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Weekend Update The My Experiment Avoiding the Facebook Like Button Edition

>> Sunday, August 31, 2014


Weekend Update

Several weeks ago a friend shared an article by Mat Honan entitled I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me. It was kind of horrifying. The impact of repeatedly using that little Like button and the results of what Facebook’s algorithms did with it was drastic.

I admit I have a love hate relationship with Facebook. It’s a time suck. It throws up obstacles right and left to seeing what the friends I want to follow post. The way pages (for example the page for this blog) work is beyond comprehension. On the other hand I have a group of close friends who live all over the country and keeping in touch with them as well and many acquaintances and relatives is much easier in Facebook than any other format so far. I’ve been rather selective regarding who I will link up with on Facebook. I don’t have current co-workers or very many people I see on a daily basis in my Friends list. I use it for people who live elsewhere or that I don’t see in person that often.



Two weeks ago Bryan from Still Unfinished and Florinda from The 3 R’s Blog both shared an article by Elan Morgan entitled I Quit Liking Things On Facebook for Two Weeks. Here’s How It Changed My View of Humanity. After reading the dreadful results of liking everything I decided to find out what the results of doing the opposite might be.

Then I decided to give it a try myself. For the past two weeks I haven’t clicked on the Like button once on Facebook. It’s so easy to breeze through the feed and click “Like” on posts or status updates without really putting any thought into it. If I wanted to acknowledge something that I truly liked I made myself write out a comment. Sometimes it was a lot and other times it was just a quick word or two.

Did it change the makeup of my Facebook feed? I have no idea. Did it change the way I interacted with my friends on Facebook? Absolutely. I was actually having conversations and enjoying it. I was telling folks exactly what I liked about their post, photo or status update rather than clicking that button and forgetting it.

Yes a comment rather than a Like will trigger notifications and in most cases after a couple of them I was ready to bow out of the conversation. I made generous use of the turn off notifications process but truly that was a small inconvenience to feeling more engaged and interactive with my friends from around the country and world.

I encourage you to read both of the articles I have linked above and think about whether the Like button is killing conversation as well as manipulating what you see on Facebook.

Will I completely give up the Like button for good? I doubt it because in some cases it truly is all the interaction I want to have with a Facebook posting. Also with pages it’s the only way to follow. I will however continue to limit the times where clicking a button is the extent of the conversation or engagement.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Nutshell Review: Jack of Fables Vol. 3: The Bad Prince by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges

>> Friday, August 29, 2014


Photo Credit


Jack of FablesVol. 3: The Bad Prince by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges

Jack of FablesVol. 3: The Bad Prince by Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges

Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Series: #3 in the Jack of Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 126
Source: Library


The Book:
This volume 3 is a compilation of issues 12-16 of the comic series.

From the back cover:
A Royal Pain

Having made - and lost - yet another fortune before once again escaping from his relentless pursuers, it's time for the most celebrated of Fables (in his own mind, at least) to pause and take a moment for some earnest reflection on the wisdom of his actions. Or it would be, if Jack had any acquaintance with the notion of self-doubt. As it is, he's just looking forward to tracking down both a drink and his next chance at getting rich quick.

Naturally, that means that he's about due to fall into the Grand Canyon, meet his double and get a sword stuck through his chest. Or something along those lines. That's the trouble with being the Jack of the Tales - life just keeps getting more and more INTERESTING!

My Thoughts:
While Jack is not my favorite Fables character and I don't feel that this spin-off series is up to the level of the main Fables storyline I'm still reading it because it does link back together eventually.

That said, I actually enjoyed this installment of the series because Jack has a lot of things happen to him that rock his overly inflated ego quite a bit. That made me happy.

There were some very interesting developments in revealing some things about Jack's backstory. The fact that some of this came as a surprise to Jack made me laugh.

In addition intriguing tidbits were revealed about the Mr. Revise and his team who are chasing Jack.

