Amanda Gates
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A Musings

Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption kept popping up on my Amazon recommendations. This book has 1,430 5-star reviews on Amazon. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Maybe that’s more common than I realize, but I, personally, have never seen a book that loved on Amazon before. I downloaded it to my Kindle and started reading.

I’ve read a lot of historical fiction about World War II. I’ve read about the German, Polish, French, English, Russian, Chinese and American perspective. Most of the books I’ve read were about the war in Europe, though. Only Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, which I just read (it was good), highlighted the war in the Pacific. Until Unbroken. This book focuses on the Japanese part of the war and, oh my gosh, how interesting.

The book mainly focuses on Louis Zamperini, an Italian American ruffian who becomes an Olympic hopefully in the late ‘30s and then becomes a bombardier in the Army. The title alone tells you what this book is about: Survival, Resilience and Redemption. The things Louie suffered and survived are completely unbelievable. (He spent 47 days on a rubber life raft in the Pacific surrounded by sharks with little food or water. And that’s just one part.) The book had me on the edge of my seat with my heart in my throat clinging to the hope that Louie (and all his friends) would survive the war.

While Louie makes for an exciting and somewhat-famous hook for the story, Hillenbrand doesn’t leave out the other men in the war. We learn about so many of his friends, but also about so many of the Japanese soldiers. These guards were some brutal men. To learn that some 30 percent of American POWs in Japan died while in captivity - compared to less than 1 percent of those captured by the Germans – well, that’s insanity and it makes the survival of any POW from that time all the more amazing.

The other amazing part is the author herself. I never read Seabiscuit, but I knew it was written by Hillenbrand as well. In her acknowledgements of this book (I always read the acknowledgements), Hillenbrand thanks her husband for helping her “when she couldn’t get out of bed.” This made me research her more and I discovered all about her own story of survival. Hillenbrand suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and writes and researches mostly from bed. Can you imagine? A story like this, with all the sources located across the country, and all the library research that one would have to do? You need to go out and do these things, and she couldn’t. (The extent of research and time this book must’ve took reminds me of Henrietta Lacks and Rebecca Skloot traveled everywhere for that book.)

This book was terrific. While Hillenbrand’s writing is fairly simple and to the point (no long, beautifully written prose here), she can describe a dogfight in the sky to the last detail and it makes you feel like you’re watching it on TV. She can bring a character’s thoughts to life, even though she herself wasn’t even born yet when he was thinking them. I fell in love with Louie, too. What a hero, and he remains one to this day.

Posted: Thu, 09/08/2011 - 13:49 |

Oh, the networks try so hard each fall, don’t they? Or do they? The past few seasons, TV execs were trying to create the new Lost; this year, it’s Mad Men. Each year they fail miserably, it seems. And then oftentimes when they do wind up with a winner, they can’t sustain the winning-ness of it (Glee).

I’m looking forward to very few new shows this year, but I am excited for my favorites to return (Big Bang, Parks & Rec, Modern Family, Parenthood). It’s the only reason I can get onboard with summer ending. Here are some of my initial thoughts of the Fall TV Schedule – things I yell at the TV when these (sometimes awful) previews come on:

The Playboy Club: Really, NBC? Really? You think this is a good idea? It is NOT a good idea. (Salon says we should give it a try.) But because it’s been in third and fourth place in recent years, NBC tends to hold onto its shows a bit longer than most networks. 6-8 episodes before cancellation.

Last Man Standing: I could go on and on about the “dumb husband” role on TV (which goes perfectly with the “shrill wife” role): Raymond, King of Queens, According to Jim, Home Improvement, etc. Sometimes funny, but mostly frustratingly unfunny. I think Tim Allen might find he’s like Kelsey Grammar with Fraiser and already had his hit sitcom. 10 episodes before cancellation.

New Girl: OK, so I love Zooey. I do. I really want her to succeed, but not as a dumb girl who’s surrounded by dumb guys. Because this falls between Glee (which I’m not giving up on yet – Darren Criss) and Raising Hope (best new comedy of last year), I will watch it, and I think Fox will keep it around.

Suburgatory: The previews have made me laugh. The girl is darling; Jeremy Sisto is good as well. It falls between The Middle (really great) and Modern Family (a home run), so I think it’s golden.

Up All Night: This just hits too close to home to not watch it. I’m not quite sure why Maya Rudolph is in it, but I love both Will Arnett and Christina Applegate. How can they keep the premise going as the baby ages? Probably by having more babies. We’ll DVR it.

