29 March 2011

Three Weeks!

Wow, I have not blogged in a long time.  Almost like I've been busy or crazily exhausted in the last few weeks...

First, I've finished a couple more books since my last post.  As always, my reviews are on Goodreads; this month I read The Wise Man's Fear (5 stars) and The Forgotten Garden (3.5 stars).  Wise Man's Fear was the second really excellent book I've read this year and Forgotten Garden is my latest book club read, which I think will yield some very interesting discussion!

Second, I haven't hyperlink spammed you recently:

  • Elementary Math vs. The Real World - You'll be unsurprised to see how disconnected they are.
  • Good Social Science - Were you aware there's a growing epidemic of whooping cough (pertussis) in this country?  If not, you should be, especially if you have young children.  This short article makes a great point about people who cannot vaccinate because of health complications.  If you can (and most people can), please vaccinate.
  • Bad Science (i.e. NOT science) - What are all those researchers doing when we can just use how people feel about radiation to make judgments?  ~sigh~
  • Sad Science - Well, not so much sad as disappointing.  Evolutionary theory is better proven than Newtonian theory.  No, really.  I'd love to see a similar survey from past years for comparison.
  • Science & Society - This is a longer interview with the author of Panic Virus, a book about the autism/vaccine scare and what caused and propagated it (I have not read the book).  Fascinating mostly because the author fully acknowledges something that most scientists overlook: anti-vaccine (and anti-science) movements are popular because they give people answers, even if they're wrong answers.  Regardless, it's an interesting look at how misinformation gains credibility and the role that major media plays with its lack of fact checking.
Okay, that's a lot of science, but it's all relevant and readable and interesting, I promise.

And lastly, I have planned another financial post in honor of what would have been our debt payoff next month.  Coming soon!

10 March 2011

Unexpected Book Review

Today I finished a book that I wasn't sure I wanted to read, although I devoured it in less than 24 hours.  It's the (probably) last book in one of my all time favorite series and it was just published a week ago.  This is a series that I enjoy so much that I've only ever recommended it once.  If you don't like this series, then you don't like me, and I wouldn't want to find that out after months or years of friendship with someone!  It's the only book series I've ever kept to myself that way and I always eagerly await new installments.

Regardless, it was hard to open this book, knowing that it was the end of characters I admired and enjoyed.  Knowing that there were a lot of negative reviews already circulating.  Knowing that a bad book, especially a poor ending, would forever color the good ones.  Nonetheless, I started it yesterday.  And finished it this afternoon.  And you know what?

It was amazing.  I mean, it was absolutely what I would expect from this author, who I already thought was highly underrated in the fantasy community.  The book was actually a collection of four short stories that got better as they went.  The last story in the book was the reason for all the early negative reviews.  You see, the author killed off a main character, but I could not have asked for a better story or a more realistic treatment of the characters (who are the best part, in my opinion).

So in short, I'm glad I took a chance and read it, because otherwise I would have missed some great storytelling from a favorite author.  My full review is here on Goodreads and it's the only 5-star review I've given this year.

Ever taken a chance on a book and been rewarded?  Do you have a book or series that speaks to you and only you?

Crafty Wishes

I'm feeling the urge to be crafty.  I had to put off joining a quilting class that I really wanted to attend for extraneous reasons and I feel the need to make up for that!  I'm actually working on two cross-stitch pieces for two different friends, plus one for myself, but I really want to sew today.  Cross-stitch is great for relaxing or having something to do on long car trips, but today I want to make something.

However, I don't really have any projects going at the moment, other than the monstrous pile of repair work that I should do.  I love this platypus that my friend Amy made in just one day!

So how about it crafty friends?  Any cute, quick projects to suggest?

Or any websites or stores where you get great bargains on quilting supplies?