Category Archives: in the news

March’s Audio books

*Eleven books this month*

I did not keep track of books very well this month beyond keeping a list. I must remember next month that unless I want hours of work at the end of April I must write as I go.

I’m pretty much calling the month of March a wash anyway since tons of medical appointments got me out of my good writing habits. How easy it is to have plans derail. since I’m on that MS drug Gilenya, I had to have several medical appointments plus it was time for my yearly check-up with my doc as well as Jayden’s health and wellness visit. My stupid blood came back not happy (thyroid and anemia) and Jayden is having pain in his neck. His pain has been the worst part of this month though it’s getting under control. The vet checked his blood and he’s not anemic like I am. We’re still waiting on the result of the valley fever test the vet ran. His pain could just be a pulled muscle for all we know and hope.

I’m up to nearly forty-five thousand words on the memoir. Last month’s post tells me I was at twenty-five thousand so I made some progress even with the stress of this month. I wrote a little fiction last week for something different and I submitted an essay on my life with MS after a friend on Twitter alerted me to a call for submissions but I never heard anything on it.

Anyway, on with Marche’s books. Oh, this time last year I was in St. Pete. hard to believe it’s been a year since #RoToTrop. Speaking of baseball, B and I went to Phoenix a few weeks ago for a spring training game between the Cubs and Brewers. Two of his co-workers met us there along with one of the co-workers seven year-old son for his first ever baseball game. Within five minutes of sitting down, the seven year-old got a foul ball a spectator caught and gave to him. How freaking cool is that? Oh, the kid also brought me a randy Johnson baseball card which was doubly cool since he’s one of two baseball players I can remember from my sighted days. Any guesses as to the other? Ok, now really on to March’s books.

34. “The Stranger” by Harlan Coben – narrated by George Newbern

finished March 30

Classic Coben, to be sure. However, I think this audio book proves that a narrator can really give a book that final push to greatness. I’m so used to Coben books being narrated by Scott Brick that I was truly disappointed this one had a different narrator. Newbern wasn’t terrible by any means but c’mon, you can’t compare anyone to Scott Brick.

Harlan Coben books have a wonderful sarcastic style perfect for Scott Brick. He drops the lines so flawlessly as to be constantly laugh-out-loud funny. I chuckled a few times while listening to ‘Stranger’ but I didn’t get the hours of enjoyment I’ve gotten with past Brick narrated Coben books. I found the book dragging for quite awhile until the mystery began to unravel and then I couldn’t stop. This book packed a gut punch I certainly was not expecting. Good book but not one of his best. I honestly don’t think i would have said that if Scott Brick had narrated.

33. “Without Fail” (Jack Reacher book 6) by Lee Child – narrated by Dick Hill

Finished March 28

I was reading “Gulliver’s Travels”, trying hard to get through it, when I just gave up one night and frantically began scrolling through books to find something I could get lost in when I scrolled to this one and thought, Jack Reacher to the rescue! Oh wow I just looked up the series to find which number book this was and I have the next book too! I do not remember starting to collect Jack Reacher books but that makes me happy haha. Man, it’s going to be hard to finish the American history book I’m reading knowing I have another jack Reacher…

Reacher books are just plain fun reads. Mystery, action, romance, dead-pan comedy, the whole nine yards. I get a kick out of an American series being written by a Brit. It works, that’s for sure. This one was just as good as all the others, if I’m remembering right. I read a lot. Oh hi there, Captain Obvious.

32. “gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift – narrated by David thorn

Gave up halfway through on March 24

This had been a daily deal that grabbed my attention and based on the publisher’s summary and reviews I picked it up. I found it so incredibly boring though. Ok yeah fantastical stories of his travels, first he’s a giant, then he’s tiny and by the time we got to the third story I just wanted a nice concrete story with constant characters with back stories and a beginning, middle, and end. This book reminded me of “A Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy” which I enjoyed though still had the same sense of ok yada yada let’s move on. I just couldn’t finish this book and that is really rare for me because I hate abandoning a book.

31. “Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape our Man-Made World” by Mark Miodownik – narrated by Michael Page

finished March 22

So, if I ever get the opportunity to hold aerogel, it’ll be one of the most fascinating days of my life. Yeah because commoners like me often get to hold a piece of awesome material that looks like sky. Yep. Happens every day.

This book was soooooo fun! Do you ever wonder why something is the way it is? Do you ever run to Google to ask? Then this book is for you. Absolutely fascinating stories of different materials and how they work the way they do. I worn you though, the chapter on chocolate is pure torture if you don’t have a chocolate bar so do yourself a favor and pick one up before reading this. That is however, unless you’re one of those rare people who don’t like chocolate.

