Is it seriously September already? (2017)

Like, seriously? September? Jeepers.

And talk about checking out. I really checked out, huh? Did a “Summer Holiday: Day 1” and didn’t really come back the rest of summer. I can’t say that I’m back to my regular routine just yet. Truthfully (and I may have mentioned this), I came -|this|- close to throwing in the towel and signing off blogging for a while. Life’s been kicking my butt lately and with my focus on school (since I’m -|this|- close to graduating with a BA in European History, boo-yah!) it’s been kicking my butt double time. 

But (and I may have mentioned this too), I just can’t do it. Give up blogging? gasp Never! Dramatic? Absolutely. But I haven’t given myself good enough reason to quit it so . . . onward!

With more than half the year gone, however, one has to wonder where to go from here. At least, I do. Wonder that is. As far as blogging goes. That is. So as usual, I’m moving onward with no plan in particular, but then again, a plan is so restricting (a half joke here because plans do come in handy, when you stick to it, which I do–honest!–about 60% of the time and really, I have a hard time with the follow through . . . anyway!). 

[Yeah, I had a whole other paragraph and stuff written and then I switched to my phone, hit update on accident and it erased everything I typed. Ugh! Ah well. Moving on . . . round two —>] That’s never stopped before though, eh? Not having a plan. Or at least, not sticking to a plan, or, I mean, following through with a plan. 

I do have to get back into practice though. Posting that is. NaBloPoMo is right around the corner. November will be here in no time. May as well get back on it, right? 

So, here I am, 411 Junkie, making the most of the last four months of 2017! (Four months! Can you believe that? 2017 is more than halfway gone! Just 17 weeks until Christmas! Jeepers . . . )


Book Review: Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich

Book Review: Curious Minds by Janet EvanovichCurious Minds (Knight and Moon, #1) by Janet Evanovich, Phoef Sutton
Published by Bantam Dell on August 16th 2016
Pages: 322


Babysitting an eccentric billionaire isn't high on anyone's to-do list, especially when you have a degree in business and a degree in law from Harvard, yet that is where Riley Moon finds herself. After landing her dream job at one of the most prestigious banks, the first task her boss gives her is to assure one of the bank's VIP clients, Emerson Knight. That is money is safe with them.

Only it isn't. When Emerson demands that Riley take him to see his gold, literally to see his gold, it starts off a chain of events that throw these two together on their own conspiracy theory adventure.

I have to admit. I am pleasantly surprised by this book and this new series. In my preview (here), I was reluctant and didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t finish Wicked Charms (as mentioned, though, I’m determined to return to it someday to give it a proper second chance).

The narrative moved right along at a steady pace. The events unfolded smoothly and didn’t distract from the story. In my experience reading Evanovich, her writing is never really dense nor does it need intense concentration. Curious Minds is no different. It’s light, playful, and a quick read. One may argue that it is too simple because there were times when I couldn’t believe how fast the story was reading, but it works for me.

I think Knight and Moon are perfect for the backdrop of this series. To be honest, I’m only familiar with one other Evanovich series and that one deals with more of a paranormal investigation so I like that this is kind of contemporary mystery-slash-action-adventure.I like that it is an independent investigation and not within any type of crime solving entity like the FBI or similar. Kind of a rogue operation.

Five things I like about this series:

  • Knight and Moon gives off this fun vibe. They work well together.
  • I love their banter.
  • The mystery part of the story wasn’t complicating.
  • It was an easy read so I wasn’t interrupted with any philosophical or intense contemplation in order to get the story.
  • It kept me engaged. I didn’t get bored.

While this story wasn’t an “Absolutely loved it!” I like it enough to read the next one. I requested it at the local library so I can’t wait. I also would contemplate adding it to my personal library. I’ll have to read the next one, though, to give it serious thought. It will be disappointing if I invest in the series only to be disappointed by the third book. But Evanonvich and Sutton have convinced me enough to put them back on my radar. I may finally be brave enough to give Wicked Charms its second chance I keep promising.


Blogging: The History of Blogging

All righty then. I realize that the last post, aside from yesterday’s preview, was just about a month ago. The first day of vacation and I never came back. Until now. 

There’s no real good excuse save I’ve been keeping up with school. And I would very much love to say I’m back at it, as in going back to my regular postings, but I can’t say it with 100% surety.   

Looking back at my foray into blogging, I can’t believe it’s been eight years since my very first blog post. I remember my reluctance at starting a blog. It seemed everyone was starting one and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure what in the world I would write about. Absolutely no idea. (And being the history geek and information junkie I am, I just had to look into the history of blogging. A Brief History of Blogging has a good overview on the history of blogging. Fascinating read, really. I mean, did you know that back in 1999 there were only about 23 blogs in existence and by 2006 there were around 50 million? Ah-mazing! Anyway . . .) So why would I need a blog? 

