Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricaine Sandy Aftermath - Picture Heavy

This tree fell on the graveyard by my church.  None of the headstones seem to be damaged, but the sidewalk out front and the gate are destroyed.  This is the worst uprooting I've ever seen.

We got a new Applebee's opening up next week, but unfortunately they lost part of their awning.  I am not sure who dragged it out of the street over to the island, but not only were they ripped from the facade, they were mangled beyond recognition.  I'm sure they will have this repaired before they open on the 5th.

Precariously perched traffic lights. The one on the bottom is roped off to cars and pedestrians, however, the one on the top is not.  It seems just as dangerous to me.

The playground is closed.  A branch managed to get caught on the gate and the grounds are a big mess.  Clean up will be needed before the kids can enjoy it again.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Christmas links

I am sitting here waiting for Sandy to hit us. No work, no school, no transit. At least we have cable and electricity. So I have some time to actually surf the web. I thought I'd put up my favorite Christmas links.

The Christmas Spirit: Christmas year round

As much as I like Christmas, I do think that it is too early for stores to have Christmas ornaments and trees on sale. And I'm not in to this years trend. Teal.  Nope.  I'm not to thrilled with the fuchsia either.  I either like the traditional red, green, gold and silver.  I like darker blue ornaments too.  My theme is pastels.  Other than that, I'm not feeling it.

OK so now on to books. I have my Christmas reading list ready. It is very long. I anticipate getting to about 5 of them.
I read every Christmas book Richard Paul Evans writes. This year is "A Winter Dream".  This is one I WILL read 100% this year.  Probably within the next 2 weeks as I am next in the library queue.

From Goodreads
Based on the story of Joseph and the coat of many colors. Joe is forced out of the family business by his jealous siblings. Moving on to another company, he soon becomes chief advisor to the CEO. But when the economy turns, Joe’s siblings need his help to save the family business.

      Based on the Old Testament story about Joseph and the coat of many colors and including a love story, A Winter Dream can be embraced for its message of forgiveness by believers and nonbelievers alike.

This is a book written by Father Andrew Greeley.  He is best known for a series of books about mystery-solving priest Blackie Ryan and the fey, amateur sleuth Nuala Anne McGrail.

But this book is not about either of those characters. 

From Goodreads
It's beginning to look a lot like an American Christmas: unpleasant relatives, miserable travel, a slobbering dog-and one "harmless American of Irish origins," Jack Flanigan, who is reluctantly falling in love with a young Russian woman studying at Harvard.

She's spending Christmas alone in a foreign country, so he invites the dark-eyed beauty home to Chicago for the holiday. Even though it isn't Christmas in the Russian Orthodox calendar, she accepts!

What happens when she gets to Chicago and caught in the maelstrom of commercialized Yuletide? Enough to say, there's a tree, and a feast, and midnight Mass, and a gaggle of contentious Flanigans of all ages-who have the merriest Christmas ever-and nothing will ever be quite the same for any of them.

Especially for Jack.

*  *  *

I'll post more of the books I may read later down the line.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gearing Up - Nanowrimo 2012

This year I am not flying by my seat.  I am outlining. This is a new thing for me, I like not knowing where my story is going, however, this year my story is a little complicated and I need some structure. 

I have created my outline on colored index cards.  So far I have 23 chapters and 4 parts.  I've done as much research as time allow.  I am sure I will have to do more during Nanowrimo, because I am going back to 1962.

I honestly don't know how writers write Historical Fiction.  The research that must go into it boggles my mind. I'm only going back 50 years and I have more information than I ever thought I would need.  However, to be reliable, I have to have my facts right.  I don't mind doing the research, but time is running out.  Next Thursday is T-30.

If the storm prevents me from going to work, I will spend much of the day researching.

I wish everyone who is participating this year the best of luck.  50K here I come.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


I decided to gather all of my notebooks and put them in one place. New and used.  It turns out I have 27 of them.  most of them are Molskines, but those were bought recently.  I have some spiral type journals which i realize I don't like, but those are old. I have one Red & Black too.  Some of them are art journals and have paintings/drawings.

I have work in one of these from 1986. They are typed poems.  However, I didn't start the book until 1994.  I didn't always write in notebooks.  I stepped away from it for many years.  The main reason is that a lot of the stuff I was writing was very depressing.  I only started writing in them again recently. 2006 was when I went back to it. Although I still was not doing it daily.

I currently have 5 notebooks going at once.  One big one which I leave at home because it is too cumbersome to carry, one hard cover smaller one that I carry to work and a soft cover one which I also carry to work sometimes.  I have the little red one for taking notes in transit and a soft cover one for my dreams.  It sounds like I am ADD but I'm not. 

I have also put table of contents (on the last page, so is that an appendix?) So I can find things much easier. 

I don't think I'm an 'addict' but I do like them and will be using them probably for the remainder of my life.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Escape from Camp 14

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden

What a heartbreaking story. I am very ignorant to what is going on in N. Korea. This young man's story was an educational moment for me. We learn about why N. Koreans are put into these camps. I assumed (with my Western mind) that they committed crimes, but this isn't the case at all. In N. Korea, you truly are visited by the sins of your father. I am going to continue to read more about N. Korea and try to get a broder view of what goes on there.

