Saturday, February 28, 2009

when will spring come?

It's been really cold outside lately, and I'm sick of snow. On days like this, there's nothing like curling up in a comfortable armchair with a hot cup of tea and a good book. To see what I've been reading lately, be sure and check out the Marian's List blog (I've been getting into the hang of keeping it updated)!

Last night, some friends and I went to Olive Garden and hung out. It was great to get a break from work and just have some fun. During the part where we got salad (and I love Olive Garden's salad), the boys decided to make bets on who could eat a pepperoncini pepper-- they thought it was hot, till they actually tried it-- and asked for one from my end of the table. However, that's my favorite part of the salad, so there weren't any left. :) Since I was paying my own tab, I let myself order my favorite-- Seafood Portofino, yum! We all ended up eating too much. Afterwards, we went to somebody's house and watched Ice Age. We had a blast!

Book Review: MAUS

When I first learned of the Holocaust, I was in eighth grade, and I would not have been able to handle this book at that time in my life. (In other words, if you are a middle school teacher, I do not recommend this book for your students.) This may be a graphic novel, but it's not light reading, and it's not for children. However, it can be important reading for adults. This was my second time through it. Maus, written by Art Spiegelman, is an account of the Holocaust as told by his father Vladek. The Jews are represented by mice, the Germans are cats, and the Americans are dogs. Because the people in it are in animal form (so you can identify their nationality more easily), the graphic horror of the actual events are a bit easier to take, yet they don't lose their poignancy. (The majority of the really nasty stuff happens off-panel, or "offscreen.") The way that the subject matter is handled hits the reader hard, because it's presented in an unexpected way. It breaks through any desensitization you may have built up and shows you just how gruesome the Holocaust really was-- a good lesson for humanity to keep in mind so that we can make sure it never happens again. In this day and age, I think that breaking down our desensitization to real events like this and 9/11 is a good thing... so I recommend this book "to adults only."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Book Review: Rigged

Brought to you by the same person who wrote Bringing Down the House (which was the inspiration behind the movie 21), Ben Mezrich's book Rigged is just what the cover says it is: "the true story of an Ivy League kid who changed the world of oil, from Wall Street to Dubai..." except a lot more interesting. That is, if you can get past the copious number of f-words and other crude language (my limited experience with Mezrich's works have made me wonder why he can't seem to expand his vocabulary). Overall, the book was informative, transporting me to a world I never knew existed-- but in the end, not worth slogging through. I probably won't waste time on another of this author's books. Not recommended.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Book Review: The Icarus Hunt

Written by one of the best science-fiction writers of our day, Timothy Zahn's tale is 25% mystery and 75% entertaining space thriller. In other words, I loved it. It's action-packed and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I've read this one many times before, but can never quite remember the surprise ending, so it's always enjoyable. This book is probably one of the few that I would love to see made into a movie (I always say "The book is better than the movie," but this one would truly be great). A definite recommendation!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the dewey decimal diet


000-099 General Reference: Dictionaries, encyclopedias
100-199 Philosophy: Ideas of mankind
200-299 Religion
300-399 Social Science: Government, how laws are made, fairy tales (worldwide)
400-499 Languages
500-599 Science: Animals, planets, space, rocks
600-699 Useful Arts: Cooking, pet care, transportation
700-799 Fine Arts: Art, music, sports, crafts
800-899 Literature: Plays, short stories, poems, novels
900-999 Geography & History: Atlases, travel, biography, history

introducing... The Dewey Decimal Diet!
The Dewey Decimal Diet. (If you're a librarian, I hope you're laughing at the name. If you're not, I hope you still get it and at least smile.) The Dewey Decimal Diet, or DDD, is for people (like me) who aren't really of the 'active' type. You'd rather sit and watch TV, or (like me) sit in a comfortable chair and dive into an action-adventure novel. (Yes, let the characters do all the work, I'll just read about it, thanks.) Anyways, in order to promote more active living and weight loss in my own life, I've decided to create my own diet. If it helps you too, that's great!

How it works:

1. Portion Control. You don't have to painstakingly 'count calories,' but you do have to watch how many you consume a day. I use a program called Fitday PC, which you can download at, or just use their free online program. To use it, I enter in what I eat for my meals and the quantities, and it calculates how many calories you've had that day and adds them all up. (You know how it says "Percent Daily Values" on the Nutrition Facts of packaged foods? That's all based on 2,000 calories a day, which is average.) For your first day, just enter in the things you normally eat. If you're waaaay over 2,000, you need to cut back and start with 2,000 calories a day (that's about 600 a meal). If you gain weight on 2,000 a day (like I did), try cutting back to 1,800 a day. You'll be amazed at how much just portion control helps! (And if you're constantly feeling hungry, you're cutting out too many calories. Eat a healthy snack, like an apple or carrot sticks or cheese. Just stay away from the sugary, salty, bad-for-you prepackaged snacks. Vending machines are evil.) The joke with the Dewey Decimal Diet is that you're in the 1800-2000 section-- which is the number of calories you're supposed to consume.

2. Exercising. Try to exercise and get your heart rate up at least three times a week. This can be as simple as walking a lap or two around the neighborhood or mallwalking. Listen to some upbeat music (but watch out for cars, don't have it turned up so loud that you can't hear anything!) and take your dog along.