While there is not a lot of action in this volume (Much of it is simply characters talking to each other) it goes a long way in developing characters and plot elements that should take this story deeper into the overall Fables world.

Jack will likely remain clueless about the whole thing.

The final section is a Halloween story about how Jack became Jack o'Lantern and was a lot of fun.


3 stars Rating 3/5

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Wordless Wednesday #253

>> Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cape Perpetua
from Yachats, Oregon

Cape Perpetua from Yachats, Oregon
click on image for larger version

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here

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One Kick by Chelsea Cain

>> Tuesday, August 26, 2014

One Kick by Chelsea Cain

One Kick by Chelsea Cain

Genre: Thriller
Series: #1 in the Kick Lannigan series
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 320
Source: Copy provided by the publisher



The Short Version:
Kick Lannigan's childhood abduction changed her life forever and she's not going to let anyone hurt her again but she's also obsessed with missing child cases.

Why I Read It:
I have been a longtime fan of Chelsea Cain's Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell series. When I heard she was starting a new series I knew I had to read it.

The Book:
From the publisher:

The first in a nail-biting new series featuring Kick Lannigan, a young woman whose complicated past has given her a very special skill set.

Famously kidnapped at age six, Kick captured America’s hearts when she was rescued five years later. Now, twenty-one, she finds herself unexpectedly entangled in a missing child case that will put her talents to the test.

Trained as a marksman, lock picker, escape artist and bomb maker by her abductor, Kick could not return to the life of the average young girl after her release. So, in lieu of therapy, she mastered martial arts, boxing, and knife throwing; learned how to escape from the trunk of a car, jimmy a pair of handcuffs, and walk without making a sound—all before she was thirteen.

Kick has trained herself to be safe. But then two children go missing in three weeks, and an enigmatic and wealthy former weapons dealer approaches her with a proposition. John Bishop uses his fortune and contacts to track down missing children. Not only is he convinced Kick can help recover the two children—he won’t take no for an answer.

With lives hanging in the balance, Kick is set to be the crusader she has always imagined herself. Little does she know that the answers she and Bishop seek are hidden in one of the few places she doesn’t want to navigate—the dark corners of her own mind.

My Thoughts:
I knew that if Chelsea Cain was involved the story would be disturbing and possibly gruesome. While not as gory as the Archie and Gretchen books there is plenty of stuff in this one that lands in the disturbing category.

Kick has issues. She's got several full subscriptions worth. It's what you might expect for someone who was abducted and held for five years as a child. Even after her rescue her experiences continued to affect not only her but her whole family.

Ten years after her kidnapping Kick is a martial arts expert and a crack shot. She can't keep herself from monitoring missing child cases and when she's asked to help the mysterious John Bishop track down a missing boy she hesitates but it's clear she's going to to along.

Chelsea Cain hooked me right away with this one. The prologue set up the beginning of Kick's backstory. Kick is the nickname she has chosen for herself as an adult after being known by one name by her family and another by her abductor. She's still trying to establish her own identity despite the widespread publicity of her story. Helped along by her fame-seeking mother. Kick's tough exterior is an attempt to create an armor protecting her still vulnerable side. I liked Kick equally as much as I wanted to slap her.

This first in a new series has a lot to accomplish in both resolving the current mystery and establishing Kick's backstory. Cain starts it with a thrill ride and keeps it spinning just this side of out of control the rest of the way. I will be watching for Kick's next adventure.


4 stars Rating 4/5

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Bout of Books 11 Wrap Up Post

>> Monday, August 25, 2014

Bout of Books 11 ended last night. It was my fourth Bout of Books and I've got the next one marked on my calendar the week of January 5-11.

Bout of Books

Once again I had a great time having a reason to say 'not this week, it's bout of books and I'm going to read instead".

I had a fairly successful reading week. The main reason I like Bout of Books is that it's a low-pressure readathon. I never feel like I need to stop doing everything else to just read but I am encouraged to maximize and make more time for reading than I normally do. Obviously I worked full time all week so that limited my reading time but I managed to get a lot of reading hours in in the evenings and over the weekend.

