Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Learn Something New Tuesday - 4/26

We've got the date of our housewarming party set (May 28th) and I'm getting excited. I just so happened to notice that since Monday the 31st is Memorial Day the library is closed over the weekend, giving me Saturday off. Plus it gives me over a month to plan things out. I'm really excited for everyone to see the house!

This is Learn Something New Tuesday... with six new questions every Tuesday to answer. This week's theme is Random.

1. Do you get nervous before going to a doctors appointment?
Oh yeah. Very nervous. Even if it's totally routine, I get anxious about it. I tend to put them off as long as possible...

2. Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry?
I have some necklaces I am really fond of - a tiny cow my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas this past year, a pretty necklace from somewhere in the mall that has roses and birds on it and a necklace with a little robot. I tend to forget to wear them though since I don't want to wear them to work (I already lost the robot once at the library). I also love my wedding ring of course.

3. What type of songs do you sing in the shower?

I don't sing in the shower - I swear! I have to take my hearing aids out to shower so I can't hear myself - so what's the point? Also, nobody needs to be subjected to that.

4. When you were younger, did you ever have cartoon sheets?
I don't think so, but I can't remember. It's totally possible.

5. Do you care about the William and Kate wedding?

Kind of. I think the royalty is pretty interesting, and I like the way Kate gets to become a princess! But I don't like all the hoopla surrounding it. If I were Kate I would probably wish I could have a quieter wedding. I'm sure it will be a stressful day for her, but I hope she enjoys herself.

6. How many TV’s are in your house?
Two, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. I guess the computers count as televisions now too considering Hulu...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lazy Easter

Today is a lazy day. Actually, it's an enforced lazy day. Nothing is open. We were all set to go shopping, too.

But I think I should take a cue from Sneakers on this one.

Sneakers' Lazy Day 3

This cat knows how to relax. He's got it made.

Sneakers' Lazy Day 2

And that blanket he loves so much is calling my name, too.

Sneakers' Lazy Day

Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review: Full Tilt

Full TiltFull Tilt by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars 

Full Tilt is an interesting book. At first glance it looks like a typical Goosebumps-style young adult novel about teenagers being sucked into a paranormal amusement park. Fortunately (although that could be cool), this book goes beyond that to explore its characters, or at least its protagonist, in more depth.

Blake is a sort of bland, generic overachiever with some secrets in his past when the book opens. Using the plotline of an amusement park run by a mysterious, otherworldly figure, Shusterman follows Blake through growth and a new understanding of himself and his strange, not-quite-there brother.

I thought this book felt a bit flat, particularly compared to Shusterman's other works, but I did enjoy it. The character of Blake's brother, Quinn, especially rang true for me since I knew several teenage boys very similar to him. At times the action was either too toned down and rattled off too quickly or dense and difficult to follow, but the book read quickly and I enjoyed it.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A few videos: my typing and Genbu being cute!

Jen requested a video of my weird typing, and since I had the Flip camera (r.i.p. Flip) out to get some cute videos of Genbu, I thought, why not? So I had Scotty record while I typed an online typing test.

(Also I don't know why I ended up with that black border around the video - it must have something to do with the way I exported it. I'll try to figure it out for next time.)

I have no idea why I type like this. I learned to type in middle school during a computer class. Once we finished our typing lesson we could do whatever we wanted during the rest of the class period, unless there was a lesson planned. So I had ulterior motives for learning to type quickly - I just don't know why I do it oddly.

And here are two cute videos of Genbu. You can see him eating in one, and in the bath in the other. He loves strawberries which is hilarious because my bearded dragon Loki is terrified of them. I don't mind if he spoils himself on strawberries... I'm just happy he's eating.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Learn Something New Tuesday - 4/19

 You guys, I'm so excited! Genbu started eating this morning! He started off with a washcloth that is in his cage (it gives him traction on his ramp up to his basking spot) but quickly switched to a leaf of mustard greens when I put it in front of him. Keep your fingers crossed that he'll eat some more throughout the day while I'm at work, and that the cat isn't too interested by his extra activity!

This is Learn Something New Tuesday... with six new questions every Tuesday to answer.

Are you annoyed by people who don't type correctly?
If by correctly you mean with the right finger placement, no. I type very strangely myself... I only use my index fingers and occasionally my ring finger. It doesn't bother me because I can still type 110 WPM. I'm sure it gives my fingers an extra workout though.

Are you a grammar freak?

No, not really. I do try to use correct grammar, but it's not worth worrying too much about.

Do you love the popcorn at movie theatres?

Nah... I'm not a big fan of popcorn. It gets stuck in my teeth!

Where is the best place to go buy pizza?

Cooked = Barro's
To be cooked at home = Papa Murphy's

What was the last award you received?

