Archive for the ‘Beru's Book Club’ Category
Warning: This post will have spoilers for all three of the Hunger Games books. If you haven’t read them yet, you may not want to continue reading this post. If you get to the end, and are pissed that I spoiled something, I will simply remind you that the very first thing I wrote in this post was a warning.
My hands have had a bit of a set back the past few weeks. While the original issue has somewhat plateaued in the improvement department, about three weeks ago I developed additional tendon damage/injury to my left thumb/wrist area. While this has been highly disappointing, and the new injury has affected more than just playing on the PC (trying working with fondant when your hands hurt trying to soften it up or color it, or try shuffling a deck of cards when the action causes pain in your thumb), I’m trying to roll with the punches and facilitate as quick a recovery as possible. Which means that I’m not spending a lot of time on the computer and I am again spending a good deal of time reading, watching TV and doing other things.
I bring this up, because over the weekend as I sat and enjoyed one of the ten days of sunshine we get here in Seattle, I finished up the Hunger Games trilogy. In fact, I was so involved in them that Saturday night found me up way past my bed time trying to finish the final book (I sadly had to give up with about 75 pages left when I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any more). Anyhow, as I read through the three books and observed the changes in Katniss and the other characters I had some thoughts on them that I wanted to flesh out, and figured this is about as good a place as any to do so. Before I move on, I want to again remind you that I am about to enter into spoiler territory, and if you haven’t read the books yet, you may well want to stop reading this post now.
Read the rest of this entry »
I made this cake for Brade’s brother’s birthday (inside joke), but I think it turned out really well!
There isn’t a whole lot new on the WoW front. We finished getting everyone a firehawk last week, so I can finally say that I am (mostly) done with Firelands! We have an out of guild tank that has been helping us for the past month-ish and so we will probably do one more run to send a firehawk his way as a thank you. But other than that, I think we’ve likely put that fiery lord to rest once and for all.
We are still trucking along clearing out Dragon Soul every week. And, honestly, I think that is note worthy. I know that there are a lot of people who have stopped this effort, and each week that we get a full raid team together to continue pushing through I am grateful. Ends of expansions are hard. Motivation is lacking. This year it has the misfortune to compete with summer. And, honestly, after seven months of clearing the same content to be able to come together as a team and do it one more time each week shows dedication. And that, in my opinion, should be heralded.
I am a little more than disappointed with beta testing right now. I am not going to lie, I’m sitting somewhere at level 88 (or like a bubble from it, maybe), and lost some desire to continue my level push when Diablo came out. It had long been my intent to make a pre-made 90 to hit the raid content when it became available. Except that they have started some of the raid testing, and announced that they would not have pre-made 90’s available yet. I was disappointed, to say the least, but started looking at my schedule to find some time to push my character to level 90. And then they announced the raid test times…which so far are all when I’m still at work.
I understand that Blizzard is in the same time zone that I am, and that they want their folks to be able to go home at a reasonable time every evening. But man does it really suck to want to be a part of beta testing for raids and realize that it’s not going to be a possibility because you are on the west coast and have a commitment that keeps you from being at home during testing times. That has pretty much driven any desire to continue to level to 90 right out. The reason to get to 90 was to get a feel for how my class plays in a raid setting at max level, and realizing that it is unlikely for that to be an option for me pretty much bums me out completely. Read the rest of this entry »
Sometimes a rare thing happens. I get up from my computer and *gasp* leave my house! Ok…that is probably a bit of an exaggeration, as, you know, I do things like go to work every day, but you get my drift! This past weekend we partook in one of my favorite activities…going to the theatre!
Now, I know that Seattle can’t compare to New York’s Broadway or London’s West End, but it does have quite a strong, thriving arts community. This past weekend, I was somehow able to strong arm Brade into taking me to the 5th Avenue Theatre’s rendition of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Let me be honest here, I am highly biased when it comes to this musical, having seen it a number of times on any number of national tours (nobody will ever touch Donny Osmond as Joseph!). Knowing that, the 5th Avenue had very big shoes to fill.
On the Cast
Their production had some guy from some season of American Idol as Joseph, who did a formidable job with the role, and had pecs and abs that must have cost him hours in the gym! However, there were some very stand out performers in this rendition that I was much more impressed with.
Jennifer Paz, as the narrator was probably one of the best performers that I have seen in this role. I believe her bio stated that she was in the first national tour of Ms. Saigon, in the lead role, so she definitely has some musical/acting chops, and that stood out here. She was just fantastic and had a gorgeous voice.