This biography was written by Blaine Harden an author and journalist who reports for PBS and Frontline.  Not only do we hear Shin's story about how he escaped the camp but we also learn some of the inner workings of N. Korea.

Shin Dong Hyuk now lives in the states and is a human rights activist.

Another book was mentioned in this one and I plan to read it soon. 
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick



Thursday, October 18, 2012


November is Nanowrimo.  I haven’t completed a Nano in about 3 years.  I had done it for many years before that and finished, but I don’t know what happened.  This year I’m going to finish.  I will post updates about that here.
Right now I’m in research mode.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to write a fictional account of my uncle’s death.  It is not going to be about my uncle’s death per se, rather the aftermath.  I wasn’t born when he died (1962), but I obtained details from my mother about the death.
One of the true aftermath’s of his death was me (not going in the novel). If he didn’t die, my mom would have married him instead of his brother, I wouldn’t be here as me, I’d be someone else LOL!
As I mentioned in my last post, I will be reading shorter books until the end of the year.  I just finished up “The Omen” by David Seltzer.  I know that the movie(s) were graphic, the newer one was more graphic than the original, but I feel that this book is even more graphic. It could be my imagination. Maybe it has something to do with reading it.  My next book is “Psycho” by Richard Block.  I have a lot of things to read, but I’m trying not to over load myself.  I think some books are coming in from the Library, so not sure what is up next.
Movies (TV and Theater)
I saw “Sinister”.  It is a good horror film, but I wasn’t as scared as some other movies I’ve seen in the past.  “Insidious” and “Possession” were scarier for me.  I was talking with Michelle / The True Book Addict, about this.  I was saying I think horror films are subjective.  Whatever we are most afraid of will scare us most on the screen, even if the fears are deep routed.  If my daughter saw a spider in any movie she’d run out of the theater.  The subject matter in “Insidious” and “Possession” are some ‘issues’ that I have.  “Sinister” did bring up those ‘issues’, so although I could see how it could scare some, it doesn’t scare me.
Who saw “Steel Magnolias” on Lifetime? I wasn’t sure why it was remade for the small screen, but it has been years since I’ve watched it, so I went ahead.  It was really good.  All the actresses were on point.  Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, Condola Rashad, Jill Scott and Alfre Woodard played their parts to perfection.  Now I have to go back and watch the original to see how closely they followed.  From what I remember, it was identical.
TV Shows
I’m watching “Upstairs, Downstairs – Season 2” on Masterpiece Classics.  We are picking up where we left off last year.  We are now being plunged into WW II.  If anyone is watching it, I just want to say that Percy is a B****. She needs to fall off of a cliff.  I also do not like Mr. Amajad, I liked him more last season.
I started watching “World Without End”.  I didn’t know it was even coming on. Actually I didn’t even know it existed until Michelle / True Book Addict, mentioned it.  Hopefully I will like it, it is hard to tell at this point since I only watched about 30 minutes of it. So fingers crossed.
Bummed that they pushed “Whitney” back. It was supposed to come back on October 19th, however that show and “Community” were pushed to an unknown date.  No real explanation given, but I suspect they are waiting for a sweep. Because let’s face it, some of this junk on TV really shouldn’t be there. 
“American Horror Story” is back.  I haven’t watched it yet, but it doesn’t matter.  The show is a hit. I will watch that one tonight with my daughter.
My daughter is making me watch “The Mindy Project”.  I don’t like this show. I don’t like Mindy, she is an annoying, whiney, man-hunting, spinster….sorry.
And the rest of my watch list:
2 Broke Girls, 2 and a Half Men, Revolution, The New Normal, Bones, Guys With Kids, Project Runway, Grimm, New Girl, Glee.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My thoughts on 3 books

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Dysfunction at its highest! I felt this was a good story and is expertly paced. I thought the points of view switching back and forth from husband to wife helped the story stay interesting enough. I would have liked a little more ‘umph’ at the end, but closure is closure.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

 I finally read it, we listened to it. I listen to a very good version with a few narrators, both male and female.  I am not a fan of diary entries but this book moved pretty quickly through them and changed authors enough to keep it interesting.  Classic literature is sometimes hit or miss for me.  I'm glad I finally got to this one.

The Passage by Justin Cronin

I'm not a reader of contemporary vampire books and although I do read dystopian novels, I don't read them too often as I found them depressing.  I read this book for one of my Goodread groups (Thanks Michelle).  We had 8 weeks to read it, but when you borrow from the Library, you only have 3.  I got into it right away but then my interest waned. I felt the book could have been a tad shorter. Anyway, if you like the whole vampire thing then go for it. 


Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Reading for the Remainder of 2012

At the time of this writing I have read 75 books out of the 85 I had planned.  I'm ahead of schedule.  I will no doubt finish my goal with no problem.  I didn't have a reading plan when I started at the beginning of this year, and now that the year is almost over, it seems silly to have any goals, but I have a few to make the last 3 months go off without a hitch.