These Were My Goals:
  • 2 hours a day total reading/listening time Monday - Thursday
  • 3 hours Friday
  • Saturday and Sunday as much as I feel like
  • Participate in at least one Bout of Books Tweet Chat
  • Participate in one Bout of Books challenge
  • Spend some time each day visiting other participants blogs
  • Have fun

I made all my daily reading time goals.

I finished three books and read a good portion of another and I listened to several hours of my current audiobook.

I lurked in both the tweet chats but was on my phone so couldn't really participate.

I did the Instagram scavenger hunt challenge on Monday and it was a lot of fun.

I visited a bunch of participants blogs and found a few new blogs I'll be keeping an eye on.

The books I finished this week are:
  • One Kick by Chelsea Cain
  • Jack of Fables Vol. 3: The Bad Prince by Bill Willingham
  • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

All in all it was a great week of reading and talking about books with a great bunch of bloggers. I'm looking forward to Bout of Books 12 in January. I hope you'll join me!

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Weekend Update – The It’s Been a Good Reading Week Edition

>> Sunday, August 24, 2014


Weekend Update



It’s been a great reading week around here. I've been participating in The Bout of Books this week. It’s nice to be able to have an excuse to say “Not now, it’s my reading week, remember”? Seriously though, The Hubster is great about going along with my goals to get in extra reading time when Bout of Books week comes along three times a year.

Finished this week:
One Kick by Chelsea Cain
Jack of Fables Vol. 3: The Bad Prince by Bill Willingham
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Started this week:
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz

Still reading (listening)
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (narrated by Ralph Cosham)

Other than books it’s been a fun TV week for us.

Outlander – yes we’re watching the Starz television adaptation. I’m liking it so far. The Hubster eyes haven’t glazed over yet and he even asked me the other day when the next episode was on.


We’ve seen the first two episodes and so far I like it. Now that it’s been picked up for a second season it looks like I’ll be re-reading Dragonfly in Amber before next summer (or whenever season two airs).

The Musketeers – The finale of the first season is tonight (which means we’ll probably watch tomorrow). The good news is that thanks to On Demand I’ll be able to re-watch the entire season from the beginning.

Action, adventure, outstanding banter, female characters with brains, an evil Cardinal, and these guys.

It’s not a straightforward retelling of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (which I read and loved back in 2007 – trust me get the Pevear translation) but it uses the characters and setting as a basic foundation to expand from. It’s just a lot of fun.

And also very easy on the eyes.


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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Sweet Tooth, Vol. 6: Wild Game by Jeff Lemire

>> Friday, August 22, 2014

Sweet Tooth, Vol. 6: Wild Game by Jeff Lemire

Sweet Tooth, Vol. 6: Wild Game by Jeff Lemire

Genre: Science Fiction (Graphic Novel)
Series: #6 in the Sweet Tooth series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 199
Source: Library

The Short Version:
In the finale of the series the fate of both mankind and the animal hybrid children is at stake.

Why I Read It:
This series captivated me from the very first issue. Once I started I had to continue.

The Book:
This volume 6 is a compilation of issues 33 - 40 of the comic series.

From the publisher

THE HUNT IS OVER

At long last, the hybrid animal-boy called Gus and the big man called Jepperd are on the road to the remote Alaskan outpost where the answers they seek are waiting. It was here, years ago, that the wrath of the gods was unleashed, a plague was released ... and a forgotten race reborn.

But Gus, Jepperd and their friends are not the only ones seeking the source of the apocalypse that has all but extinguished mankind. The bad man called Abbot is on the way as well, swearing death to anyone who stands between him and a cure for the plague.

And, if no cure can be found, death for EVERYONE.

The stage has been set for a final battle, an intimate Armageddon with the fate of human and hybrid alike in the balance. And no one knows who will be left standing when the wild game is up...