Oh! Forgot I had jotted down this note while reading because I was so excited to have a chapter on pool, which was begun with a cute little screen play. I’m telling you, this book was just plain entertaining. Ok, my note: Billiard balls, sticks made with leather tips and covered with chalk to control the spin of the balls, brought to the west by the English, hence, putting English on the ball.

30. “The Woods” by Harlan Coben – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished March 21

I am so grateful I didn’t read this right before “The Stranger” because then it would have been even more difficult to go from Scott Brick to that other guy.

This book was freaking awesome. A twenty year-old murder, a lost first love, an eccentric hippy, a court drama and just when you think those are all the details to wrap your head around, Cold War Russia decides to make an appearance. What! Yep. And all read for you by the incomparable Scott Brick. Highly, highly recommend.

29. “Involuntary Witness” (Guido Guerrieri book 1) by Gianrico Carofiglio – narrated by Sean Barrett

Finished March 18

The things you learn when you get the links to books you’ve read. This book is the first in a series and I had no idea! There are four books out and I will definitely be checking them out. This must have been a daily deal that caught my attention though in the publisher’s summary it mentions the series. I blame subsequent brain fogs for forgetting that. Also, it’s not mentioned anywhere on the Audible page but announced at the beginning of the book that it was translated from Italian to English.

I really enjoyed a murder mystery set in a different country with different laws and different courts. Guido is a lawyer set to the task of defending a “non-European” (black) man accused of murdering a child. Having no faith in the Italian courts thanks to the Amanda Knox case, which coincidentally was back in the news just weeks after this book reminded me of it, I thought would take magic for guido to succeed. It truly is a seemingly hopeless case, if you believe in his clients innocence that is.

The book is a perfect mix of serious and humor and Guido is a relatable character battling past demons and what is quite possibly a mental illness. I’m glad to know there are more books!

I only wish they had gotten an Italian narrator. Barrett’s slight English accent is pleasant but not at all Italian sounding.

28. “The Weight of Silence” by Heather Gudenkauf – narrated by Jim Colby, eliza Foss, Cassandra Morris, andy Paris, Therese Plummer and Tony Ward

Finished March 16

As I was reading this I had to wonder if it was the author’s first book. Not because it was bad, just the opposite, but it just felt like a first novel. Was it the shifting points of view from first to third and even second which I’ve just never seen that gave me that impression? I’ve done that with my short stories but never would have dreamed of experimenting with all three in a novel. It works in this book though, it really does. Just now when I grabbed the link to the book page I discovered that this was indeed her debut novel.

There is such a large cast of characters in a relatively short novel that I can see why she wrote this the way she did. The delineation between all the characters was very well done and helped keep the story moving. Where are the girls? I mean where are they!

It reminded me a little of a gillian Flynn novel but with even more subtle darkness. I definitely enjoyed this book and will be reading more of Gudenkauf’s stuff.

27. “Tandia” by Bryce Courtenay – narrated by Humphrey Bower

Finished March 13

I don’t remember when I first began reading this book but it must have been last year. Actually yes, I think I remember making an egg salad sandwich while listening and that kick was sometime towards the end of last year. Anyway, I had to stop. the beginning of this book is just plain brutal as Tandia, a beautiful Indian/African has her first run-in with the South African police. What happens sets up her character and the police officer for what follows in the book as she becomes a freedom fighter of sorts during the days of Apartheid.

I decided to return to the book after my friend Ricardo, who also had to stop during the first reading, returned to the book and said it was really good. I’m glad I trusted him and returned and I’m also glad the Audible app keeps position because I was able to pick up where I left off.

Bryce Courtenay books are awesome and Humphrey bower is the perfect narrator for them. If I meet Courtenay in the afterlife I’m going to ask him what his deal was with incredibly obese women and prostitutes.

26. “Razorhurst” by Justine Larbalestier – narrated by Rebekka rimmington, Fiona Hardingham and David Ligudzinsi

Finished March 8

I was sooooo disappointed with this book. I had high expectations after reading Larbalestier’s tweets as she researched and wrote this book. I don’t know what went wrong. It had so much potential. I jotted some notes while reading:

The narrator that reads the Kelpie chapters sounds like she’s reading a Shell Silverstein book to kindergardners and is not enjoying it. I don’t understand the separate narrators.

The other female narrator sounds like she’s running out of air. And it sounds like there are commas in really odd places.

There was no description of 1930’s anything. No description of clothing. I’m shocked after all the research she did and movies she watched.

I just didn’t like it. It was neither an adult book nor a young adult book to me. It didn’t ahve the fun feeling I get when I read YA. I just didn’t like it.