The Incredibly Sweet Blog award.

Are you a beach person or a mountain person?

I am more of a mountain person, but I'll take either!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A pathetic tortoise, and an award!

I am feeling pretty bad for our new little tortoise friend today.

He has some kind of respiratory infection, he's slightly underweight and he has parasites, according to the vet Scotty took him to Saturday. (our awesome vet)

So, he has to be dewormed, daily baths and (gulp) 10 shots over the course of 20 days. He is done with 2 of the shots and boy is he pathetic. I know... how can a tortoise look pathetic? They just look like grumpy old men, right? Well, Genbu manages it. We gave him a shot this morning. It goes in the pectoral muscle, so, his "shoulder", essentially. Gave him the shot, set him down, and he started wandering around without moving the leg on the side he got the shot on. Just dragged it around looking all sad.

Poor little dude. I know it's for the best, and hopefully he perks up soon, stops having a runny nose and starts eating.

In happier news I won an award from Jen at What Would Jen Do! Jen is an awesome person and you should all go read her. Thanks Jen!

To accept the award I have to post 5 facts about myself and then pass it on.

1. Sometimes I use completely the wrong word for the sentence I'm trying to say. Usually I get my point across but sometimes I get some weird looks. I don't know why I do it, my brain just inserts another random word in place of the right one.

2. Chocolate settles my stomach. No, really! I have IBS and usually chocolate is bad for IBS sufferers, but for me, it helps calm my tummy down. My sweet tooth appreciates it.

3. I love driving or walking around looking at houses. Scotty and I have been going on evening walks and my favorite part of it is seeing what other people do with their houses and yards.

4. I completely adore animals and find it impossible to kill anything, including bugs. Eventually I might end up a vegetarian, but I really love steaks and burgers and... let's not think about it too much.

5. My hair is so freaking wavy/curly, especially when it's short, that I get a lot of comments that I must have gotten a perm or curled my hair. Strangers never believe it does it on its own. I have learned to embrace it.

Passing it on to:

1. Enjoying the Small Things Each entry is like its own world to sit down and enjoy. Beautiful pictures and words.
2. Dreamers of Dreams Brieann's writing is always so thoughtful.
3. Morningstar Happenings This is a great, funny blog, following one family's story, including adoption.
4. life and love and wings My sister-in-law writes about her daily life, music and becoming an adult.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

House love

So a little bit about our house.
Simply put, I love it!
It's so nice to be on our own, to decorate, to hang out & relax.
I enjoy having people over (which is kind of surprising for me
and I don't even mind housework.
Yeah there is some stressful stuff - 
like money, and fixing things (luckily I know awesome handy people) and getting everything done.

I meant to be writing a little more about it, but life gets in the way.
I know my Hearing Sparks blog is suffering a bit too.
But transitions happen all the time and I know what is new and crazy now,
will seem old hat & routine in just a bit.

Now I'll just sit back and enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Review: Unwind

Unwind (Unwind, #1)Unwind by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is an intense look at some difficult subjects: abortion, government control, stem cell research, the rights of minors. You ask yourself, who owns a child's body?

In this world, the child is the last one who has any right over their body. If parents don't want to take care of a teenager, they can ship them off to be Unwound, their body parts spread out to those who need them - or just want new parts. If the children resist, they're prosecuted for stealing government property. Religions seize Unwinding as a way to fulfill their tithing obligations. Adults can have children forced on them at any time, but they have no real obligation to the children.

The story definitely has some holes. I found the premise, that both pro-life and pro-choice groups would find this acceptable, to be ridiculous. I also found it difficult to believe that some aspects of society (like schooling) would still be as common as they are today; why send a kid to school if you're going to Unwind them in a few years? But the way people justified Unwinding in the book seemed chillingly true to life. Just look at the way people have justified utter atrocities, with the barest of excuses, throughout human history.

This book contains one of the most chilling chapters I have ever read. Actually, strike that: without going into any gory detail, without presenting anything outright shocking, Neal Shusterman managed to write the creepiest thing I have ever read. That scene is still playing itself in my head, and I don't know if I'll ever get rid of it. Just the knowledge of everything that chapter implies about the book and the society as a whole is utterly chilling - and it all seems so real, as though it could happen tomorrow.

I don't think I will get this book out of my head anytime soon. Yes, it had its flaws, but it makes an impact.

View all my reviews

Monday, April 11, 2011

Introducing Genbu

My husband has loved tortoises for years and years. They've always been one of his favorite animals (sea turtles are first!) but of course so many tortoise species need to be housed outside and need lots of room, so getting a tortoise had to wait until we bought a house.

Luckily our new yard has plenty of space to roam, because we now have a beautiful little leopard tortoise!