My Thoughts:
This is finale of a fascinating post-apocalyptic series that has surprising gentleness and strength. While I was sad to have reached the end of Gus and Jepperd's journey the ending was exciting, wonderful, awful and surprisingly emotional.

Trying to explain this series to someone is difficult but Gus the part human, part deer boy is a gentle soul who will stick with me for a long time. His protector Jepperd and the rest of what became like a family to them throughout the series are wonderful characters and their story has been fascinating.

While not everything is wrapped up in a neat tidy bow, this ending to the series is quite satisfying. The epilogue worked well and the final pages left me near tears.

Lemire as both author and illustrator has been able to tell his story well. Although his drawing style is harsh compared to some other richly drawn and colored comics (Fables or Saga for example) but it is highly evocative. He conveys action and emotion so well and particularly for characters who don't (or rarely) speak.

This is a series I highly recommend and I'm looking forward to reading much more of Jeff Lemire's work.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Trish's September Readalong – The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

>> Thursday, August 21, 2014


I am a serial Readalong failure but I’m going to give it a try.

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell


I blame Les at Prairie Horizons for putting this book on my radar. It was her review that made me put this book on my TBR spreadsheet on June 23, 2008.

Yes, you read that right. I decided I wanted to read this book in 2008.

I blame myself for adding it to my wish list at the library sometime after that. Every once in a while I’d be looking at my library wish list and think “I should check that out soon but I’ve already got too many books out”.

I blame the sale email from I don’t even remember which store for making me finally buy the ebook this summer.

I blame one of the guys in my LibraryThing group for telling me shortly after I purchased the ebook that he’s sure I would like this book and should read it soon.

I blame Trish for announcing it as her Readalong book for September.

Go check out the details at Trish’s Blog to see if you want to join in. It should be fun and maybe if enough people I know join in I won’t fail at yet another readalong.

So finally over six years after adding it to my TBR spreadsheet I might actually read this book.

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Wordless Wednesday #252

>> Wednesday, August 20, 2014

reflection

reflection
click on image for larger version

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here

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The Fame Thief by Timothy Hallinan

>> Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Fame Thief by Timothy Hallinan

The Fame Thief by Timothy Hallinan

Genre: Mystery
Series: #3 in the Junior Bender series
Publisher: Soho Press
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 322
Source: Library



The Short Version:
Junior Bender, professional burglar and occasional private investigator for those on the wrong side of the law investigates something that happened back in the glory days of Hollywood and the Mob rule in Vegas.

Why I Read It:
I enjoyed the first two in the series and I wanted to see what Junior got himself into this time.


The Book:
From the publisher:

There are not many people brave enough to say no to Irwin Dressler, Hollywood’s scariest mob boss-turned-movie king. Even though Dressler is ninety-three years old, LA burglar Junior Bender is quaking in his boots when Dressler’s henchman haul him in for a meeting. Dressler wants Junior to solve a “crime” he believes was committed more than sixty years ago, when an old friend of his, once-famous starlet Dolores La Marr, had her career destroyed after compromising photos were taken of her at a Las Vegas party. Dressler wants justice for Dolores and the shining career she never had.

Junior can’t help but think the whole thing is a little crazy. After all, it’s been seventy years. Even if someone did set Dolores up for a fall from grace back then, they’re probably long dead now. But he can’t say no to Irwin Dressler (no one can, really). So he starts digging. And what he finds is that some vendettas never die—they only get more dangerous.

My Thoughts:
I like Junior Bender. Yeah, he's a burglar but he's also a good guy who is trying to be a good father to his teenage daughter.

He just keeps getting pressured into investigative work. This time it's for an aging mob boss. The difficulty is that he's been asked to find out who was behind something that happened back in 1950. Who was behind ruining Dolores La Marr's reputation and career and why?