End notes. Referring to the multiple narrators, I don’t understand why there was more than one narrator needed. the book shifts between two character’s points of views so that explains the female narrators I suppose but the chapters the man read were back story chapters. The book was just sort of a clustermug, to use a Stephen King word. I was so let down that’s why I ran to Bryce Courtenay.

25. “Seven for a Secret” (Timothy Wilde Book 2) by Lyndsay Faye – narrated by Steven Boyer

Finished March 5

I love Lyndsay Faye! I love these books, I love this narrator. Faye better write these books until she just can’t write any more haha. Beautifully written, intricate mysteries, fun and relatable characters, Faye has quickly become one of my new favorite authors. She’s on Twitter too, @LyndsayFaye, so I definitely won’t miss new books.

Timothy Wilde is a great guy but of course I’ve got a crush on his drug addicted, alcoholic, womanizing firefighter and politician brother Val. wow, after writing those words together I see just what a complex character Val is haha! No wonder I like him.

24.“Falling Glass” by Adrian McKinty – narrated by Gerard Doyle

finished March 2

I just read the Audible page and apparently McKinty is a fairly well known author of Irish mysteries. I love the authors I discover thanks to Audible daily deals.

This book was really good. It’s about a hitman who comes out of retirement to track down some rich guy’s ex-wife who has disappeared with the two kids. Sounds simple enough of a story line right? Oh there’s just so much more. Very good, wonderful narrator, funny and witty.

Here’s a note I jotted down:

Sudden inexplicable switch to second person narration that made no sense. A few words that sounded like maybe n editor’s note. Very odd.

Odd indeed, but great book.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, doc, fellowship, in the news, Jayden, twitter me this, vet visit, writing

February’s Audio Books

*Twelve books this month*I’m grateful I kept decent track of February’s books. this is definitely the way for me to do my book posts methinks. I’m over 25K words into writing my memoir so the last thing I want to do is worry about getting behind on audio book posts even if it is a self-induced unnecessary goal ha! Do let me know if you read a book based on my mention of books here at the Roof, won’t you?

23. “Alas, Babylon” by Pat Frank – narrated by Will Patton

Finished February 28

Note I jotted just after finishing: Brilliant and timeless. I was shocked when the copyright was given at the end.

This book was so so so good. I’m scrolling down my library in the Audible app and reading books I bought on daily deals that I don’t remember buying. I downloaded this one since it’s narrated by Will Patton and I love him. At times I could hear him breathing rather audibly which was distracting but other than that he did a tremendous job as always.

This book makes it very easy to imagine what life would be like after nuclear war for the survivors. Highly recommend!

22. “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat: and other clinical tales” by Oliver Sacks – narrated by Jonathan Davis

Finished February 25

After Oliver Sacks’s name started appearing online since he came out publicly that he is dying of cancer, I checked my Audible library because I was pretty sure I had gotten this book on a daily deal and I had. The book was fascinating in the beginning but the latter half didn’t quite hold my attention since it dealt more with psychological issues without concrete diagnosis. The book is definitely worth reading however, especially if one is a medical junkie like I am.

21. “Naughty in Nice”(Royal Spyness book 5) by Rhys Bowen – narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Finished February 23

These books are just getting more and more fun and the mysteries getting a little more complex. I think this one might be my favorite thus far and such a good pallet cleanser after a rough book. ‘Naughty’ actually caused me to gasp with surprise at an unexpected turn of events which was a nice change from how I generally predict what happens with georgie and the other characters I’ve come to love in this series. I hope they never end!

20. “The Power of the Dog” by Don Winslow – narrated by Ray Porter

Finished February 22

This was a hard read. Not difficult writing just difficult material. The older I get I just can’t handle descriptive torture and this book had a lot in it. I’m glad Ricardo Recommended bookending it with light reads since the second I finished it last night I jumped into the next royal Spyness book.

I guess you can’t have a book about drug lords without disturbing torture. I also didn’t care for the way the narrative shifted when focus went to New York gangsters. The narrative literally changed from regular third person narrative to a bad grammar version of third person narrative. That’s the only way I can think to describe it and it was distracting. It makes me glad I decided not to play with switching narrative style from chapter to chapter in my fiction novel. Maybe “The Godfather” ruined me for all other mafia books.

(I’ve since learned in my writing studies that what I had described so badly as bad grammar third person narrative could better be described as a shift in prose from eloquent to rough though I’m not sure that’s accurate either since my studies are all self taught ha!)

Ray Porter was brilliant as always. I can’t say I recommend this book unless you’re ok with torture. I’m just not anymore. There also weren’t quite enough likable characters for me and there was so much unredeemed corruption. And the way women were viewed, oh man. It started really good but then about halfway through I just wanted to be done and to think about puppies.

