Monthly Archives: August 2009

“Take a look, it’s in a book…”

After 26 years on the air, “Reading Rainbow” has reached its final chapter.

“Reading Rainbow” was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. I think it help turn me into the voracious reader I am today. And without “Reading Rainbow,” I never would have discovered “Star Trek: TNG,” which was and still is one of my favorite shows of all time.

But my favorite episode of all had to be “Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain.” The story was read by James Earl Jones, and he really brought it to lif e for me.
Being young and fascinated with television, I remember being awed that our little school library had some of the books that were on “Reading Rainbow.” I would check them out and feel amazed that I was reading the same book I had seen on TV.

It saddens me that this much-loved show has come to an end. And it frustrates me that funding was cut because it was felt that emphasis needed to be placed on teaching kids to read, not why they should read. To me, why would kids want to apply themselves to reading if they don’t have a reason for doing so?

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high,
Take a look, it’s in a book — Reading Rainbow …

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“The Third Secret” by Steve Berry

The Third Secret: A Novel of Suspense The Third Secret: A Novel of Suspense by Steve Berry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I do love a “Catholic conspiracy” novel. Steve Berry gets a lot of comparison to Dan Brown, and while I have to agree that Brown’s stories are more riveting, personally, I think Berry is the better writer.

I really enjoyed this book. “The Third Secret” is the first I’ve read from Berry, so I have high hopes for the next one I plan to read. The book was written before John Paul II passed away, but in the story, he had already passed, and a new pope, Clement XV, spends his nights in the Vatican vaults, obsessed over the third secret of Fatima. The third secret had been hidden away since 1917, and revealed to the world in 2000. But the revelation was so anticlimactic, many have wondered if the entire third secret was told.

Clement instructs his papal secretary, Colin Michener, to discover all he can about the third secret of Fatima, while ambitious men within the Vatican plot to gain power for themselves.

I could hardly put this book down. It made me late for work a couple of times! The ending disturbed me a little bit, but it was still, overall, a very good book. I hope the others he has written are just as riveting.

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I fret too much, I think.

Caring for our new little furry friend, Oreo the chinchilla, is giving me fits. Not that he’s hard to care for, but that I’ll do something inadvertently to hurt him, since I know next to nothing about them. I wasn’t looking to own a chinchilla when Oreo came into our home, but we have him now, and I do think he’s better off with us than he was in his last environment.

Of course, I spend hours online on chinchilla sites, but on the Internet, how do you really know what information is good and what is not? I’m relying heavily on one site,, because it does seem to have lots and lots of information with credible sources. I shall have to write to thank them for their hard work in compiling all the information, because otherwise, I’m afraid of what we might have accidentally done to poor little Oreo.

Even with all that information, I’m still paranoid. Last night, I was convinced Oreo had a hunchback, which can indicate severe malnutrition or worse. The malnutrition was believable. I know his previous owner didn’t feed him properly. But today, I’m thinking maybe I overreacted, after reading that chinchillas have a naturally occurring curve in their spine. I just don’t know. But he seems to be, as near as I can figure, healthy. He plays. He eats. He drinks. He poops (a lot!). He has had a couple of sticky poops (which is bad), but I think that may be because I’ve just started feeding him a little bit of alfalfa, plus he’s moved into a new cage, and change in diet/stress can cause sticky poops. And I’ve only seen maybe four or five sticky ones. The rest appear normal.

He’s not a social chin. He’s been neglected so long he doesn’t like or trust people. I’m hoping, in time, he’ll learn to trust me. I work with him every day. I have been able to coax him onto my arm and into my lap, but I cannot pick him up. He just will not allow that. I am a little envious when reading all these sites of chins who will play with their people, but I know Oreo can’t help it, and so I’ll just have to continue to do the best I can in hopes someday he’ll learn to play with me.

I am going to have to have the willpower to stop giving him raisins everyday! I’ve been giving him one raisin every night, but I know he should only get one 2-3 times a week. So tonight, he will not get one. Willpower! *game face*

I can’t wait to get home to my little guy. I want to scratch his chin. Tomorrow is cage-cleaning day. It’ll be the first time cleaning his new cage, so I’ll have to see how long it takes me so I’ll know how much time to set aside every week to get it done.

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Friday Five

It’s Friday! (And there was much rejoicing.)

Time once again for my Friday Five. (Yes, I know that name is overused, but I couldn’t think of anything better.)