I enjoyed the way the story alternated between the present day investigation by Junior and the 1940's golden age of Hollywood story of Dolores. The more Junior digs the more trouble he finds. When people he's talked to start dying in ugly ways it turns out that Junior just might be in over his head.

Hallinan has created a flawed hero in Junior. As usual there are lots of twists and turns. There are also quite a few laughs. My favorite mystery series are those that blend action, humor and a hero I like. Hallinan has a winner with this series. I'm looking forward to reading the fourth soon.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Bout of Books 11 Goals and Updates

>> Monday, August 18, 2014

I am participating in my fourth Bout of Books this week. I did my first one last August and have participated in every one since.

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.  For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
My goals for the week and all my updates will be on this post. I’ll also be updating via twitter.
___________________________________________________________________

Time Devoted to Reading
I am working full time this week so I can’t possibly spend a gazillion hours reading. I'm using the same approach as I have previously for getting extra reading time in because it worked pretty well. I do plan to limit some of what is normally my time spent on social media or wandering aimlessly online and replace those activities with more reading time.

I also plan to keep my iPod with my audiobook with me as much as possible. I typically only listen when I’m in the car by myself or when I’m out walking but I keeping my iPod handy might give me some extra listening time.

Usually weekends are not a big reading time for me. That’s when The Hubster and I tend to do things together whether it’s chores and errands or out doing fun stuff. This upcoming weekend however, he'll be busy so I'll have a lot of the weekend pretty much to myself. That should make it easier for me to get more reading time in. Taking all of that into consideration these are my goals for time devoted to reading this week:
  • 2 hours a day total reading/listening time Monday - Thursday
  • 3 hours Friday
  • Saturday and Sunday as much as I feel like
___________________________________________________________________

My Goals:
  • Meet or exceed the time spent reading according to the goals above
  • I'm not setting a number of pages or books goal because I plan on switching around between several books throughout the week.
  • Participate in at least one Bout of Books Tweet Chat
  • Participate in one Bout of Books challenge
  • Spend some time each day visiting other participants blogs
  • Have fun
___________________________________________________________________

Reading List (which may end up having no resemblance at all to the books I end up actually reading):
I can’t possibly read all of these and it’s highly likely that I’ll pick up something that’s not even on the list. There’s a reason this blog is named Whimpulsive.

Anyway - here’s what’s on my radar for reading soon and that includes this week.
  • One Kick by Chelsea Cain (I'm partway through this and enjoying it a lot)
  • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (again one I'm partway through)
  • Herbie's Game by Timothy Hallinan (I recently finished the third in this series and would like to catch up by reading the latest)
  • The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz (I've wanted to read this for ages and I've got it out from the library)
  • Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone (non-fiction about the early days of flight that I started a while ago and set aside but I want to get back to it)
  • The Story Hour by Thrity Umrigar (I have heard excellent things about this author)
I've got several graphic novels out from the library and they're great for a change of pace or a break from other books
  • Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud (highly recommended and one I really want to read)
  • 100 Bullets Vol. 2: Split Second Chance by Brian Azzarello (I read the first a while ago and it intrigued me)
  • Queen and Country Vol. 1: Broken Ground by Greg Rucka (the author is a local guy and I have heard good things about this series)
  • Jack of Fables Vol. 3: The Bad Prince (next in the series for me)
  • Fables Vol. 111: War and Pieces (next in the series for me)
On Audio I'm listening to How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (narrated by Ralph Cosham). I doubt I'll finish it this week but you never know.

All of these are in the house and available and I've got a good mix of audio, print, ebooks, genres and types of book so I can change up the pace or mood when it strikes.
___________________________________________________________________

Updates:

Monday:
How much I read or listened to today:  I got my two hours of reading in
Total number of books completed this week:  Haven't finished anything yet
Thoughts on today’s reading:  I'm enjoying One Kick by Chelsea Cain quite a bit. I love her Gretchen and Archie series but it's nice to see her venture out with new characters. I did complete the instagram book scavenger hunt hosted by The Book Monsters. It was a lot of fun.