19. “Royal Blood” (Royal Spyness book 4) by Rhys Bowen – narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Finished February 17

I love this series for a nice lite read. This one might just be my favorite so far. I remember being disappointed with the last one I read last year. I thought I might give up on the series but Ricardo recommended a book narrated by Ray Porter and said I’d want something lite before and after it. It was perfect since I had two credits and no plans for them so I bought the next two Royal Spyness books to bookend the one Ricardo recommended.

These books are just plain fun with fun characters and fun narrating. The murder mysteries aren’t exactly riddled with twists but they’re entertaining enough to keep you “turning the pages”. They are the perfect pallet cleansers between raw books that claw at the emotions. Just found @RhysBowen on Twitter. I love the spelling of her name!

18. “Freedom (™) (Daemon book 2) by Daniel Suarez – narrated by Jeff Gurner

Finished February 16

The sequel wasn’t as good as the first but it explained everything nicely and wrapped up the story so there weren’t any glaring loose ends. I found myself not knowing what side I was on since who was good and bad seemed to shift. That was a very uncomfortable place to be as a reader and I’d love to achieve that in my own writing some day.

I’ll definitely be reading more Daniel Suarez (@ItsDanielSuarez) and finding more books narrated by Jeff Gurner (@JeffGurner.

17. “Daemon” (Daemon book 1)by Daniel Suarez – narrated by Jeff Gurner

Finished February 13

Holy crap was this book ever freaking good! In the beginning some things turned me off but after we got past some of the early character development and the story really started flowing, holy crap! I just finished it and I’m so grateful there’s a sequel and that I have it because I’ve already started it. Wow! Thanks Ricardo, for the recommendation! I can’t speak highly enough about this book. Weee!

16. “Red Moon Rising: Sputnik and the Hidden rivals that Ignited the Space Age” by Matthew Brzezinski – narrated byCharles Stransky

Finished February 9

I picked a book at random from my Audible library without reading its description or remembering anything about the book based on the title. It turned out to be about how the first ever space vehicle Sputnik was born and all the things it made possible. Sputnik wasn’t just a cool space toy, it’s the reason for student loans in America. What! yep.

The book started slowly after it began with a cool description of a missile in flight but after awhile it picked up and the characters involved in our past made it interesting and character driven. The more I learn about the Cold War, the more I am amazed we didn’t go to hot war with the USSR. That time in our history is fascinating and I’m so glad I read this book to add more to my vault of knowledge around the Cold War.

I only wish it had been narrated by someone like Scott Brick or Ray Porter. Maybe this narrator wanted to read the book straight or something but a Russian accent or two would have been nice. And listen how he narrates people gasping after a failed launch attempt: Click here.

I couldn’t help but smile when Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) was mentioned since I know an engineer who works there.

In my Twitter browsing today I ran across This article about the DSCOVR satellite set to launch today. Crazy coincidences. Gotta love them.

15. “The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Sherlock Holmes Novel” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – narrated by Simon Prebble

Finished February 7

I read this book in high school and remember liking it so when it was a daily deal I thought, why not? I enjoyed this reading as much if not more than my first time, especially since this time I was looking out for things Stephen King mentioned in his book on writing, though he specifically says he doesn’t read books to study them, just for the pleasure of them. I, on the other hand, study every single book i read, I can’t help it!

I was pleasantly surprised when ‘Hound’ was over to find a novella, ‘The Adventure of the Dancing Men’. Maybe it was mentioned on the Audible page but I don’t remember it, and it certainly wasn’t mentioned before ‘Hound’ started. I think I almost like this story better than the first! Definitely pick this up from Audible if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan. The narrator is great, so no worries there.

14. “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King – narrated by Stephen King

Finished February 5

This book was just plain awesome. It begins with an autobiography of sorts of Stephen King, the ingredients that went into the recipe of an author if you will. I was immediately transported to books of his as he told stories from his youth and young adulthood.

I think anyone would enjoy this though when he gets to the part on writing, if you aren’t interested in writing, your mind will probably wander. I was riveted however. So much of it was stuff I’ve noticed in my own writing journey which only helped validate to me that I am a writer and a lot of it was just plain good info that I soaked up like a sponge. I’ll never forget the blue eight on the rabbit.

At the end, King talks about the accident that nearly killed him in 1999 when he was struck by a van while on his daily walk. I’ve always been curious about that. That experience definitely became more ingredients for his writing, evidenced in “11-22-63”. I’m so grateful I read “the Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins which led me to look her up on Twitter which led me to reading her tweet about this book being an influence of hers. I think it was the right time for me to read it. Oh, and Stephen King narrates, which is always fun to hear. He’s on Twitter, here. Oh and Stephen King hates abridged audio books as much as I do! Wahoo!

