The 'cheese' has separated into two layers, the 'saran*wrap' layer and the under layer. Yum."

So when I came to day ten and saw this:

"Today's menu: 'Salisbury' steak, bread, corn, milk, pineapple chunks. Not the best, but I ate the meant. It's called hunger. The bread was soft and fresh. The corn was what I expected... And the pineapple chunks were frozen and I couldn't force them down."

Ooo, I lost it. Salisbury steak used to be my favorite school lunch! And so I began...

The Salisbury Steak Project!!!!
(more info coming soon!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

For our family book club at the library we usually focus on classic children's literature, but you can only read so much Roals Dahl and E.B. White before your head explodes. So we managed to scrap up enough copies of the book that has taken over juvenile literature.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

The story follows the adventures (and often the misadventures) of Greg Heffley, just starting middle school. Greg's mom is making him write a journal, to record his 'feelings.' He thinks this is lame, but is willing to do so, so that later when he's famous, he won't have to bother telling people about his early days. Everyday Greg write about the life of a regular 7th grader. Bullies, friends that don't understand what it takes to be popular, family that sabotages his every attempt, horrible classes and a constant grounding from his video games give Greg plenty to write about in what is definitely not a diary.

The amazing thing about Diary, is that it is hard proof that there will always be a demand for books.

Originally released in 2004, on the website Funbrain.com (where Kinney was working as a game designer), as an attempt to get kids to visit the website during their summer break, the digital version of Diary was issued each entry one at a time, like a real journal or blog. Even with the success on a children's educational website, Kinney still didn't intend the book (which took almost 10 years to write) to be for kids. Instead he wanted to write a story that adults could look back on, like their own childhoods, with a sense of the irony of it all (think The Wonder Years and Calvin and Hobbs all rolled up in one with text in the middle).

Even with his story out there for the world to see digitally, demand for the story in traditional book form was so great that Kinney has been on the New York Times Best Seller list  for 41 weeks as of November 1, 2009 (that's just for the original book) and now is at the head of a phenomenon that has swept libraries, bookstores and schools around the world. Sequels, do-it-yourself diaries, movie deals, you name it and Wimpy Kid is alllllll over it.


 So, like many others, I had heard a great bit about the book (Kinney attributes it's success to word of mouth recommendations from one kid to another), and decided it was time to pick up a copy. Upon first flip through I was stoked! A book written in journal form, with faux handwriting and cute little comic illustrations through out. Awesome! It only took about 3 hours to read (this was at work, so that's 3 hours WITH actual working involved at the same time).

By the end I was amused but also a little confused... Greg is a horrible kid. I would say that he's evil, except he doesn't seem bright enough to be doing the mean things he does on purpose. At the time I didn't know the things I know now. That Kinney had meant the book for adults and as such skipped the obvious moral lessons and do-gooder quality that define most of the juvenile literature genre. But more than that, it took me a minute to think back to what life was REALLY like in middle school. We were all horrible little monsters, and we didn't even know it. Kinney makes Greg out to be THAT kid. You know, the everyday kid that we all were and knew, that often did the wrong things for the right reason, or even for the wrong reason, just because he didn't know any better. Greg is self-centered in a way that only children and adolescents can get away with. He's as horrible as any of us were. No wonder kids eat it up. I think it is this great honesty about Greg's less-than-ideal nature, combined with Kinney's refusal to talk down to kids in a way they are subconsciously expecting that has lead to it's great huge success.

Hopefully we will get to read the sequels for Family Book Club:


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days


Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book












I'm 26 and still afraid of plagiarism. I got all of my info from:
The book... duh
The Wimpy Kid website
This article from The Washington Post
This article from The New York Time


*I'm part of the Amazon Affiliate program, all links lead there, please feel free to click :o)

Friday, January 22, 2010

I've been granted acess to the CCPL library blogs!!?!?!

Bwahaha! Now my goal of taking over as the Gourmet Librarian is within my grasp!!! 


