Weekend Update

Posted by on Jan 25, 2015 in Blogging/Reading, Fun, photos, Weekend Update | 4 comments

3a915-weekendupdate
2015-01-25 07.47.05
That’s kind of how my brain feels today.

A few Sunday random thoughts:

Yesterday was nice. I drove up to Olympia, Washington. I’ve got a couple of dear friends who live north of Seattle and every few months we get together. We meet up in Olympia because it’s almost exactly halfway between my house and the friend who lives farthest north.
Salad?
It’s nice to have a long leisurely lunch with them. The bonus to the road trip is almost 4 hours of audiobook time.

There’s no college football to watch on weekends. I feel lost. Pretty soon we’ll hit that dead season of the year when ESPN starts trying to convince us that poker is a sport. Dear ESPN – it isn’t.
Sunrise over Mt. Hood
The sun is starting to come up before I get to work in the mornings and this week we had our first after 5pm sunset of the year. If I don’t stop for errands it’s not fully dark when I get home. Yay!!

My company moved to a new office the week between Christmas and New Year’s. There is still an ‘under construction’ feeling with a lot of finish work still going on. What’s definitely not working is the heating system. My corner of the floor is suffering from Frozen Office Syndrome. I know it’ll get settled eventually but It’s annoying being so cold. In the meantime – thank goodness for my heated throw.

The nice thing about our new location is the proximity to one of Portland’s many Food Cart pods. I normally take my lunch to work (because I’m cheap and a picky eater) but I have instituted Food Cart Fridays to try new things, So far the gyro, ramen soup and pad thai have all been excellent.

Hope you’re having a great weekend!!

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Nutshell Review – Snowpiercer Vol. 1: The Escape by Jacques Lob

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in 2015, 3 stars, Book Review, Graphic Novel | 0 comments

 

Snowpiercer Vol. 1: The Escape by Jacques Lob with art by Jean-Marc Rochette

Snowpiercer 1: The Escape by Jacques Lob

Genre: Science Fiction, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Titan Comics
Publication Date: 2014 (Originally published in French in 1982
Pages: 110
Source: Library

 

The Book:
From the publisher:

Coursing through an eternal winter, on an icy track wrapped around the frozen planet Earth, there travels a train that never stops. This is Snowpiercer: one thousand and one carriages long. From fearsome engine to final car, all surviving human life is here: a complete hierarchy of the society we lost. The elite, as ever, travel in luxury at the front of the train–but for those in the rear coaches, life is squalid, miserable and short. Now the poor have had enough: it’s time to seize control of the engine–and their future!

My Thoughts:
In this post-apocalyptic story Earth is in a new ice age and all of the surviving population is in on an eternally traveling train of 1001 cars. Within those cars is a distinct class system with the poorest and most miserable in the cars at the tail and the well off near the front.

When the status quo is rocked and someone from the Tail begins to force his way toward the front of the train. The security forces have trouble containing this challenge to the class system.

It’s a fairly short and fast paced story and plays out much like an action movie. There’s no surprise that it has been made into an action movie but perhaps the surprise is that it doesn’t star Liam Neeson?

The art was well done and despite the limited scope of setting managed to  have some variety and remain interesting.

It was a fun read and I’m looking forward to reading the concluding second volume.

3 stars Rating 3/5

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The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015 in 2015, 5 stars, Book Review, Jeff Lemire | 0 comments

Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire

The Underwater Welder by Jeff Lemire

Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 224
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Jack Joseph is the titular Underwater Welder who lost his own father as a child and now faces the birth of his own first child.

Why I Read It:
I have become a huge fan of Jeff Lemire’s work so when I spotted this at the library I had to get it.

The Book:
From the publisher:

WARNING: CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE.

As an underwater welder on an oil rig off the coast of Nova Scotia, Jack Joseph is used to the immense pressures of deep-sea work. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the pressures of impending fatherhood. As Jack dives deeper and deeper, he seems to pull further and further away from his young wife and their unborn son. Then one night, deep in the icy solitude of the ocean floor, something unexplainable happens. Jack has a mysterious and supernatural encounter that will change the course of his life forever.

Equal parts blue-collar character study and mind-bending mystery, The Underwater Welder is a graphic novel about fathers and sons, birth and death, memory and reality, and the treasures we all bury deep below the surface.

My Thoughts:
In the introduction Damon Lindelof (of TV’s Lost) describes this as “the most spectacular episode of The Twilight Zone that was never produced”. He is absolutely correct.

I adored this book. After I finished reading it I waited to return it to the library until the day it was due just because I wanted to keep the characters and emotions near me as long as possible.

Jeff Lemire has an amazing ability to convey so much story and emotion with minimal dialog and often minimalistic art. It’s all black, white and gray but that doesn’t limit Lemire in the least. There are times when I turned a page and the art was full of so much detail, emotion and story that it took my breath away and there wasn’t a single word on the page.

