Sunday, May 06, 2018

"Sleeping Beauties" (2017) was published by Stephen King and his son, Owen King. The language seems like something from the younger generation, so I'm thinking that Stephen King's name is just on the cover to make folks pick it up. And since I haven't actually read a Stephen King novel before, I can't say how this one compares to any others. I can say that the story drags on and on, and I felt like I was on season 9 of the Walking Dead by the time we finally made it to the end, which all seemed pretty anticlimactic to me. I feel like I could give you all the spoilers in the world and it wouldn't make any difference because it seemed that the end was visible from the beginning. So did I like it? Eh, not much. Would I watch the movie (because apparently there might be one since the rights have already been purchased)... Yeah, I would probably watch the dumb movie. I don't have much taste. But I do have a funny irony about this book. Most of the book is set in a women's prison, and it was sent to me by a woman in prison.

I have also read a few other books lately. All three were by the same author, Loren Spivack (The Free Market Warrior), who came to speak at one of our Cooke County Republican Women's meetings a few months ago. Those books are "The New Democrat" (2010), "The Gorax" (2014), and "The Wizard of Iz" (2016). They are all short books, and all are political parodies in the style of Dr. Suess. Theodor Seuss Geisel, best known as Dr. Seuss, was actually a fairly liberal/socialist kind of guy, apparently. Mr. Spivack was a great speaker, and the idea of the parody books seemed really clever, but I wasn't as wowed as I expected with the actual writing. It's almost too in-your-face political, and there were some obvious typing errors in the first book.

So those are my less-than-glowing reviews for today. As far as women's prisons go, I still have two friends in two different ones. And as far as political things go, I'm all registered for the GOP Convention in San Antonio in June. It's sort of silly, it's sort of a waste of time and money, but it's the place to be if you care about... Well, politics, maybe. The country, maybe. My favorite part of these conventions is talking to strangers and hearing what they're really there for - why they think it's so important to make the effort to be involved. Some are there for School Choice, and some are totally pro-life, and some are just climbing up the ladder of power. Me? Boy, I really don't know what I'm REALLY there for. I guess maybe because I just think it's the right thing to do - to get involved and stay involved and keep learning and keep speaking out for what's right.

Monday, February 19, 2018

I have recently started driving this 2018 GMC Terrain. I have waited until the odometer rolled over the 1,000 mile-marker to make my comments. Overall, I think that it is a fine vehicle. However, it's only about 60% vehicle while the other 40% is computer. Of course I am moving up from a 2011 Ford Fusion, so there have been some changes in technology within the past 7 years. With keyless entry and keyless starting, there is a lot for me to get used to. And change is difficult. It's not all bad, but I'd like to point out a few things that drive me a little crazy while I'm trying to, well, drive. Alright, so for starters, the push-button starting is okay, but it's not helpful. Obviously the key (fob) has to be inside the car for the button to work, so I still have to carry around and remember a key. And it's a lot harder to remember a key that doesn't have a specific place to go (in the ignition). I just don't see that my life is any easier because of the push-button starting. The car won't let you lock your keys inside - if you do, it "beep-beeps" at you as you walk away, and it automatically unlocks itself. To me, this is the car solving an issue THAT IT CAUSED FOR ITSELF by not requiring the key to be in my hand when I enter and exit the vehicle. It also has push-button shifting, and that is annoying. I still think that a shifter on the steering column is the best option. I shouldn't have to look down to find the right button for shifting. Up-down, back-forth, that lets me know exactly which gear I'm in, but a little light below my radio is not convenient at all. Of course, when it comes to gears, the reverse gear includes a backup camera, and that's a pretty cool device. So here's something that's a little difficult to explain - the car's engine shuts off when I come to a complete stop. When I take my foot off of the brake, the engine comes back on. I'm fairly sure that this is some government-inspired emissions trick, and it is only mildly annoying. If I switch too quickly from brake to gas after being stopped, the take-off is not smooth. This has made me be even more conservative with my acceleration after a stoplight (and someday that's going to get me shot by some impatient road-rager). Also, when I pull in somewhere to park, and my engine has shut off, my brain assumes that my car has been turned off. So when I take my foot off the brake to exit the vehicle, there goes my car rolling away. But when I put the car in "Park", the engine turns back on just in time for me to hit the "Engine" button to turn it off again. Off-On-Off... But I discovered that I can simply turn off the car directly from having it in "Drive", and it will be magically in "Park" when I turn it back on. It's the only logical solution to having the engine come back to life before I park the thing, but doesn't that sound a bit unconventional to not put it in "Park" before turning it off?? Then there's the computer which works with my smartphone for navigation and music (no CD player in this machine). Even if I don't plug in my phone, the car takes control and forces me to do hands-free calling. What if I have someone in the car with me who doesn't need to hear my entire conversation?? It will read my text messages out loud to me, but again, that's only handy if I'm alone in the car. So the car, being a computer, has user accounts, and the car will remember multiple users' settings for temperature, radio settings, seat settings (beware - the seats will do strange things on their own!), side-view mirror settings... It can recognize the users by key fob or by phone. The trouble I've found with this system is that I'm the only user, and I don't need those silly options. When I start the car, it takes it a few seconds to decide that I'm the user in stead of the "Guest" account, and it those few seconds, the default radio station tries to start playing. This drives me batty! How can I tell the car that it's just me - that it's always going to be just me?! They tell me that the settings I have in this car would remember me if I got into another new vehicle of the same make/model, like say if I got a rental. The app on my phone would tell the car who I am. Ummm...who needs that?? Maybe I'll find out someday that I needed it all along, but it's been years since I've rented a vehicle, and I know that you don't always get the type of vehicle that you request at the rental place, so I dunno what they're thinking. Not to mention the fact that with a car that knows so much about me across the computer waves, obviously the government will have more access to all of my data. Not that they couldn't already track me with my smart phone. But a smart car on top of it? When you go to the dealership and have to download 2 apps before you ever even drive the vehicle, something is so very wrong!! I have some other minor complaints such has the way the side-view mirrors are a funny shape which makes me constantly think that cars are sneaking up on me. I've felt the transmission hiccup a few times at lower speeds (15 MPH), but for some reason that is comforting. It's good to know that it's still just a car.

