Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review: Interview with the Vampire

I listened to Interview with the Vampire by Ann Rice on audiobook awhile back. It took me an unreasonable amount of time to finish it, like 3 months or something. I felt the need read it for some time I have heard here and there that it was the first novel to really modernize vampires and make them relateable. Now, I don't know if that's true, but nonetheless this book been on my list for awhile. I'll be upfront I was overall disappointed with the story. There were parts that were fantastically done; Rice was able to craft complex rising actions within the plot but the climax between the two vampires, Louis and Lestat, lacked conclusion. 
I didn't realize at the time Interview with the Vampire was a beginning of a series but the first book did not wet my appetite for the rest of the series. I found the main character, Louis, lacking in depth and the antagonist, Lestat, had too much mystery about him that was never resolved. The only character that was really explained was Claudia the child that Louis and Lestat both had a hand in turning. She would have intrigued me more if she hadn't been so cold-hearted. That's my personal preference though and despite that I do think that she was the most well written of all three. Louis and Lestat were contrast of one another. Lestat embraced his vampirism with a passion and vitality while Louis just barely accepted it, but he do so with reverence. This made him unbelievably morose and also pompous thus construction the formula for an irksome and insipid narrator. Even when the plot got interesting or down right weird I had a hard time bringing myself to continue on due to the manner of which it was told.
This was the first book I've read by Ann Rice and even though it was certainly not my favorite I would still give her writing another try. Ultimately, she used a flawed device to tell her story but her writing was clever and skilled.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

This is so, so neat

I'd just thought I'd share this with you. I'm kicking myself because I had the chance to join in on the Twittering and I didn't. Sigh maybe next time

What I'm (not) doing

Sorry for the absence. I took a semi-impromtu trip to Denver with my mom, aunt and sister-in-law for a week. It was fun to get away, but I pulled a blogger fail and didn't charge my camera battery so it died half way through. I did get some gorgeous pictures of the mountains which I would love to upload except my cats knocked off all the stuff on my desk in my office and smashed my card reader that I use to upload my photos :( I'm waiting on a new one to come in so hopefully it'll be here next week!
Coming home must have been cursed because my iPhone stopped working and I got food poisoning and haven't been sleeping. Weh, weh, weh.
Today I'm using as a recuperation day as silly as that is. I've cloistered myself in my office because the rest of the house is a mess and am editing some old photos and starting some tutorials on Adobe Illustrator. I got the program as a gift and don't know much about it does anyone know any helpful beginner sites?
Oh, and I've also started Grant Morrison's Supergods which is thought provoking in ways different than I thought it would be. 
Tonight, I plan on drinking probably too much sleepy-time tea and doing some relaxation yoga to hopefully get a real nights sleep so tomorrow will be worth something.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

We started making our own cleaning products...

I found a recipe for making laundry detergent a couple of months back on Pinterest and saw that it wasn't too hard, but then I forgot about it. 
Recently, a friend talked about making her own and I remembered being interested. The recipe I orginally found was for a liquid detergent and she had made a powdered detergent which sounded a lot easier since we didn't have to worry about boiling water and storing it in a 5 gallon bucket, so I searched for a powdered recipe and found this one which seemed really easy. While on that website I also found how to make dryer balls which really appealed to me since Ben and I both have reactions to dryer sheets. While on this website I also found a recipe for dishwasher detergent and saw it had several of the same ingredients as the laundry detergent and wanted to go ahead and try that as well. We were able to get all of the ingredients at our grocery store and a Jo Ann's for the dryer balls. The only thing we had to get off the internet was the citric acid, but we later found out that we could find some at a tractor supply store. All of the ingredients including the wool and citric acid cost us $45 and will mostly last for a year or so.
 I had my dryer balls in a bowl on top of our washer with the essential oil I like to use. Right now I only have lemongrass and eucalyptus but I'm planning on building our collection (except slowly, a lot of essential oil is expensive especially Rose and Sandalwood which are two of my favorite smells)
We decided to buy 5lbs of citric acid at one time we knew we would use it and it'll last forever.

 I ended up using the old Cascade and Tide containers for the laundry and dishwasher detergent. They were a good size and they have lids so it work out great.
So far the everything I've made has worked out just fine. I know on the website the laundry detergent is recommended for HE front loaders but we have massive old top loaders and it works fine with those.
I haven't tried white vinegar as a rise agent or as a fabric softener as the articles suggests because I'm still using my store bought ones.
I'm really interested in the website and have liked the recipes I've found so far. I've decided that as I run out of household products that I'll give their recipes and try and see how it goes!

