The Neurotic Fishbowl -->
 

Friday, October 31, 2003

Retro Neurotic Fishbowl

After not adding a new skin to this site in over six months, I finally finished one that I've been thinking about since the Blogathon. It's very retro and I owe a lot of thanks to Pixel Decor. Why don't you see what I'm talking about?

.: 48 words at 08:04 PM in Skinning the Fish :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (7) :.

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Burn It - The Fall Edition Group Information

All of the group information for Burn It - The Fall Edition has been sent out, so keep an eye out for your group. Let me know if it doesn't show up so I can double check your e-mail address.

.: 40 words at 07:38 PM in Burn It :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (2) :.

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Happy Halloween!

Steven and I are having friends over tonight and while we're not dressing up or anything, I am doing some Halloween-themed BookCrossing releases. I'm letting loose ten horror novels (King, Koontz, Straub, Rice, and Harris) in my area, so if you're in northwest Houston, keep your eyes open for some free books. They'll be at Best Buy (near Willowbrook in the DVD section), at Willowbrook in a few places, the local Randall's, and more. Hope someone finds them and enjoys them.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Don't eat too much candy!

.: 89 words at 11:46 AM in Daily Ramblings :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Swagbelly: A Novel for Today's Gentleman by David Levin

Swagbelly: A Novel for Today's Gentleman by David Levin: a tale of a pornographer and the events and memories that make up his life.

Elliot Grubman is an extremely wealthy publisher of Swagbelly - a pornographic magazine who's quality is below Playboy but above the crude, typical magazine that dominate the industry. Newly divorced, Elliot's life is slowly falling apart despite the fact that he is worth over $100 million. He tries to put his life back together by dating models from his magazine, learning polo, and other measures, but what really is it that he needs and wants?

I find it hard to really describe this book. I guess it's a "Day in the Life" kind of novel, even if that life does involve lots of money and models. It would be hard for most to like a man who uses women, intimidates people, and deals in the sex industry, but Elliot is a surprisingly rich character who I really liked. I wanted things to go well for him.

While the tale of an extremely rich pornographer may sound like an off-putting idea for a novel, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would like to see more of Levin's work.

(Finished on October 29, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 210 words at 05:42 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (0) :.

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The End of the World

Dude, it's the end of the world. (But I am le tired!)

.: 13 words at 05:17 PM in Entertainment Value :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (0) :.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Bloggers and Tortillas

I just a few hours Steven and I will be at Lupe Tortilla for dinner and drinks (maybe - damn blood thinners!) with the H-Town Bloggers. This is only my third outing with the group, so I hope to meet some new people and see some old friends.

In the northwest area (I-45 near Richey Road)? Come by and see us!

.: 62 words at 05:08 PM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (6) :.

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Monday, October 27, 2003

If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say...

As you've probably noticed with my constant references to BookCrossing, I've become really involved in the whole thing. I've even started over ten Bookrings/rays (a list of people sign up for a book, one reads it, passes it to the next, and so on and so on).

I sent out my first ring way back on September 6th. I even included two of my Burn It CDs as thanks since that person was the first to sign up for any of my rings. I never heard an acknowledgment of them, much less a thanks, which I thought was kind of rude, but I let it go. I've also sent this person three books off my shelf with no trade required simply because they asked and I'm a nice person.

That person's had my bookring for just about two months now and there are almost thirty people behind them on the list. I sent an e-mail saying, "Sorry to bother you, but when do you think you can pass it on? There are lots of people behind you and I'd like to keep the ring moving. Thanks!" I get back this in reply, "Hmm... Well, when I don't have two tests to study for or a book to read or a course packet to read or a report to do or a job to find or a cat to find, catch and take to the apl.... then I will attempt to finish the extremely boring book you sent me."

How fucking rude can you be? I send you this book (and others) for you to read, state in the sign up rules to feel free to take your time with the book, but make it reasonable, and you jump on me about the book being boring and you'll get to it when you can? If the book's so fucking boring, send it to the next reader. They had actually requested more books from me, but I'll be damned if they get them or get put on another ring of mine.

I've had such amazingly positive experiences at BookCrossing and I'm pissed that this person has sullied it. Ungrateful fucker.

.: 359 words at 08:03 PM in Rants :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (11) :.

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Down the Wire...

Just a few more hours until Burn It - The Fall Edition CD Swap is over. Better hurry and sign up!

.: 21 words at 07:43 PM in Burn It :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (0) :.