The X Factor: I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious. Plus, while I don’t watch much American Idol but for the auditions, I miss Simon and his brutal honesty. And Piers on AGT just isn’t the same. Anyway, it's obviously an instant hit.

Charlie’s Angels: After The Playboy Club, this is the other show that causes me to yell at the TV. Why? WHY? Minka Kelly, you’ll be reprising your role on Parenthood by January.

Whitney: She seems crass and kind of sex-crazed, so I’m not really drawn to her. I’ll try it out though, since I’ll already be on that channel.

Prime Suspect: After Zooey, Maria Bello gets my love. She’s gorgeous and talented. I’ll DVR this just for her.

Once Upon a Time: Ugh, I’m torn. It’s ambitious, it really is. But does it have legs? I just don’t know, and Home Makeover fits so much better on Sunday nights. 5-6 episodes before cancellation.

Pam Am: Along with The Playboy Club, this just screams: We’re trying to make our own Mad Men! Yet, we can’t smoke! How interesting can this be? 8 episodes before cancellation.

Posted: Wed, 08/24/2011 - 09:36 | Comments: 2

I discovered Kendi's 30 for 30 Remix Challenge late last year. Take 30 items from your closet and mix and match only those 30 items for 30 days. I decided to make it a goal for 2011 to complete this challenge. I started it on July 6 and finished it yesterday. Here's what I learned/experienced:

+ Because my weekends are spent in sweats and tanks chasing a child, I decided to only do this challenge on work days. So, it took six weeks to complete.

+ I compiled 11 shirts, two blazers, three cardigans, five skirts, a black dress, four pairs of pants & four pairs of shoes. (Supporting garments like tanks and tights don't count.)

+ As we experienced two straight weeks of 90+ temps and 110+ heat indexes, I realized July probably isn't the best month to do this challenge. Layering is not ideal when it's so hot, but layering is what adds options and depth to a wardrobe! The heat led to the following...

+ I actually did this challenge with 24 items instead of 30. It was too hot for my black boots or either jacket I had picked out; I only used one pair of jeans; one skirt I never wore and one shirt I never felt like wearing either. So, if I were to do this again in a different season or something, maybe I would have to think a bit harder about my choices. However, sometimes you just don't feel like wearing something, and I don't think I could've predicted that.

+ Other people who have done this challenge say they get really tired of their 30 items by the end. Well, I really only have about 30 items in my closet anyway, so that wasn't really a problem for me. The part that got tiring was thinking up new combos to wear.

+ I created a list of 30 outfits at the beginning and crossed them off as I went. The weather affected this a bit. I also had quite a few outfits relying on just a few particular pieces - which seemd repetitive - so that ended up limiting me some mornings. Plus, I own a lot of purple and blue. I need to add new colors!

+ You wouldn't think wearing a different outfit every day would mean anything to anybody else. (And only a few people at work knew I was doing this.) However, I received MORE compliments on my outfits than ever before. Sometimes, "Ooh, I love that outfit, is it new?" When in actuality, I'd worn that outfit many times, but because I only wore it once during several weeks, it seemed new! Or, just by mixing different items together (instead of wearing the same things together all the time), old items seemed new or looked better or stood out or whatever.

+ I didn't go out of my comfort zone too much, but I think that's OK. I think the challenge was more about thinking about what I was wearing each day - because it had to be different - than being lazy and thinking, 'Well, I wore this shirt and pants together last week, but who cares? Not me.' I plan to keep thinking harder about what I'm putting together rather than taking the easy way out. Plus, I developed some great new combos that I can add to the rotation.

+ It definitely made me want to accessorize more than I ever have before. Accessories can really add to and change an outfit. (DUH, I know. But really, I'm challenged in the art of accessorizing, so this was an interesting discovery.) I'm loving necklaces and bracelets. I want to start wearing belts. I need more! (Money is tight, of course. Who wants to swap?)

+ It's been a difficult few months emotionally and when I told myself I would start this challenge on July 6, I really thought about skipping it once the time came. The effort of taking pictures, blogging about it, and just thinking so hard about what I wore seemed like just too much. But, I'm very glad I did it. It feels good to accomplish something, and while this isn't like running a marathon or losing weight or learning to cook, figuring out my style and feeling good about how I look is definitely important, too.

Posted: Wed, 08/17/2011 - 09:28 | Comments: 1

I took a couple months off from blogging, so I have a backlog of already-read books that I still need to blog about here. I’m going to play catch up with a four-books-in-one post, because 1.) I want to catch up, but mostly because 2.) It’s been a while and I don’t remember enough about these books to warrant full posts for each.