Are there any cleaning products you like to make?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Baked apples and eggs

 Sometime last week when Ben got home in the morning I decided to do an experiment with baking eggs. You don't know this about me, but I love watching the Food Network. It's pretty much the only channel I watch (except for Spike when they have those repo shows on. Super trashy, super entertaining). I'd seen people do baked eggs in a lot of different ways that mostly included some other baked concotion. Since, I don't wake up with a mind set to cook for several hours before I eat I aim to make things that take less than 45 minutes. That led me to baked eggs and as I was looking around for something else that I could throw in the oven I came upon a bag of apples. Baked apples. My sister in law had made scrambled eggs with apples at Christmas and it was delicious. Turns out that eggs and apples pair well together. The first time I did this I baked both things on 400 for forty mintues. For me, that was a little too long for the eggs though Ben really liked them. The second time I did this I baked the eggs for 20 minutes and the apples for 40 at 425. Both times I've seasoned the eggs with salt, thyme and cayenne (a flavor combo I've been recently putting on my popcorn as well) and the apples with cinnamon and honey. You can't beat cinnamon baked apples and honey.

And there was bacon.
I greased a muffin tin with cooking spray and the eggs were easy to pop out with a fork
I wrapped the apples with cinnamon and honey in a foil bundle. It's a good idea to wrap it twice because it will start leaking very hot honey when you take it out of the oven.

Ha! Bet you thought there wouldn't be a cat picture in this post.

What are some of your favorite breakfast recipes?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Finding creativity

I've become a boring person. For awhile I blamed it on working at Target. 
"Oh well it's because that place is so draining that I don't have time to be creative."
Now that I have the freedom that massage gives me I'm still really boring. Most days I spend cleaning and watching t.v. and I let myself get so bored. Instead doing anything else I'm satisfied to be placated.
My blog posts have definitely reflected this. I've stuck with simple sentence structures and predictable words. 
I haven't read a challenging book in months! I'm bored with myself. I've been dealing with this issue for a couple weeks now and one night I dusted off my notebook and pen and had a journaling-therapy session. It showed my that I could still write well and that half of my problem with being boring was lack of self- discipline. I've been just taking the easy way for almost a month now, and easy is most often boring. 
I can write! I can be creative, it just takes work. Duh. 
The thought process that I've been disillusioned with is getting an idea and just getting caught up in a burning passion and creating something wonderful over night.
Nothing really works that way. It takes work, genuine work and time and discipline of create something worth anything. 
I'd love to see this blog be something, but it's going to take work on a regular basis not a couple of hours here or there when I feel like it. 
I've never viewed the creative process as work or something that I need to actively set aside time for, but that's what you do if you want something to be worthwhile! 
So there you have it I need to be more disciplined in the things that I love to do and hopefully I'll start making things that are worthwhile on this blog and otherwise.

How does your creative process work?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Comic Review: Ultimate Captain America

Ultimate Captain America is a 4 issue series written by Jason Aaron with art by Ron Garney. It caught my eye when I was looking for different characters to read to broaden my spectrum in the comic world. I'm reading the Uncanny Avengers (amazing, so far) and I read Avengers vs. X-Men (also, extremely well done) but nothing with Cap on his own. I liked Ultimate Captain America because it was short.
The outline of the story is this- while on a mission in North Korea Captain America runs into Frank Simpson the man they tried to make the Captain America during the Vietnam War. However, Frank went crazy and switched sides. 
The series really tested Captain America's character; Frank believed that America was evil and tried to show Cap the light by telling him all of the horrible things the government had done expressly President Nixon. Even though this was a short series it took me over a month to read. I have always had a hard time stomach torture scenes and vol. 3 is full of them. Despite that and a little bit because of it this was a well done series that really pushed the character of Captain America and really showed how strong his beliefs are. I was really glad to see that they kept Cap's Christian roots and even allowed for a religious discussion in the fourth volume. 
The art in this series complimented the writing well. Everything was clearly defined and the colors were true to form. 
This series overall, was a good look at Captain America and what he stands for.

Have you read Ultimate Captain America? What do you think?
Happy Friday! Have a good Weekend!