Monday, August 30, 2010

how "lost" should have ended

Maybe someday I'll actually stop talking about Lost. I came across this video today, and I had to share. If you didn't watch the show, though, it probably won't make much sense!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

concert time!

My sister and I just got home from seeing Lifehouse at the Nebraska State Fair. It was awesome! Lifehouse has been my favorite band ever since my brother gave me a copy of No Name Face in 2001, so I was absolutely ecstatic when I learned they'd be playing at the fair. To top it off, the concert was free with a paid gate admission. We got early bird tickets, so it only cost us $6 each to go!

The concert was a blast. I was a little worried Lifehouse would be one of those bands that sounds totally different (read: terrible) live. Not the case! They were excellent. We arrived an hour before the show ... well, actually, let me back up. The concert was free with open seating, but you had to have a wristband that you picked up at the box office in order to get in. There were four types of wrist bands--blue, yellow, red, and green. You could enter the concert at the time allotted to your wristband--anywhere from 2 hours to 30 minutes before the concert. Because I had no idea how quickly the wristbands would go, I wanted to get to the fair early. We left Val's apartment just after 3; we got to the box office at 3:45 (thanks to the ridiculous parking and clueless parking attendants) and got red wristbands, which meant we could enter one hour prior to the show. That left us with over three hours to kill, and after wandering the fair for a while, we decided to leave and come back in time for the concert.

We got pizza, ice cream, and coffee at Hy-Vee and chilled at Val's for a while. When we got back to the fair, we were able to go right into the auditorium. I got a kick out of the people sitting around us ... the guy behind us who obviously wasn't a Lifehouse fan (when an All-American Rejects song came on before the show, he asked, "Is this Lifehouse?"); the teen girl who liked lead singer Jason Wade a little too much ("Seriously, you have no idea how awesome he is!"); the middle-aged woman who was totally into every song, and her husband who was just ... there; the guys next to me who took pictures through the entire show (I know I ended up in some of them ... including one time when I was belting out a song. Bet that one's attractive!)  In the "random" category, I saw one of the pastors from my church walk in with his wife--and it wasn't one of the youth pastors! I told Val that his knowledge of Lifehouse probably started and ended with viewing a YouTube video where a youth group performed a skit set to "Everything." (Like this one, for example.)

The concert lasted about 90 minutes--no opening act, which I was totally fine with--and they played all their hits--"Hanging by a Moment" (which is, quite amusingly, called "Hanging by a Thread" on their Twitter page), "You and Me," "First Time"--and the two currently on the charts: "All In" and "Halfway Gone." Val was especially happy to hear her favorites, "Broken" and "Wrecking Ball." Unfortunately, while they were tracking with Val, they didn't play any of my favorites. But considering I own practically everything they've released, it wasn't like I didn't enjoy and sing along with the songs they did play! Skipping "Had Enough" was understandable, since it's a duet with Chris Daughtry. I'm still hoping they release that as a single--in light of Daughtry's popularity, I think it could be a hit (plus, it's a really good song!). Two of my other favorites, "Breathing" and "Everything" are old, and "Storm" isn't exactly a rocking anthem, so I can understand why they weren't played ... but I hope if I ever get the chance to see them again, they at least do "Everything." For me, that would make the concert complete. And I'd happily pay more than $6 to see them next time!
Our "ridiculously excited to be at a Lifehouse concert" faces.
The band--I think they're playing "All In."
Our "is Lifehouse really playing 40 yards away from us?" faces.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"whisper on the wind" by maureen lang

When the Germans invaded Belgium during World War I, Isa Lassone and her family fled the country. Two years later, Isa returns to Belgium with the intent of helping her friends Genny, Edward, and Jonah Kirkland escape. Soon, however, Isa is drawn into the Belgian resistance effort and begins working with an underground newspaper. As she becomes more and more involved--with both the newspaper and Edward--Isa realizes she may be asked to give up everything as she fights against German injustice.

This is one of the best historical novels I've read in a long time. Though it's more than 400 pages, I read it in just a few hours--it was that engaging! This is an interesting, enjoyable read that provides a glimpse into a war largely forgotten. I highly recommend it.

I received this book free for review from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

once things settle down ...

I'll start blogging again. I promise. I never finished blogging about our big pricelining trip, I have a book review to write, and I need to tell you all about my birthday weekend. But all that will have to come later, as I'm in the middle of moving! I'll tell you all about the house once I'm moved in, of course. And school started today, so I'll have things to say about that. For now, though, know that I'm still out there, and I'll be back to the blog soon!