The Fifth Vial: I was out of books on my Kindle and only had a few on my shelf and they just weren’t calling my name. I saw this book in my husband’s stack, though. I’m not really a mass-market crime fiction type of reader, but they’re good every once in awhile to break things up. But mostly? My mom lent this book to him a couple years ago and there it sat. I miss her and I wanted to feel close to her again. While reading, I frequently flipped to the inside cover to look at her hand-written “8/09 – Good,” a note she wrote in every book because she read so much she wouldn’t remember what she thought of them (or would get halfway through and say, “Amanda, I think I’ve read this before!). The book is predictable, but fun. Plenty of action and a quick read. Scary to think there’s most likely a very similar, real-life black market out there for organ transplants – meaning, those with the money and the good reputation get, while those who are poor or deemed worthless die.

Out Stealing Horses: I’ve had this on the shelf for years, ever since it was new and earning rave reviews. It’s a translation from Norway that transfers between present and past during the life of a boy of 14 and a man of 60-something. It moves rather slow and ends rather abruptly and without much fanfare, but the book doesn’t have much fanfare to begin with. I found myself skimming a bit and wasn’t especially thrilled with it.

A Scattered Life: Karen McQuestion is a self-published Kindle author, the book sounded nice and for $2.99, I thought, Why not? It’s a very simple story about a young woman, her husband, her mother-in-law, her neighbors… I liked the journey the main character takes, the MIL drove me nuts (and I think she was supposed to) – it’s a good example of how a story can be simple and short without much depth, yet still be a decent read. Not everything has to be Cutting For Stone-detailed and prose-heavy (though, loved that, too).

The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter & Sweet: A freebie from work – love those! And this was a great one. Another book moving between the past and present, this time of a Chinese American man – from teen years to his 50s, I believe. You learn a lot about WWII and the United States’ treatment of Japanese (Americans!) after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Plus there’s love and music and friendship – a really wonderful, moving story.

 

 

 

 

Posted: Mon, 07/25/2011 - 14:34 |

I’ve followed Meagan Francis for a while, and when she said bloggers could simply email her and get a copy of her new book, I was in!

Now, The Happiest Mom isn’t rocket science. You’re not going to be reading about research or studies or experts that tell you how to be “happier.” It’s really the nuts and bolts kind of stuff: Make time for yourself, help your partner help you, don’t try to be perfect, etc. We all know these things.

HOWEVER, we don’t all remember these things. With the daily grind of picking up, dropping off, making dinner, keeping the house presentable, running errands, finding marriage time, etc., it is SO easy to forget the simplest of things. It’s so easy to get down on ourselves and feel like we’re sinking and that we’re alone and we have no idea what to do.

That’s when, if you have great girlfriends, they swoop in and say, “Nonsense! You’re doing awesome!” Well, that’s how I look at this book. It’s another girlfriend who can tell you that while it can be challenging, motherhood doesn’t have to be so all-consuming and/or negative. By following just a few of her ideas, or even just learning a little more about the type of mother you are (there are some quick, fun quizzes), you can begin to see how motherhood can be really fun (and, more importantly, manageable).

This book will take you maybe an hour or two to read. I know, 'Ha!,' right? What mom has a whole uninterrupted hour?! (I read a chapter a night before bed.) It’s quick, the design is whimsical and fun, and with each chapter you’ll smile or laugh a little. I particularly liked the real-life mom quotes sprinkled throughout the book.

Once you're done with the book, keep up with Meagan at her website, and think of her as another good friend or fellow mom to look up to.

Posted: Wed, 07/20/2011 - 15:38 |

This isn’t news, because I have yet to hear one major criticism of Tina Fey’s book, but I loved Bossypants. Sure, it isn’t a shocking yet moving memoir of overcoming abuse or drugs or an eating disorder, but it’s a sweet, and hilarious, look into the life of one of the hottest women on the planet right now. Things I loved:

Don Fey: Fey dedicates an entire chapter to her dad, and I LOVE him. I love what he wears, I love his stoic demeanor, I love his parenting techniques and I love how much Tina loves him.

The humbleness: So, Tina’s this big star, right? Yet she’s got a self-deprecating humbleness that’s instantly charming. She knows she wasn’t a looker in her early years and she embraces that (she’s like the rest of us!). She knows the only reason 30 Rock was picked up, and probably has lasted this long and won Emmys, is because of Alec Baldwin. When people actually liked her Sarah Palin impression – which up until two days before, she wasn’t even going to do – she was shocked that people found her funny at all. And I believe it – I don’t think that’s bullshit.