They also had some local rock musician cast in the role of Pharaoh, and he was perfectly cast. The best part was that he played some of his own music for his scenes. I was pleasantly surprised.
A much lesser role, Pontifer, was also fantastic (even though I can’t recall his name >.<). Additionally, all of the brothers did fantastic jobs in their roles.
On the Show in General
Joseph is one of Andrew Llyod Weber’s first musicals (years before smashes like Cats! and Phantom). He actually paired with Tim Rice (you probably know him as that Disney lyricist that worked with Alan Menkin on things like Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast). Joseph is quite literally one of my favorite musicals of all time. Not only is it a journey through a biblical parable, it’s a journey through the world’s music. The range of music from in the show goes from go-go, to elvis, to country, to Bernstein (if you can’t catch the West Side Story reference, shame on you!). It’s just all over. And it’s flat out FUN. Hell, the show itself is so filled with energy, that even Brade couldn’t doze off as he tends to do when I drag him to “culture”.
You honestly cannot see Joseph and not tap your foot as the show goes on, and not leave humming one of the many catchy toons in the show! It is a huge ensemble production with dance numbers that you just don’t see in that many shows anymore (probably largely due to the cost of having to hire all those dancers). The show is a bright, loud, colorful experience.
One of the other things that I love so much about this show is huge children’s choir. I like that it introduces children to the world of the theatre and arts. Not only the children that are in the show, but their siblings and friends that come to see them perform. It opens a whole new set of doors to many youngsters who may become future performers, or patrons, of the arts. And to me this is a hugely valuable asset.
So, all in all I would wholeheartedly recommend taking in this show, should you ever have the opportunity to do so! I do not think you will be disapointed!
It’s been awhile since I dabbled on what I have been doing in my off time from WoW – mostly because I’ve not had a lot of down time lately. When we last left Beru’s book club, I was working my way through the Sookie Stackhouse series. I devoured every last one of them, and the were fabulous! I certainly maintain my prior statement that they are well worth the read.
However, after I finished the last one (while I was travelling nonetheless), I was left with needing something new to read, and fast because I had a plane ride to catch! I had noticed in the covers of my Sookie books that Charlaine Harris had a number of other series that she wrote, and so I did what any good bookworm would do, and googled the nearest bookstore to my hotel. I went in and browsed through a few of the selections and ultimately decided that I’d try her “Aurora Teagarden Mystery” series, and purchased the first three books.
The protagonist in these stories is a quiet librarian with a bit of spark and a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As the books progress she becomes more and more spunky, and it’s enjoyable to watch her progress. The books all have some sort of murder that occurs and invariably draws Aurora into their web, and she feels obliged to solve them…and usually gets hurt in the process. They are filled with a bit of southern charm and giggles, and are generally quite adorable. I wouldn’t go as far as to call them “cute”, but they have a good amount of amusement about them.
I think that at least the first handful of the books were some of Charlaine Harris’ early work, and are certainly pre-Sookie. The first ones, while enjoyable, are a little thin in character development and some of the plot is fairly predictable. However, as the series progresses (I’m currently on book 6 of 8) they have gotten much, much better, and you can tell that the author has grown as a writer. They’ve gone more from frivolity to nail biters that are harder to put down. I have also found myself very attached to the characters as they evolve, so I think it is safe to say that the flat characters I saw in the first few books have definitely been given some shape :)
If you are looking for something to read, I’d strongly recommend taking a look at the series, but wait until you are a few books into it before giving up on it and rendering judgment.
Anyone else have any good reads to recommend?!?!
Bits of Friday Randomness:
Currently Reading – A Fool and his Honey (ATM Book 6)
Currently Watching – NCIS Season 6
Weekend Plans – The Traveling Broadway Show of Wicked
Naz’s Val’anyr Countdown: 25 – 5 more fragments until we can stop full Ulduar clears! /cheer
Current Grilling – Corn on the Cob! mmmmmmm
I’ve been traveling for work the past couple of days, which means I’m a little behind on the “hot” news. However, the announcement of faction changes is something that I find exciting enough to comment on. This is largely because I started my wow career on the alliance, and I have often said that I wish I could bring my alliance toons horde. I only have two left of any significance: a level 70 warlock and a level 66 hunter, who is acting as an cross faction transfer wench.