3. Weight Loss. Try and lose one pound a week. This is VERY do-able, not ambitious at all. You should have no problem shedding one pound every week. (Actually, you'll probably lose more than that weekly if you really watch #1 and don't cheat.) You're allowed to lose more (of course) every week, but... you're not allowed to gain any. You worked too hard to shed those pounds-- don't let them come back! If you lose more than one pound a week, that doesn't count for next week's too. You need to lose an additional pound the next week. Over time, this really makes a huge difference.

Tip: If you find that you're carb-intolerant (aka you gain weight when you eat carbs) I strongly reccomend the South Beach diet. It's worked wonders for me!!

meesa4ever said...
What I find that is helping me recently... we have a group at work. We each have goals to meet per week - I have to workout 3x week for at least 30 min. If I don't then I have to put 2 dollars in for each workout day missed... since I am poor this is working out very well :-)

[Edit: I moved this post from my old blog, The Dewey Decimal Diet, because I never updated it... probably due to the nature of the subject. :P ]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Book Review: Deerskin

Robin McKinley's Deerskin is loosely based on the fairy tale Donkeyskin by Charles Perrault. I absolutely loathed this book-- the storyline is centered around a wicked king who, in the grief over his wife's death, rapes his daughter, and the reader is forced to follow the princess's tedious, bloody, and graphic journey as she flees and heals from it.  I forced my way through the book only to make sure that I'd never wonder how it ended, and to destroy any possible desire to return to it and find out what had happened. This is a book I never want to read again.  While the book was mostly well-written, the subject matter prevented me from enjoying it.  The only things I liked about this book were the prince, who is rather a nice change from predictability, and the extensive descriptions of fleethounds.  Overall, this book was unsatisfactory.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

and here i thought classic was the only way to go...

People are evidently doing interesting things with bookshelves these days. I started out just wanting a simple picture of a bookshelf for this blog, because I was going to write about books again. Instead, my Google Images search turned up some photos that I just couldn't leave alone. (I think I might be doing some interior decorating in the near future...) Enjoy!

This one's actually a staircase bookshelf! (Want one? They're designed by Levitate Architects, based in London!)

How cool is this-- a cave bookshelf! What a perfect hideaway. (Especially if you're a little kid!)

This one's called the Gravity Bookshelf. It looks really cool... but I think it would drive me nuts. (I don't think it's avaliable commercially yet.)

This one, however, I might actually consider buying someday (I like traditional, personally). It's got such great, clean lines!

I like this Aluminum and Wood Bookshelf a lot, too. The curved front part gives it a very unique, modern look.

Here's a look that money can't buy: color-coding your books to create a rainbow on your shelves! (Credit goes to user chotda on Flickr for taking this photo.) This one's probably my favorite of the bunch.

Hope you enjoyed seeing these as much as I did!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Book Review: A Knot in the Grain

This is great for anyone who likes fairy tales or fantasy stories (especially girls, as the main characters in the stories are all women). Brought to you by the same author who wrote Beauty, Robin McKinley's five stories--including a Damar tale--are entertaining and well-written. This book is perfect for when you just want something lighthearted and fun, and contains a sneaky reference to Peter Dickinson in one of the stories!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

...or Singles Awareness Day, or Kevin Costner Day, or whatever you celebrate instead... ;D

Sunday, February 1, 2009

this is cheating, but...

my dad wrote this, but i really wanted to share it with you. (he doesn't write often, but when he does, it makes you think.) you can find the original blog post here.

The Wake-Up Call - January 31, 2009

About three years ago, a friend at work stopped by my desk to tell me that he had a package for me out in his car. He didn’t want to bring it into the office, but thought it might be something helpful to me. He told me that he had found it helpful himself, and wanted to “share the wealth.”

We walked out to his car and he handed me a large paper grocery bag containing a box. He said it was mine to keep. He worried, thought, that I might not like it, and if I didn’t, I could do what ever I wanted with it. He didn’t want it back.

With that, he darted back into the office. I took the bag with the unopened box inside to my own car.

Being curious, I got into the car and took the box out of the bag. I opened the box. What ever was inside was surrounded by crumpled paper. Removing the packing materials, I finally discovered what was inside: a set of Christian books.

There was a book about God’s grace, two more about salvation, another about Christian marriage, as well as books on Paul, Joseph, and suffering; seven books in all.

My friend is an extremely reserved person, always very careful not to intrude or offend anyone. Giving me books like this, or even mentioning any topic like religion, is far outside his comfort zone. Yet, my spiritual condition was important enough to him to take the risk and to “share the wealth.”

“Wow! What a great friend!” I thought. But a second later, I was jolted upright by a razor-sharp reality: we had been good friends for over six years. I had been a Christian – a strong, rock-solid Christian, I thought – for far longer. Yet my friend didn’t know. I had never told him.

Worse yet, six years of observing me at work hadn’t let him in on the secret. In fact, he thought I had a need.

Evidently I did. Not for salvation, for I had accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior many years earlier. But I needed a wake-up call, with the reminder that all that I am and all that I do every day should point others to Jesus and reflect that I serve the one true Lord.

written by