Monday, May 18, 2009

my (current) favorite things, media edition

Last month, I wrote about my favorite things. Since media is such a big portion of my life (good or bad . . .), I thought I'd do another "favorite things" post focusing on media.
  • Monarch of the Glen
    I discovered this show, produced by BBC Scotland, when I was sick a few weeks ago. I wanted to watch something, but I didn't know what, so I started looking around in Netflix's watch instantly section. It's so fun! It's sweet, gentle, and funny--perfect for a rainy day. Word to the wise: if you decide to watch it, stay away from its imdb page. I went there to look up one of the actors and ended up stumbling across a pretty major plot point.
  • Lost in Austen
    My love for the BBC continues with this half spoof/half love letter to Pride & Prejudice (especially the 1995 Colin Firth version). As it began, I wasn't sure if I'd like it at all, but I ended up absolutely loving it. If you liked the movie, you should give this a chance.
  • Nathan Fillion Castle, which is a total rip-off of Bones, would be completely unbearable if not for Fillion. The fact that I tune in every week despite weak case-of-the-week plot lines says a lot about Fillion's charisma. He's come a long way since I hated him on Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place. My favorite Fillion character is still Mal on Firefly, but Rick Castle runs a close second. And ABC just picked it up for a second season!
  • Sinner: A Paradise Novel
    I got this book at Christmas (thanks to Uncle Ken for the Borders card), but I didn't have time to read it until last month. I really liked it, yet I also hated it. I like just about everything Ted Dekker writes, and this was no exception. It didn't have the "can't put it down" intensity of some of his books, but it was still a very interesting read. Now for why I hated it: Dekker convincingly portrays America's future as a place where free speech does not include any type of "hate speech" . . . and any claims that Jesus is the only way are considered not only intolerant but illegal. Reading stuff like this always makes me uncomfortable, and I try to stay away from it. Had I known the subject matter before beginning the book, I probably wouldn't have read it, but I think it's good that I did. Getting out of my bubble and realizing what's really going on in the world is probably good for me, as much as I don't like it!
  • LOST
    LOST's fifth season wrapped up on Wednesday. I enjoyed this season perhaps more than any other. Sure, there were "what were they thinking?" moments (the revival of the Jack/Kate/Sawyer love triangle, for one), but overall it was extremely entertaining. I have finally stopped trying to talk about LOST with people who don't watch or have only casually watched the show (unless they ask . . .). It's just too difficult to explain at this point. I'm especially loving that the writers have chosen to employ my second favorite sci-fi device: time travel. (My favorite is the time loop . . . but that's still a possibility for season six!)
  • Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert
    Les Mis has been my favorite Broadway musical for, wow, almost ten years now. (I just did the math to figure that out . . . and it turns out that, yes, I'm getting old!) I've been doing a lot of driving lately, and there's nothing I enjoy more than belting out "One Day More" or "Do You Hear The People Sing?" . . . if I'm by myself, that is!
  • The Boundless Podcast
    The other thing I've been enjoying in the car is the Boundless Podcast. I usually listen to it on my way to and from tutoring. It's funny, it's insightful, and it showcases some really good indy artists.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

the great eight by scott hamilton

For a span of about ten years, I was a huge figure skating fan. I'd watch every competition and special on TV, and my favorite skater was Scott Hamilton. I read his first autobiography, Landing It: My Life On And Off The Ice, right after it was published. So when I saw that Thomas Nelson was offering Hamilton's new book as part of their Book Review Blogger program, I knew I needed to give it a shot!

The Great Eight: How to Be Happy (Even When You Have Every Reason to be Miserable)contains Hamilton's eight happiness principles. To illustrate each point, Hamilton uses stories from his life or from the lives of other figure skaters. The principles are simplistic (just about anyone could tell you to trust God and look for the positives), as is the writing.

The quality of this book depends on how you view it. If you're looking for a glimpse into Hamilton's life in the years following his first book, or if you're hoping to learn about Hamilton's contemporaries, this book doesn't disappoint. I especially enjoyed reading about Hamilton's courtship, marriage, and conversion to Christianity. If, however, you're looking for a self-help book on happiness (which is how this book is being marketed), you may want to look elsewhere.

****Side note to all my friends/family: At the end of the book, there's an advertisement for a dvd of Hamilton's favorite performances. This would make a great gift :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

a weekend away

I spent last weekend basically traveling to and from Indiana for my sister's college graduation. In between hotels, fast food, little sleep, and miles and miles of I-80, I managed to grab a few hours with college friends Jen and Sarah.

Because Jen had the camera and already went to the effort of writing about it, I'll just point you to her blog. Enjoy the pics!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

spring cleaning

My sister is moving in with me in a week. I leave for Indiana for her graduation on Thursday night, and Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights are already packed with activity, so I decided to use this weekend to clean my apartment. I've been quite productive, actually . . . in my bedroom. It's cleaner than it has been in at least a year, and I have two giant garbage sacks full of clothes to send to Goodwill. But the rest of my apartment? While not a complete disaster area, it's pretty cluttered. I'm sure I'll get the dishes done and the living room picked up before I leave, but everything else will have to wait. Oh, well--it's the thought that counts, right???

keepin' it real

College roomie Jen (who I'll see in less than a week--yay!) tagged me in this photo blogging thing.

Here are the rules:
Take a picture of yourself right now.
No primping or preparing.
Just snap a picture.
Load the picture onto your blog.
Tag some people to play.
That's it, easy as PIE!

So here I am, just after walking in the door from church.You can see how thrilled I am to be doing this . . . but I love Jen, so I thought I'd keep it going.

I tag Holly at River Ramblings, Cousin Beth at From The Oregon Coast, Karen at Dwayne, Karen, Zach, and Brandon, and Kiel at Cocoa Cream's Craft Closet.

Friday, May 1, 2009


When I walked into my classroom this morning, I saw this on my bulletin board, courtesy of my speech and yearbook kids:

Do you think they're trying to tell me something?