Tuesday:
How much I read or listened to today: 45 minutes audiobook listening, 90 minutes reading
Total number of books completed this week: Still none
Thoughts on today’s reading: Some interesting turns in my audiobook (How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny). I'm close to finishing One Kick by Chelsea Cain.


Wednesday:
How much I read or listened to today: I had a good reading day. 30 min of audiobook on my drive to and from work and a total of 2.5 hours of print reading time.
Total number of books completed this week: One
Thoughts on today’s reading: I finished One Kick by Chelsea Cain. It's a good start to a new series. I read another story in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The Adventure of the Resident Patient was another fun one. I really enjoy reading these short Holmes stories in between other books. I also started my next graphic novel. Jack of Fables: The Bad Prince is another in the spin-off series from Fables featuring my least favorite Fable character. Jack really is kind of a jerk but I'm reading thesse because the stories do connect back together soon. They're quick reads and as long as I alternate them with the books from the main Fables timeline I can tolerate them.

Thursday:
How much I read or listened to today: 30 minutes of audiobook time and 90 minutes of reading puts me right on track.
Total number of books completed this week: Two
Thoughts on today’s reading: I finished Jack of Fables Vol. 3. The Bad Prince. I still don't like Jack but it was good to get some new background and some new interesting twists in the story. I started reading The Spellman Files by Liza Lutz. I really enjoyed Heads You Lose which she co-wrote with David Hayward and I've heard good things about her Spellman books. I haven't read very far yet but I'm enjoying it.


Friday:
How much I read or listened to today: I managed to get in an hour of audiobook time and 2.5 hours of reading time today
Total number of books completed this week: Two
Thoughts on today’s reading: Still enjoying my audiobook - How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny. I love Inspector Gamache and Ralph Cosham's reading of this series. I read a good chunk of The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. This one is just a lot of fun. I also read another of the stories in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. It was a good reading day.


Saturday:
How much I read or listened to today: I had a lot of errands today so that meant lots of audiobook time. I managed 90 minutes. I also put in two hours of reading time
Total number of books completed this week: Three
Thoughts on today’s reading: I finished The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. These are such fun and many of the books are a series of short stories so it's nice to pick them up in between other books. I also read more of The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz. This is just fun.


Sunday:
How much I read or listened to today:
Total number of books completed this week:
Thoughts on today’s reading:

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Weekend Update – The Yesterday Was Derby Day Edition

>> Sunday, August 17, 2014


Weekend Update







Three years ago we heard about the Portland Adult Soapbox Derby and since it was a weekend we didn't have much planned we decided to stop by and watch a couple of the races. We ended up staying the whole day and it’s been an event we've planned the third Saturday of August around ever since.

And so it began. In the heat of the summer of 1997, six men climbed to the top of Mt Tabor pulling their creations of death and destruction behind them. It was early in the day yet the smell of beer and sweat already filled the air. They lined their impossible vehicles up and strapped on their glasses , helmets and the PDX Adult SoapBox Derby was born. Mt. Tabor and for that matter, Portland Oregon, would never be the same.



This is such a fun event. There are two divisions of teams those for speed (aka the really insane guys) and the ‘art’ division which is just all kinds of wackiness.

As always - click on the photos to see a larger version.

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014

My favorite two cars this year were Mrs. PotatoHead and The Starship Enterprise.

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014


Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014

The Mystery Machine was back this year too!

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014
It’s weird, It’s fun, It’s a little disturbing at time (I’m still trying to unsee the Zardoz car).

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014
"Water-skiing" down Mt. Tabor

It’s a little dangerous. We saw a few crashes and at one point were preparing to turn and run but the car swerved the other way.

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014
The red car on the left crashed (at least) twice.
Good thing he built it with a roll cage


I can’t wait until next year!

Portland Adult Soapbox Derby 2014


Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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The Unwritten, Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables by Mike Carey et al.