Friday, August 6, 2010

i can't stop listening

So the Newsboys released their new album last month. I liked them back in the day, but I was never a super fan. Take Me To Your Leader came out my freshman year of high school, and while I enjoyed the album (especially "Breakfast" and the title track), I can't even remember what most of the songs sound like. I did buy--and liked--Adoration, but I never listened to it that much. Then, when Amazon was having one of their $5 mp3 album sales, I got In the Hands of God; it's been on my iPod since then ... and I think I've skipped it every time it's come up! (Side note: This month, over 1,000 albums are $5. Insane!) 

Contrast that with my beloved dc Talk. I could sing every line of every song on Free At Last--in fact, I still listen to it on a semi-regular basis. The only two dc Talk albums I don't own are their first two. If they were still releasing new material, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

I was, needless to say, intrigued when I learned Michael Tait would be joining the Newsboys. I didn't really think about how Tait would affect the Newsboys' sound ... I just hoped that TobyMac and the Newsboys might go on tour together and pull out a little old school dc Talk! (Which sort of happened--see it here on YouTube.) My friend Kensy got the album soon after it came out, and she loved it. I still wasn't sure, though--I just haven't been excited about the Newsboys lately. Then I heard "Born Again" on the radio ... and it sounded so dc Talk-ish that I couldn't resist! I downloaded the whole album; now I can't stop listening to it! A lot of Amazon reviewers have been complaining that the album doesn't sound like the Newsboys. That's true--and I like it for precisely that reason!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"vanishing act" by liz johnson

Before beginning this review, I should issue a disclaimer: It's been years since I've picked up a "Love Inspired" romance. It's been so long that I didn't even know they had a suspense line. So I was pleasantly surprised when I received this book and realized it would consist of more than "boy meets girl; boy does something idiotic and loses girl (or girl does something idiotic and loses boy); boy and girl reunite and ride off into the sunset." It maybe wasn't too much more than that, but it did at least have a more involved plot!

Nora James flees Portland after her father is shot by a crime boss. She moves to a small town and changes her name and appearance. When the crime boss sends the Shadow, one of his henchmen, after Nora, FBI agent Nate Andersen finds himself in a race with the Shadow to find Nora.

Overall, I enjoyed Vanishing Act. As I said before, I appreciated the element of suspense. I did figure out the Shadow's identity early on--perhaps a by-product of having read so many suspense/mystery books in my life. I think I would have enjoyed the story a bit more had I not been so sure of the assassin's identity. Overall, though, I enjoyed this book and recommend it for a rainy day!

You can visit the author's website at

I received this book free for review from Liz Johnson and Steeple Hill Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

pricelining: days 3 & 4

We were without internet access at our last hotel, so I wrote this on Friday but didn't have the opportunity to post until tonight.

For what we did on day three, see Blendy’s blog!

This morning, we got up at 9 and readied ourselves to leave. I booked our hotel—$48 for a room at the Extended Stay America in Copley, Ohio. This was our worst deal yet, as regular price is $70. Also, this is our worst hotel yet, but I’ll get to that later.

After filling the car and driving through Krsipy Kreme, we headed off for Butler, Pennsylvania, the location of the nearest Ross store. Val and I visited Ross in Oregon last summer, and I was looking forward to more great clothing deals. Unfortunately … we never found the store! Google Maps let us down :-(. So we continued on our way to Copley (which is near Akron).

As we pulled up to the hotel, I thought, “Uh, oh.” It just looked, well, not very nice. My hesitation continued as we stepped into the lobby and were greeted by the scent of cigarette smoke. We checked in, headed to the car, and lugged our stuff up to the second floor. We entered our room—and realized it hadn’t been cleaned yet! I called the front desk, and the girl asked us to return for a new room. So we lugged all our stuff downstairs and then back up again. In retrospect, I should have checked out the room before bringing everything in. To top it all off, internet access costs $5—so we decided to pass on that for the night. The room itself isn’t so bad—we have lots more space than we had at the Microtel in Erie—but I’m just pretty unimpressed with the whole experience so far.

We had a double bed ... but I enjoyed sitting in the recliner.
The room had a kitchenette ... it would have been perfect for a longer stay.
Tonight, we got together with my college friend, Holly. Our hotel just happened to be literally two minutes from her apartment! We went our for supper at Swensons, a drive-in restaurant. This was—by far—the highlight of my day! You know how at Sonic the car-hops sometimes wear skates? Well, at Swensons, the car-hops RUN. As in, when they see your lights on (which is how you signal you need help), they run towards your car, full steam ahead. It was absolutely hilarious watching them!

Holly drove us by LeBron James' house.
Holly and me. We hadn't seen each other in six years!
Now we’re back at the hotel. I’m trying to steal the wi-fi signal from the Raddison across the street so we can watch some Veronica Mars, but it’s not working very well. We’ll need to leave for the wedding around 10:30—I’m looking forward to sleeping in!