Sunday, December 26, 2010

This isn't technically a book blog, and yet...

... be prepared for Life After Work to feature a lot more book reviews next year. After all, you *do* know books/reading are an important part of my life, in addition to the food and random navel-gazing that also gets featured here, right? LoL!

You may remember that I recently signed up for the 2011 Stephen King Challenge; while I had the time, I dropped by to visit the other participants, sometimes leaving a comment, often just lurking :)

During one of those visits, I stumbled across another reading challenge that I figured I might as well sign up for: Midnight Book Girl's 2011 Read Me, Baby, 1 More Time Challenge!

If you were paying attention, you'd know that the main reason I signed up for the Stephen King Challenge was because I was going to be rereading the Dark tower series anyway. Key word being REreading. Which is the focus of Midnight Book Girl's challenge. And having the same book cater to other challenges is fine, so wheee! :)

In 2011, I anticipate reading at least all 7 Dark Tower books, and Three talisman-related books: The Talisman, Black House, and The Eyes of the Dragon. That totals 10: already the Back to The Future level of the challenge! Whee! Count me in!

Sadly, these may be the only books I do read next year, or even for a long long time: come June 2011, it's going to be a busy time for me, what with hopefully getting fully licensed as a Massage Therapist *and* having a major life event anticipated to occur right about then too.

Fun times, fun times.

Stick around and cheer me on, k? :)

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Did you know?
    According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.

    Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring.

    Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

    ...shoulda known... ONLY women would be able to drag a fat-ass man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.

And on that note: for those who celebrate, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 Book Round-up & The Stephen King Challenge 2011

I will be participating in The Stephen King Challenge 2011!! More about that at the end of this post. First, here's a round-up of books read in 2010:

Unfortunately, this year has NOT been much of a reading year for me. According to my entries on GoodReads, I have only read 28 books this year. Only. Last year I logged 35 (also a bad year); contrast that to 2006 where I consumed 80. I have a good reason though... starting that Massage Therapy certification program really sucked A LOT of my time and energy away from books (and no, I'm not going to log my text books here, although I guess that would add at least two more: Trail Guide to the Body Book and A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology)(but it doesn't explain the dry spell in the first half of the year either, shhhh!)

So here's my tally for 2010:

    Many of this year's were re-reads:
  1. American Gods - Neil Gaiman
  2. Grave Peril - Jim Butcher (I was going to reread the entire Harry Dresden series, but kinda got bored here :p oops!)
  3. The First Betrayal - Patricia Bray
  4. The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss (a "reread" b/c I listened to the audiobook version this time around, and had Kosh listen in too, during some long-distance driving.)
  5. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

  6. I had some serious, non-fiction books too:
  7. NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children - Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
  8. On Writing - Stephen King
  9. Who Moved My Illusion?: Discover The Secrets Of The Mover, The Moved, And The Moving - David Cain
  10. Energy Medicine for Women: Aligning Your Body's Energies to Boost Your Health and Vitality - Donna Eden
  11. Energy Medicine: Balancing Your Body's Energies for Optimal Health, Joy, and Vitality - Donna Eden

  12. And my usual fantasy fare mixed with some random regular fiction, Buffy graphic novels, and a horrendous foray into the realm of paranormal romance fantasy thingy (gag!):
  13. The Long Way Home (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 Vol. 1)
  14. No Future For You (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 Vol. 2)
  15. Wolves at the Gate (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 vol. 3)
  16. The Testament of Gideon Mack - James Robertson
  17. People of the Book - Geraldine Brooks
  18. The Tower of Solitude - Valerio Massimo Manfredi
  19. Nothing To Lose (Jack Reacher Series, #12) - Lee Child
  20. The Book of Fathers - Miklós Vámos
  21. Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunter, #1) - Sherrilyn Kenyon
  22. The Colorado Kid - Stephen King
  23. U R - Stephen King
  24. Burn Me Deadly - Alex Bledsoe
  25. Horizon (The Sharing Knife, #4) - Lois MacMaster Bujold
  26. The Sword-Edged Blonde - Alex Bledsoe
  27. The Girls with Games of Blood - Alex Bledsoe
  28. Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson
  29. Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury (audiobook)
  30. Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen

Yes, I went through quite a few of Alex Bledsoe's works this year :)

As usual, you can find my ratings and reviews over at GoodReads, so click on over and enjoy! (I'm not sure, do you need to be my friend in order to easily access my reviews? if so, feel free to do so, just please drop me a line saying how you found me, k?)

.... and now, back to The Stephen King Challenge 2011 I started this post with

According to wikipedia, As of 2010, Stephen King has written and published 49 novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, five non-fiction books, and nine collections of short stories: I count at least 37 that I have read.

I do not recall the first book of his that I read, but I do know the one that made the biggest impression: IT!! I still remember reading it back when I was in Form 3 (I had bought it for my brother's birthday but he wasn't to read it until he was done with his exams so I went ahead and read it first ... couldn't put it down,,, but my oh my, I was reading it in bed in the dead of night and I could have SWORN Pennywise was under my bed, ready to grab me if I dared dangle my feet over the side, if I wanted to go pee... I was terrified!