Her being a working mom: I have no idea how she worked on SNL, developed a sitcom and had a baby all at the same time. Seriously, I get edgy on my 6 hours of sleep/night and I’m guessing she regularly gets far less. But, she loves her kid and isn’t ashamed of having a regular babysitter or of formula feeding (though the mommy guilt is still there – she’s like the rest of us!).

Learning the behind the scenes stuff: While it’s disgusting that male SNL writers find other places to relieve themselves other than the bathroom, it’s still cool to learn these little secrets. It’s a man’s world – improv and comedy – but from her days at Second City, Tina (and Amy Poehler) started breaking down those walls. And not in an angry-self-righteous way, either. It’s great to read about; yet she doesn’t shove it down your throat.

(The things I hate? The cover. Ick.)

I read it fast, and then proceeded to lend it out to no less than seven other women. It’s fabulous – not ground-breaking and probably easy, but fabulous - and I think all her praise is well deserved.

Posted: Wed, 07/13/2011 - 09:17 | Comments: 1

 

Editor's Note: A couple of months ago my super-smart husband wrote a review of Physics of the Impossible, a book that I would never pick up, yet he makes sound so interesting. Well, here he follows up with one of author Michio Kaku's other books, Physics of the Future. It's CRAZY to see where we're headed - and some of us will still be here to see it!

Imagine for a moment that you woke up in the year 2100. What would the world look like? What would be different around you? What would be the same? These are the questions that Michio Kaku attempts to answer in his latest work Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100.

Consider a work completed in 1863 by Jules Verne that had been locked away for nearly 130 years until found in 1994. The work, Paris in the Twentieth Century, predicted that “Paris in 1960 would have glass skyscrapers, air conditioning, TV, elevators, high-speed trains, gasoline-powered automobiles, fax machines, and even something resembling the Internet.” Again in 1865 he wrote From the Earth to the Moon,” where he predicted the U.S. moon landings. He even predicted the size of the space capsule within a very few percent, and the location of potential launch sites not far from Cape Canaveral in addition to the number of astronauts, the length of the mission, weightlessness, and splashdown in the ocean. Similarly Leonardo da Vinci drew diagrams of helicopters, hang gliders, and airplanes that would have flown had he had a 1-horsepower motor – all in the late 1400s. How can these predictions be made? By consulting the scientists of their time to see what is on the edge of possible.

In this book, Kaku describes life over the next 90 or so years in terms of science that is being born today in labs around the world. This isn’t the stuff of science fiction. It is the beginning of science fact. Many of the technologies are on the fast track to reality with working prototypes in labs today. So what will the world look like? Kaku separates chapters by technology group, and into three time-spans: now through 2030, 2030 through 2070, and 2070 through 2100. I had a difficult time pulling highlights for the book, but here is what I’m excited about:

Present – 2030:

How about having the internet on your glasses or contact lenses? Computer screens might be gone by 2030 with internet images being beamed directly into your retina. You could read your e-mail while on the way to work in your driverless car. If internet contacts aren’t OK with you then you can interact with the internet via your four wall screens, or flexible electronic paper. This is how you will interact with your doctor, who will use miniature MRI machines to scan your body as well as DNA sensors in your mirrors, toilet, etc. The doctor will tell you to go to a human doctor if need be. Oh, and did I mention that your doctor will be a computer program in that wall screen? But you will barely be able to tell. If you need to see a doctor he/she will be able to cure many of your diseases via early stages of gene therapy. We won’t cure cancer, but helping to repair the P53 gene will rid your body of cancer cells, perhaps decades before a tumor develops.

2030 – 2070

By midcentury Moore’s law will break down (this law states that computer speeds/computation power doubles about every 18 months or so – this has held true for decades). The reason: we can’t make transistors out of individual atoms. However new computing technologies will be developed to replace silicon. Quantum computers, DNA computers, etc., may take their place. Oh, and those internet contacts/glasses will supplement reality with augmented reality. You’ll never forget the name of a coworker again. Your glasses will give you a profile of who you’re looking at. Those same glasses will inform consumers of the best prices of any item in a grocery store at any other store, driving prices of things down. They may also become universal translators, allowing people of any languages to communicate with each other.

What about killer robots? Not by 2050. We may have reverse-engineered the brain by then, but won’t be able to program something that complex into a robot. There will be a huge number of specialized robots, but they won’t feel or be aware.