13. “Holy Cow: A Modern Day Dairy Tale” by David Duchovny – narrated by David Duchovny

Finished February 4

This was great! I don’t usually get books as short as this one which was three hours, but c’mon, it’s David Duchovny and I’m an X-Phile. The premise sounded fun and I needed fun after that sinister “In Cold Blood”. I lay in bed last night laughing my fool head off at “Holy Cow”. It’s awesome! If the premise sounds good to you, I highly recommend the audio book because Duchovny’s deadpan narration just adds to the fun. I loved this novella! It had a fantastic message too.

I must say I felt a little weird making a ham sandwich at the end of this book. sorry, Shalom.

12. “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished February 3

I was in the mood for some Scott Brick narration and this had been a daily deal not long ago. I am reminded why I stopped falling asleep to the Investigation Discovery channel. I used to love true crime but now I just don’t like the way it makes me feel. Scott Brick said on Twitter the book was sinister. That is an excellent word for it.

I read Truman Capote’s Wikipedia page, reading about his friendship with Harper Lee literally one or two days before her sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird” was announced. Begin Twilight Zone music.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, in the news, twitter me this, writing

Is November over yet?

Today has been the best day since I was treated with steroids last week for my MS flair. I decided to start the day with some yoga because for whatever reason my hamstrings have been so tight my legs burned when I scooped Jayden’s dog food in the mornings. The yoga felt great and started the day off nice and relaxing. I spent most of the rest of the day reading my book which had just gotten so good it refused to be ignored.

Now I’m writing today’s post, dreading what will happen in Ferguson tonight and in the days to follow. As if local sounds want to give me a taste of what it will be like there tonight, the police helicopter has been flying overhead and I hear sirens in the distance.

B has a news channel on in the living room and I hear snippets of the reporters talking over the classical music I’ve had playing in my den all day.

I just heard a reporter say we’re getting so close. I’m terrified for that city. Now they’re talking about schools and businesses being closed and a female reporter is saying it’s recklace to wait until after dark to announce the decision since it’s harder to crowd control after dark.

Does anyone really think it will be possible to crowd control in Ferguson tonight? Terrible. This is terrible. The media is sure in its element. This is like a hurricane to the Weather Channel.

My music is crescendoing. I can still hear the TV. The crowd is getting larger and larger. There’s a member of the KKK there?

The woman reporting has been reporting there for two months she says. It’s bound to be a larger crowd than normal, she says. No shit, Sherlock.

I’m scared for the people of Ferguson. I’d be one of the few locking myself inside. B has changed the channel to sports.

In news closer to home, we’re under a freeze warning for tomorrow.

My heart just isn’t in to writing this post. Is November over yet?

Should I keep this text document open until the announcement is finally read? B has the TV back on the news. I have Twitter open as usual.He said he doesn’t usually put the news on for stuff like this but he has a feeling this will be history. I’m like, ya think?

It is such a powder keg of racial tension how could it not be history. It already is history. All these shootings are history, joining one another to lead to this moment, this moment of people being fed up, of course it’s history. I can’t hear the TV now. The heater is running, white noise drowning out all sound other than the click of my keys and the violins coming from my speakers.

I’m going to post this now. My elbow is screaming at me, the steroid induced reprieve is fading.

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Filed under in the news, NaBloPoMo 2014, spoons, twitter me this, yoga

FREEQ and Desert Bus

I almost included this as a random happy in yesterday’s post but then realized it could be its own post for today, saving me some brain freeze trying to think of something to write haha!

I ran across a tweet yesterday about a game company and what they learned while making their game on iOS accessible to the blind. Here’s the post and it’s a fabulous read. Thanks Ricardo, for retweeting that.

The game is called FREEQ and it’s mostly an audio game, but when some blind iOS gamers heard about it, they were disappointed that the interface wasn’t accessible. So they contacted the developers as blind people tend to do and asked if the game could maybe be made accessible.

The developers were like what? Blind people use iOS devices? What? How? The normal questions haha! They did their research and were like you know what? Let’s not leave the blind people in the dark on this. It’ll be hard work but we can do it. How cool is that? Click that link; it’s good stuff!

The post mentions AppleVis, a huge community of blind and low vision Apple users. When I’m considering an app or a kind of app, I google whatever I need and always include AppleVis in the search. I’m also a member there; it’s an excellent community. So I found the AppleVis post on FREEQ after I read about the game and based on that and the desire to support the developers, I downloaded the game this morning. I haven’t spent much time with it but it sounds fun and different.

I just love it when developers *want* to make their stuff accessible, instead of feeling like they *have* to. Yay!