1. Japanese IQ test. Not sure if it was really used in Japan, but it is a puzzler. It took me a couple of tries before I finally figured it out. But I love brain quizzes.

2. Movies in 15 Minutes. Don’t have time (or money… and who does, in this economy) to see the latest movie? Don’t worry! Cleolinda offers hilarious recaps of the biggest blockbusters. Although… they are funnier if you have seen the movie and/or read the books, in the case of her Harry Potter parodies.

3. The Faeries’ Oracle Interactive Tarot Deck. This online deck offers both single-card and three-card spread readings. But the real reason I like this site is because the artwork is by Brian Froud, the conceptual artist of The Dark Crystal and my favorite movie of all time, Labyrinth.

4. Newseum. A collection of newspaper front pages from around the world.

5. “Do You Want to Date My Avatar.” This is a music video starring Felicia Day (“Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”) with music by Jed Whedon was created to promote season 3 of “The Guild,” a Web series written by Day about online gaming. I haven’t seen all the episodes yet, but what I have seen is hilarious! And the song is catchy. I’ve been singing it in my head since I first heard it. 🙂

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I made the decision yesterday to move my blog from Blogger to WordPress. It’s a good thing its young, so the move wasn’t too traumatic. I’ve used Blogger in the past before, but that was before Blogspot was created. I foresee myself doing a moderate amount of blogging during my breaks at work, and Blogger and my work computer don’t always like speaking to each other. For that matter, neither does my home computer. Plus WordPress seemed to have more layout options. I like this layout, but I hope to change the top picture to one I actually took someday soon. So, hello, WordPress!

Today has been a bit traumatic. I had an appointment with the eye doctor this morning. I figured, since I broke my glasses, I might as well go ahead and have my yearly exam (that I’m almost two years overdue for). I was dreading the thought of having to buy new glasses, since I don’t really have any money right now, thanks to hospital, dentist and chinchilla bills (who knew one little rodent would be so expensive!). But, oh happy day, my prescription hadn’t changed much! And the kind folks at the eye center were kind enough to fix my glasses (for free!) after the exam. I went in expecting to spend at least a couple of hundred dollars and walked out only having spent $10 for the copay. I felt so good, I decided to treat myself to some lunch out.

It probably isn’t a good idea to drive after your eyes have been dilated, but I didn’t cause any accidents, so yay. However, I did not think things through when I made my appointment for early in the morning. The dilation drops made my eyes extremely blurry. Which… is kind of bad for a proofreader. I was handed the sports pages to proof after I got back and could only read the headlines, my eyesight was so bad. I guess you could say that the lack of foresight about my current sight is only clear in hindsight. (Okay, I totally stole that from one of my FaceBook friends, but it made me LOL. And I don’t generally LOL.)

My coworker said I look like I’ve been tripping on LSD all morning, my pupils are so big. Personally, I feel like Stevie Wonder because I’ve been wearing my shades all day, because the glare from my computer screen is so very bright.

So, as I am trying to proof the front page, holding the pages out at arms’ length so I could see the teeny-tiny type of the cutlines, the PTBs descend on my department to discuss where everyone is going to move to.

Bwuh? What is this moving you speak of? I like my corner!

Apparently, with all the new upgrades we’re getting (we have money for upgrades? Then why the hell are we taking furlough days?), the big, new, badass Monster Machine of Newspapery Awesome is, well, monstrous. They’re going to have to knock down the wall my desk is against and come out 11 to 12 feet into the newsroom. Which… will basically cut our newsroom down to half the space we have now. So we’re going to have to all push our desks together and be crammed in here like sardines. (Note to self, make sure to wear deodorant every day.)

I’m also going to lose one of my desks. I work off two desks that are shoved together in an “L” shape. There are two drawers on my main (big) desk that I’ve never been able to open because the little desk is pushed right up against them. Theoretically, I shouldn’t need little desk if I can get to those two drawers. But quite frankly, I’m afraid of what might be in those drawers. I’ve been told no one’s opened them in almost a decade. Yikes.

Supposedly this is all to make our lives easier, once Monster Machine of Newspapery Awesome and all new computers arrive. (Well, new computers for everyone but me. Once again, I get a hand-me-down; albeit a 24-INCH SCREEN hand-me-down.) Right now, it appears as though it’s going to make our lives more complicated. I mean, it’s not like we’re going to cease publication for however long it takes for them to knock down some walls and install Monster Machine of Newspapery Awesome.