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Cannibals of the fine Light by Simon Brown

Cannibals of the fine Light by Simon Brown: a short story collection from an Australian author that never quite lived up to its potential.

These stories, set in a not-to-distant future, almost all revolved around biochips planted in people's brains and their relationships with other humans, machines and animals.

For the most part, I didn't really enjoy too many of the stories. I wanted to know more about the time and place that they happened in. Kind of like with William Gibson's Neuromancer, I felt that I was missing key elements as to why people did the things that they did. I just never really felt myself drawn into the story.

Saying that, however, I did enjoy a few of them. They were "The Mind's Eye," "The Final Machine," "Brother Stripes," "Rain From the New God," and "The Truth in Advertising," a clever little co-written piece that made reading the book worth it. Not really recommended, but fans of anthologies may find enough gems in here to make mining the book worth it.

(Finished on October 27, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 184 words at 03:08 AM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (0) :.

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Last Day To Sign Up

Just a reminder, but today is the last day to sign up for Burn It - The Fall Edition CD Swap. If you want to participate, read the rules and send me your info before midnight tonight. We already have sevnety-five participants, so let's see how many more we can get!

.: 51 words at 12:29 AM in Burn It :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (0) :.

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Sunday, October 26, 2003

Reunion Photos At Last

I finally have some pictures from my reunion ready to put up! (Click photo for supersized image.)

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.: 344 words at 05:46 PM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (5) :.

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Saturday, October 25, 2003

Wrong Days

It's a nice feeling to realize it's actually Saturday instead of Sunday. Yeah! One more free day!

.: 17 words at 04:35 PM in Daily Ramblings :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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A Cup of Light by Nicole Mones

A Cup of Light by Nicole Mones: a surprisingly good novel that deals with Chinese history, art fraud, and romance with a deft hand.

Lia Frank, a deaf porcelain art export, has been called to China to check the authenticity of twenty expensive, rare pots. When she arrives there, she finds out that it's not twenty pots she's checking, but rather 800. At this point, the mystery of where the pots came from begins since a collection of this magnitude is a rarity and valued at almost $200 million.

Lia is almost a mnemonist and is able to recall every pot that she's ever looked and every catalog or book that she's read dealing with porcelain. This allows her to relive Chinese history in trying to track the pots and I found these interludes some of the most interesting in the whole book.

While in China Lia also meets an American staying in the same place and they immediately click. Since she's only in China for a short while, it leads to questions about whether she should get involved with him or not.

On a side note, while I know you should never judge a book by its cover, the cover on this novel is absolutely stunning. The colors are beyond lovely and it actually seems to glow. The subtle Chinese characters repeated throughout the background and the beautiful picture of a cup is so perfect - very hoi moon.

I enjoyed reading this book immensely. It seemed almost like poetry as opposed to prose. The flashbacks to ancient China were amazing and the rich details of the porcelian pieces made me want to immediately visit a museum to see the type of perfection that she was describing. Mones is an extremely talented writer and I look forward to reading her first novel, Lost in Translation, and any others that she writes.

(Finished on October 25, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 324 words at 02:41 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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Thursday, October 23, 2003

Burn It - The Fall Edition Extension

I decided to extend the sign-up period for Burn It - The Fall until Monday, October 27th. You've got until then to sign up. After that, you're out of luck.

.: 30 words at 02:55 PM in Burn It :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Selling Out (But Oh So Worth It)

If you look down near the credits that are on every skin, you'll now notice two text links under the heading "Sponsored Ads." A little birdie had told me about this program, so I took a shot and signed up. Let me tell you, selling out was well worth it. I put those links on my pages and I've already been sent money via PayPal - an extremely fair amount in my opinion. You don't even have to have a certain number of clicks - just list the links.

Interested? Want to be a sell out too? Either send me an e-mail (change the AT to @) or leave a comment here and I'll pass your name on to the appropriate party. Let me tell you, with all the doctor bills that have started arriving, this was much needed!

.: 139 words at 08:02 PM in Participation :: Link :: Pings (1) :: All the Voices Say... (8) :.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Cold Case Question

I TiVoed Cold Case on CBS this weekend, but the shows were running twenty minutes behind and I missed the end of the show. I've looked for an episode guide to no avail, so I was wondering if anyone could fill me in on the ending. Thanks!

.: 47 words at 10:36 PM in Media Consumption :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (3) :.

