Random (but not really)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend Travels: Berkeley Springs

Our initial goal was the Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival, which we did go to, but… It wasn’t bad, not at all, but I don’t think it was worth the $7 a person entrance fee.

So, we took the long route home, and stopped by Berkeley Springs on the way home.







Written by Michelle at 10:24 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,Travel,West Virginia  

Friday, September 27, 2013

What Interested Me this Week

I discovered Bird and Moon comics, and quite enjoyed it.

For example:

king cobra


I found the statement M.I.A. made regarding being sued by the NFL very interesting.

First, because the NFL is being insanely stupid this. But secondly–and more importantly–because of this comment:

The frame you’re looking for has my middle finger in the foreground, and the larger picture where it zooms out is a row of 10-15 cheerleaders, young black females, that Madonna got from a local high school in Indianapolis, and they were all under 16. If you look at them, they’re all wearing cheerleader outfits, hips thrusted in the air, legs wide open, in this very sexually provocative position.

So, now, they’re scapegoating me into figuring out the goalposts on what is offensive in America. Like, is my finger offensive, or is the underage black girl with her legs wide open more offensive to the family audience? That’s basically what it comes down to.

You can click on the link to see the picture if you choose. But she’s right–why is it okay to have teenagers hyper-sexualized, but flipping someone the middle finger is horrifying?

And really, had no one in the NFL ever SEEN an M.I.A. video? (The second video is really quite disturbing, but that was her point.)


I also discovered Evil Diva comics.


This comic answers the question: What if you don’t want to be evil but were born that way? (After reading through the archives, I do believe her father is my favorite character.)


Mental illnesses as monsters


I really liked these depictions.


Apparently, Serbian research (and Romanian publishing) have a few problems they need to work out.

Authors spoof pub with Ron Jeremy and Michael Jackson references

They also throw in references to the “Journal of Modern Illogical Studies,” which to the best of our knowledge does not and never has existed (although perhaps it should), and to a researcher named, dubiously, “A.S. Hole.” And, we hasten to add, the noted Kazakh polymath B. Sagdiyev, otherwise known as Borat.



And for no reason except that I love it, and it’s good to end on a positive note:

Joshua Nelson and the Klezmatics (I don’t even try to embed YouTube videos anymore. SOrry.)

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Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Belated Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Forgot to post this Tuesday…

Saturday since it poured rain all day, we stayed home and I baked all day: pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, Italian bread, and something new: Pumpkin Sweet Rolls from the King Arthur Flour site.

I made cream cheese frosting instead of glaze, which was, of course, delicious.

Next time, I think I’ll make an additional change: The filling was only sugar and cinnamon (I actually used brown sugar instead of white sugar), and I found the rolls a tad drier than the sweet rolls I normally bake.

I think using my typical filling, which is brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter, might be nice.

Next time, butter into the filling:


Before rising:


After rising:


After baking:


Before eating:


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Categories: Food  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Word Association: Banned Books Week Edition

And today’s word is: reading

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Categories: Fun & Games  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Summer 2013 Reading Program Is OVER!

Summer is over, and so is the Summer 2013 Reading Program.

I fully admit that I fell down on the job for the past two months–I forgot to enter any books. But since I wasn’t eligible to win my own contest, it hardly mattered, since the total without my added books was 187.

That means I’m going to donate $100 to the shack. I’ll let y’all know when I do so.

The WINNER was Sherri Lewis who read 76 book. That’s more than I read this summer, and I read more than anyone else I know. Congratulations Sherry! (If you’re reading this, let me know if you prefer something that arrives in the mail or something that arrives via email.)

The runner ups was Janiece who read 35 books.

Prizes will go out soon!

And now, a bit about what we read, because I LOVE information!

The most commonly read genre was mystery, with general fiction as a runner up. I was honestly surprised that SF came in 4th, because although I don’t read it, I know many of you do.

Mystery: 44
General Fiction: 39
Fantasy: 36
Science Fiction: 15
Historical Romance: 12
General Non-Fiction: 11
Romance: 6
Biography: 5
History: 3
Young Adult / Kids: 2
Religion / Philosophy: 1
Graphic Novel: 1
Nonfiction: 1

The mostly commonly read authors were:
Philippa Gregory: 8
Terry Pratchett: 5
Neil Gaiman: 5
Diana Gabaldon: 5
Candice Hern: 4

Weirdly, I’ve read all those but Philippa Gregory, even though I HAVE at least two of her books. Those Diana Gabaldon? All me, as were the Candice Herns. But looking at my ratings, I wonder why I kept reading Candice Hern, since I didn’t apparently like her books very much. All the other authors were primarily 4 and 5 star authors.

Out of all the books in the world, three were read by one or more of you.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: 3
The Last Word: 2
The Invisible Man: 2

The Ocean at the End of the Lane doesn’t surprise me, since it was a Neil Gaiman new release. In fact, I’m kinda surprised more people hadn’t read it. (Yeah, I haven’t read it yet. It’s on The List.)