No, actually now I get to contribute to Off the Shelf and Teen Reviews @ CCPL (I know what you're thinking, I'm not actually a teen, but honestly no one needs to know that... I still look, act and think like one...)


Just to help keep you guys at your regular level of lazy, I'll cut and paste you review of Geektastic into this blog....



Do you like Star Wars? Buffy? Anime? MMORPGs? Duct tape? Comics? Musicals?  Zombies?
Are you a Trekker? A loner? A gamer? An awesome secret ninja?

Chances are if you answered yes to more than two of those questions someone somewhere has called you a dork, a geek or even a nerd.  It might have been your friends, your mom, even yourself.
To that we say, rock on you Nerd of Über-Epicness, here is a book for you.

In a compilation of short stories, running the gamut from hilarious, to moving and back to just hilarious, interspersed with comic instructions of how to live your life to its full geek potential, self-proclaimed nerds Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci bring together the brightest and the best of today’s Young Adult authors in this book of short stories that embraces the geek within us all. M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, John Green, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr all have one thing in common, and it’s more common than you think. If you’re a dork there is a story for you in Geektastic, and if you’re not, well there is still hope that someday you might just see the light…. saber that is.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

As you probaby (didn't) notice, I've added a new favorite blog to my list on that side bar over there...
>

It's called Sleep Talkin' Man and he is awesome. The things that come out of this guys life are:
A: awesome 
B: Totally believeable because he's got a British accent 
C: avalible as Tshirts and messenger bags

Check out the blog his wife manages and this horrible British morning talk show they did an interview for.

Ender's Game

Someone left a battered paperback copy of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card on my desk... Almost as if they wanted me to put down the four other books I was already reading and finish it in 3 days....

Once again, I was extremely excited thinking I had just finished an adult fiction novel, only to set it down, think about what to write in my review and realize that Ender's Game is NOT strictly a grown-up book.

The beauty of the the story of Andrew 'Ender' Wiggins is that it straddles the line between child and adult story telling in the way that all great YA fiction does. Here at the Clermont County Library we classify it as an adult book, even though it is suggested reading for reluctant middle-schoolers everywhere. Even publishers can't decide on the demographic. Look at these covers:
 

Set in the not so far future, Ender's Game tells the tale of an earth terrified after two attacks by an anthropoid  alien race. The story starts with a bang, with two unseen, unknown military strategists cluing the reader in to the strengths and weaknesses of a character they haven't even met. Shorty we learn that Ender Wiggins is not only a 6 year old, but a third (to be said with the sort of gross intonation reserved only for the likes of Heidi Montag or Kate Gosslin... You know, pointless wastes of humanity who probably should not have been born. Or in Ender's case, were only allowed to be born because the government was harvesting the genetic traits of his family...) An child despised by his peers and loved only by his older sister, Ender is a the last hope of humanity. He has been breed specifically to join other genius children at the Battle School orbiting Earth. Regular studies are eclipsed by fantastic free-fall battles in which these children learn the art of war in the guise of games. Stripped of everything he loves and sent to a place where he is isolated from everyone because of his intelligence, heart and mostly, his scheming educators, Ender struggles to be the person he knows he is inside while the whole world struggles to mold him into a perfect young killer.

Set as a background and counterpoint to Ender's tale of struggle, Card also follows the devious political carrers of Ender's two older siblings. The elders Wiggins, Peter, is pure evil wrapped in logic and intelligence. The middle child (and last legally allowed), Valentine, is goodness and compassion with even more logic and intelligence. Neither was approved for military training for those very reasons. Peter is too cruel, Valentine too empathetic. So logically, Ender must be the perfect balance of the two. Yeah right....

Card managed to avoid the worst fate of military science fiction, i.e. the extreme political blehhhhhness of most of the genre. The reader is at once drawn in by Ender's inherent goodness and heart, and repelled by the cold, calculated decisions he is force to make to survive with the odds purposely stacked against him. As with most of his books, Card's morals make a strong showing through out, but are mercifully not overwhelming (that is till the end, when Ender needs to have morals on his side). But I don't want to give the story way. Just rest assured that Ender's Game is a classic in it's genre, a winner of many awards, translated into 23 languages, and spoofed on endless web comics. I leave those familiar with the story with this beauty from our friends at xkcd:

 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie


Laura reads a grown-up book!
But it's still about a kid. Fail.