What about our energy needs? By 2050 we may have commercial fusion power plants. The plants in fact generate more energy than they consume. This means essentially endless electricity with a tiny fraction of the waste or pollution of today’s reactors.

2070 – 2100

Would you like to control matter with your mind? It may be a possibility by 2100.

Robots may become conscious by this time. However we’ll likely have put in place many safeguards to avoid a Hollywood movie scenario from developing. They’ll help us do everything we need done but don’t want to do. Additionally, we’ll begin to merge with robots in terms of prosthetics. Remember Luke Skywalker’s new hand? That will be possible by 2100.What about medicine in 2100? Well, we’ll have identified and likely be able to turn of the genes responsible for aging. Additionally, if you need a new organ for whatever reason, a new one will be grown for you in a lab from your own cells. What does this mean? It means that there is a very real possibility that there may only be a few more generations to die (save for accidents). Kaku addresses overpopulation issues with immortality, which I’ll leave out here. Do you want to live forever?

Other highlights of 2100 include: floating cars and trains that use nearly no fuel due to magnetism; terra-forming Mars; using all of the energy that hits the earth from our star. We’ll also likely know if we’re alone in the universe. We won’t be able to communicate with other civilizations on other planets, but we’ll know they’re there.

Type I Civilization

By 2100 we will have become a type I civilization, where all of our resources will be developed. Think Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon. We will have planetary communications (the Internet is the birth of this), a handful of primary languages (English and Chinese), a planetary economy (signs of which are emerging with the EU), a planetary middle class, a planetary culture, planetary news and sports, and the weakening of national borders. The key to the future will be wisdom.

There’s so much in this book to discuss, ponder, and dream about. Kaku believes that the next 90 years will define humanity. Growing pains will abound in humanity’s quest to become global and push on. Kaku describes humanity as still having the savagery that we had when we left the caves. We are trying to shed that and become more. It will be up to the next three generations to get us there. If we do not solve the problems we have today, we may be headed for collapse. Kaku provides a glimpse into what we may look like in 90 years. His book is rooted in science happening today, but is very easy to read whether you have a scientific background or not. His book is thought-provoking and intelligent. Nearly every page had me saying “wow” to myself. His mixture of past, present and future is brilliant.

We should be able to solve our problems with how much brain power we have today. Consider: of all of the people who have EVER lived, 6% of them are alive RIGHT NOW.

Posted: Fri, 07/01/2011 - 11:33 |

Half Baked was my third Kindle book, and the first one with typos—oh my gosh, the typos! Anyone else have a Kindle and had to deal with that? Or, was the hard copy of Half Baked riddled with typos, too? Anyway, Half Baked is a memoir of a Minnesotan couple who deal with infertility issues, get pregnant, have a very premature baby and all that follows. Author Alexa Stevenson has blog and she’s quite humorous. Her book is very funny, too.

At first, reading about Alexa’s infertility issues and early pregnancy... well quite frankly, the woman drove me nuts. She’s very open about her neurotic nature and understands this about herself. However, it was TOO MUCH at some points and I wanted to just shake her and tell her to calm the eff down.

But, crazy thing, once she had her daughter at 1 pound 11 ounces, she snapped out of it. All of a sudden she was cool as a cucumber, taking in every single thing the doctors said and absorbing it and then remembering it for later. She was her child’s most dedicated advocate, unemotional, serious and not one bit neurotic. It was amazing. And inspiring.

In Half Baked, you learn about the amazingness of the NICU. The fact that a baby that small can survive—not easily, of course—and thrive and grow up like a normal kid is a pure miracle. Another miracle. Because having the baby in the first place is a miracle, too.

At one point, Alexa wrote about how maybe she was too serious, too cool when it came to her daughter’s health. She was the one who was always there. She was the one with all the information. And each time something bad happened to Simone, she was the one who had to break the news to family and friends. And she did it without crying, while they cried to her. She had to console them. Reading that part of the book as my mother was losing her own life battle… well, it hit home. I felt the same way sometimes. “Um, hi, this is happening to me. Why do I have to make you feel better about it? Why do I even have to talk to you?”

So, once I got passed wanting to shake Alexa, the book was really quite a story. I loved how she explains not knowing how to end the book, because Simone’s battles never end, but you have to end somewhere. But, at least she still has her blog, for those who don’t want the story to end.