His name is Genbu, and he's just adorable. He has a slightly runny nose we are keeping an eye on (luckily I know an excellent reptile vet because of Loki), and he's a little shy, getting used to his new surroundings, but he's perfect.

He's only about 3.25'' long now - but he'll get bigger!

A few pictures.

Loki and Genbu
Loki and Genbu. This cracks me up because it is about a half-second before Loki realized that Genbu is a living, breathing creature and started to puff up. She had no idea what to think of him!
Alicia with Genbu
My sister-in-law Alicia with Genbu

And a few of Loki just so she doesn't feel deprived with her new "brother"...
Loki asleep
While my in-laws were here, Loki was running around like crazy. Then she jumped off me onto the seat of the couch, stuck her head under the blanket and fell asleep.

Loki Stare

Loki in the Light

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Something to cheer me up!

Yesterday was a long day. By the end of it I found myself wishing I had a little chameleon, like Pascal in Tangled, to do some butt-kicking for me.

Unfortunately, not only do I not have a chameleon, but they frown on butt-kicking at public libraries, even if you work there.

Luckily I found something else, by my front door, to take my mind off the long day! My prize from Aaron Zenz's Chuckling Ducklings giveaway had arrived!

The packaging was super cute with the duck quacking my address:

Aaron Zenz package

And here's my sketch:

Aaron Zenz drawing

Thank you, Aaron! Be sure to check out Aaron's blog Bookie Woogie for wonderful kid reviews of books!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day in the Life: April 2, 2011

I edited all of the photos below with the "Vintage Film Effect" as part of the FX Foundry collection of scripts for Gimp. As usual when I decide to apply the same filter to all of the photos, it works for some of them, not all of them... just pretend I was going for something artsy with the dichotomy of vintage effects on photos of technology :)

DITL 1: Morning
Good morning.

DITL 2: Antenna is working
Scotty shows me that he got the antenna working on the bedroom tv so now PBS World comes in! (P.S. I don't think that dog is 82 years old)

DITL 3: Turtle bath
Shower. I recently began showering in the mornings rather than the evenings. I like it a lot.

DITL 4: Good morning, Loki
The lizard is already awake!

DITL 6: Hanging out with Loki
Morning cuddles! (shirt)

DITL 6: Buddies window-gazing
Morning window gazing for the buddies.

DITL 7: Begging
Sneakers turns into a meerkat when treats are involved. I love these treats - I can give him a bunch at a time, and they control hairballs really well. They're the Temptations crunchy kind.

Scotty & I look at the schedule for the conference we are going to today and try to figure out what talks we want to see.

DITL 1: Golden Girls
I watch a little Golden Girls while we wait for our friend Dan to arrive.

DITL 10: Leaf
We first head to my dad's to pick up his truck, since we will need it to pick up a server rack we are buying from Craigslist.

DITL 11: Getting the server
The guys selling the server are actually giving a talk at the conference we will be going to. We stop by their office to pick up the huge rack. It was such a good deal, but this thing is massive!

DITL 12: Server loading
Load it on the truck & begin securing it.

DITL 13: New server rack
Once it's safely at home, we head to Tempe for ABLEconf.

DITL 14: Jack in the Box
...with a stop on the way for breakfast.

DITL 15: Setting the agenda
The boys pose for me as if they are looking over the schedule.

DITL 16: ABLEconf sign
We're in the right place!

DITL 17: Tuxes
Penguins for sale! (I didn't buy one, but I should next time!)

DITL 18: ABLEconf hangout
We meet up with a friend & former coworker of Scotty and Dan's, Nathan, and see a talk on Gimp.

DITL 19: Fry's Electronics
On the lunch break we head to Fry's Electronics, just down the street.

DITL 20: A geeky argument
The boys argue animatedly about something geeky.

DITL 21: Lunch at Fry's Electronics
I scarf down a pretzel and juice.

DITL 22: Loot from Fry's Electronics
My loot! AWESOME. Up till now, I only had a 2gb card.

DITL 23: Netbook branding
Back at the conference, I pick up an Ubuntu sticker for my netbook.

DITL 24: Heat Sink Labs
We stop by some of the displays and talk to these nice people from Heat Sync Labs, who have a 3D printer.

DITL 25: Printed die
They print us our very own d12 (12-sided die)!

DITL 26: Fry's Food & Drug
On our way home, we stop at Fry's Food & Drug (why did we stop at two places called Fry's today?) for some gaming food.

DITL 27: Loki models the new pillows
At home, Loki models our new pillows.

DITL 28: Sneakers
Sneakers keeps a lookout for the last member of our group so we can play some D&D.

DITL 29: Dungeon map
Once everyone has arrived, I start my game. Lots of fun!

DITL 30: Time for sleep
I'm ready for bed after a few hours. Good night!