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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



 


Follow the Leader: 11/29/04

Yesterday, I took Sean to the park at Winton and Cathy -- at least I think Cathy is the cross street. Anyway, we spent 90 minutes there. Even though the wind was blowing fiercely and the temperature was dropping to the low 40s Sean had a great time running around. What I didn't realize until later is that he's come down with a cold. I thought at the time that the runny nose was from the wind because my nose was running for that reason.

Anyway, Sean spent about half the time there playing with a girl who must be about six. She would do something and then he would try to do the same thing. Except for a few climbing or swinging moves that require longer arms than Sean currently has he was able to keep up with her. She taught him a few things too, like climbing those curved ladders and climbing up the slides backwards.

Happy Birthday Mom!

So it's my mother's birthday. I've already had a nice chat with her on the phone. I also have a nice gift which I had hoped to have to give to her last Friday but it hadn't arrived yet. I'll save it and give to her at Christmas.

I've always been fascinated by her birth date. Her birthday can never fall on Thanksgiving. The closest it can come is the Friday after the holiday.

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Steps: 3700





NaNoWriMo Winner: 11/28/04

I stayed up until 2:00 AM last night but I'm done with my NaNoWriMo novel. The last two thousand words are terrible. I will fix them and edit the rest of the novel later but right now I need a break.

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Steps: 7000



Home Again Home Again Jiggidy Jig: 11/27/04

We came home yesterday arriving home at 5:30. Had we not hit traffic in Livermore we would have been home at 4:30. It was a nice holiday trip but it also great to be home.

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Steps: 3600



Hi Mom: 11/26/04

My Mom came up to visit this morning. She stayed for lunch and took some adorable photographs of Sean. I will post these later. She also brought up a cute owl toy for Sean to add to his collection. Judy and Charlie gave him a stuffed turkey toy too so he has quite the bird collection now.

Giving Blood:

Charlie, Gary and I spent the afternoon giving blood for Charlie's upcoming operation. I was the last to go so I didn't have much support when it was my turn as Charlie and Gary were done by the time I started. My right arm which is my usual arm for giving blood got knicked so they had to try again with my left arm. I went home bruised and light headed. I took a nice nap afterwards and Charlie shared one of his iron pills with me which helped.

I did learn from the few vitals they took before taking my blood that the walking has already stated to pay off. My pulse is down to 60 beats per minute at rest. Blood pressure was also nice and low.

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Steps: 3600



Thanksgiving: 11/25/04

We had an easy drive down to Ian's parents. Living in east bay shortens the trip by two hours. We arrived at 4:30 after hitting very little traffic and having time for a leisurely lunch at the halfway point.

Sean sat a the table with the rest of us this year but he wasn't too interested in eating any of the dinner. He liked the rolls and the box juice but that was about it. He went to bed at his usual time after a bubble bath. He wanted both of us to help with the night time ritual which kept both of us from having a go at seconds. By the time we got down stairs it was time for coffee and pie.

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Steps: 4000



Not Enough Sleep and No Nap: 11/24/04

Today Sean and I were home while Ian had to go to school. Last night I stayed up late watching videos with Ian. We watched Six Feet Under season one episodes. We don't have cable and even if we did wouldn't pay the extra for HBO. So these episodes are new to us. DVDs are a far more affordable way to see things especially when renting over buying or seeing a first run film or getting cable. Anyway, before we knew it we had stayed up until 1:30 AM! Sean of course got up at 7 AM today. I was a walking zombie. I hoped to play catch up a bit during his nap but he only napped for an hour and a half.

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Steps: 4686



Feels like Friday: 11/23/04

Today's my last day of work this week. Tomorrow Sean and I will have a little laze around day. I had thought we might be doing a lot of Christmas shopping on our day off but I've just finished the bulk of it. I need to get something for Ian, a birthday gift for a friend, and a frame for another gift but that's it. It's not even Thanksgiving and the bulk of my shopping is done.

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Steps: 4686



Slow Day: 11/22/04

I don't think anyone wants to be at work today. Everyone is working slowly this Monday before the four day weekend. Sean certainly didn't want to get up. I told him that he and I are taking off Wednesday and he can sleep in then but he wasn't having any of it. Fortunately he had perked up by the time we got to day care.

