Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 2012 Books

Lots of books read this month, mainly several non-fiction books which I read quickly.

NON-FICTION
  • Cool, Calm and Contentious by Merrill Markoe
    • Collection of humorous essays about her parents, her dogs, her relationships. 
    • One essay covers her relationship with David Letterman without ever mentioning him by name.
    • I enjoyed the book but was not a big lover of the dog-related essays. I'm not a big lover of dogs. I'm not even a liker of dogs.
    • B
  • Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher
    • Another memoir following on the heals of Wishful Drinking which I read earlier this year. Ms. Fisher utilizes electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as part of her treatment for depression. One of the side effects is memory loss. She mentions the memory loss throughout but the ECT chapter is a relatively small part of the book. She covers many other things: the loss of her father, her friendship with Elizabeth Taylor, life with her mother and various stepfathers, her marriages, her weight, her daughter, etc...
    • B
  • Is It Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There? by Whoopi Goldberg
    • Ms. Goldberg writes a series of essays on how civility has been lost, basically covering a whole raft of pet peeves and giving advice on how to behave in various circumstances.
    • This is not a comedic book so don't read it looking for laughs. I think of it as more of a behavioral guide. Sadly rude behavior is ever more commonplace.
      • Pops and I were at the grocery store yesterday and I needed to grab some onions before we moved on to other parts of the store. But a big guy had his cart in the way of both yellow and white onions and he was blocking the leeks, shallots and garlic with his body. And he was just standing there talking VERY LOUDLY on his cell phone. I said to Pops, "I'm going in," and I squeezed myself between the guy and his cart to reach for the onions I wanted. He just grabbed his cart, continued gabbing on the phone and moved himself in front of the bananas instead. Luckily I didn't need bananas. But nor did I need to hear his side of the cell phone conversation.
      • Last week we were driving in Cotati and the person in front of me was driving erratically, unable to choose a lane so she drove down the middle for a while and then put on her turn signal to change lanes. I'm not sure you can say you've truly changed lanes when you were halfway in it to begin with. As I zoomed by we saw she had her cell phone held to her ear. Which is illegal.
      • Cell phones account for the majority of the rudeness in our world today, don't ya think?
    • B
  • Fifty Animals That Changed the Course of History by Eric Chaline
    • Each animal got 2 to 6 pages, depending on their importance such as earthworms for two and six for cows.
    • Lots of typos ("purp le" and I was trying to remember my high school French --- le purp? les purps? --- when all it really meant was purple) and then I find I am mentally proofreading the book instead of enjoying it.
    • I was going to try to read the other related books (Fifty Minerals, Fifty Machines) but I decided I didn't need to do that. And they're not even in my library's system so that's 2 books on my list of things to read that I can delete! Sometimes a small victory is better than reading a book.
    • C
  • Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen's Maid's Memoir That Inspired 'Upstairs, Downstairs' and 'Downton Abbey' by Margaret Powell
    • Originally published in 1968 this is a quick read about a girl's start in service as a kitchen maid and her various jobs until she becomes a cook. Then she marries and leaves service.
    • If you've seen either of the two series mentioned in the title, you've seen some of her words brought to life by the writers inspired by the memoir.
    • B
  • Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV by Warren Littlefield and T.R. Pearson
    • An oral history of NBC's Thursday night television history from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Interviews with actors, writers, producers and others are interspersed with comments by Mr. Littlefield who was the president of entertainment for NBC during those years.
    • The shows covered include Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, ER, The Cosby Show, Will & Grace, Mad About You and Frasier.
    • Fun to read some background information on how some of these shows developed and became hits despite some bumpy roads.
    • B+
  • At Home on the Range by Margaret Yardley Potter
    • This is a reprint of a cookbook originally published in 1947. The author's great-granddaughter is Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame (I haven't read that book though) and she re-discovered the cookbook when unpacking some boxes of family books.
    • The recipes are written in paragraph form rather than a list of ingredients and then step-by-step instructions.
    • I only wrote down one of the recipes to try in the future called Quick Tea Cookies.
    • Elizabeth Gilbert's introduction, with the biographical sketch of her great-grandmother, was interesting and it was great fun perusing the old style recipes.
    • B
  • Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark by Brian Kellow
    • Movie critic Pauline Kael was born in Petaluma in 1919. As a current resident of this town I was especially interested in reading about that part of Ms. Kael's life but alas, her family moved to San Francisco by about page 8 and Petaluma was mentioned only once or twice more. Oh well.
    • But it was also interesting reading about the movies that Ms. Kael reviewed for The New Yorker magazine. I was not a reader of The New Yorker unless it was in a doctor's waiting room so I haven't read many of her reviews first hand nor have I read any of her books.
    • I adore movies and when I see one I like to learn about its background if I can but my research rarely delves into old movie reviews. All this is to say that I probably won't hunt down her books of compiled reviews but it was interesting to read about her life and her opinions about films. 
    • The book is very detailed so it was kind of a slog in some spots.
    • B-
  • Jeannie Out of the Bottle by Wendy Leigh and Barbara Eden
