Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished reading this book for the second time.

I really enjoy this series (obviously, if I'm reading it again). This series is told from the perspectives of a number of key players. Unfortunately, not all of them are interesting perspectives.

For example, Sansa is a mostly useless character in this book (I suspect that the Stark children have to get a little older for them to be useful characters), and her POV is mostly to show what's happening in King's Landing and Joffrey's court.

These books are really long, so if you have a short attention span, they're not for you, but they're well written, and **spoiler alert** I love it when authors can write multi-dimensional characters, and when authors aren't afraid to let bad things happen to the "good guys."

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Going home

Last weekend, I went home to attend the wedding of a dear friend.  She's six years younger than I am, which may make it sound weird that we were friends when we were young, but somehow it wasn't. At that time, her parents and my parents had a lot of the same friends, and since I was the oldest, I ended up doing a lot of the babysitting.

So, a lot of the people I knew 15 years ago were at this wedding, along with their now adult children.  It was really, really nice to see all of these people again.  I had forgotten how much their presence in my life had meant to me, and it was also really nice to see their kids as adults and to know that they all turned out fine (let's be honest, even with the best of parents and circumstances, it's still a bit of a crap-shoot).

They say you can't go home again, but I don't believe it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The man who lives with wolves

Remember how I was saying for a long time that the HTML box was gone from my reviews in goodreads and I couldn't figure out what the problem was? Well, I'm still maintaining that I'm not crazy, but today the HTML box thing showed up again, so here's the review as it was published in goodreads.

The Man Who Lives with WolvesThe Man Who Lives with Wolves by Shaun Ellis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is really, really interesting.  It's a suggested reading at the end of Jodi Picoult's Lone Wolf (which I also enjoyed), except this is the true story of a guy who actually went and lived with a wild pack of wolves for a while.

It's late, so this is likely to be a disorganized review, so bear with me.

First, I'd like to say that Shaun Ellis does not seem as weird as one would think of someone from the British Isles who came to Idaho to learn about wolves, who thinks one of his brothers is a Native American, and then spent over a year living in the wild with a pack of wolves.

That having been said, while I respect his work a lot, I don't think I like him very much.  Mostly because he has 5 kids with two different women, and he's never really around any of them.  I'm really not the sort of person who thinks you have to be married to have kids, but I sort of feel like, after so many, you should be able to make a commitment to one of the mothers, and you really ought to spend some time with your kids because their mothers are exhausted! So it's a little hard for me to like him after he shows all of this care towards raising wolves, and very little to taking care of his own kids.

I also learned a lot about the different roles wolves play within the pack and how that translates into dog ownership.

Wow, and it's really late, so I've just run out of things to say.  Seriously, though, you really should read this book.

Oh wait, I've remembered something else I want to say (and this isn't in the goodreads review).  Ellis talks a lot about how he doesn't use a scientific method--how he just climbs in with the wolves and learns rather than observing from a distance. So he's basically interfering with all of his experiments, but he also basically says that that's the point. He's trying to learn about wolves so he can improve human's relationships with them by better understanding them.  He's also like to get to a point where scientists don't disregard the work he's doing--as far as Ellis is concerned both he and scientists are doing valuable work and rather that debate the merits of each method, they should just get on with their work. He makes an interesting point.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Don't balance, juggle

This is the advice on the sign in the bathroom at my work--part of an advertising campaign to get employees to update their career development plans.

I'm not actually sure this is advice, though.  Personally, if I were the business, I'd rather my employees balance things: their daily tasks with long-term goals, their personal lives with their professional ones, their diets, to name a few.  I admit, life is, in actuality, more about juggling than balancing, at least for the vast majority of us.  Or maybe just for me. I'd like my life to be balanced, but it frequently feels more like I'm juggling a number of obligations.  Sometimes it even feels like juggling stuff I enjoy: do I go out with my friends, or stay home and read a book? If I give up x amount of sleep, can I do both?

Wow, and when I started this post, I had a whole lot more to say on the topic, like a well thought out tangent on how if my company wants me to juggle and I want to balance, maybe I shouldn't be working there.  But it's been a busy week and I'm about to get on a red-eye, and technically I'm a contingent worker, so I'm paid by the hour regardless if I'm a balancer or a juggler, and the internet is such a weird place that when I googled images of tightrope walking, this actually came up.  It's like steampunk met Water for Elephants and then had a baby with Lewis Carroll. And I thought my imagination was a strange place!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Epic Fail!

Remember how about two months ago, I was totally appalled by the amount of water we use (142 gallons a day), and I said I was going to reduce that by 10%. Well, I didn't.  Not only did I not reduce the amount of water we use, but our usage actually went up by 33 gallons a day! The only good news is, that's still less than the amount we used during this period last year.

Really, the only thing I can attribute it to is that I started this new work out regimen which involves two work outs a day, and therefore two showers a day (I'm still doing two workouts, but I've switched to generally doing both workouts in the evening, since there's no way I'm getting up early enough to do two in the morning, and two showers a day is just a lot of work).

Captain America just walked in and informed me that 1) he's been turning on the sprinklers, and 2) I have scary eyes.  Sometimes when he tells me this, I think of the scene in Toy Story where Mrs. Potato Head is packing Mr. Potato Head's angry eyes, but generally, I just realize that I forgot to take off my eye makeup before doing my Insanity workout.