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Good News, Bad News

I came back from the doctor this afternoon and was going to post an update only to find that my site was down. Oy! Now that it's back up, here's the latest scoop.

The good news is that it is definitely not a blood clot and I probably don't have kidney stones. The bad news is that it is most likely a UTI (urinary tract infection) which hurts like a bitch. They're going to send off for some labwork to verify, but they've started me on more antibiotics.

I told the doctor that I was having a lot of back pain and since I can't take asprin, ibuprofen, Aleve, Midol, or Tylenol, what am I supposed to do for pain? That nice man wrote me a Vicodan perscription, so I took one when I got home and I'll tell you what, I definitely feel a lot better.

I really need to go to work tomorrow, so here's hoping that I don't feel in too much pain or too drugged up to go!

.: 172 words at 07:28 PM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (1) :: All the Voices Say... (5) :.

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Feeling Shitty

I've been feeling shitty for the last few days, so I'm going into the doctor's office this morning to have him check me out. My back's been killing me and I'm half convinced it's another clot. Everyone send good thoughts my way so that it turns out I'm being paranoid and there's nothing wrong with me.

.: 56 words at 09:47 AM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (4) :.

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Monday, October 20, 2003

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham: this is science fiction at its best, relevant and enjoyable still even though it was published almost fifty years ago.

David Strorm lives in a community where genetic mutations are an every day part of life. Whenever these mutations occur (ranging from small differences like an extra toe or finger to the extreme like a two-headed calf), they are rooted out. In the case of livestock and crops they are destroyed and for those humans unlucky enough to deviate from the Divine Image of God, they are cast out of the community and sent to live in The Fringes.

David has the ability to communicate via telepathy, something he's been able to hide for most of his life. However, as he gets older and the risks are more serious, it becomes inevitable that his secret will be found out.

I completely devoured this book, enjoying every minute of it. Despite that it was written almost fifty years ago, the language and people of the book were as fresh as if their stories had just been conceived.

I wish that Wyndham would have written a sequel to this book so that I could see how everyone's lives played out and if information about The Tribulation was ever discovered (my money's on nuclear war).

Great book and at just 200 pages, a perfect, quick read. Recommended for all, especially sci-fi fans.

(Finished on October 18, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 244 words at 06:12 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (10) :.

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Saturday, October 18, 2003

Old Friends

Tonight is my ten year high school reunion. I've got to go get ready in a minute (running late - big surprise), but I thought I'd make a quick post. It ought to be interesting to see who shows up. I went to school with the same group of people from elementary on up and it would be good to see a lot of them again. Here's hoping that it's a fun time!

.: 73 words at 06:00 PM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (8) :.

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Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland

Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland: an incredibly powerful and hypnotic novel that pulled me in immediately.

In the beginning of the novel, Richard and Karen have sex for the first time on top of a snowy mountain. A few hours later, after giving Richard a note that she warns him not to read since she wants it back unopened, Karen inexplicably lapses into a coma. Her coma changes everything in the life of her friends and family and sets into motion unexpected outcomes. I won't mention anything more (and I suggest not reading the reviews on Amazon since they contain a fair amount of spoilers. Best to just read this one and let you take you where it goes.

From the start, I could not put this book down. I found Coupland's voice to be engaging and his characters so real. I could not wait to see what was going to happen next.

Almost the entire novel was a surprise - I could not predict what was going to happen next and where it would end up. Saying that, I felt that the ending was weak. It seemed to just kind of end. The last thirty pages or so were very disappointing in light of how much I enjoyed the book, but I would still highly recommend this one to others.

(Finished on October 18, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 233 words at 05:11 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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Friday, October 17, 2003

Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding

Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding: a very enjoyable book from the offer of Bridget Jones's Diary despite the fact that it takes place in famine-stricken Africa.

Rosie Richardson works in publishing and is quite shocked to find herself girlfriend to one of television's stars. However, the relationship is terribly flawed and emotionally abusive, helping lead to her decision to move to Nambula, Africa to help run a refugee camp. Four years later, a famine of epic proportions is threatening to destroy all that she has helped build, so she returns to London to enlist the help of the celebrities she used to know in raising funds and food for the camp.

The first part of the book is done in flashbacks of Rosie's life before Africa while continuing to tell what is currently happening with her. I enjoyed both timelines and was almost disappointed when the book caught up with "real time" and became linear.