Of those two characters, I don’t know if I will bring them both over or just my warlock. I haven’t seriously played the hunter in well over a year, if not longer. But I miss the warlock, so much so that I even started my very own little horde warlock, but I’ve not been very aggressive about leveling her up.
However, bringing the lock over, isn’t the only reason that I’m fairly excited. Let’s take a look at a couple of things that will benefit from faction changes:
- Recruiting– Anyone that has ever recruited before knows that this is a good change for recruiting new players. It is going to help tremendously on imbalanced servers, or even just in general, to recruit without the potential constraint of faction. The talent pool has just been significantly increased! I do not think that this is a bad thing! Honestly, I think that this is the best thing about this change.
- Re-rolling – I know a number of people that have re-rolled to another faction to play with friends and/or join in a guild that they wanted to play with. While re-rolling may be fun, not everyone wants to re-roll their main and give up everything that they have worked so hard to achieve. They now have the option to play where ever they want. This also goes hand in hand with the recruiting point mentioned above.
Now, I know that there are people that are not pleased with the thought of being able to change factions because it doesn’t follow the lore. I can certainly understand these complaints, I really can, but to me the benefits of allowing the changes are so much better. My only other “real” concern with this is the risk of polluting the pool, if you would. That is to say that, at least on my server, a lot of our younger player base found its home on the alliance, and with that their maturity (or lack of), has been sort of a defining joke. Although, I am really not sure how many children would really have the financial wherewithal to actively partake in these changes, so it probably is a fairly moot point.
Overall, I am excited about the change and generally think that it is a positive direction for the game. I can transfer some toons over that I have on alliance and my job recruiting for our guild will become much easier as I will have access to the entire playerbase, and not just those of my faction. (speaking of which… we currently have a couple of openings, looking for a lock, ret paladin, resto shaman and rogue ;) ).
And now a few bits of Randomness!
I finished the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse series while I was traveling. I quite enjoyed it, and picked up the third book at the airport. I am growing quite fond of the characters in the books, and at this point think that I would wholeheartedly recommend the series for anyone in the mood for a good read!
Val’ynar fragment count: 21
Last Hard Mode Hodir Attempt: 3:10 kill (So close!)
Holiday Raiding: Full of scheduling conflicts and frustrations…so “progress” is mostly halted for the week, but we are doing some “fun” achievements as an alternative. However, I am truly happy our next Holiday isn’t until September :P
Mynn update: She hit 77 over the weekend, and can now fly again (yay!).
Since I have been living and breathing working heroic hard mode Hodir, and I’m a little sick of thinking about him, I thought I would save my thoughts on him for tomorrow.
Today, however, I have a bit of fun!
One of my pastimes when not playing wow is reading. I’ll read just about anything I can get my hands on! Reading is a good way to relax from raiding, and get away from the game for a bit, while still staying mentally intrigued. So I thought that perhaps I would randomly give my thoughts and suggestions about good reads that I come across. Now, I’m no Oprah, but I will do my best to make good recommendations! And hopefully get some good recommendations in return!
I generally quite enjoy any sort of mystery novel and a good bit of science fiction/fantasy. So, after some prodding from Brade and a few friends, I decided that I would pick up the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, Dead Until Dark. Now, this is the first true “vampire” fantasy literature that I have ever read, so I am not entirely certain how the rest of the genre plays out, but I did enjoy this book.
Sookie is a waitress is a small Louisiana town who happens to be telepathic. She can read people’s minds. It’s a cumbersome task just making it through her day to day responsibilities without invading anyone’s privacy. But does provide for some very humorous commentary. This town also just happens to get it’s very first Vampire, Bill. Vampires are “out of the coffin” and trying to mainstream in public with humans. Bill is a very gentlemanly vampire, and quite genial. Throughout the story he and Sookie develop a fondness for each other. The book follows Sookie and Bill throughout a number of tribulations, including unraveling a series of “whodunit” murders that rocked Sookie’s small town. (A murder mystery in disguise! My type of read!)
I found the novel to be refreshing, funny, and sharp. I would certainly recommend it as reading to anyone else who is looking for something to read. I would give one caveat, however, there are portions of the book that made me…ah, blush a bit. It is nothing overly graphic, or crude, however I have not so much as ever picked up one romance novel in my entire life, and suffice it to say that my usual murder mysteries don’t have a lot of “romance” in them. I just don’t want it to take anyone else by surprise as it did me =)
So, if you are looking for a good read after your raid, I would very much recommend this book! I liked it enough to pick up and start reading the next book in the series.