So what would I change if I could? I definitely would have a gear-shifter on the steering column. I would have only one user account in the system with the ability to delete the "Guest" account. I would change the shape of the side-view mirrors. But the keyless stuff and the engine dying at stops, none of that really bothers me as much as I thought it would when I first started driving it. The computer system has frozen on me a few times already, but I know enough about computers to get it going again. But I would definitely like it to be a little more consistent. Maybe it will work better when I stop asking it to do more than it can handle. And maybe a new smartphone (NOOO!!) would be helpful. I wonder how it works with an iPhone vs. Android... I, of course, am an Android person. To be specific, I'm using a Samsung Galaxy S6, AT&T. It will be VERY interesting to see what sorts of technical problems show up as the car ages. So I guess that's my review for now. New stuff is fun, but I miss just being able to get in and drive.

Friday, November 24, 2017

"Alpha Female" (2009) by April Christofferson did not have much effect on me. The main premise was protecting the wolves from hunters. I don't care about wolves. I don't care about hunters, either, so I couldn't really take a side. The writing was fine, and the story would probably make a good movie, but it was fairly predictable.

Well, it's the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm supposed to be off work. Oh, I'm at home, but I just got a call from the office asking for my help. I could try to summon the Spirit of Thanksgiving and be thankful to be needed and wanted, but I am not very good at this holiday. For every thing that there is to be thankful for, I can find 5 more to complain about. I guess that means I'm only 20% thankful. Food...I have plenty of that, but I also have been given too much of it. I have plenty of clothes, but I also have an overabundance of those. I have more weight, more stress, less room... But moving on. It's time for Christmas now. And that one's not much better as far as holidays go. I suppose this time of year is hard for everyone. I don't know why God gives us cold, short, dark days. He could make everything work without the annual death. Perhaps it's part of our punishment. Was there no Winter before the Fall (of man)? Winter before Fall...ha, I made a funny! I guess Winter always comes after the Fall. Wow, that's deep...

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"Relentless" is your typical girl-power Western drama with a pretty good balance of still needing a man to be the hero. It was written by Bobbi Smith and published in 2010. I guess it was a pretty good story. I dunno, I actually finished it about a month ago, but I'm just now getting around to catching up some of the little things. Work has slowed down just a tad, and that is very nice. But when I think I can take a break from my work life and go back to my real life, I realize that there's not much real life there anymore. It's just work, recover, and work again. The burn-out hit throughout the summer, but it seems to be winding down now. Which is funny, because this is the time of year when most other folks are starting to hit the wall with school going strong and holidays approaching. Being normal used to be so important, but I guess I've accepted that it's not something I'll ever really be. So I guess there haven't been any major life events to report. I have about 7 vacation days left for the year. Vacation days are where work teases me and lets me pretend that I still have a real life outside of work. Ha. But I'm not working at this moment, so I'm going to try to get out and enjoy the day. Peace.