Random Happy

This morning I ran across this article about a boring game raising money for children. How perfect to include in a post about a video game. The stars aligned for me and today’s post haha! Anyway, turns out the game was made by Penn and Teller as a joke and it involves driving a bus on a boring stretch of road from Tucson to Las Vegas. That’s the game. And now it raises money for kids. What? Click the link. It’s awesome!

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Filed under accessibility, apple Inc, cool product, gratitude, in the news, NaBloPoMo 2013, plugs, silly girl, twitter me this

It’s a good samaritan day

I don’t feel well enough to write anything of substance. Grateful for Twitter and the wealth of good links there.

Homeless good samaritan rewarded for returning wallet

Auto play video: What was good samaritan thinking as he tackled suspect

Good stuff. Thanks for the smiles, internet.

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Filed under in the news, NaBloPoMo 2013, spoons, twitter me this

Have some Happy

I’m going to let today’s links speak for themselves since I woke up with the worst vertigo of my life and I’m incredibly brain foggy now. I think the upper left wisdom tooth that needs to come out is messing up my left year. But forget depressing tooth stuff. The internet wins today!

This morning I played a youtube L-Squaredtweeted, The Science of Happiness. Watch that for seriously good feelings. It made me grateful for my gratitude label and explains why I’m usually ridiculously happy despite my less than easy life. I had planned a much more profound post about all this but I did not expect to be so foggy. Just writing out those codes hurt my thought machine haha.

And what wins the grand prize for today and really the month and probably the year? San Francisco and the Batkid. You don’t even have to click that link. Just do a search for Batkid and I bet Google goes crazy. It was all over Twitter today and it’s the best awesome feeling I’ve seen on the internet in a long time. Batkid even got a Vine from the President!

Now, go forth and be happy. Let’s try and spread happy stuff more than horrible stuff, yeah?

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Filed under gratitude, in the news, NaBloPoMo 2013, twitter me this

Having Warm Fuzzies Until Realizing the Media was just Doing Its Thing

It’s amazing the spin the media can put on everything. At this point, what do you believe? I used to always trust the big news outlets but now the only media I can think of that I trust is Marc Topkin, Tampa Bay Rays beat reporter.

So I’m reading Twitter after a busy morning/early afternoon of baking and cleaning and grooming Jayden. I read a tweet and click the link attached:

@CBSNews Blind N.Y. man allegedly kicked off plane over guide dog; passengers exit in solidarity http://t.co/mPCXpE2enU

Safari opens the link and audio begins to play. The story is about a blind man who was taken off the plane because his guide dog wouldn’t stay beneath the seat. The passengers got upset and left with the man and then boarded a bus to reach their destination. A couple passengers were interviewed and the blind man as well. As the clip is wrapping up, the broadcasters begin applauding the passengers. Tears well in my eyes as my faith in humanity is restored and I retweet .

I walk into my kitchen to put my freshly boiled eggs in the fridge, grinning, hearing my tweet getting retweeted and favorited. I come back to my computer and have a mention from a friend saying the story is quite different from what she’s been seeing. Oh no. Don’t tell me the media got something wrong again and got my spirits up only to have them shot down.

I start my own investigating and find this story and this story and this story and then I just stopped looking.

I had already planned on blogging about this story, sharing my good feelings but explaining that Jayden and I sit in bulkhead so that I don’t have to cram him under a seat but after reading the other stories, my good feelings diminished a bit.

Basically the airline is saying the plane was stuck on the runway for a bit and the guide dog got restless and began “walking up and down the aisle”. I find that laughable. I honestly can’t imagine a blind person just letting his dog leave his side. The flight attendants say the man got belligerent when he was told to keep his dog under the seat. Maybe all that did happen, but would the passengers have stood up for the man if he had acted so badly?

The audio I listened to made it sound like all the passengers got off the flight in solidarity, however the other stories say the flight was cancelled because of the upheaval over the man and his dog. So who’s to say the passengers did stand up for him? Perhaps the ones interviewed had been in a far away part of the plane and not seen the man behaving badly.

I don’t know what to believe about this story and that makes me sad, because it had given me such warm feelings. So media, oh never mind. You’ll never change. You all want to be first so fact checking has gone out the window.

I can still write that Jayden and I fly in bulkhead where there’s more room at my feet. I can’t imagine Jayden fitting under the seat. If fore some reason, this had been me and Jayden would not calm down and settle, I would have calmly tried to work with the airline to come up with a solution. When Jay and I were getting ready to fly to Colorado in May, I was nervous that the only direct flight I could get was through United, and I’ve read so many stories about United and service dogs. I was talking with Carol about it and she pointed out that most likely every single airline has had some sort of incident with a service dog and we never get the whole story. I’m sure some of them are true but I also think that a lot of these kinds of situations can be avoided if we are able to be our own advocate and our dog’s advocate. We also need to know our rights and business’ rights. No, our dogs cannot just walk away from us. My flights went off without a hitch but I’m a planner to the nth degree. Also, when I’m out with Jayden whether I’m sitting on paratransit, in a lobby or on an airplane, his leash is always attached to me. I never let it go. I just hope stories like the one above don’t keep disabled people from flying with their service animals. It’s too bad the twenty-four hour news cycle makes these things seem more common than not.