I found Rosie to be a wonderful character - strong without realizing it and willing to help others despite the risk to herself. While I suppose you could predict where the entire book was going, I nevertheless liked it quite a lot. Fans of Fielding and other chick lit authors should be quite pleased with this one.

(Finished on October 16, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 222 words at 01:13 AM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Hospital Expenses

Deleted because I don't want to have to deal with people's shit.

.: 12 words at 11:58 AM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (4) :.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: while I have always heard about this book, I had never actually read it. So, when a bookring was started for it at BookCrossing, I jumped at the chance to read this classic children's novel that chronicles the adventures of Rat, Mole, Frog, and Badger as they live their lives by the river near Wild Wood.

At the start of the book, Mr. Mole is doing a bit of spring cleaning when he suddenly decides that he must be out in the lovely day. He begins to wander when he finds himself near the river. Never having seen such a thing as a river, he becomes immediately entranced and soon makes a friend of Mr. Rat, a water rat living right on the bank. Mr. Mole is soon introduced to Mr. Toad and, eventually, to Mr. Badger, the other key characters in this delightful book.

I very much enjoyed reading The Wind in the Willows and only wish I would have come upon it when I was younger. For some reason, the concept of the animals having things like motor-cars bugged me since I could not see how a toad could fit behind the wheel of a car to drive. I could readily ignore that, however, since the book itself was so charming. I particularly loved the relationships between all of the friends and how much they cared for one another.

Recommended for children of all ages, especially the younger ones who would probably most enjoy the concept of a toad driving a car.

(Finished on October 14, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 273 words at 06:33 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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Monday, October 13, 2003

All Consuming?

I was just curious how many people use All Consuming to track what they've read or are reading.

I know of about a dozen people (who I added to my friends list), but that's about all. Leave me a comment if you do so I can add you to my friends list and see what you're reading.

.: 57 words at 08:35 PM in Geeky Things :: Link :: Pings (1) :: All the Voices Say... (7) :.

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The Law of Love by Laura Esquivel

The Law of Love by Laura Esquivel: an absolute delight for several of the senses - seeing and hearing.

This novel starts out in Mexico as the conquistadors are obliterating the Aztecs. After a brief interlude with a conquistador and an Aztec princess, we are in Mexico City still, but far in the future. We immediately meet Azucena, an astroanalyst, who with the help of a gaurdian angel help people put the karma of their past lives into balance. She is going to meet her twin soul and true love, Rodrigo. Soon after meeting him, however, she loses him and begins a journey through many lifetimes to help all the people of the world learn the Law of Love.

At first, going from ancient Mexico to futuristic Mexico threw me off. I also felt a bit lost since the book starts talking about Azucena being an astroanalyst, but I wasn't sure what that was. I quickly picked up on everything and enjoyed the story quite a bit. The occasional chapters from both a gaurdian angel and a demon always interrupted me from the story - they would always jolt me to reality.

There were several interesting concepts in this book that I found both entertaining and enjoyable. Whenever Azucena wanted to regress to a past life, she would listen to her CD player. A CD with the same tracks that she listened to was included so that the reader could hear what she was hearing. The past lives were also done in wonderful color illustrations by Spanish artist Miguelano Prado showing exactly what she was experiencing.

While the New Age talk may throw some people off, I found the book very entertaining and enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone looking for something a little bit different to read.

(Finished on October 12, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 309 words at 02:07 AM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen: better than average "serial killer stalks victim" novel that I enjoyed quite a bit.

A series of serial killings in Boston have the police baffled. Women are bound with duct tape, have their stomaches cut open and their uterus removed, and then killed by having their throats slit.

The police are at a standstill until it's discovered that similiar killings happened in Savannah, though he was shot and killed by his last victim, Dr. Catherine Cordell. Questioning Cordell it begins to become obvious that the murders have something to do with her, but why and what?

I enjoyed this book for several reasons - the biggest being the story itself and the characters. I truly liked Cordell, Moore, and Rizzoli and wanted to see what was going to happen to each of them. I also enjoyed the plot and figuring out who the killer was and how he was choosing his victims.

Highly recommended for fans of the thriller/mystery genres and for anyone else that wants to get their blood pumping. Can't wait to read the rest of Gerritsen's work.

(Finished on October 8, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 195 words at 01:33 AM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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Sunday, October 12, 2003

Entry at Top?

Anyone know how to make an entry stay on top in MT? I could have sworn I saw this somewhere, but I'm coming up with a blank. Help?