To start the New Year out on a light, fresh note, our book club here at the library is reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley for the month of January.What a joy to read a book that fully embraces the English language. (Not to say that the vocabulary in your regular teen vampire-romance is lacking, but please...)

Flavia de Luce is regretfully only 11 years old and as such unable to do and act as she desires. A child genius with a passion for poison and Bunsen burners, Flavia expects to spend the summer of 1950 in the same manner as every other; ignored in favor of philatelic pursuits by her widowed father, tormented by her uncaring older sisters and generally un-missed as she roams the English countryside on her trusty bicycle Gladys.

That is, of course, until she finds a dead bird her back step. Not all that odd in and of itself, but the bird is just the beginning of a series of odd occurrences at the De Luce manor house. Things rapidly escalate when Flavia awakens in the middle of the night to find a man dead in her cucumber patch. Or rather almost dead. Fueled by his dying words and the odd smell that lingers about his body, Flavia sets on a race against time out to solve the murder before the bumbling local police destroy their only clues.Precocious, observant, bitterly funny and more than a little diabolical, Flavia leads the reader on a great adventure through her post WWII village and the fields beyond.

I'll leave you to decide for yourselves, but rest assured, as far as girl-sleuth mysteries go, Flavia would lure Nancy Drew out back and promptly dispose of her with the cunning use of cyanide she brewed her self, with ingredients she stole, after tricking her way into someone's house and picking the lock on their safe with her braces. All with a smile on her small face.

*Update: Apparently there will be a series based on Flavia de Luce, the next title being The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag. "When a traveling puppet show sets up on the village green in Bishop’s Lacey, death stalks the little stage. Flavia goes behind the scenes to learn the craft (so to speak) in order to catch an ingenious killer."

Seriously? She's great and all, but is a series really necessary? Holy shit, I just spelled NECESSARY correctly on the first try! That's never happened to me before!!! Now, what was I talking about?


**Update #2- EPIC FAIL. I was wrong, I can't manage to read an adult book, Sweetness is on the ALA website's list of 2010 Best Books for Young Adults. So I'm back to where I started, reading only teen lit.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

You wanted to know why kids today are stupid?

Admittedly the ones who DO read are at an advantage, but this is the sort of drivel that teen literature has devolved into. And remember, this is what the smart kids are reading! The rest of them aren't reading at all, they're watching Jersey Shore.


Tempted- by PC and Kristin Cast
Chapter 12:

"After Aphrodite's gloomy but probably accurate prediction I didn't think I'd be able to sleep, but exhaustion caught up with me. I closed my eyes and then, for a little while there was blissful nothingness. Sadly, bliss didn't ever seem to last very long in my life.


In my dream the island was so blue and beautiful it dazzled me. I was standing on... I looked around... the roof of a castle! One of those really old-looking castles, made of big blocks of rough stone. The roof was massively cool. Framing it were those stone-sticking-up-things that looked like a giant's teeth."

Yes, a REALLY OLD-LOOKING castle, with STONE-STICKING-UP-THINGS. At least 'that looked like a giant's teeth is an acceptable simile. Would it hurt to throw a couple of SAT words in there. Ancient, archaic,  primevel, time-worn... I'm fairly certain teens should know these words... and those stone sticking up things? Yeah, they're just crenelated walls. Did I know that off the top of my head? No, I had to look it up. It took exactly 47 seconds and one copy of DK Eyewitness Castles.


All books found at the New Richmond Branch Library.

ROYAL books!

I got my first batch of review books for 2010. The titles I received at last November's meeting were so horrible, they didn't even deserve to be shared. These are somewhat better. I think I've covered most of my favorite bases.


 Robots. Check.



Ghosts. Check.