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Steps: 4600



Shoping for the Party: 11/21/04

Before I took Sean to Sulphur Creek I had to take him to Albertson's to buy the Jello cups for Tuesday's Thanksgiving party at day care. I had picked out some strawberry and orange flavored cups but Sean decided the two flavor fat free puddings would be better. We compromised and got some of each. I know some of the kids have food alergies and won't be able to eat the pudding. I just think it's wonderful that Sean can give me his opinion (even if I don't or can't always listen to it).

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Steps: 4000



Beautiful Day on the Peninsula: 11/20/04

We decided to take Sean to a park so he could swing and slide all that. Our neighborhood park upgrade is coming along nicely but it's still not open yet. At least it's clear now that it will be a playground again when HARD is done. Since the weather was so perfect, we opted for a drive to the peninsula.

We took highway 92 all the way to the end and had a leisurely drive through Half Moon Bay. We were looking for the Half Moon Bay post office but didn't find it. As it was a Saturday I had quite a few BookCrossing packages to mail on to other readers. We eventually stopped at the Moss Beach post office, the tiniest post office with a service window I've been to. I think the man who helped me mail my packages and sold me the roll of stamps was probably the post master. The equipment at this post office is vintage late 1980s and can't tell one the different prices by different rates. Nonetheless, I was able to mail my packages and we were on our way. I hope the BookCrossers get a kick out of the post mark.

We finally ended up at the Daly City library and play ground. Sean had a lovely time climbing, sliding and swinging. We must have been there for an hour. We have to go back before Christmas because Ian checked out a couple of books.

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Steps: 7000



Getting There: 11/19/04

The pedometer goal is ten thousand steps a day. Twice this week I've reached that goal. I'm hoping to reach the goal more often. I might not be able to do it every day because there are days at work when I am chained to my desk (no not literally) so I would have to do a lot of pacing in the office to get the step count up.

New Water Heater:

Over the winter holiday Ian and I will be getting a new water heater installed. Our current one is old, inefficient and inconsistent in its temperatures. The money we'll save on heating costs will pay for the water heater over the course of next year. At least our forced air heater is efficient and cheap to run when we need it.

Almost Reading:

Sean has gotten to the rote memorization stage of reading. He has his favorite lines from his favorite books memorized and "reads" along with Ian or me when we read to him. He can nearly recite the entire Caps For Sale book and much of Owl Babies.

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Steps: 3000



Vanish with the Rose: 11/18/04

I'm currently enjoying Vanish with the Rose by Barbara Michaels (Barbara Mertz who also publishes as Elizabeth Peters). It's typical of her darker mysteries invovling an old house, mysteries hidden in a long neglected garden and forgotten memories resurfacing. It reminds me of her Smoke and Mirrors except that the story is more immediate in its engagement with the reader. It mixes humor, suspense and mystery into a compelling and delightful read.

Early Morning Shopping:

Sean and I got a nice early start across the bridge today. Since we arrived in San Carlos with ten minutes to spare, I decided to stop at Walgreen's with Sean to pick up the diapers and wipes he needs for day care rather than doing the shopping myself later in the day. Walgreen's is in the final stages of the construction, putting in a new entrance and a new facade. Sean loved all the construction equipment. He treated the stop as one giant treat. Anyway we got in and got out quickly and got to school and work on time.

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Steps: 10100



Past the Halfway Point: 11/17/04

The NaNoWriMo novel is going well. What had started out as a simplistic dog walker falls in love with werewolf story has turned into a detective story. A minor character has risen to the top of the play list and is vying for main character status. I guess now I have three main characters: the dog walker, the werewolf and the detective. I'm averaging about two thousand words per day so I'll probably make the 50,000 milestone a little early. Even with taking Thanksgiving day off which I probably will have to because we'll be driving all day I can still finish by Sunday night (November 28th) or reach 53K by November 30th.

Hello Moon:

Right now we can see the moon over the mountains as we head home from day care. Sean's day care is in a rather mountainous bit of the peninsula so the moon plays peek-a-boo behind the hills and trees. Every time it pops into view Sean lets me know. "I see the moon, Mama. Good moon. Pretty moon. Moon, Mama."

Pictures of Sean:

Last week a photographer took class photographs of all the kids at day care. I got Sean's CD last night but haven't looked at it yet, save for the lovely but moody photo on the CD cover. He looks so old in the photograph, a glimpse of what he may look like in a few years.