>> Friday, August 15, 2014

The Unwritten, Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables by Mike Carey et al.

The Unwritten, Vol. 9: The Unwritten Fables written by Mike Carey and Bill Willingham with art by Peter Gross and Mark Buckingham

Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
Series: #9 in the Unwritten series
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 144
Source: copy provided by the publisher

The Short Version:
Tom Taylor still seeking answers lands in the world of Fables and it’s impressive.

Why I Read It:
These are two of my favorite comic series that I have been reading in the collected editions. When I heard that there was going to be a crossover edition I could not wait to get my hands on it.

The Book:
This volume 9 is a compilation of issues 50 - 54 of the comic series The Unwritten.

From the publisher

The worlds of FABLES and THE UNWRITTEN collide in the epic comic event by Mike Carey and Bill Willingham!

Tommy Taylor is thrust into the world of Vertigo’s hit series Fables! But a dark and terrible foe has seized the fairy-tale homelands and our world. In desperation, the witches of Fabletown gather to summon the greatest mage the worlds have ever seen. But they are in for an unpleasant surprise.

My Thoughts:
I expected this to be a fairly self contained spinoff from both series and that's exactly what it felt like. I thoroughly enjoyed this blending of two of my favorite comics series. Both of them are full of literary references so it feels natural to have them intersect at some point.

While I have read all of the previous issues of The Unwritten I'm not anywhere near up to current releases with Fables. Because of that I'm sure that there were pieces of the Fables storyline revealed in this that I'll be reading at some point as I continue with the series. It really didn't bother me at all. I had enough familiarity with the characters and pieces of the history to not be baffled.

I think my favorite part was the discussion about how the world of Fables is a story in the reality of the Unwritten characters and vice versa.

It turns out that Tom Taylor ended up in the world of Fables because some of the Fables have summoned help in their war between good and evil. They are nearly as surprised as Tom Taylor when he (and his friends) turn out to be the help that arrives.

This is a departure from both series and while I don't know about the more recent Fables storylines I do know that in terms of The Unwritten this doesn't do a lot to advance the original story but it is a thoroughly enjoyable detour to a place where two of my comic worlds collide. I am guessing that the same is true from the Fables side.

The artwork is a lovely blend of the styles of both series. Peter Gross and Mark Buckingham have done a great job of staying true to each series and making it work together. Both series have a history of rich and complex artwork so they intertwine well.

As a fan of both series I liked it. If you only know Fables you might be a bit lost on the Unwritten side of things and the reverse is also true. If you are familiar with both series, I think you'll enjoy this one even though it's more of a joint side trip than a continuation of either journey.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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Wordless Wednesday #251

>> Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Oregon

Heceta Head Lighthouse
click on image for larger version

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here

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Audiobook – A Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell

>> Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell

A Cast-Off Coven by Juliet Blackwell

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: #2 in the Witchcraft Mysteries Series
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Publication Date: 2012 Tantor Audio (Book originally published 2010)
Length: 8 hours, 36 minutes
Read by: Xe Sands
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
A modern day witch is asked to investigate a possible ghost at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts but it quickly turns into a murder investigation.

Why I Read It:
I enjoyed the first book in this series when I listened to it and have added more of the series to my audiobook library.

The Book:
From the publisher:
Lily Ivory is not your average witch. She runs a vintage clothing store called Aunt Cora’s Closet and has the magical ability to sense vibrations of the past from clothing and jewelry. When students are spooked at the San Francisco School for the Arts, Lily is called in to search for paranormal activity. She finds a dead body and a closet full of old clothes with some very bad vibes.

My Thoughts:
This is a fun cozy series with a fun bit of a paranormal twist. Lily is a natural witch who has had a tough time in her life because of it. She's building a life in San Francisco and her vintage clothing store is doing well. A few close friends know she has an interest in witchcraft. For this reason she is asked to help find out if there is really a ghost at the San Francisco School of Fine Arts. Her payment is to be a the Victorian Era clothing that was discovered in a sealed off storeroom.

