April Photo a Day Challenges

Posted by on Mar 31, 2015 in Fun, photos | 0 comments

April Photo a Day Challenges

I have found a way to make daily photo prompts work well for me.

No single photo a day prompt list fully works for me. I choose to save several lists and choose one prompt each day from among those lists. I’m happy to say that I love this approach and it works great for me. I highly recommend it.

Here is a sample of the photo a day lists I’ll be using for April:
(click on the images to see larger versions)

If committing to a month at a time feels like too much then Chantelle at Fat Mum Slim may have the answer for you. For 2015 she is using weekly lists of prompts. That way if you feel like you lost track or have lost the oomph you have a new starting point each and every week.

I have also discovered another source of inspiration for those days when nothing on the lists inspires me. There are several Instagram accounts that feature a new theme every week. I follow these accounts and every once in a while they save me when I just don’t like any of the other prompts. These are all worth following on Instagram.

Check out my Photo a Day history on Shuttercal where today I’ll post daily photo number 1,111.

Follow my Daily Photos on Instagram

Here are the most liked of my March Photo a Day photos:

If you’re not doing a Photo a Day challenge I hope you’ll consider it because it’s a fun way to have a photo journal. If you are, great! Keep up with it. You won’t be sorry. I highly recommend the pick from many prompts each day approach.

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Weekend Update – The (Birth)Day in the Life Edition

Posted by on Mar 29, 2015 in Fun, photos, Weekend Update | 6 comments

Weekend Update

On Friday Trish at Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity hosted a fun link up in which folks shared their daily lives.

Day in the Life Event

Trish’s Day in the Life Event

I wasn’t organized enough to put together a post ahead of time for that but I’m looking forward to participating when she does it again in the fall. You really should go over to Trish’s blog and check out all the posts. (Just click on the image – it’ll take you to her link up post).

For this go-round I’m going to use my day yesterday which happened to be my birthday. This year for my birthday I was inspired by Michelle at My Books, My Life to post a photo on Instagram every hour on my birthday. It was a lot of fun. It helped that my birthday was a Saturday and that we had plans with friends. My typical weekday birthdays consist of “Work then go home and do nothing”. Yesterday was a great day, Good friends, good beer, good weather and good times.

So here’s my ‏”(Birth)Day in the Life of SuziQ
(click on the images for larger versions)

I used a mix of the hourly photos I posted on Instagram and some other photos I took yesterday.

All in all I had a fabulous birthday. The Birthday Photo an Hour thing was a lot of fun. Thanks to Michelle for getting me to try it.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

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March, Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in 2015, 4 stars, Book Review, Graphic Novel | 0 comments

March Book One by John Lewis

March, Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin with art by Nate Powell

Genre: Memoir, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 121
Source: Copy provided by the publisher

The Short Version:
Congressman John Lewis puts his story and the larger story of the Civil Rights movement in graphic memoir format.

Why I Read It:
I happened to get an email offering me a digital edition of this on the day of the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Bloody Sunday in Selma. It seemed like a perfect day to read this.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president.
Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole).
March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.
Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.

My Thoughts:
Even before I got the email offering a digital copy of this Graphic Memoir I had heard from several people I trust that it was a well done memoir in comic format so it was an easy choice for me to read it. The fact that I was reading it on the 50th anniversary on the events on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama made it even more impactful.

The story opens with John Lewis remembering events of that day on the bridge as he is getting ready to attend the Barack Obama’s inauguration as president. After that introduction the story shifts back to Lewis’s childhood and then follows him as he grows up and meets Dr, Martin Luther King and becomes part of the civil rights movement.

It moves back and forth with various flashbacks as told by the Congressman to visitors in his office that day. Nate Powell’s artwork is dark and fitting of a noir mystery book in many places but it vividly portrays the events of Congressman Lewis’s life.

A couple of interesting things:

I think the importance of this memoir in this format is clear when Lewis tells how part of his introduction to Martin Luther King also came in the form of a comic book.

The practice and training that the young people who staged the lunch counter sit ins went through is an important fact. The non-violent resistance was something they had to learn, teach and practice in order for it to be effective. I am in awe of the sheer guts it took.

I am eagerly anticipating the next volume in this series and I’m on the waiting list at the library.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015 in 2015, 4 stars, Book Review | 2 comments

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Genre: Suspense
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 323
Source: Copy provided by publisher

The Short Version:
Rachel watches people from her daily train and when something she sees shocks her and later the news seems to indicate that what she saw might be important.

Why I Read It:
I heard about this one when a friend mentioned on Twitter that she pretty much read it straight through. I checked into it and it sounded right up my alley.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

My Thoughts:
This was a suspenseful psychological thriller with a cast of unlikable people. I believe that it takes a skilled author to keep me interested in what will happen (or has happened) to characters when there’s no one I’m really rooting for in the mix.

I was fortunate to get a copy through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. Unfortunately before I started to read it the chat on social media ramped up and I inadvertently learned a few things I wish I hadn’t known before I started it.

For that reason I’m not going to say anything more about the story than what the publisher’s synopsis above has to say.

The story is told from multiple perspectives and I generally enjoy stories like that. I like getting different viewpoints of the same or overlapping events. Hawkins uses this method to gradually fill in pieces of the puzzle as the story progresses and takes many twists and turns.

4 stars Rating 4/5

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It’s Monday What Are You Reading #27

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in Blogging/Reading, What Are You Reading? | 1 comment

It's Monday What Are You Reading?

This weekly reading roundup is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

My free time this week was filled with catching up on things after being busy all last weekend at Left Coast Crime but I did manage to squeeze in some reading time here and there.

Continuing with

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

This one has been slow so far. I don’t know how much of that is the book and how much of it is because I’ve only had small bursts of reading time. I’m about a third of the way through and so far I’m likin it but not loving it.

Started this week

100 Bullets Vol. 4: A Foregone Tomorrow by Brian Azzarello

100 Bullets Vol. 4: A Foregone Tomorrow by Brian Azzarello

This is kind of an odd series and it seems that just about every time I decide to let it go, another twist comes along that keeps me reading. It’s pretty gritty and noir-ish at times but it’s keeping me intrigued enough to continue

Finished on audio this week

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Oh my goodness this was just wonderful. I am so glad I opted for the audio format, It was so good. I plan on purchasing the print format now that I’ve heard it in the author’s own voice.

Started on audio this week

As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson

As the Crow Flies by Craig Johnson

This is one of my favorite audio series. I enjoy the characters, the stories and the narration. I’m glad to be back in Wyoming with Sheriff Walt Longmire for a while.

What are you reading?

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Weekend Update: The Bit of Sunday Randomness Edition

Posted by on Mar 22, 2015 in Blogging/Reading, Fun, photos, Weekend Update | 2 comments

Weekend Update

This week consisted of too much stuff and not nearly enough reading time.

I had a busy week at work and it seemed like much of my free time was filled with catching up on things I didn’t do last weekend because I was at the Left Coast Crime Convention.

Wolf Hall progress
So while I didn’t make as much progress in Wolf Hall as I’d planned I did make some time to read and hope to do more of that this afternoon.

My week did have
Stormy Sunday
A little bit of everything weather wise which is pretty typical of Oregon in the springtime.
Sunny Wednesday
A couple of pretty spectacular sunrises
Spring sunrise
A bit of rowing. I am loving having my own indoor rower at home.
Rowing log
A bit of entertainment watching Abby watch You Tube cat videos. Her favorite part is the squirrel.
Abby Watching Cat TV

Squirrel!!!
Hope you’re having a great weekend!Stormy Sunday

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