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Steps: 4534


Sleep Sleep — Night Night: 11/15/04

Sean did not want to get up this morning. He cried and fought with me when getting him dressed. He cried and fought with Ian when he helped me carrying him to my car and put him in his seat. He cried for the first ten minutes of the commute. Fortunately by the time we arrived at day care he was perked up enough to be happy to be there.

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Steps: 10100



Really Rest at Home: 11/14/04

Today Sean didn't want to go out. He's still coldy and I think still tired from yesterday's missing nap. We stayed home and watched (2 times) Finding Nemo. He's gotten interested in the film from the Splashy Songs Book.

Lots of Movies:

Over the weekend we rented a bunch of fun movies. The first one we saw was League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the graphic novel I'm also reading). Anyone who watches the DVD should watch the special features. The film is a wonderful old school treat that uses blue screen, models, scale filming, costuming and other camera tricks where most films today use CGI to create a believable (if exaggerated and somewhat silly) alternative sci-fi Victorian world of 1899.

We also finally finished watching Shrek 2 after our disasterous summer date when the movie theater's basement flooded twenty minutes into the film and had to be evacuated. Shrek 2 is as good a story as the original Shrek, though I would argue that Shrek 1 is slightly tighter a plot. I honestly would have preferred if Fiona had been an Ogre transformed into a Human rather than the other way around. Certainly the first movie leans in that direction. Puss in Boots steals the show. I've read that Shrek 3 has been announced. I hope they get Antonio Banderas back to revoice Puss in Boots. Technically the sequel is leaps ahead of the original and yet is stylisticly similar enough to the original to not be distracting to fans of the original. The old one still holds up even when being watched back to back with the sequel.

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Steps: 3000



Owls Today: 11/13/04

After a nice long sleep in for Sean and our usual breakfast and trip to the post office, we decided to see the animals at Sulphur Creek today. With all the recent rains the animals were pretty drowsy. Heech-Heech slept through most of our visit so Sean spent his time looking at the eagle, the burrowing owl (who always seems to be awake), the sleeping screech owls, the ravens and the doves at the end of the park. Then of course there are the snakes inside the museum that needed visiting (along with the turtle, the kadydid, the tarantula and other creatures).

Rest (or not) at Home

Sean is still coldy so we mostly stayed at home. We read his favorite books: Paddington Bear (the short version), Owl Babies, Jungle Art Show, and some others as well. Unfortunately our tired boy didn't want to nap. He lay in bed for a couple of hours and played music instead of napping.

His missing nap made him a bit irrational later in the night. At fist I tried to put him to bed without his bath because he was falling down tired and not interested in his bath. But he calmed down enough that when Ian asked him if he wanted his bath after all he cheered up. Right after his bath, at a half hour before his bed time he was ready to go to bed early.

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Steps: 3800



Warm Welcome: 11/12/04

Last night I got home after work and received a nice warm welcome. I could hear Sean screaming "Yay!" even before Ian opened the door. When he did get the door open, Sean rushed out to give me a big hug and then he did his happy dance (one part stomp, one part hop). That home coming completely made my day.

Trader Joes

The Trader Joes next to the Walgreens did in fact open three days early. The place was packed when I wandered over. Actually every one from work went over, although we all went a different times. For such a busy opening day the place was actually running smoothly. Things were well stocked, the staff was already knowledgeable about the products and the check out lines were efficient.

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Steps: 3500



BookCrosser Daniel Harry Clune is missing: 11/11/04

While I do not know Daniel Clune personally (aka dclune on BookCrossing), he is missing and the entire community of BookCrossing is concerned about him. Please read the arcticle and if you know anything please contact the authorities.

Nearly in a Horrible Car Accident (But I am OKAY!)

I was millimeters away from being horribly sideswiped by a truck who had been tailgating a car. The light turned red, the car in front of the truck stopped. I stopped. The truck nearly smashed into the car because it's brakes locked. So it swerved into my lane. Thankfully there was JUST enough room ahead of me for it to go but it still couldn't stop. It ended up running the red and going on the freeway. I'm really suprised he didn't hit anyone and that no one hit him!