Friday, August 04, 2017

I thought that quitting Netflix for the Summer would make me get out and do stuff, but instead I'm turning the time into reading. That's not such a bad thing. It has to be better for my mind than watching zombies get killed in 5 million different ways. About this book... "His Secret Life: Colby Agency Reconnaissance Division" was written by Debra Webb in 2009. First of all, I have no idea why the dude on the cover is wearing a cowboy hat. This book is set in the Chicago, IL, area, and there are no horses, cows or anything Western in the story. Even with the false advertising, it wasn't a bad little book. I'm not sure what the point of the side story about the boss's daughter being threatened with kidnapping was. Ah, well, just another "man needs to settle down and stop running" story written by a woman.

And today is Rodeo Day in Saint Jo, Texas!! I will be wearing my cowboy hat, even though the most Western thing that I do is get on my horse for about 10 minutes and ride around the arena a couple of times. Most of my day will be spent running back and forth putting out toilet paper and making sure our workers have everything that they need.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I went through both of these books fairly quickly, so I will review them together. Although one was written in 2009 (Montana Creeds: Logan by Linda Lael Miller) and the other in 1993 (Broomstick Cowboy by Kathleen Eagle), they both tell pretty much the same story. Single cowboy comes back to his hometown. Single mother with two children could use some help. Heck, both of these books even tell of a vehicle backing-up incident with the children!! I mean, I'm not claiming copyright infringement, but it's almost eerie how similar they are. But I have to say that I enjoyed the one on the right, the older book, better. I mean, considering I start almost every romance novel with an eye-roll and come at 'em expecting to be tortured, I guess I'm really just picking the one that I thought was less torture. It's funny reading books by women where they focus on the man's point of view. Women WANT men to think the way the ones portrayed in these books think, but it's so far from reality... But I guess that's the point of reading fiction. We get to jump into a world away from our own.

My world is kinda funny. Of course in the romance department, there is none. But I have been asked for a phone number by a guy recently...oh, not for my number, he was wanting another gal's number. Which is funny, because just like in the books, she also has two kids... Maybe I need to warn them about making sure the kids are outta the way when they back up their vehicles... But I digress. No, my life is currently filled with Saint Jo Rodeo preparations. Only 9 days until the show! I'm a little less nervous about most of it this year since this is my 2nd presidential undertaking, but I am a little more worried about the finances this year. I was not paying attention to that stuff last year. But I know it will be fun, and I'm looking forward to it, so that's a good thing. I wish that the rodeo was the end of the stresses and responsibilities, but the three weekends after our rodeo will be filled with Forestburg then Denton then our August playday. After that we'll have to be getting ready for our chili cookoff in September, and by then the Republican Women's club will be started back up again, so I'll have that to deal with. I just watched a video talking about how God puts people in leadership positions. It was talking about government, but I thought of myself and my presidential positions. Well, if God put me there, then I guess that's how it's supposed to be. Most of the time it feels like some kind of crazy joke that I'd be intentionally put in charge of anything. Makes me want to roll my eyes just like I'm looking at some silly romance novel...LOL ;)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

I just finished "Persuader: A Jack Reacher Novel" by Lee Child (2003, reprint 2013). How I'm finding any time to read is a bit of a mystery, what with all the rodeo stuff I've got going on. I think everything is mostly on time as far as sponsor support, queen contestants, ticket sales, arena repairs, media outreach, parade invitations and entries...the list goes on with so much tedious event planning. But I turned off my Netflix for the Summer, so I'm giving a little more attention to books. Yes, I did like this book. It had a little more violence than I prefer in a book, but the story flowed well.

I also recently finished "Time Bomb: An Alex Delaware Novel" by Jonathan Kellerman (1990). This was my 2nd Kellerman book, and I think I liked the other one better. There was almost too much story in this one - too much back story that didn't really help solve the initial "who-dun-it". Or maybe I was just too distracted while reading it. Two books in a row with male first-party presentations. I should probably pursue some more intellectually stimulating reading, but I have a lot of these fiction paperbacks that have been passed on to me, so I'll keep working my way through.