    • A memoir by Ms. Eden about her career and personal life. She is especially poignant on the topic of her son, who died of a drug overdose. 
    • But the fun part of her story is all about Jeannie and we get several fun anecdotes about the filming.
    • B
  • The Lexicographer's Dilemma: The Evolution of 'Proper' English from Shakespeare to South Park by Jack W. Lynch II
    • Unlike some other books about grammar, this one is not a rule book. Rather it is a history of various efforts to try to regulate or officially organize the rules of English. It also covers the various dictionaries and spends a bit of time on the war on split infinitives and on prepositions at the end of sentences ("to boldly go" is a famous split infinitive).
    • I really like books about grammar so this was fun in that it includes history, another favorite topic of mine.
    • B+
  • Lucy at the Movies: The Complete Films of Lucille Ball by Cindy de la Hoz
    • Just what it sounds like, a coffee-table-sized book with lots of photos from the various films which are especially fun for the earliest films when Lucy was just an extra.
    • I didn't read the synopses of each movie included in each film's chapter but the background detail was fun and put each movie into context with where she was in her personal life.
    • It's amazing she had such a huge career in films before she ever became Lucy Ricardo. When I was little watching "I Love Lucy", "The Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy" I could never have told you she had been in so many movies.
    • A-
  • Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame and Floundering by Meredith Baxter
    • I thought I would like this book but I didn't. Ms. Baxter presents her life in such a way that almost all of it is a relentless downer until the last few pages. 
    • It was a quick book to read though.
    • C-
  • Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart by Stefan Kanfer
    • I'm not sure how originally researched this book is as it has no footnotes and a huge bibliography. It might be more of a book based on other books and the close watching of Bogart's films.
    • Plus he refers to Bogart as "Humphrey" and Lauren Bacall as "Lauren" throughout which seems weird since he is almost always called Bogie and she is almost always  Betty (her real name) in other books. So sentences like "Humphrey and Lauren had a dinner party..." are just weird to read.
    • I have a biography of Spencer Tracy from the library right now so I should check and see how that book refers to the Bogarts!
    • C+
FICTION
  • Timeless by Gail Carriger
    • The fifth and final book of the Parasol Protectorate series (see the last two months of books read for more details). There is a new series coming next year which will pick up with the daughter of this book's main character.
    • I really liked this series but having read all five books in a couple of months was a little overwhelming. 
  • Angelfall by Susan Ee
    • Book 1 of the Penryn and the End of Days series. Yep, another dystopian post-apocalyptic young adult series. 
    • It has angels as the bad guys and takes place about 6 weeks after the apocalypse. I liked the story but I'm not sure I liked it well enough to pick up the next books in the series which won't be out for a year or two at the earliest.
    • B
  • Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
    • A novel mentioned in a book I read last month (Dear Pen Pal) as a classic but I had not read it or even heard of it. This is the only book by this author in my library's system so I will not be able to read the sequel to it.
    • It's a cute story about an orphan and her secret benefactor who pays her tuition for school as long as she writes a monthly letter to keep him updated to her progress.
    • It was obvious who her benefactor was early on but it was still a charming story.
    • B+
  • These is My Words by Nancy Turner
    • The novel was inspired by the author's family memoirs.The main character, Sarah Prine, tells her story in journal form. It starts in the 1870s when Sarah is 17 and concludes about 20 years later.
    • The characters travel from Arizona to Texas (and back) and suffer many hardships (characters drop like flies from disease and skirmishes with indians). 
      • It reminded me of a great story my son wrote in 4th grade about a family's covered wagon journey. In every other sentence another tragedy happens to the family as they make their way west. We read it and tears stream from our eyes because it's hilarious! The wagon wheel breaks and then Pa breaks his leg. Then he breaks his arm. And then they all get dysentery. And so on.
    • But this book was not funny and is based on real events. There are two sequels and I started reading the second book but I decided that, fascinating as its history of the Southwest is, it's just too downbeat to keep delving into for now.
    • B+
  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
    • Hooray! A standalone book by an author who generally writes young adult series.
    • A plane full of teen beauty pageant contestants crash land on a deserted island. It then combines elements of Lord of the Flies, "Lost", 1984 and an intense reality show and consumerist culture to frame the story.
    • Fun read. A couple of parts are certainly implausible but others are right on the nose.
    • B+
  • Crossed by Ally Condie
    • Book 2 in the Matched series (Reached, the final book, comes out next month). The book was good and I am looking forward to the final installment, despite its focus on the "which guy will she pick" plot.
    •  Cassia spends the book trying to find and join the resistance movement while searching for Ky. Ky gets his own viewpoint chapters in this book so half is from Cassia's POV and the rest from Ky.
    • B+
  • The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
    • The first book in The Chronicles of Kazam series for young adults. Fforde wrote the Thursday Next series which I really love.
    • This book takes place in an alternate world where Great Britain is known as the Ununited Kingdom. And there are dragons. And magic so it's totally fun and cute.
    • The 2nd book has already been released in the UK and Canada but won't be released in the U.S. for another year or 2. Very annoying.
    • A