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Steps: 4000



Bomb Scare: 11/10/04

The building catty corner to ours was evacuated briefly for a bomb scare. Six police cars had Eton street blocked off. Nothing happened here at work save for people staring out the window at all the commotion. Everything was taken care of by one thirty.

Isn't "No" Supposed to be the Favorite Word?

Not for Sean right now. He's learning how to put endings on words, (horses instead of "hor" and goose instead of "goo" fo example). He's decided to go from "Yeah" for his affirmative of choice to "Yes." Almost anything we say to him he'll answer with a quiet "yes." Actually he says it more like "yesh." It's really cute. He sounds so serious even though he's actually a playful individual.

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Steps: 5000



Everyone Was Snoring But Me: 11/9/04

Last night shortly after Sean went to bed, Ian fell asleep on the couch. Shortly after Ian fell asleep (and started snoring), the cat hopped onto the couch, onto his feet and promptly fell asleep. Soon I was the only person awake. It gave me lots of time to write for the NaNoWriMo as long as I didn't mind writing to the sound of stereo snoring.

I mostly ended up writing to the 90 minute tsunami episode of C.S.I Miami. I missed the actual "wall of water" bit of it but the plot didn't suffer from not seeing the set up. Over all the A plot was average -- namely that of stealing gold during a tsunami and it ended with a completely cheesy homage to Magnum P.I. I'm thinking of the episode in the final season where Magnum and Higgins are trapped in a hotel that's about to be demolished. I have to give credit to CSI Miami for that completely cheesy ending. Thanks for the laughs!

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Steps: 3600



Rain Again: 11/8/04

We are expecting rain tomorrow but from the dark and damp skies I wouldn't be surprised if it rains this afternoon or perhaps tonight. I walked quickly to Walgreen's to get a couple of things and I really expected to be rained on either going or coming.

The Trader Joe's that is going up next door to the Walgreen's is ahead of schedule for opening. It had been set to open a week from today but now the sign has been updated to say that it's opening this Friday.

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Steps: 9300



Eleven Thousand Words: 11/7/04

Sean took another marathon nap today and I used the time to play catch up with my NaNoWriMo project. I'm well past 11,000 words putting me back on schedule for the end of the month deadline.

Zombies are Funny:


Ian rented Resident Evil (2002) not because we're fans of the video game but because we're fans of Milla Jovovich. Resident Evil has no business being a good film but it is. I knew from the opening shot where the image of the biohazard containment suit and work area comes foward to fill the screen that I was going to enjoy the film. Although it does have an opening monologue (not needed) it follows the rule of "show don't tell" and it stays nicely within the bounds of the zombie genre making for predictable fun. It also has far better (and tighter) set design and cinemography than I was expecting. It is actually beautiful to watch. Now I want to rent the sequel.

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Steps: 4300



Sean Has a Cold: 11/6/04

Sean has a cold. He brought it home from day care. The combination of a cold and a growth spurt have made this a perfect laze around the house day. We did briefly go to the Hayward Library were I picked up some lovely first edition Pearl S. Buck novels and Sean got two children's books. But mostly we just stayed home while Sean napped.

<"loki.html">Mask of Loki:

When I wasn't working on Moon Walking (my contribution to NaNoWriMo) I was finishing up The Mask of Loki by Roger Zelazny and Thomas T. Thomas (what sort of name is that?) and found the book rather disappointing.

This is a book from the nadir of Zelazny's life and career as a writer. It's a much better book, though still heavily flawed, if the chapters with the flash backs are skipped. The flashbacks are written out of chracter for Zelazny's usual style of writing so I can only guess that they are Thomas T. Thomas's contribution to this book. The story itself isn't much different than the second half of the Amber series, namely that of Merle and his semi-sentient computer. Zelazny usually doesn't bother with a lot of back story and in his better pieces, Tom Gurgen would have known by about page 30 that he was somehow tied to Loki. He'd have his powers and be trying to figure out why he had them, who wanted them and who he should aly himself with. But here the pacing is off and all the really typical (and good) Zelazny stuff doesn't happen until the last thirty pages of the book!