When the ghost hunting turns into a murder nystery Lily gets involved in the investigation. She discovers that there is an evil presence involved.

It's a light mystery and the witchcraft element adds some fun. I enjoy Lily's friends and her familiar (a goblin who disguises himself as a pot bellied pig in the presence of non witches) cracks me up.

In addition to the murder mystery, Lily is also learning some new information about her own past from "Aidan Rhodes, Male Witch". He's the one who brought her Oscar and he clearly has things he's not telling Lily. This ongoing storyline is interesting and I'm curious to see where it will lead.

Xe Sands narration of this series feels like a great fit since Lily tells the story. Sands uses a slight accent that fits with Lily's background growing up in Texas. She's easy to listen to and does a great job with voice characterizations for a variety of characters.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration

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Weekend Update – The Always Trust Beth Fish Reads Edition

>> Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekend Update

When Beth Fish Reads tweeted last week that she’d just had the best grilled chicken ever I started counting the days until Saturday. I knew that the recipe would be her Weekend Cooking post last week.

I was a little nervous because if a recipe is too complicated or has ingredients I've never heard of I’m unlikely to try it. Fortunately this one wasn't intimidating at all.

Take yourself on over to Beth Fish Reads blog for the recipe for Garlic and Rosemary Grilled Chicken with Scallions. It’s originally a Bon Appetit recipe but her notes and comments were extremely helpful so I’m sending you to her for the details of the recipe.

Anyway we learned about spatchcocking a chicken. Seriously we did. It only sounds dirty. It’s really a way to make a whole chicken easy to grill. Here’s the instructional video we found that was helpful.




Once we got the chicken flattened out it was matter of seasoning it, and grilling it on a bed of scallions, rosemary and garlic.


After it was mostly cooked we got rid of the stuff the chicken was cooking on. Oh my! Even that smelled delicious! After a few minutes more to finish cooking the chicken was done.


And it was amazing.


Now I just have to get some corn on the cob to have with the leftovers for dinner tomorrow,

Thank you Beth Fish Reads for sharing this recipe and your tips.


Trust me – head over to Beth Fish Reads post and try this chicken.


Hope you’re having a great weekend!


Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

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Nutshell Review: Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince by Bill Willingham

>> Friday, August 8, 2014


Photo Credit


Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince by Bill Willingham

Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince by Bill Willingham


Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Series: #10 in the Fables series
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 238
Source: Library



The Book:
This volume 10 is a compilation of issues 60-69 of the comic series.

From the publisher:
The Return of the King

With all-out war looming between the forces of the Adversary and the free Fables living in the mundane world, everything now depends on a humble janitor known as Flycatcher. Released from centuries of trauma-induced amnesia, Prince Ambrose (as he was known in happier times) faces a long and difficult road--one that will take him through the lands of the dead and into the heart of the enemy's realm. Once there, this unassuming and unlikely hero will face his greatest and most arduous test--and the future of both Fabletown and the Homelands will turn on the outcome.

My Thoughts:
This is my favorite volume of this series yet. I have long been a fan of Flycatcher (the frog prince) so I was glad to see him take a starring role in a story arc. By taking the story into the lands of the dead some previously disposed of characters were able to make a reappearance. This definitely gave the story some fun and interesting turns.

After reading more comics and graphic novels lately I was pleased to relish the richness and detail of the artwork in this series. It's just so complex and interesting. There is so much story on every page far beyond the words of the story.

In addition to the main Prince Ambrose vs. The Adversary story there was a fun detour to an important birthday party for Snow White and Bigby Wolf's children. A long held secret is revealed to them.

I adore this series and was glad to return to the main Fables story after reading one of the Jack of Fables spinoffs. I need to get through the next Jack book soon so I can move on to Volume 10 of Fables

If you haven't started this series you should.


4.5 stars Rating 4.5/5

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