Friday, October 26, 2012

Actors

Here is the list of actors whose movies I try to catch, mainly on Turner Classic Movies. In no particular order...

  • Lon Chaney
    • He died in 1930, only 47 years old (lung cancer), so he made one "talkie". All the rest were silent and like many early stars, some of his films are lost.
    • He was famous for his makeup skills, portraying Quasimodo, the Phantom of the Opera, and a 100-year-old Chinese man among others. 
    • His silent screen acting skills supposedly came from the fact that both his parents were deaf and he learned to use his face and body to express himself.
    • I love watching his films, especially The Phantom of the Opera, The Unknown (with young Joan Crawford), The Unholy Three (both the silent and sound versions), and He Who Gets Slapped.
  • Buster Keaton
    • He was called The Great Stone Face for his consistently serious expression. When I typed it into the Google Images bar one of the automatic choices that came up was "Buster Keaton smiling"! And the resulting list really had the same non-smiling choices.
    • Some people tend to prefer Charlie Chaplin and some Buster Keaton. I lean towards Keaton but I have definitely liked the Chaplin films I've seen (Gold Rush, Modern Times, The Great Dictator and Tillie's Punctured Romance). 
    • His movies didn't do well at the box office (though they are considered classics now) and he was no longer allowed the independence he had. Can you imagine the films he might have made had they left him alone? Oh well.
    • I have seen Sherlock Jr, The General, Steamboat Bill Jr, and a couple of others. I am trying to catch more of Keaton's films as they appear on TCM.
  • Gene Kelly
    • For a while when I was younger I thought I was somehow named after Gene Kelly since my first and middle names are Kelly Jean but I was not.
    • Again, some people prefer Fred Astaire and some people prefer Gene Kelly. I lean towards Gene but I do enjoy Fred too! I definitely need to see more Fred & Ginger movies but I've seen several of his other films.
    • As for Gene's, I have watched Singin' in the Rain, Brigadoon, The Pirate, The Three Musketeers, For Me and My Gal, Cover Girl, On the Town, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, An American in Paris, all the That's Entertainment films and a couple of others. I will be recording Inherit the Wind in a week or two.
  • Montgomery Clift
    • Another actor who died young, only 45 (heart attack not helped by drug and alcohol use). He was gorgeous until a car accident damaged his looks forever.
    • The movies I've seen include The Search (I love this one especially), The Heiress, A Place in the Sun, From Here to Eternity, Raintree County (filming when he had his accident so you can play the macabre game of figuring out the before and after shots), Suddenly Last Summer, The Misfits and Judgement at Nuremberg.
  • Leslie Howard
    • He's probably most famous now for playing Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind where he's overshadowed by Clark Gable as Rhett Butler (as he should be in that film) but Leslie Howard was a star in his own right in the 1930s. (He was in an earlier film with Gable called A Free Soul. In that movie he murders Gable's character!)
    • Some of my fave Leslie Howard films: Pygmalion, Outward Bound, A Free Soul, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Of Human Bondage (with Bette Davis), Intermezzo (Ingrid Bergman's Hollywood debut), Stand-In, Pimpernel Smith and The Petrified Forest.