Hellboy:

We also watched Hellboy while Sean napped and it has to be one of the worst films I've seen in a while. It's so bad to almost be funny which is a shame. The pieces are there to make a good film. The writer/director is Guillermo del Toro who did Cronos and it stars Ron Perlman (who also starred in Cronos), a film I quite enjoy. Hellboy suffers from two things: erratic pacing (tedious exposition and anticlimatic fight scenes) and overly elaborate sets that don't make any sense (the gear trap hideout of Rasputin comes to mind). Of course having not read the comic I can't guess the extent to which the problems are inherrited from the comics. Regardless of what I think of it, it obviously did well enough because Hellboy 2 has been announced with a screen date of 2006.

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Steps: 3800



Christmas Cards: 11/5/04

The Christmas Cards arrived last night from the printer and they are beautiful. I think they're better than last year's card. Now I just need to write my newsletter to include in with the card and compile my list of addresses.

Mary Sue:

For any of you writers out there (whether for NaNoWriMo or not), there's the Mary Sue litmus test. It's basically a way to test your character against a rubric of cliches. I've run a few of my characters through it and most of them come out okay. One protagonist of mine is intentinally on the border of marysuedom so he scores fairly high. And he's well aware of his marysuedom and does everything he can to avoid it.

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Steps: 3500



Word Freak: 11/4/04

I'm doing my best to read Word Freak, having heard great things about this memoir of the Scrabble championships but so far I just can't get past my dislike of the narrator. He interupts the flow of the book to either brag about his education (he has a degree in journalism) and yet he revels in his ignorance of words when the other better Scrabble players most often not only know if a set of tiles makes a word but what that word means. The author seems satisfied with only memorizing the words minus the definition because if the word were important he'd already know it. He does after all have a journalism degree. I passionately hate that line of reasoning.

A Little Behind:

I'm about nine hundred words behind schedule. I should be at 5,000 words in my NaNoWriMo project but I just ran out of steam last night. It was 11:30 and I was both tired and irritated with writing (because I was tired). I'm hoping to make up the difference tonight. I certainly don't want to fall any further behind.

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Steps: 4500



Oh Crap: 11/3/04

George "Warmonger" Bush has won a second term. I am eagerly awaiting 2008 when he will be a lame duck. Thank goodness for term limits.

In Happier News:

NaNoWriMo is going well. After two days I'm still on schedule with almost 3,300 words written. Last night my main character (or MC as the NaNoWriMo calls it) made his first drive down to his soon to be love interest's B&B but so far nothing supernatural has happened. That fun stuff starts in tonight's writing marathon.

Halloween:

I know Halloween is over but last night Sean told me that he had a fun Halloween this year. He enjoyed the party at day care and enjoyed the decorating that we did at home. I didn't even know he was paying that much attention to the holiday. Now tha t I know that he's into these things this year, I'm starting to get him jazzed up for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Steps: 9000



Election Day: 11/2/04

Ian and I voted first thing this morning. We had to wait for about 45 minutes. I'm now hearing reports from Florida and New York of lines taking more than 2 hours. High turn out usually bodes well for the Democratic candidate. Let's hope it does this time as well.

The last time I saw turn out this high was 1992 when I was in college. I was attending UCSB at the time and living in the off campus dorm, Fountainbleu. The dorm happened to be one of two polling spots for Isla Vista. Turn out was near 70% which meant an out the door line from the time the polls opened in the lobby until well past when the polls officially closed. Polls close at 8 PM in California and I recall that the last voters were done around 9:30.

Day One of NaNoWriMo:

Last night I wrote my first 1634 words so I'm right (or is that write?) on schedule. I wrote one and a half chapters but the process took me from 8:30 until 11:00. I had hoped to get it all typed in a little over an hour. In that time I introduced the main characters and started to set the stage.

Then last night I dreamt the keystone of my novel. I don't want to share it here but it's certainly more interesting than the basic "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back plot" I started with last night. Now I'm really jazzed!

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Steps: 5000



NaNoWriMo: 11/1/04

Well now that November is here I'll be spending my free time at night (at least an hour a day) typing up my novel. To keep things simple, I'll be mostly writing about "what I know" meaning the story will be set in the Bay Area but it will have a fantasy twist.

Christmas Cards:

I started a render yesterday for the cover art of my 2004 Christmas card. I had to start and stop the render a dozen times to adjust things. I finally got something together that looks like what I want. I had to leave the render going over night and I'll check it tonight after Sean goes to bed. I hope to send the piece to the card printer this week.

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Steps: 4700