Update: I was able to do it by changing my main index template and it looks like there's no easy way to do it in MT. It is on the requested features to be added, though, so maybe someday it'll be easy to do.

.: 72 words at 11:58 PM in I'm Looking For.... :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (3) :.

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Saturday, October 11, 2003

Burn It - The Fall Edition

Thanks to my hospital stay, I'm a little late getting this up, but it's time for another Burn It CD swap! The rules are a bit different from last time and there's a new theme, so be sure to read carefully before signing up!


The Theme:
I was thinking of making this an anything goes theme (in other words, just pick whatever songs you want - no overall theme required) and Jenna came up with the perfect title: Free For All Fall. So this editions theme is no theme - just burn whatever you want.


Here's how it works:
After the signup period, people will be put into groups of 4. You will then receive an e-mail from me telling you the names and addresses of the people in your group. You burn 5 identical CDs. Keep one for yourself and send the other three to the other people in your group and one to me. New Rule: Since so many people have been complaining that they haven't gotten CDs from people in their group, I am now requiring that you send one to me so I can keep track of who sent them out and who didn't. I hate to do this, but it seems the best way to keep track. You should then receive three new CDs from the other three people in your group.


The rules:
- You should have a blog. I would like this to be a fun way to connect people in the blogosphere. If you don't, go over to Diaryland or Blogspot and start one for free.
- If you're not going to follow through and make your CDs, please don't bother signing up. It would be a shame if one or two people ruined this for their group. If you signed up last swap and didn't send your CDs out, don't sign up this time.
- You must live in the US or Canada. If there's a intrest in this in other areas, I may do a swap at some point down the road that includes other countries, but since this is the first swap, I'm going to limit it to the areas where I know most of you guys live.
- If you live in the US, you should be willing to ship to Canada. If you live in Canada, you should be willing to ship to the US. The postage is a teeny bit more, but nothing that's going to break the bank.
- Remember that most people can't play mp3s in their car, so make sure they're something that will play in a standard car stereo. I tend to use cda or wav files. I have put together a list of Burn It resources for those not familiar with making CDs.
- Please be sure to put your name, URL, or e-mail on your CD somewhere. I got several last time that I liked, but have no idea who sent them.


Guidlines on creating your CDs:
- Include a track listing. If someone like an artist, they might want to buy more music by them. Let us know who it is.
- Fill up the CD as much as you can. There's 80 minutes on a blank CD. Don't half-ass it and make a 30 minute CD.
- You should definitely use a jewel case when sending your CDs to protect it during mailing. You can get them cheap anywhere.
- I know a lot of people are graphically inclined, so feel free to make your CD a work of art.
- Don't be afraid to put on "cheesy" music. If you like it, others probably will too.
- Don't be afraid to put on music that no one has ever heard before either. Billboard or MTV may never have known this music, but you did, so that's what counts.


If you've gotten this far and you still want to sign up, send an e-mail (change the AT to an @ in my e-mail address) to me and make sure you reference the swap in the subject line. You must include the following information:

- Your name
- Mailing address
- Your blog URL

Sign-ups will continue through Monday, October 27th. By Thursday, October 30th, I will send e-mails to everyone letting you know who is in your group. You should have all of your CDs burned and in the mail NO LATER THAN Monday, November 17th. This gives you at least a full three weeks to create and ship CDs to your three group partners and me.

Please spread the word! More people equals more music! Just be sure to link to this URL, because eventually this entry will cycle off the main page.

If you have any other questions, you can e-mail me or leave a comment.

Special thanks goes out to Alison for both the inspiration and allowing me to use most of her rules and guidelines.

Enter your e-mail address to be notified of the next Burn It CD swap:

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.: 838 words at 06:44 PM in Burn It :: Link :: Pings (30) :: All the Voices Say... (10) :.

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Friday, October 10, 2003

No Mo' Moblogs?

I went to go look at my Neurotic Fishbowl Moblog only to get a page not found error. I went to Text America's main page to see if there was any information only to find the entire site gone.

Did something happen to them while I was sick? Did they go under? Man, if so, that sucks! I had some great little pictures on there I would have liked to have kept!

.: 72 words at 04:22 AM in Geeky Things :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (4) :.

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Thursday, October 9, 2003

Skin Question

I'm working on a new skin and I have a question for all you knowledgeable people out there: Is there anyway to have a skin use two different ‹p› tags - one for the sidebars and one for the blog entries? I'm sure there is, but I'm at a loss at how to do it.