    • Howard insisted that Humphrey Bogart play Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest and he had enough star power to make it happen. The role made Bogart a star and later he and Lauren Bacall named their daughter Leslie in tribute.
    • Leslie Howard died in a plane crash in 1943 when the plane was shot down by Germans during World War II. There are several theories on why the plane was shot down: the Germans thought Churchill was on the plane, Howard was a spy, the plane was erroneously believed to have flown into the war zone, etc... Leslie Howard was only 50 at the time.
  • Humphrey Bogart
    • I just started reading a new biography of Bogart yesterday!
    • Casablanca is great, of course, and Bogart is fun to watch in The African Queen, The Caine Mutiny, Key Largo, The Maltese Falcon, To Have and Have Not, Dark Passage, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Stand-In and The Big Sleep.
    • He also died relatively young at 57 (esophageal cancer)
  •  James Cagney
    • I haven't seen nearly enough of his films. I think the first one I ever saw was Ragtime in 1981 and that was his final film.
    • I adore Yankee Doodle Dandy, Footlight Parade, and The Bride Came C.O.D. I've seen many pieces of his other movies so I really need to step up my efforts.
  • James Stewart
    • There are two main reasons why I watch The Greatest Show on Earth, widely considered one of the worst pictures to ever win an Oscar for Best Picture: 
      • It has Emmett Kelly in it. He was the most famous circus clown and I have had a print from a magazine on my wall since I was very young that says "Everyone Here Loves Kelly" and it refers to him.
      • James Stewart's wonderful performance as Buttons the clown. I get tears in my eyes every time I see the scene with Buttons and his mother. He was a wonderful actor.
      • Okay, a third reason is the movie is just so terrible that it's fun to watch!
    • To wit: The Philadelphia Story, You Can't Take it with You, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Destry Rides Again, The Shop Around the Corner, Rope, Rear Window, The F.B.I. Story, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Harvey and It's a Wonderful Life.
      • In the 1980s when I first caught It's a Wonderful Life I didn't like it much because it made no sense. It turns out that I had seen an very shopped up version and many scenes were excised for more commercial time. The COMPLETE film is indeed wonderful and the scene where Stewart makes his prayer to God is especially outstanding.
    • I haven't seen nearly enough of his films either. I have not seen Vertigo! Crazy.
    • Other pluses: He used to read some of his poetry on The Tonight Show. He and his wife named one of their daughters Kelly.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Month's Worth of Telemarketer Calls

We all hate when the telephone rings now, don't we? Our telephone saves the last 50 calls and I just counted the legitimate calls (mainly CPA Boy calling on the way home from work each night) and there were 14. So I get calls from people I know 28% of the time.

The other 72% are telemarketers!

This seems a fairly high percentage, don't you think? I can only imagine the volume of calls if we weren't on the Do Not Call list.

There are so many exceptions to the DNC list: charities (any non-profits), political calls, surveys, collection agencies (even if you are not the person they seek), any companies you have had a relationship with for the past 18 months, and of course, the slimy telemarketers who just ignore the rules and call anyway.