And it looks like people most read books they enjoyed, which is a good thing!

5 Stars: 51
4 Stars: 89
3 Stars: 30
2 Stars: 9
1 Star: 1

Only a single one star rating is pretty good I think. I’m leaving the results up, so you’re free to peruse the list at your leisure.

But if you’re looking for some recommendations, here are the five star books that had comments (there were lots more 5 star books, they just didn’t have comments.)

Walking Your Octopus: A Guidebook to the Domesticated Cephalopod by Brian Kesinger; [genre: Graphic Novel] “I loved this.”

The View From Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman [genre: General Fiction] “I love a book that leaves you with a smile”

The Privilege of the Sword and The Privilege of the Sword (audio) by Ellen Kushner (Swords of Riverside) genre: Fantasy “I love this book” and “Just wonderful”

Justice for Sara by Erica Spindler [genre: Mystery] “If you enjoy thrillers then this is definitely a must read!”

This I Believe (II): The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman, eds. [genre: General Non-Fiction] “Restores your faith in humanity”

Wicked Prey by John Sanford (Prey series) [genre: Mystery] “Minnesota author writing about Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension detective Lucas Sanford. These books are fun, fast reads.”

Grimoire of the Lamb by Kevin Hearne (The Iron Druid Chronicles) [genre: Fantasy] “I love The Iron Druid series. Truth be told, it’s the characters I love most. This is a novella, or possibly even a short story, but a fun read.”

Coraline by Neil Gaiman [genre: Young Adult genre: Kids] “A beautifully written, beautifully paced, beautifully balanced book.”

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman [genre: Science Fiction] “A crystalline novella of moments, memory and friendship.”

The World of the End by Ofir Touche Gafla [genre: Science Fiction] “A heart-breaking, bitterly funny, many-layered look at life, death, love and the afterlife.”

Courting Greta by Ramsey Hootman [genre: General Fiction] “I loved this book so very much.”

Written by Michelle at 7:00 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading,Fun & Games  

Banned Book Week: Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books of 2000-2009

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

Read a Banned Book!

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Categories: Books & Reading  

Monday, September 23, 2013




Written by Michelle at 10:08 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Non-Sequiturs  

Banned Books Week: Frequently Banned & Challenged Classics

Frequently Banned and Challenged

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
66. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

It’s Banned Books Week! Read a Banned Book!

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Categories: Books & Reading  

Banned Books Week: Most Challenged Books of 2012

The most challenged books of 2012:

Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
Beloved, by Toni Morrison

It’s banned books week. Read a banned book!

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Categories: Books & Reading  

Friday, September 20, 2013

What Has Interseted Me This Week

Since I seem to have nothing to post at the end of the week anymore (Should I bring back Friday Cat Blogging, perhaps?) here are some of the things around the Internet that interested me this week.

A couple weeks ago, I put WWII Today in my RSS feed. It posts events from WWII 70 years after their happenings. I fully admit that I scan many of the posts, but some of them are quite fascinating. Take this post from the 14th: Auschwitz: selected to work by Mengele. It IS a depressing read, but also a fascinating one.

I looked up and saw the paradoxical Auschwitz sign, “Work makes you free.” By leaving Auschwitz, I felt that we had a new lease on life. A large group of people were being led into the camp. They were gypsies, and I had to think of the contradiction, that they, people who loved so much their free spirit, were also chained in Auschwitz.

And the photos are amazing, especially placed in context.

This was my grandparent’s generation, and as far in the past as it seems, my father was a child during this part of the war.


As you can tell, I’ve been baking more, now that the temperatures have dropped, and think I really need to make this recipe for pumpkin sweet rolls.

As there are conflicting reports as to whether the weather this summer has damaged many pumpkin crops, I’ll be making sure to pick up my pumpkins early this year.


I supported Stacey, in her walk in memory of Mo, my friend Janiece’s daughter, who committed suicide this summer.

I’ve talked recently about depression, and know it’s a terribly difficult subject for some people to discuss–or even admit–but if you’re feeling depressed, TALK TO SOMEONE.


I’ve started listening to the WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE podcast, which is very demented and not for everyone.

But I like it.


And I’ve spent a lot of time this week being annoyed at Microsoft. This isn’t particularly anything unusual, considering my job, but I have found parts of Office 365 to be expecially egregious.

Like this:

searching in people

“Searching in People” and “To search in People.” Seriously, how did someone not stop and think, “this is really screwed up”?


And if anyone cares, I’m on Pinterest. I tend to pin… well, yeah. I pin stuff I find interesting. I think Geek Stuff and Vintage get the most pins.

So that’s this week’s wrap-up. Anything interesting in your neck of the woods?

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games,Non-Sequiturs  
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