On a happier note:

Random Happy

This morning I opened this link about designing cities with the blind in mind. I was expecting an article but audio began to play so I sat back to listen. Chris Downey is an architect who went blind right around the time I did. He sure got out of denial faster than I did haha! Anyway, his talk was interesting and funny and I knew it would be my random happy for today.

Chris Downey: Design with the Blind in Mind

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Filed under advocacy, guide dogs, in the news, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2013, twitter me this

Wanna see some of what I’ve read online lately? (Of course there’s dog stuff)

Because sometimes you just want to share the stuff you enjoy reading:

I got a kick out of this. Just goes to show that famous writers certainly don’t know everything about the craft.

“Write drunk; edit sober.” — Ernest Hemingway

Bad Writing Advice from Famous Authors

If you know me at all, you know I love medicine and fitness, so this article was fascinating to me. How’s your gut?

The gastrointestinal tract is one of the most important systems in the body. When our stomachs aren’t happy, neither are we. In this month’s case study, Dr. Detective learns that while taking probiotics can help restore bacterial balance, sometimes it’s not enough to ensure gut health and function.

Doctor Detective with Bryan Walsh

I loved this! You can listen to one of my favorite writers speak!

Defending Jacob will go on sale on now but first let’s hear what William has to say about what he thinks makes a good thriller. Over to you, William!

We Have The Perfect Thriller For You

I’m able to play the embedded video so hopefully if you’re using a screen reader, you can too. The audio is cute.

David Price is pretty talented, but the Rays ace is upstaged at times by his dog, Astro. Wednesday, Astro showed off some new tricks, including “high-fiving” Price.

Video: David Price’s dog Astro doing tricks

This totally made me misty! Anyone care to describe the photograph?

Cujo’s a jittery rat terrier with a bad hip who spends his days hanging around his house in La Porte; but, that all changed on Monday.

La Porte police officer shuts down highway to save dog

Lastly, this story is incredibly close to my heart.

Giffords suffered severe traumatic brain injuries, which left her with speech and mobility issues. In the two years since that day, she has made a remarkable recovery, which will be enhanced by Nelson, her service dog from America’s VetDogs.

Former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords Partnered with Specially Trained Service Dog from America’s VetDogs

How did we ever manage without the internet?

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Filed under dogs, in the news, misty eyes, plugs, random stuff, video, working dog, wow, writing

Book fifty-two in 2012 – “Mocking Jay” (Book Three in the Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins

When I added “Catching Fire” to the book list, I was so stunned and confused that it was difficult to write it up. I remember thinking the post about it was totally lame.

I don’t think this post about “Mocking Jay” is going to be any better. These books were absolutely incredible! And to think I had originally had no interest in reading them because of my loyalty to Scott Westerfeld. How silly was that? Last night after I finished the trilogy I thought about how awesome it would be if Katniss Everdeen and Tally Youngblood got together for lunch. I then started thinking how cool it is that young women get characters like Katniss and Tally when they’re growing up when I had girls like Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield who taught me nothing except how to like boys and make me wonder why I couldn’t ride my bike to the mall too.

At the end of “Mocking Jay” there was an interview with Suzanne Collins. She talks about how the idea for these books came from her channel surfing one night. She was tired and the lines blurred as she flipped between a reality show where young people were competing for money and another channel covering the war where young people were fighting and dying. In the interview she lists questions she hopes young people will ask themselves when they read these books and I can’t remember what all the questions were but as she asked them, I had asked them myself.

One of the things that really stood out to me was when {they} are in the capitol and the citizens actually drink something that makes them purge so they can eat more of the delicious food. The rest of the country is starving and these people are vomiting to eat more. I couldn’t help but think about the attitude of so many during this campaign year, those who aren’t hungry who refuse to share, deciding instead to blame the hungry for their own lot in life, as if every hungry person is at fault.

There is a lot about this trilogy that is completely relevant, though I’m sure there are many who refuse to see it.

B came into the room last night as I was nearing the end. He found me breathing heavily, near tears. I clutched his hand and said, “no roses for like six months. No roses. I can’t smell roses.” He came in later just after I had finished the book and I said, “I just finished it.”

“You survived!”

“But not all of them did…” he couldn’t hear me, my voice was so low and trembling. I had to repeat myself.

“It’s just a book,” he said, laughing.