Here are the calls (including the phone number and what the caller ID says) I've received for the past 50 calls (about 3 weeks worth):
  • 323-798-8977: Air duct cleaning OR Los Angeles, CA
  • 515-248-7685: National Geographic 
    • I have a subscription but some"who calls me" websites seem to indicate this is not actually affiliated with Nat Geo. 
  • 707-324-0129: Santa Rosa
    • Several local candidates are using this number for political robo-calls so these should stop after November 6.
  • 800-439-6575: 800 Service
  • 855-548-5488: 800 Service
  • 866-992-2931: 800 Service
  • 800-919-2345: 800 Service
  • 424-704-5131: four two four
    • "Helpfully", the area code spelled out is the "name" shown on the caller ID
  • 417-800-2301: Nevada, MO
  • 417-800-2317: Nevada, MO
  • 407-476-5680: Credit Services
  • 305-587-2165: Credit Services
  • 813-444-5700: Credit Services
  • 424-781-3822: Malibu, CA
  • 925-524-3099: Clayton, CA
  • 503-457-1085: Lower Interest
  • "Out of Area" - no phone number indicated
That's 17 different numbers making up 36 of the last 50 phone calls I've received.

Many of these are from "Rachel from cardholder services". The recording always ends with something along these lines: "Press 1 to talk to someone or Press 3 to be removed from the list." Because THAT will get these calls to stop. Not.

She also offers hope by saying "this is your final notice." If only, Rachel. If only.

And there is NO WAY to make them stop. You can answer the phone and connect with a "live" person and politely ask to have your name removed from the list. Invariably the person will hang up on you. They're already on to the next call. Since these telemarketers operate as if the Do Not Call list does not exist, mainly because they robo-dial EVERY residential phone number, you are just wasting your breath.

There is really no point in engaging in any sort of conversation with a telemarketer. You can blast your air horn to kingdom come but THESE CALLS WILL NOT STOP.

And then, of course, even if you decide to pick up the phone there is rarely anyone there anyway. My understanding is that several numbers are dialed at the same time and whoever answers first gets connected. All the other calls register as dead air.

No matter what, THESE CALLS WILL NOT STOP. I don't seem to get them on my cell phone but I don't give out that number to anyone so maybe that's why.

And, egad, don't even get me started on junk e-mail! (But at least you can easily delete e-mail spam.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

September 2012 Books

A bunch of fiction this month, thanks to lots of books from the library. I have at least 4 to pick up tomorrow and possibly 7.

I get many books via interbranch request but since our libraries are closed and Sunday and Mondays my books aren't always there by the time I go on Tuesdays (my general shopping and errand day) so I get those on Thursdays when I am also out running errands.

Right now the trips to the library are crazy in that there is so much work being performed on that street (this is the main artery connecting the east and west sides of Petaluma so it's busy all the time).
  • They are working on the sewer so one whole side of the street is generally closed off.
  • There is a new shopping center going in so the entrance to it is undergoing construction.
  • They are adding a new on-ramp to the freeway.
  • The railway crossings are getting upgraded in anticipation for the new SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit) service.
I can get to the library via the back way but sometimes I just forget, like the other day when not only did they have traffic detouring through a side neighborhood but it was time for school to get out. And once I was in that mess I was in it for about half an hour. The things I do for reading material!

And one of the new clerks at the post office knows I always get books in the mail so the other day I was in line waiting and she called out in a loud voice, "GETTING MORE BOOKS TODAY?" Well, yes, but all the other customers don't need to know that. Thank goodness I don't regularly pick up anything embarrassing.

Anyhoo, on to September books....