Posted: Thu, 06/23/2011 - 10:26 |

I watched Sports Night when it first aired back in 1998. I loved the show, and I was disappointed when it was canceled just two seasons in. I loved it so much, that a few years ago when the complete season came out on DVD, I added it to my Amazon Wish List. But I never got it. Well, after a decade or so, it’s easy to forget why you used to love something. Was it just Peter Krause that I loved? Felicity Huffman? Because since The American President, The West Wing and Studio 60, Aaron Sorkin can pretty much do no wrong by me? Probably all of the above.

When I discovered recently that I could stream the whole series on Netflix, I jumped. And from the first two minutes of the first episode, I remember why I loved it (yes, it was all of the above, and more, like Joshua Malina, a Sorkin muse of sorts). Minus the laugh track, of course. Man, I hate laugh tracks. (Fortunately, Sports Night ditched the laugh track part way through the series.)

The thing about watching this Sorkin show again, though, is I’m seeing all the creator’s fingerprints. See, back then, I really had no idea who Aaron Sorkin was. Those were the David E. Kelley days. (Bygones. Poughkeepsie. Bobby Donnell. They all deserve their own blog posts.) But after my love for The West Wing, I learned more about Mr. Sorkin, and he’s (obviously) all over Sports Night.

+ The Walking. Sorkin is known for making his characters walk the halls. It’s made fun of relentlessly, with SNL-type spoofs of people just walking in circles while talking, ending up back where they started. He did the same in Sports Night; they don’t walk as much at CSC as at The White House, but walk/run they do.

+ The Repeated Questions/Statements. Sorkin likes to make characters repeat themselves. I don’t know if his characters are slow or hard of hearing—or, more likely, he thinks the viewers are slow or hard of hearing—but characters are always asking for other characters to repeat themselves. Or, if they’re not doing that, they’re at least repeating a part of the conversation, for emphasis, over and over or before they exit the scene. Thing is, I actually like this technique.

(Somewhat of an example)

Casey: I speak four languages.

Dan: You speak three languages.

Casey: I speak four languages.

Dan: You speak German, French, and Italian.

Casey: I dabble in a little English.

+ The Speeches. Sorkin pretty blatantly, and unapologetically, hits home his agendas in every show. In just the first few episodes, we already had quick-talking speeches about legalizing marijuana, the poor showing of the democratic party (remember, this is 1998), the rights of gays, the ridiculousness of professional athletes being put on pedestals even if they’re criminals (I mean, this is a SPORTS show and he holds no bars having his sports ANCHORS take athletes down a notch), the barbaric nature of hunting wild game, the confederate flag being flown, and so on.  

+ The Female Lead. Whether it’s Dana Whitaker (Felicity Huffman) or C.J. Cregg (Alison Janney), Sorkin gives females some pretty good, meaty and funny roles. Sure, there’s usually a love triangle going on, but these women are also successful, smart and, again, funny all on their own.

I consumed this show so quickly, and now I miss it. (And what the heck happened to Sabrina Lloyd? A couple guest spots here and there really doesn’t seem like enough. I loved her, too.) I like that, unlike, say, Veronica Mars, the show knew it was ending and wrapped (almost) everything up nicely.

Any other Sorkin fans out there? I didn’t even get into The Social Network, which was also great and all-Sorkin-everywhere. What other techniques does he exploit well (or not so well)?

Posted: Thu, 06/16/2011 - 14:40 | Comments: 3

Welcome to A. Musings! I'd like to present the little project I've been working on for several months now. As a professional writer and editor, I felt a need to have an electronic portfolio of sorts, a place where I could display my work all in one handy location.

Then, I started thinking about my blog, Bookish Bent. While I love reading, and writing about what I read, the blog was lacking for me in a couple of ways: 1) After having a baby, I don't read quite as much as I used to, so my posts on books were becoming further apart - and I felt guilt, people, guilt! 2) While I sometimes wrote about movies and sports on Bookish Bent, it always felt off subject (for good reason - it was a book blog!), so I thought I'd open up my blog a bit as a way to comment on my other interests, and 3) Becoming a mother has provided me with a larger group of people I want to connect and chat with about issues, so I wanted a place to discuss some of those parenting ideas.

The site is definitely still a work in progress as I slowly update things like the Blogroll and my Work page. But, with the help of a very generous, patient friend and web designer (shout out to Little Pepper Studio!), I'm getting there. (Feel free to let me know if you have trouble with its usage, even while we continue to work out the kinks.) I'd also like to thank my pal, Kirsten, for designing my lovely web banners - she rocked it!

So, I hope you like my site as much as I do. And please come check in (and follow on Twitter) every once and a while. I'd love to hear from you.

Posted: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 15:14 | Comments: 2