 


Ninja monks. Check.

  


Futuristic Zepplins. Check.

 




Creepy skulls. Check.






Minority children. Check.




Bad paleontology puns. Check.




Hopefully this time I can manage to read them all the two months allotted and not the weekend before my reviews are due.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Facebook trends are annoying.

I'm not really into participating in the on going trends that sweep Facebook. My friend BJ aptly described my feelings on 'Throwback Week' (where you change your profile picture to a childhood image) as "Its WAYBACK WEEK! I'm gonna reach WAY BACK and smack the hell out of all these people who keep posting that crap! ALL WEEK! :D"


But I am glad I got a copy of this picture out of the ordeal!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dear Rescue Angels, Inc.

Thank you for the good work that you are doing saving animals from kill shelters and finding them good homes.


That being said, you are the most ridiculous outfit I have ever encountered. I understand that you have a vigorous review process that must be completed before you release your pets, less they end up being eaten or used as dog bait or turned into kitty skin hats. However, if you have a policy against adopting to people who do not own their own homes, you should perhaps mention that on A. Petfinder, where you list them, B. your shitty website where you beg us to take not one but two, C. your application, where you make us give you our dna and prison records or D. when you arrange meet with people in person.

I do not appreciate you telling me to fill out an application in advance so that I can get a pet at one of your adopt-a-thons, only to arrive and have to wait a HOUR while you try to convince another family to take the kitten I was there to see. And another HOUR while you give me funny looks.

Yes, I live in an apartment. No, I don't plan on owning a house any time soon. No, that does not mean I would ever give up my pets if I move. It's not horribly hard to find a place that allows pets. I thought your policy was indoor pets only. House have back yards. No, I don't have a boyfriend, thank you for asking. What? Why would I get rid of my cats because my boyfriend doesn't like them? Do I look like that sort of a person? What if he's allergic? More allergic than I already am? Lady, do you want to see my hives? Does my mother know I'm getting a cat? No, she doesn't, thank you for asking. I'm 26 years old, and Beth here is the one actually BUYING the thing. Beth? Yes she has cats. I'm sorry cat singular. Yes, Juliet had an accident. It was tragic and we all cried a lot. Perhaps you should wipe that look of derision off of your face. Yes, I noticed your cats are baby-fied, please stop waving them in my face if you don't intend to give me one. While you were waving it around I couldn't help but notice it's obvious manliness. Didn't you make a rather big deal of promoting the fact that your animals all come fixed, thus saving the time and hassle of doing it ourselves?.  What's that? Yes, my apartment is cat ready, it already has a freaking cat in it!!!!

Thank you for the time you clearly did not spend considering my application, but I will be going up the Animal Friend's Humane Society, where they actually want their animals to go to loving homes. Good luck succeeding in helping the homeless animal population. I hear it's hard when you refuse to give them to a good home.


Sincerely,
Laura, Bella and Chuck




















Bella is pissed you didn't give her someone to love.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Say Hello to Our Little Friend...

Seriously, no comments at all? You guys disappoint me....



Since no one asked. This is Chuck eating pizza.

 
This is Chuck with murder in his eyes.


This is Bella trying to figure out why Chuck is dancing on her head.


This is Chuck destroying my Christmas tree. Luckily there are no ornaments at this point.


Friday, January 8, 2010

I sincerely hope this link opens for all of you.
I actually said OMG out loud.

Apparently these are made by my friend Deno's boss. Yes I am invading a strangers pricacy.

YES IT IS WORTH IT!!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My little hometown on the edge of the big one.


This is where the Hummer almost ran me over. The speed limit is 20 on a good day, not 65 on a bad.






 


 


 


 




 
They should stop wasting money on things like benches and use it on animal control. Damn cats.


 
Closed till March... What a lame bakery.


 
They try so hard to make it like Mariemont or Clifton, but this is the only stretch of cute.




No, they aren't hiring, I went in and asked.


 
Clearly I need to work on getting that SUV.



 
My quiet little street. Not a ghetto at all.