.: 55 words at 11:23 PM in I'm Looking For.... :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (4) :.

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The Santaroga Barrier by Frank Herbert

The Santaroga Barrier by Frank Herbert: a science fiction novel by one of the best in the field that seemed to hold more promise than was ever delivered.

In Santaroga, a valley town in California, everything appears to be normal - until you look closely, that is. No one ever moves away for long, there's no business in the town that aren't local, and outsiders aren't welcome.

Gilbert Dasein is hired by a group of corporate marketers to visit Santaroga and discover its secrets. Since Gil once dated and is still in love with a local girl named Jenny, it's hoped that he'll have more luck than the previous researchers, all of whom died in a series of accidents.

This book had a very strong Twilight Zone feel to it, but I ultimately felt that it never really delivered on its promise of being a scary, intriguing sci-fi novel. It's not that it was bad, but it just wasn't as good as I had hoped. I felt that it lacked a strong resolution of what the mysterious Jaspers was and how it came to be in the town.

Also, the book was first written in 1968 and I felt that it seemed a little dated to me. Nothing huge, but some of the issues of race and the like didn't quite feel right. If you're a sci-fi fan, this one may still be up your alley, but I don't strongly recommended.

(Finished on October 6, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 251 words at 10:24 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (1) :.

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Wake Up by Tim Pears

Wake Up by Tim Pears: surreal novel that never could hold my interest as much as I would have hoped it would.

The novel starts out with John, co-owner of a very successful potato company in England, driving out to see his brother (and business partner) to tell him about two fatalities that occured in an experiment to give people vaccines administered by genetically altered potatoes. John is frightened to what these deaths are going to mean to his company and he can't quite get himself to take the exit he's supposed to. Almost all of this short novel takes place on that Monday in John's car as he thinks to himself about his life and what is going to happen now.

John's thoughts wander all over the place and he frequently changes them ("Did I say (I met my wife this way, etc.) earlier? Oh no, that's not what happened at all; it was like this..."), which kept annoying me.

Listening to John prattle on about his life never quite could get me as interested in him as I wanted to be, so the book's events never really mattered much to me. I will admit, however, that I wasn't expecting the surprise revealed at the end of the book.

Would I recommend this book to others? Probably not. I didn't really like it and ultimately, that's what I read for - enjoyment. No enjoyment out of the book means it wasn't worth my time. Good thing it was short.

(Finished on October 1, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 260 words at 08:50 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (0) :.

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Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray

Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray: a wonderful feel-good type of book that probably most people could easily relate to.

Ruth, a housewife in Minneapolis, loves to bake cakes. Baking a cake is her form of both relaxation and therapy, something that she's going to need a lot of in her near future.

Ruth lives with her husband Sam, her difficult teenage daughter Camille, and her mother Hollis who moved in after her house was robbed. To complicate things even further, Sam loses his job and Ruth's father Guy, whom she hardly even sees and her mother hates, has a serious accident and has to move in. Needless to say, tension in the household increases and Ruth begins baking even more cakes.

In reality, this book was pretty easy to predict what was going to happen next, but I loved reading every word of it. Ray's voice is soothing and funny and very easy to get sucked into. I enjoyed her characters, especially Ruth, Hollis, and Guy, and the interaction among the family was a joy to experience.

Like a piece of cake, Eat Cake was both light and enjoyable - perfect summer reading or to just take a break from every day life.

(Finished on September 24, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 213 words at 05:18 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (2) :.

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An Ocean in Iowa by Peter Hedges

An Ocean in Iowa by Peter Hedges: a quirky novel by the author of What's Eating Gilbert Grape that turned out to be a quick, but wonderful, reading experience.

At the beginning of An Ocean in Iowa Scotty Ocean announces to his mother, Joan, that "Seven is going to be my year." Turning seven does bring about many changes for Scotty, including his alcoholic mother's decision to leave her family and try to live on her own.

The novel is set in the late sixties when the war in Vietnam raged and when man had yet to walk on the moon. Scotty experiences most of these things on the periphery since his main focus in life is his mother and how to get her to come back home.

While I enjoyed the book very much, after finishing it, I thought about how really it was quite a melancholy novel - most of the book is just life and picking up the pieces after major changes. However, Scotty's character was so engaging (it was interesting to see a book take place through the eyes of a young child) and I wanted things to work out for him that I was compelled to read it in just a day or so.

