Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fall Reading Challenge - Post Game Show

So I've officially "completed" the Fall 2010 Reading Challenge. And when I say "completed", I mean I read 26 books and earned a paltry 335 total points. Total points one could earn in said challenge was an astounding 890 points. How anyone manages to swerve near this level is beyond me. I think the only way I'd come close would be if I quit my job and refused to speak to anyone for 3 months, and I just don't think that would be very enjoyable. I like participating in these challenges for the sheer fun of finding books that work for the various tasks, and I am a-ok knowing there is no fricking way I will ever come close to completing 100% of them. I used to think I was insanely brillz when I'd read 26 books in a YEAR, so knowing that I have consumed that many literary treats in 3 months is something I'm pretty proud of. A special thank you goes to Jason for not getting annoyed with the amount of time these crazy ass things take and all the reading that I do. You are a man blessed with extreme kindness for actually encouraging these shenanigans. I love you! The Winter Challenge, or "Winter Classic" as I like to call it because I'm a hockey nerd, begins December 1st and I can't wait to see what tasks these crazy folks are about to unleash on the group!


Favorite Book Overall: A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker. Just a hilarious and delightful read, perfect for lifting your spirits and making you chuckle. Notable quote with regard to the main character's observation about a certain cheerleader's penchant for shiny lip gloss: "It looks like she just finished frenching a tub of margarine." I contacted the author through to let her know how much I enjoyed it and she actually wrote me back with a very humorous and kind response. I love it when authors reach out to readers that way!
Favorite Suspenseful Book: Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag. This book was AWESOME! I was riveted and found myself highlighting many colorful phrases. The author managed to balance scalp crinkling chills with just the right amount of witty repartee. LOVED IT! Some of my favorite quotes from this book were:
"Jesus, you're just the cat's ass, aren't you?"
"This is gonna get uglier than my aunt Selma, and she has a face that could make a bulldog puke."
"Sleep? I gave that up. It was taking the edge off my paranoia."
"I've already had the chief and Lieutenant Fowler on me like a couple of trick riders this morning."

Honorable Mentions: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. WAYYY ahead of it's time! This was published in 1962 and the author gets into some amazing time travel/science fiction that I can't imagine were commonplace ideas back then.
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. What an incredibly sweet and charming story filled with wonderful people. This is a great book for children as it teaches them the importance of not judging people based on appearance or what other people say. I wish everyone had to read this one at some point in their life.
The House of Night series by P.C. Cast. This series is definitely intended for 15 year old girls, but I am having a great time reading them any way! They definitely have some negatives (the dialogue can get annoying) but the imaginative new spin the author has put on the tried/tired and true teen vamp saga outweighs the bad.

3 Least Favorite Books Overall: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicholson by Louise Rennison. Ughhhhhh. I have no trouble checking out, and usually thoroughly enjoying, young adult books, but this one was crapola on a platter. Nothing remotely of interest happens and the main character is obnoxious and not interesting. The only upshot was that I picked up a few new British slang terms.
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells. This book was cornbread crumbs of cheese balls. SLOW to the point of tedium. I love the Ya-Ya series but this "work" just felt like someone else had penned it. The author seemed to amp up every character from "charmingly eccentric" to "utterly ridiculous".
Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern. What. The. Hell. What the hell, Cammie McGovern? You wrote one of my top 3 favorite books of 2009 ("Eye Contact"). I added that book to my "fave books ever" shelf and recommended it to several people. I was so excited to read "Neighborhood Watch" but it was just a long, stumbly stroll to nowheresville. I have not stopped thinking "what the hell?" since I finished reading it, and not in a good "I'm still pondering it!" sort of way. I posted it for trade on and someone claimed it today. Before I sealed up the mailer, I gave serious consideration to slipping the recipient a personal note that said "Good luck with this".

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

(wagon) wheels off in a ditch

Let’s discuss Wells Fargo’s “friendly” Wachovia Takeover. As a Wachovia customer, I’d like to say that Wells Fargo is sucking big time and I miss banking with the company whose name sounds like a congested sneeze! Numerous friends of mine have had ridiculous issues ever since the takeover. Let’s talk about sundry things that irk me.

One thing I find putrid is the fact that they clearly have no one on staff at Wells Fargo HQ with an eye for decent design. Someone should have circled the wagons (I know! The puns are limitless!), possibly ‘round a campfire, and pointed out that their colors of “brandy red” and “golden nuggs” were going to clash ludicrously with Wachovia’s signature navy and gray. I challenge you to drive by a converted Wachovia and view the blue-gray building freshly adorned with a red and gold sign and tell me that you don’t feel deeply displeasured by the sight.

What’s with their logo? A STAGE COACH? Really? This is 2010, using a defunct form of transportation for your mascot is…interesting. It basically says, “We’re antiquated and proud!” Didn’t bandits rob stage coaches back in the olden days? Is this the best theme to go with for a financial institution? Why not take it a step further and have the tellers sport prairie togs such as bonnets and chaps? I wonder if they’ve remodeled the interior of my local Wachovia branch to include a saloon and general store? Have they installed the fun swingy doors? Can I barter my home-made jams in exchange for an account transcript? What about a well-oiled saddle for a Roth IRA? Is the branch manager now referred to as The Sheriff?

Why not do it up in full western regalia, I ask? Why not frame out the existing Wachovias with logs for a cabin-esque feel? Go whole hog with wagon wheel lights, burlap curtains, and hay on the floor. Wells Fargo can offer customers the option of playing horseshoes or participating in a square dance showdown while they wait their turn at the counter. Don’t half-ass it, Wells Fargo! It’s time to open a can of mercantilism and giddy up!

In all seriousness, I’m considering changing banks. I think it might be time for me to raise up off this wagon train while it’s still only partially off the trail. Although…if barn dances will soon be offered as part of my Wells Fargo Visa Rewards, I might stick around.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where is B-Litts?

Haven't seen Bryan Little since his awful - and I mean AWFUL - stick-to-face injury delivered by Shaone Morrisonn (I've got your number, bitchbag) of my fave team the Buff Sabres. He's got a concussion and facial lacerations. We're all worried and hoping he's feeling better and will be back in the line-up very soon. Big get well wishes to my favorite Thrasher!