Jack is a flawed man. He loves his wife but while she is eagerly anticipating the birth of thier son Jack is still troubled by the loss of his own father when he was a child. This book explores so much about relationships and what it means to be a son, a man and a father.

Preview pages are available at Comics Alliance.

Do yourself a favor and read this amazing book.

5 stars Rating 5/5

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Nutshell Review – Audiobook – Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in 2015, 3.5 stars, Audio, Book Review, Kerry Greenwood | 1 comment

Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood, Narrated by Stephanie Daniel

Murder on the Ballarat Train by Kerry Greenwood

Genre: Crime Fiction
Series: #3 in the Phryne Fisher series
Publisher: Bolinda Audio
Publication Date: 1991 for the book, 2012 for this audio edition
Length: 4 hours, 48 minutes
Read by: Stephanie Daniel
Source: Purchased


The Book:

From the publisher:

In Phryne’s third adventure, Phryne is off to Ballarat for a week of fabulousness, but the sedate journey by train turns out to be far from the restful trip she was planning. What was planned as a restful country sojourn turns into the stuff of nightmares: a young girl who can’t remember anything, rumours of vile white slavery, and the body of an old woman missing her emerald rings. And Phryne is at the centre, working through the clues to arrive at the incredible truth before another murder is committed. Fortunately, Phryne can still find a little time for a discreet dalliance and the delicious diversion of that rowing team of young men.
Solve another case with Phryne Fisher.

My Thoughts:
I just enjoy the heck out of this series set in 1920’s Australia. Phryne Fisher is a fun character. She’s smart and unconventional and well off enough to be adventurous with plenty of style.

I am a bit concerned that the recurring supporting cast is growing with each book and the danger of this is too many stories to keep going, I’m not worried enough to stop listening to the series but I’m curious to see where Greenwood takes things in the next book.

The books are fairly short and they are fun romps through an interesting time and place.

Stephanie Daniel does a great job of narration. She’s easy to listen to and her voice characterizations are distinct and consistent.

There is also a television series based on the books but I haven’t watched any of it yet. One of these days I’ll give it a try on Netflix.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration

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It’s Monday What Are You Reading #18

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in Blogging/Reading, What Are You Reading? | 6 comments

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

Finished reading this week:

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir

Every bit of praise I heard about this book was right. It’s a suspense thriller about an astronaut abandoned alone on Mars. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast

This graphic memoir by cartooniist Roz Chast about her elderly parents last years is a combination of touching, tragic and funny. Although I don’t have to deal with aging parents this graphic memoir hit many familiar situations that my friends are currently facing.

Started this week

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy byBryan Stevenson


This is going to be a mixed emotions books for me. Anger at what has happened and hopefulness that organizations like the Equal Justice Initiative exist.

Dr. Mütter's Marvels

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels


Another non-fiction about a medical pioneer.

Currently listening to:

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Bossypants by Tina Fey

I’m still enjoying this memoir even though I haven’t watched Saturday Night Live in eons and have never watched 30 Rock.

What are you reading?

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Weekend Update – The Weekend With an Empty Calendar Edition

Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Blogging/Reading, Fun, photos, Weekend Update | 7 comments

3a915-weekendupdate

Currently //

Time // 9:30ish

Place // My recliner in the family room

Eating // Trader Joe’s Chocolate Croissant
Trader Joe's Chocolate Croissants
Drinking // Stumptown Italian Roast in my favorite mug. I love a large coffee or tea mug with a comfy handle.
Pelican Pub Mug
Reading // I’m in the middle of a minor non-fiction binge. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast.


Listening // My current audiobook is Bossypants by Tina Fey. I had to listen to this one on audio so I didn’t have to look at the cover which totally creeps me out.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Watching // We’ll watch the NFL games today because traditonally the conference championship games are better games than the Super Bowl. Besides, there’s a good chance that two of the teams I despise the most will end up playing each other in the Super Bowl . . . blergh.

Making // I’m working on the border of a baby afghan for an adorable little boy who was born earlier this week. When I finish that I want to make a blanket for his big sister to use for her dolls or stuffed animals.
Baby Afghan
Sharing// This instagram photo I posted earlier this week turned out pretty cool. I rarely use the HDR settings and filters on my phone camera apps but I really liked what they did with this wall mural on the side of a building downtown. It’s called Capax Infiniti and it’s by South African muralist Faith47. There are more views of it at Street Art News.
Capax Infiniti by Faith47
Blogging // I’ve had an excellent month of reading so far in January but that means I’m behind in writing reviews. I’m hoping that during the games this afternoon I can get those written and scheduled.

What are you reading? What are you listening to? What are you doing?

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