All in all, not a very cheery book, but one that I would still suggest reading.

(Finished on September 23, 2003 for Zuly’s Reading Room.)

.: 235 words at 04:23 PM in Zuly's Reading Room :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (0) :.

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Back to the Land of the Living

Slowly but surely, I've managed to become a bit more human this week. I've made it out of the house (with make-up and decent clothes on - a first in weeks!) to run a few errands, get bloodwork done, and I even made it into work for an hour or two today to see where all the projects stand. I'm going to work from home the next couple of days and start back partial days next week. Everyone at work was so understanding of my situation and I could tell that they were genuinely glad to see me doing well. Makes a girl feel good, you know?

Really, except for feeling really tired when I'm out even just for a few hours and getting short of breath if I have to walk too far, I feel pretty good. Like I told Steven today, today was a good day because I didn't die from a blood clot or suffer permanent damage. When I really think of what might have happened, it gives me pause and makes me realize how lucky I was.

I still haven't posted about my hospital stay, but I'm not sure there's much to say about it. I hated being there, disliked my doctor (guy was a major jackass with no bedside manner at all), and my poor arms look like I have a serious drug habit from all the IVs and blood that was taken while I was in there. The bruises are now a lovely yellow color and I wonder if people think junkie when they glance at my arms.

Also, while I was at work, I picked up a few packages that had arrived for me. Kim and Scott sent me Michelle Branch's The Spirit Room and Erin sent me Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married by Marian Keyes. Nothing like getting gifts to help your recovery, right?

Speaking of gifts, as soon as Christine gets me a list of all the people that participated in the Pamper Kymberlie in the Hospital Project (that's how I refer to it), I'll be sending thank yous your way as well. I cannot stress enough how wonderful it felt knowing so many people were pulling for me, thinking about me, and wishing me well. You never know how many people love you until something like this happens.

Speaking of people that love you, I just want to thank my mom for staying with me every day and every night while I was in the hospital. She only left for a few hours at a time to shower and get us food when the meals inside were way too nasty to eat. She slept every night in my room and was always there if I work up scared or if the 3:30 blood letting became too much to bear. I wish everyone had a mother like her in there life. I love you, Mom. Thank you so much for being there, even if I did get snippy and bitchy by the end of my stay.

Anyway, hopefully once I get a bit more rested and caught up on all the shit that's piled up while I was gone, blogging will be a bit more frequent here. At least now you know I haven't relapsed.

.: 545 words at 01:50 AM in Daily Ramblings :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (8) :.

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Saturday, October 4, 2003

My Newest Exercise

I'm supposed to walk around a bunch to make sure no more blood clots form, but I think that instead I will just Stealth Disco everywhere I go. That's exercise, right?

(Link courtesty of Jish, who I will meet again some day, I swear)

.: 45 words at 07:52 PM in Entertainment Value :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (8) :.

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Friday, October 3, 2003

Back Home!

Finally! I am now home from the hosiptal! It is so great to be here! I've missed everything about this place, especially Bella, but now that I am home, it's time to go take a real shower and get cleaned up. I'll probably post a little more tomorrow if not tonight.

I owe thanks to a lot of people, but since there's over 1,000 messages in my inbox (probably quite a bit of spam), it'll be slow going to catch up. Thank you everyone for your well wishes, your thoughts, and your prayers.

I am so happy to be home!

.: 100 words at 06:03 PM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (19) :.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2003

The Kymberlie Update

I spoke with Kymberlie this morning - they took her off the Heperin and she will be taking Cumadin by mouth now for thinning her blood to treat the clot. She is still in the hospital because they told her yesterday that she had fluid around her lungs, so they told her she could be in through Friday or the weekend. This morning the nurse said she seems better then last night, so now Kymberlie is waiting for the doctor to arrive to give her the update. She is anxious to go home, so I hope they release her by Friday!

I'll continue to post updates on her status here as soon as I know more details.

- posted by Christine

.: 121 words at 10:35 AM in Fish Tales :: Link :: Pings (0) :: All the Voices Say... (6) :.

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Copyright © 2002 Kymberlie McGuire, All Rights Reserved.

The Neurotic Fishbowl

On August 6, 2005 I will be blogging every half hour for twenty-four hours straight as a participant in Blogathon to raise money for Heifer International. Please go here to sponsor me. For every $5.00 you pledge, your name will go into a drawing for a complete set of my Burn It mix CDs, four CDs in total.

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