I sense fun times are ahead.

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It’s easy to go from high to low.

This morning I was riding a bit of a cloud from actually writing a column for the paper and being brave enough to speak up about it. And I posted a link to it on Facebook for my friends and family to read and got some good comments on it. But of course, that feeling didn’t last long.

First, this morning, I slipped sitting down at my desk and banged my leg against the corner of a drawer and it hurt. Then, this afternoon, I lift up my glasses to rub my eye (I know, you shouldn’t do that) and the nose guard just snaps right off.

*le sigh*

I had to spend all evening searching for my old glasses, which I finally found after an hour of tearing my room apart in an old purse hanging in my closet. I put them on and discover that my eyesight must have gotten a whole lot worse in the past couple of years because everything is still blurry. So tomorrow I shall have to call and make an appointment to get my eyes checked (I’m overdue anyway), and try to wear these broken glasses until I can get a new pair.

I’m still fighting with my insurance company about paying for having my wisdom teeth removed in February, plus I’m still paying my hospital bill for having my gallbladder out in December, and now I have to find some money to pay for new glasses.

And I really wanted to buy “Dollhouse” on DVD. I’ll just add it to my Christmas list for now.

Universe, why don’t you want me to have nice things??

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Can I now officially call myself a published author?

I had been working on a blog piece last week about my memories of being a kid at the county fair, since the local fair begins this week. It wasn’t anything serious, just a writing exercise. Then at work, my coworker was wondering what to do about a column for the opinion page, since the guy who had been writing one weekly had finally quit due to a career change. I almost didn’t say anything, but then I figured, why not? What have I got to lose? At worst, she can say it’s too cheesy and I could go ahead and post it here. But she liked it. And it’s in tomorrow’s paper. Sweet!

Though, it’s funny. I’d love to be a full time writer! But when I handed her a printout of the column, I was so embarrassed! I guess it’s true that you are your own worst critic. It really was horribly cheesy… talking about favorite fair foods, rides (the Himalaya!) and other fun fair stuff, like how I’ve kept this ugly stuffed bear all because my daddy won it for me one year. See? Cheesy, right?

Anyway, in an effort to keep this blog and my work separate, I won’t post it here. (We’ll see how long that lasts.) But suffice to say, I have lots of fun memories of the fair. 🙂

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“The Princes in the Tower” by Alison Weir

The Princes in the Tower The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In the late 15th century, the 14-year-old King Edward V and his 12-year-old brother Richard, Duke of York, disappeared, imprisoned in the Tower of London by their uncle, Richard III, never to be seen again.

It is generally accepted that Richard ordered his nephews’ deaths in order to secure the throne for himself. This book looks at all the evidence of those few years of Richard’s reign to prove this.

All the evidence is circumstantial, but compelling. I don’t think there’s any doubt he removed the two boys as they were obstacles to his continued reign. However, it was the disappearance of the princes that proved to be his undoing when an upstart cousin named Henry Tudor (Henry VII) rallied enough support to overthrow Richard, thus beginning one of the greatest dynasties to ever rule England.

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Friday Five

I want to try to do something regularly every week, so I’ve come up with the “Friday Five” — a list of five interesting, fun or funny Web sites I’ve come across lately that I’d like to share with people.

1. If you like games, I found Shift and its sequels, Shift 2, Shift 3 and Shift 4 to be quite challenging and fun. Warning: it might mess with your head.

2. One of my favorite Web sites is Cake Wrecks, a blog for when good cakes go bad.

3. This video shows why you should never piss off a chinchilla.

4. Think you had a crappy day on the job? Head on over to Customers Suck and count your blessings.

5. And in “Oh Gimme a Break!” news, a woman is suing Brookfield Zoo, claiming their dolphins caused her slip-and-fall injuries. And in other news, water is wet.

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“Cape Storm” by Rachel Caine

Cape Storm (Weather Warden, #8) Cape Storm by Rachel Caine

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I really liked this series when it began, but I had a really hard time getting into this one. It might have been because I could not remember a thing that had happened in the last book, but I was so lost when this one began.

Most of the book is set on a cruise ship that is trying to sail into the heart of a demon-created hurricane, to reach the “bad guy,” appropriately named Bad Bob. And then Joanne is evil. And then she’s not. And then she’s evil again. It might have worked better if it wasn’t written in first person.

I read that there is only one more book in the series, so I suppose I shouldn’t give it up yet. I think I can get through one more.

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