“But it’s going to be a movie.” That was all I could get out. There was no way I could launch into what felt so real about these books despite the totally different future they are set in.

Ok, so perhaps this post is better than the last one. I’m still reeling. I woke up this morning thinking about the books and all the characters. I will need to run to Michael Connelly tonight I think. I need my cops and bad guys. Normal. Harry isn’t hungry or killing his peers to survive.

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Harry Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12

30.* “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12

31. “Fifty Shades Darker” – E. L. James – Finished 8/16=12

32. “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/22/12

33. “Fifty Shades Freed” – E.L. James – Finished 8/25/12

34. “The Poet” (Jack McEvoy #1) – Michael Connelly Finished – 829/12

35. “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time” – Michael Brooks – Finished 9/4/12

36. “Angels Flight” (Harry Bosch #6) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/8/12

37. “The Scarecrow” (Jack McEvoy #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/13/12

38. “Blood Work” (Terry McCaleb #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/20/12

39. “A Darkness More Than Night” (Terry McCaleb #2, Harry Bosch #7) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/25/12

40. “City of Bones” (Harry Bosch #8) – Michael Connelly – Finished 101/12

41. “Defending Jacob” – William Landay – Finished 10/7/12

42. “The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden – Finished 10/13/12

43. “Lost Light” (Harry Bosch #9) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/17/12

44. “The Narrows” (Harry Bosch #10) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/21/12

45. “Gone Girl” – Gillian Flynn – finished 10/25/12

46. “The Closers” (Harry Bosch #11) – Michael Connelly – Finished 10/27/12

47. “Echo Park: (Harry Bosch #12) -Finished – 10/31/12

48. “The Overlook” (Harry Bosch #13) – Michael Connelly – Finished 11/4/12

49. “The Hunger Games” (Book One of the Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/9/12

50. “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood – Finished 11/13/12

51. “Catching Fire” (Book Two of The Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/18/12

52. “Mocking Jay” (Book Three of the Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/23/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, in the news, misty eyes, NaBloPoMo 2012, politics

How cracked.com influenced my Sunday

I never thought a Cracked article would start my day off nicely. Today the Twitter account posted:

@cracked Read “5 Inspiring Stories for Anyone Feeling Cynical Today” and try to be a bit less of a bummer for once. http://bit.ly/SWEdn2

If you’re not familiar with Cracked, trust me when I say this is not a typical post of theirs. I tend to read Cracked when I need some good belly laughs at something sarcastic and usually vulgar and very politically incorrect. So I was intrigued when I read that tweet and immediately opened the link. I actually got misty eyed reading it and instantly knew I had to share. It set the tone for the day and so far I seem to only be encountering positive and happy stuff. Such a switch! Thanks Cracked!

I knew I wanted to share that in today’s post which works out nicely since I’m still waiting to post another thing I have planned. What to add to it though? I didn’t want to just include one link. Well, animals almost always come to the rescue it seems. After I read that article I was feeling all warm and fuzzy. B was up waiting for football to start and the day felt relaxed. I got up and did something, refill coffee? When I returned, Jayden was sitting pretty on his side of the couch which made me laugh. I leaned towards him and put my arm around him. I pulled my feet up to my left and Jayden gave me kisses and then leaned into me and flopped down, pinning my upper body between his back and the couch. His shoulders and head were cradled perfectly in the ninety degree angle of my legs and belly and my head rested on his hip. Spinelli decided to get in on this and she perched on my left hip and leg. It was so warm and cozy! B snapped a pic, so I thought I’d share. It’s a link to a Twitpic since I still haven’t figured out uploading pics to WordPress. That cuddle session just added nicely to the happiness that Cracked article had awakened in my heart on this Sunday.

I decided to share the photo with my friends on Facebook. I rarely read Facebook anymore but since I was already in after sharing the pic, I decided to read through some status updates. This could have been very dangerous since Facebook seems to be the place people love to air their grievances with society. Twitter too, but I have filters in place there. Luckily I recently cleaned up Facebook and narrowed things down to only those people who don’t make a habit of complaining in every other status update. I am so incredibly glad I decided to browse through updates because I got to find out that an old friend was the first woman to cross the finish line of this year’s El Tour de Tucson! How cool is that! I knew her back before she started riding and I’m just so proud of her! I would have missed that had it not been for the picture. The picture might not have happened had the Cracked article not given me the warm fuzzies.

After B and I have what is our new Sunday tradition of delicious breakfast for lunch, I’m going to soak in the tub. This Sunday is shaping up quite nicely!

Hope I didn’t just jinx it…

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Filed under coffeeholic, fellowship, gratitude, in the news, Jayden, misty eyes, NaBloPoMo 2012, num num food, plugs, Spinelli, sports, twitter me this, wow