NON-FICTION

  • 1969: The Year That Changed Everything by Rob Kirkpatrick
    • I heard of this book because Lady Chardonnay's mom gave it to Mr. Lady C for a birthday gift. It sounded intriguing so I picked it up at the library.
    • It was pretty interesting and my favorite parts revolved around the sports events that occurred that year (the Joe Namath Superbowl and the Miracle Mets) and the music-related stories (Woodstock and Altamont).
      • Another thing I learned was that while Woodstock was going on during the weekend of August 15-18, so was Hurricane Camille. So even though I was only 7 years old, I know exactly where I was during Woodstock! In Chalmette, Louisiana, evacuating to Chalmette High School because my parents were told the levee had broken. It hadn't but I wonder how well we would have been protected at the high school. Certainly we would have lost the house (that area had at LEAST 6 feet of water in both Hurricane Betsy in 1965 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and our little house was torn down in 2006 as unsalvageable) but I have no idea how high the ground around the high school is. We were up in the bleachers so assuming the building held we would have survived fine. My brother and I were pretty excited by the whole thing but my parents must have been horrified by the whole thing.
    • But back to the book, it also covered lots of things about Vietnam, riots at college campuses (this was the year before the killings at Kent State), Apollo 11's moon landing, Chappaquiddick, the Manson Family murders, the Zodiac killer, and more.
    • I think that people living in those times (yes, I lived in those times but as a 7-year-old so I was unaware of all the awful stuff going on except the hurricane, of course) must have thought the world was going to hell. There was such change during the 1960s, in music and movies, in dress, in the drugs and violence, the sexual revolution, women breaking free from the home, the civil rights movement. 
    • I found a couple of factual errors in the book so I am always leery of all the other facts but overall this was a fun read.
    • B- for the book, A+ for my family surviving Hurricane Camille with no levee breaks
FICTION
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  • The Death Cure by James Dashner
    • A three-part young adult series that starts off when a teenage boy arrives in the Glade with no memory of who he is or why he's there. All the other occupants are boys who also arrived with no memories of their past, one every 30 days. They are surrounded by a giant maze filled with deadly creatures. Then a girl arrives the next day with the message that she's the last arrival.
    • The book recounts their attempts to escape and to discover what put them there in the first place. Another dystopian series but one that doesn't completely revolve around the love connections which is refreshing.
    • I didn't love the conclusion but it didn't end ambiguously so that's a plus.
    • B for all three.
  • Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
  • Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
  • Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
    • A young woman named Yelena is a condemned prisoner who is given the choice of immediate execution or become the food taster for the Commander. Guess which one she chooses!
    • A good series but more running, escaping, traveling, plotting or hiding than magic-related stuff, which I was hoping for given the titles.
    • B- for all three
  • Ripper by Stefan Petrucha
    • Carver Young grows up in 1890s New York City, in an orphanage run by a kindly woman (which is a change of pace from almost every other book featuring orphanages) but it's closing so he has to hope for adoption, even though he is a teenager. And adopted he is by a Detective Hawking who works for the Pinkerton Agency.
    • Since Carver wants to be a detective himself it seems ideal. He wants to find his father who's he come to believe is still alive but he also finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation where the killer exhibits the modus operandi of Jack the Ripper. Could he have moved to New York?
    • Interesting book and quite exciting in parts. I especially liked the parts where Carver and his other adopted orphanage friends work together. This seems like the beginning of a series but I don't know if that's the case. Carver would be fun to follow in further adventures.
    • B+


  • Changeless by Gail Carriger
  • Blameless by Gail Carriger
  • Heartless by Gail Carriger
    • Books 2, 3, and 4 of the Parasol Protectorate series. I read book 1 in August and book 5 (the last in the series) in October.
    • The books take place mainly in 1880s London with side trips to Scotland, France and Egypt.
    • The main character, Alexia Maccon, is "soulless" and she can neutralize the powers of werewolves, vampires and ghosts so she is their natural enemy. Naturally she marries a werewolf.
    • It's definitely an entertaining series but reading them all bunched together makes it a little too cutesy. Alexia is a rich, proper lady and there's a lot of comments from her on the propriety of everything related to the whole vampire/werewolf/ghost/normal world. It gets a bit tiresome in bulk but I really wanted to get through it.
    • B+ for all three
  • Every Day by David Levithan
    • The main character, A, wakes up in a different body every day. Sometimes female, sometimes male but always A's current age which is 16. A has guidelines to live this kind of life: don't get noticed, don't interfere, don't get attached.
    • But then A wakes up as Justin and falls for Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. Since there seems to be some sort of geographic component to the situation A never wakes up more than a few hours from Rhiannon.
    • And thereby hangs the tale. It's interesting and you definitely get caught up in A and hope everything works out. The story takes place over the course of about a month.
    • The author wrote Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green. I loved that book and am also looking forward to reading John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (I'm 20th on the library wait list!). I think I need to start checking out their other books.
    • A
I feel like I'm missing some books on my reading list but that's because it's October 8 and I've already plowed through 5 books this month. They'll need to wait until next month's list!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Computer, Travel, and Other Stuff

