Archive for November, 2011

A Conglomeration of Thoughts

I write today to vent the adrenaline rush on which I’ve run for the past 18 hours or so.  Yesterday, while on the phone with one of my best friends, there was an awful crashing/clattering sound and the call died.  Repeated calls back to him through the evening yielded no response.  I was borderline to deciding to drive up to the house (4 hours away) and make sure he was okay.  This morning, I called again…”oh, yeah,” he says, “the call died and I didn’t get around to calling you back.”  Yep, I almost reached through the phone to strangle him.  I (somewhat gently) explained to him the drama that ensued the evening before, and he laughed and replied, “Nope, I’m not dead or injured.”  I may have to re-invest in some Clairol or something for the extra platinum I now sport in my hair!!

In other random flickers of thought, I was caught today by a sidebar headline referencing a 67-year-old mystery involving the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944.  The story struck me hard for some reason…it felt like I could suddenly see the flames, smell the circus and the burning, feel the heat of their race up the Big Top’s body…and yet I cannot think of any time, in any classroom, where this subject was discussed.  It’s like a ground-based Hindenberg disaster.  I have never been to a circus of any kind, either…in fact, I avoid them and always have.   The stories told by the survivors are chilling.  The circus facts are interesting in their own right, too.  For instance, in US, ALL circuses use the same “emergency! all hands on deck!” signal…it’s the playing of Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever”…it is the ONLY time that tune is played in a circus environment, and it alerts the entire circus family without inciting panic in the guests.  There are several articles about the fire online, as well as images.  There is also a BEAUTIFUL memorial on the site of the fire, detailed here http://newenglandtravels.blogspot.com/2009/07/hartford-circus-fire.html .

And, in the evil world that is my addiction to books, B&N sends out their lists of “suggested titles”…and I have coupons…and now I have several more books to pick up for people for Christmas…and if I pick them up quickly, I can read them before I send them!!  Now, on to browse sites for the best prices vs hitting the store(s) with my coupon stash.

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Top 10 Authors at My Thanksgiving Dinner

This Tuesday’s The Broke and The Bookish Top 10…Books To Be Read this Winter — and. because I am notorious for building  giant piles of books, these are more 10 SETS of books!

 So, on to my Top Ten Tomes:  

  1. The “Fever” series (counts as one book, really, it does!) by Karen Marie Moning
  2. WWII writings of James D Hornfischer
  3. Web Design in an Nutshell, 3rd Edition — O’Reilly Books
  4. Everything written by Octavia E. Butler
  5. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  6. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  7. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
  8. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (b/c I re-read it at least once a year)
  9. “Virals” series by Kathy Reichs 
  10. Pale Demon by Kim Harrison
  11. The “Otherworld” series by Kelley Armstrong
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In Search of Voice Control

App envy is a terrible thing.  Most of my extended family has gone the way of the Apple and taunt me with their Siri-enabled geekdom.  I remain loyal to Android, and am in search of a voice-control application to compete with theirs, especially since I spend much of my time in the car.

My search thus far has yielded two likely free candidates:  SpeakToIt and Vlingo.  These two seemed to have the best reviews from “real” users, but there is always room for other apps.

Each app will be tested for a few days to get the hang of each one.

First candidate being tested:  SpeakToIt  (http://www.speaktoit.com/)

Download and install were very quick.
Good Stuff: Name recognition from within my Contacts list was very good.  And, I can turn the avatar’s “conversation” feature on and off.  The conversation feature is reflected in text on the screen, too.  Text message creation was pretty accurate.
Biggest current drawback:  no hands-free functionality/no real connectivity with bluetooth, which makes it prohibitive to use in the car.  According to the forum on SpeakToIt’s site, there is a list of future features in development, as well as a call out for beta testers.

As this week’s test goes on, this post will be updated with other things I discover.  I did also sign up to be a beta tester for the app, too.

The battery draw of this application is pretty severe, too.  I’m in an environment where the signal strength is generally very good, but the app uses so many aspects of the phone’s set up (location, contacts, etc.) that the battery life is greatly diminished on my Samsung Moment.

Top 10 Authors at My Thanksgiving Dinner

Okay, this is just fun…The folks over at The Broke and The Bookish do this every Tuesday…I’m a little late to the dance, but it sounds like fun.

 So, on to my Top Ten Turkey Table choices: 

  1. David Baldacci for writing the kinds of books my parents and I can discuss ad nauseum
  2. Gini Koch for supporting Aerosmith, Def Leppard, and the pursuit of comfortable heels
  3. Madeline L’Engle for getting me into sci-fi/fantasy
  4. Jane Yolen &
  5. Anne McCaffery for proving dragons are real
  6. Patricia Briggs for developing heroines with attitude, strength, and automobile knowledge
  7. Ilona Andrews for “Here, kitty kitty” and chicks who unabashedly kick ass
  8. Nalini Singh for creating real-world angels
  9. Orson Scott Card for Ender’s Game and the all-night discussions that followed after
  10. George Orwell for Animal Farm and 1984

 There are OODLES of other authors, living and “ghost writing”, who would be MOST WELCOME at my table…these are the first 10 I thought of.

Flickers of thought

Welcome to the quicksilver world that is my mind.

I find myself wondering at the worlds of Patricia Briggs, Gini Koch, and Ilona Andrews, among many others to be discussed later.  I have such love for heroines who speak their minds and have enormous levels of self-respect, even when their self-confidence may not be 100% there.  My poor room looks like a tsunami of the printed word came crashing through…and I think to myself, “all of this and MORE could be contained in a Nook”…but Nook’s don’t have that printed word SMELL to them…okay, and paperbacks (for the most part) don’t hurt your nose as much when they fall on you b/c you fell asleep reading!

Being a tall chick, and not given to frailty of build, it also comforts me when the heroines are “real” to me:  drive stick…EXPRESS themselves…work on/around cars…fight to the last whistle for those they deem worthy…etc.  Sometimes it’s difficult to see yourself as “capable” and “bad-ass” and “fierce” when faced with western society’s glamorization of the frail and rail…having these (and other) FABULOUSLY, STRONGLY female characters with whom to identify is awesome.

I have called friends and read passages to them…I’ve sent emails with quotes from the books…emails listing the books in order…helping humans at bookstores (and employees)…I share the wealth.  🙂

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