August 14, 2008

It's Magic!

I just discovered Windows Movie Maker. I didn't even know it was on my computer, let alone what it could do. But let me tell's cool. Super cool. And super easy. I've made two videos from our trip to the Brookfield Zoo last weekend and I'm going to toot my own horn and say they are the bomb-diggity. least for a first try.
The first one is a giraffe that we were watching saunter around. It tripped a bit and then began an intense make-out session with a tree. The video doesn't show it that well, but I like hearing my friends comments about it:
The second one is a montage of all the videos I took with some still photos interspersed. I finally figured out how to get audio in too so it's set to music:

August 12, 2008

Summer Reads

I’ve gotten a bit behind on reviewing the books I’ve been reading this summer so I thought I would do a couple quick reviews to get back on track.

Laurie Halse Anderson, 2007
Ms. Anderson is a very good author who writes with a gritty sense of reality to her stories. Her characters are flawed and their lives can be hard, but their stories, while intense, are relatable and good reads. This is the story of a high school boy who pulled a prank at the end of the school year and has been working off his community service all summer. The summer of hard labor in the sun has turned him from geek to hottie. His life has changed, but he's finding being noticed by the “in” crowd can bring just as much negative as positive.

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period
Gennifer Choldenko, 2007
Kirsten has had a rough summer. Her parent’s are fighting and her best friend has been gone. She’s not really excited about starting school again, but does her best to keep a good attitude. Walker is starting at a new school as one of the only black students. He knows life will be hard, but this school is what he’ll need to get a good start in life and keep out of trouble. When the two of them become friends they learn something that makes each of them really have to question what they’ve known and what their future will look like. Very good author and an interesting story told from both main character’s point of view, going back and forth from chapter to chapter. The ending seemed a bit too easy, but it was a great read.

Fearless Fourteen
Janet Evanovich, 2008
The fourteenth book in the Stephanie Plumb series is a no different than the others. It’s really fun, really quick and slightly frustrating. The fun characters are back. Lula, Grandma Mazur, Joe Morelli and more, plus more quirky residents of Trenton, NJ join the ride. As much as I like these books I’m about at the end of my patience about the Ranger vs. Joe dilemma that Stephanie is in. I think she’s in a rut and needs to choose one guys over the other and make some changes in her life. But regardless, this is another fun book and I’m gonna keep reading the adventures when new ones come out.

Just Like That
Marsha Qualey, 2007
Hanna is a really cool girl. She’s someone that I would want to be friends with, but I have a feeling that people that are that well adjusted and sure of themselves in high school don’t exist outside of books. I took a chance with this book because I needed an author whose name started with a ‘Q’ for my A~Z Reading Challenge. It was a “blind date with a book” and I think I’d be willing to go on a second date if they asked. Hanna has an event happen in her life that really makes her question who she is and what she wants in life. The author does a superb job of making her search real and relatable and I’d love to read more that she’s written.

Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?
Eleanor Updale, 2004
This book is set in England in the 1800s (one of my favorite places and time periods) and tells the imaginative story of a convict who uses his skills as a thief to set himself up in high society. His plundering finances a new more gentile way of life, but without even realizing it he truly begins to change, slowly becoming the gentleman that he only started out pretending to be. There are sequels to this story, but I think I’ll stick with the first one since it’s so satisfying of an ending.

August 7, 2008

A ~ Z Reading Challenge Update

I would like to report that I am over half-way done with the A ~ Z Reading Challenge that I decided to do for 2008. I now have 22 books left to read in the remainder of the year. 22 books in 4.5 month? Cake!
I'm a bit behind on posting reviews of the books I've been reading, but I'll get to them eventually. The important thing is that I'm really enjoying myself and I'm already thinking of what challenge to do next. I might try reading all the Hercule Poirot mysteries by Agatha Christie, or maybe I'll take a shelf in my bookcase that has too many unread books on it and make it a challenge to read the shelf. So many choices!
Be sure to keep checking my original post for updates and feel free to ask for any recommendations. I've been forcing some of my finds on my close friends and family, but I'd be more than willing to shove books at strangers.
Happy Reading!

Olympic Snacks

Tomorrow is the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. If you knew my old roommate Katie, you knew how excited she gets every time the Olympics are held (just check out her latest blog post). I definitely caught the bug from her and am making Olympic themed snacks for my get-together this weekend.
Sadly, I am extremely proud of my creativity so I took a picture to share.

Blue jello, red licorice and teddy grahams. Genius!

More Twilight

They've posted a new trailer for the movie, and this one tells more of the plot. Excellent! Check it out!