Ok, so I finally got my new computer up and running. Hence a blogging delay.
  • Transferring computer data from the old one and installing the necessary programs. 
  • Switching to a dual monitor system (totally cool!). 
  • Trying to get used to a new keyboard and mouse.
  • Figuring out how to get the number lock to already be on when the computer boots up.
  • Getting the old computer out and trying to organize a zillion wires. Ugh. (Much thanks to The Boy for his help this morning!) 
  • Trying to figure out what I did wrong with iTunes where every purchase I've ever made from there appears twice in the music library. You'd think it would be a simple deletion of one of the two duplicates but no. It would never be that simple, would it? It all seems fine now with the exception of a Donna Summer song that seems to have disappeared forever.
Then we had a heat wave with temperatures in the upper 90s and that delayed me even further. It just gets way too hot upstairs even with the air conditioner on so I stay comfortably downstairs. And there's television and books downstairs!

We have had very little in the way of heat waves this season so this should be the last of that until next year. Generally there are at least a handful of heat waves, with temps in the low 90s and low 100s, every year. Since I hate heat, it's fine by me in general but it wreaks havoc on fruit and vegetable gardens.
 
So now I am back with several things to blog about. My list of actors was going to be next but I have general catch-up and September books to get to as well.

And confidential to Lady Jane, yes, Jean Arthur, Thelma Ritter, and Barbara Stanwyck are all great, I agree. I especially loved "Baby Face" where Barbara Stanwyck's character LITERALLY sleeps her way to the top in a great pre-Code classic! And I have seen Jean and Thelma in several things. Wonderful!

And confidential to Pops, I really meant to include her:
  • Maria Ouspenskaya
    • Decades ago my Pops and I somehow became enamored of the name of this actress because it's fun to say! Oooh-spen-SKY-a! See?!
      • There's a woman Pops and I have seen in the parking lot at Target who is always asking people for rides (we gave her one a few months back) and we refer to her as "Maria Ouspenskaya" because she has an old lady/gypsy look to her, just like the real Maria Ouspenskaya!
    • She didn't make many movies and was 60 when she got her first Hollywood role.
    • She was mainly an acting teacher, having studied under Stanislavski whose "system" led to method acting. She also taught dance.
    • I've seen her in "The Wolf Man" and "Dance, Girl, Dance" (an interesting movie starring Maureen O'Hara and Lucille Ball). I have "Love Affair" on the DVR still to watch and she's in that too.
Our trip to Oregon was fun. We visited with my brother- and sister-in-law, Jeffy and Jilly. (Jeffy is CPA Boy's brother.) We went out to eat a couple of times and went shopping at the Fred Myer store, which is kind of a Target and Wal-Mart combined plus a grocery store. Then CPA Boy and I visited the Oregon Vortex, one of those places with a mysterious house and lots of optical illusions. We also visited the Harry & David store which is based in Medford.

Then we drove home on September 24, our actual 21st anniversary. It was very warm in the upper central California valley. I could NEVER live in the Red Bluff or Redding area! Sonoma County is so pretty and much more temperate. Mount Shasta is pretty but there was barely any snow this time of year.

I actually have photos from the trip but I haven't yet transferred them from the camera to the computer yet (see above re: new computer!).

I read a bunch of books in September, thanks to some young adult series. That reading recap will get posted this weekend. Try to contain your excitement.

Yesterday I went to the movie theater in San Rafael. The movie I saw "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" isn't playing at the theater here in Petaluma. I've been to the San Rafael theater before when I saw "The Artist" last year. It seems the artier films do not play in Petaluma.

What's funny --- in a sad, sad way --- is that the audience is all women and they are mainly older than I am. (I attended the matinee at 11:30.) For "The Artist" there were about 15 people, all female and all older than me. "Perks" had about 8 audience members and, again, they were all older than I am.

Anyway, I really liked the film. It's about some Pennsylvania high school students in the early 1990s. Emma Watson was pretty good. You totally forget about Hermione early on (the short hair helps). The other two main actors were very good as well. I am looking forward to reading the book.

So far this TV season I have not added anything new to my viewing schedule. I am seriously considering adding "Nashville" next week though. We'll see. I like having some more time free for reading or watching some older stuff via the Amazon Prime system. For example, I haven't seen the movie "Clueless" (which was featured in this week's Entertainment Weekly) and I hope to get to it this weekend or next week.