Loved The Stand (got the revised version as a gift in college), and remember laughing out loud at a short story where the protagonist realises "OMG I'm watching a vampire pee" :)

I remember squealing in joy when I discovered Wizard and Glass on the bookshelves, and proceeded to buy and consume all four (then available) Dark Tower books, so thirsty was I for Roland, his ka-tet, and the Man In Black.

My long-distance romance with Kosh featured the then-newly-released Wolves of the Calla.

When I was done with Book 7 of the Dark Tower series, I bitterly, grudgingly acknowledged that Mr King probably could not have "ended" it any other way. Kosh on the other hand felt angry and cheated: I totally understand!

In the meantime, I've been rather unimpressed with Mr King's more recent works. “Cell” was an insipid rehash of The Stand. Then there was Lisey's Story (thanks, Zuzu!) that I could barely get through. I picked up The Colorado Kid only because I wanted to know just how much of the book was reflected in the SyFy series (hardly). Under the Dome sounded like the plot of The Simpsons Movie. The title Full Dark, No Stars sounds interesting, but I've not bothered to find out what it's about.

And this brings us to the end of 2010. Just a few weeks ago I was telling Kosh that it's high time I reread the Dark Tower series. Just today I realise that I last read them through back when Book 7 came out, way back in 2005. That's over five years ago. Ummm, yeah, high time.

Then I find out from Sezin that there's this Stephen King Challenge 2011 organized by Book Chick City, where participants will read and review 6, or 12, or more of Mr King’s works.

Heh. The Dark Tower series alone will get me to 7 ... and I intend to (re)visit a few of the DT-related books (The Talisman, Black House, Desperation, The Regulators, some of the Richard Bachman short stories...) and would put me right past 12, and that's not including excursions into his more recent works, because, you know, I’d love for Stephen King to redeem himself in my eyes :D

But why join The Stephen King Challenge 2011? Well, just because I've read most of these books before, it doesn't mean I've reviewed / properly written about them. And I want to (re)read them anyway. So here I am, throwing my hat into the ring of The Stephen King Challenge 2011.

Won't you join me?

(Tinyurl for this post:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Please pardon my language, but...

So you know how back in December 2008 I started a malaysian abroad (and later another blog too) at for the promise of getting some moolah for the blogging I was doing anyway? They paid well enough, then changed their terms and didn't pay well anymore and alienated many members in the process, but I stuck with them, cutting them lots of slack... then out of the blue they moved domains to -- how ugly a domain name is that?? -- and I decided not to join them there. We parted ways amicably. I specifically asked that my email addy be removed from all administration emails (i.e. so that comment moderation requests wouldn't continue to be sent to me in the faint chance that someone would do so); they said it was done. That was back in June 2010.

Fast forward five months. I wanted to look up an old post of mine, and whaddaya know, NOTHING is available online anymore... the blogdog domain doesn't even look taken... wtf??

Fast forward another month... All of a sudden, this is my inbox:
click to embiggen


Earlier this morning I sent a polite message to support at both domains asking what was going on and to please fix it.

Now it looks like I need to escalate this to WordPress.


Any other ex-today.commers having this problem?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Foody Friday: the butternut squash edition!

Last month I noticed bags of fresh cranberries on sale, and impulsively grabbed one. Then weeks passed, and I still had no idea what to do with it. So I went a-huntin' for cranberry ideas, and found this Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake recipe that seemed simple enough for me. Once I prepared that, however, I ended up with quite a bit of leftover butternut squash, which I decided to make into "fries". I also decided to process the seeds. All in not just one day, but in one friggin' morning.

Procrastination *is* a wonderful thing, isn't it?

(butternut squash & seeds)

Here are the details:

1. Butternut Squash Apple Cranberry Bake
Pretty much followed the instructions, except, since I had so much of 'em, I used a whole cupful of cranberries LoL! It could probably do with a sprinkling of nuts; another improvement would be to dice the squash into much tinier pieces: the 1" chunks were a little too large and overpowering, and I tired of the taste really fast - Kosh ended up eating most of it.

2. Butternut Squash Fries
I thick-sliced the remaining squash into a mixing bowl, then poured a generous amount of oil over them and mixed to coat all surfaces. Then I liberally sprinkled ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg into the bowl and mixed 'em up again. Didn't need to spray the pan/foil because I'd been generous with the coating oil. Followed the instructions about turning them over twice, and putting the heat down at the last stage.
This did not come out good at all, they were soggy, unappetizing. Shoulda puréed them and made a soup or something instead.

3. Roasted Butternut Squash Seeds
I was surprised: I got about a half cup of seeds from this one squash. Separating the seeds from the membranes was ... interesting: can you believe it actually strained my thumb a little? LoL!! I probably wouldn't have bothered with the seeds at all except that I'd already had the oven going for the previous two dishes, so why not just keep going? Waste not, want not, right? Thing is, just a few minutes after popping the tray of seeds into the uppermost rack of the oven, it sounded like I had some popcorn going in there ... the seeds were popping/exploding, and the shells were starting to litter the bottom of the oven! Yikes! So I took 'em out well before the minimum 10 minutes!
Thankfully, they were nice and crunchy, and worth the mess in the oven :)

... so there you have it ... a cranberry adventure turned into a butternut squash excursion instead. Two out of three were edible - according to Meat Loaf, that ain't bad :)
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