1.  For November only:  Read Books that are 300 pages or less.  Preferably 200 pages or less.  This is because I plan to participate in Nanowrimo, and my reading time will be taken up with writing time and I want to make sure I can finish a few books in November.

2.  I am doing an alphabetical title challenge on Goodreads.  I need to read 3 more books.  The letters I need are Q, U & V.  I need to read these before December 31st.

3.  Any audiobooks will be 6 hours or less.  

4.  Balance Christmas reading.  Last year I read a lot, but I didn't read much else during December. I like Christmas books, but I will not read as many this year as last year (I say that now).

5.  No more non-fiction (except the one Christmas Non-fiction book I have planed), for the rest of the year.  Non-Fiction dominated my reading this year.  Time to put it to bed.

I think these are 5 doable goals.

I will be posting my reading goals for 2013 in a few days.  As well as some ideas for keeping up with my journals / writers notebooks.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Writing Space

I bought this desk in March.  I worked on it but it wasn't really set up for any type of writing.  I finally got things sort of the way I want them.  I'm sure this will evolve over time.  I have to see what works and what doesn't.

Nothing on the cork board yet...hey, these things are important.  I haven't had a place to work other than my lap for about 9 years.  It is nice.

OK so it is not beautiful but hey, it is functional.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I haven't been writing in my journals for a while.  I've taken some notes in Journal 5, but no real meanderings.  I decided to pull out some older volumes.  Volume 1 which I started in September 2008.  I've only completed 3 volumes (1, 2 and 4).  Volume 3 is not completed, it is a larger size book and harder to carry around, but I'm working on it again.  There is a volume 6 (not pictured) that is in process as well.

I found it interesting looking through them.  I like to cut out pictures and paste them in.  Sometimes I use them as research or food for thought.

 I was working on a story from the 70s and 80s.  Although I lived through the eras, I wanted to take notes on the fashions.

 This was a collage on something called "The Sylvia Plath Effect".  The Sylvia Plath effect is a term coined by psychologist James C. Kaufman in 2001 to refer to the phenomenon that poets are more susceptible to mental illness than other creative writers.  I suppose this would have been a dark time in my life.

 On the inside covers of some of my journals, I pasted pictures and/or quotes.  On volume 1, i posted a lot of angels and saints.  They make me smile.

 This was some research on Archangels. Gabriel mainly.  Was working on a story (still am) about them.  I zeroed in on Gabriel because she is my favorite angel.

 I did do writing in the journals too.  I also pasted some pictures that had nothing to do with a story, but I thought could lead to inspiration.

 I also am inspired by personal libraries.  And i really loved the pearl choker.  Again, no reason other than that it made me smile, and still does.

More research on fashions from the past.  Now we go back to 50s and 60s.  Can't really recall what I was thinking on writing.  There are notes on the pictures but no notes before or after this page. So it seems to be random.

I look through these books and sometimes I find random blurbs and wonder what the heck was I thinking.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Let me tell you what I didn’t like about this book:

1)    The name dropping stories will (and in some cases already are) dated.  This book will not hold up over the years.  He talks about people, TV Shows, movies etc, that in 75 years, no one will know what they are or who they were.  I had this problem when I read Napoleon Hill’s books.  Stuff that was a normal mind set when he wrote the books are no longer applicable.  This caused me to grow frustrated while reading it.

2)    The later principles talk about financial success.  Where the information is sound, it doesn’t work for everyone. It is not a blanket approach.  He says “Don’t think you can’t do it”.  Well, let me see, if I save 50% of my paycheck in a savings account what will I be?  Rich? No I’d be homeless.  If you make $100K a year, then this is a possibility. If you make $40K a year, live in NYC and have a kid in college along with being a single parent, saving 50% of your check is not something you should be doing.

3)    A lot of regurgitated information.  Most of the stuff in the earlier chapters I’ve read or heard about over the last 20 years.  There is no new information in here.

4)    Too much book plugging for his “Chicken Soup for The Soul” books.  We get it. You made money with these books.  You had a million dollar idea…blah blah blah.

Let me tell you what I did like about this book:

1)    I listened to the audio version so it was abridged.  I do have the physical copy, but I don’t think I’ll be reading that any time soon.

2)    There is some good information in here for those who are new to Jack Canfield and or this way of thinking.  If you have been a student of manifesting and metaphysics for a while, this book will be too elementary.

3)    I did like his principle on how you can self educate yourself.  People think schooling is the only way to get ahead. Don’t get me wrong, it sure helps, but you can learn things by reading or watching educational TV or films.  Or you can talk to people who can stimulate your thought process.  He talks about staying away from negative people and those who will pull you down.

4)    He did mention Stephen King. 

And I do understand that this is not an instant fix.  It should take years and years to master these principles.  This is a great book for a 25 year old.  For a 50 year old who has kids in college and gets paid minimum wage…not so helpful (financial info).  Although we can all have a successful mindset, and because of that, this book has merit.

This book was not very motivational for me.