Well, my very first blog was on Blogger. The focus was on technology and information security. I wasn’t a huge computer geek, but I appreciated the need for information security. In a world where almost every has an online presence, I couldn’t believe how much stuff the general public did know regarding virtual security. I intended to share that world with whoever would listen. Trouble was, since I wasn’t a huge computer geek so talking about them was challenging. I didn’t want to come across as clueless, or worse, add to the piles of misinformation that’s out there. Those are hard things to avoid when you’re not quite the techie you think you are.

So my focus changed to entertainment. I was already a book worm and a movie buff. And with television, though I hardly watched it, I had a handful of shows I followed and wanted to talk about. With anybody I could. Even if it was just to post random thoughts. At this time, I was also thinking about writing as a career of sorts so . . . there was that.

And now, here I am, eight years later and still love blogging about my opinions of books, movies, and television. And that’s not sarcasm either. 

Which is where I am at now. Do I want to continue in to keep blogging? Absolute. About movies and television? Yes. So here I am (sings off key  rock me like a hurricane), pressing forward with my blogging and hoping to finish a few housekeeping on the back end of things. 

Until the next post.


Preview: Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich

Ok, so I’m not sure what to expect in this new series. 

I really loved Lizzy and Diesel until last book (which I’m convinced I need to give it another shot because I refuse to be disappointed) but this one sounded intriguing enough to push through my reluctance. 

  • That’s a pretty, blue cover
  • Oh, another Evanovich series
  • Not Lizzy and Diesel?
  • I miss Lizzy and Diesel
  • I wish I could say I loved Wicked Charms, but I do love Lizzy and Diesel
  • Oh, another co-written series with Phoef Sutton
  • Wasn’t Sutton the co-writer on Wicked Charms?
  • Hm, Knight and Moon
  • That’s catchy
  • I’ll ignore how it seem so similar to her other series in progress, including Lizzy and Diesel
  • I’m thinking about Lizzy and Diesel way too much
  • Curious Minds–well, that sounds curious
  • Introverted
  • Eccentric
  • Spitfire
  • Junior analyst
  • Missing bank funds
  • Missing man
  • Missing gold
  • Ok, Evanovich and Sutton. I’ll give you another chance

And that’s how I ended up on page 53, still cautious but loving Knight’s personality and interested in seeing how the heck are they going to find his gold.

A Summer Holiday: Day 1 – Rain!

And just like that we’re on June 15th, or a couple of hours away anyway.

It’s been a chaotic couple of weeks, jumping right into Viking History and trying to stay on top of it. The research topic for my final paper needs to be reported by Sunday and these week my research proposal. I’m currently debating the Viking political and judicial system or the Viking settlement of Kieve Rus. You know, since I just finished Russian History. 

I can’t believe how much time school sucks up! I love it, but it does take a lot.

But I’m officially on holiday for the next three days. And I’m camping. Beach camping but camping nonetheless. And it’s pouring rain. I mean pouring! It’s off and on–like, it will downpour for 20 minutes and then clear up for another 20 and then down pours again. It’s amazing. 

I love hearing the rain. It’s refreshing, you know? And it may seem a bit weird, but I like the fact that it’s pouring on the first night of camping. As I mentioned, refreshing so it’s like washing away the tensions of “reality” and starting a clean slate of fun with family.

And maybe, finally, I can get some writing in and sneak on my data plan to post. And read a lot of books. And finish my cross-stitching pattern that I started about two months ago, lol. Big plans for only a four day holiday but there’s no harm in thinking big.

Random 411: The Wonderful World of Amateur Radio

One summer my family was thinking of camping up in the mountains. It’s a beautiful campsite, a popular campsite, but it’s remote. Cellular phones don’t work up there and there is only one place with a landline. This got me thinking about alternate modes of communication. If I can’t use my cell phone and I’m nowhere near a land line, is there any other way to communicate? Any other way to send for help that doesn’t include a whistle or a handheld mirror?

Enter Amateur Radio.

There are so many websites, blog posts, YouTube videos on the subject that I feel bad adding to that mounds of information. However, I’ve heard so many comments like “you can just text” or “well, my phone has GPS.” In fact, someone scoffed at me when I mentioned having a Technician Class license and said: “with the internet and all the advances in technology, you wasted your time getting one.” Usually, I shrug my shoulders with a smile and say something like “well, I am a geek” and walk away. To each his own, you know? 

Well, I just sat through an Emergency Preparedness Seminar. I was reminded that on an island with around 70,000 people–90,000 if you count the visitor population–there are only about 200 first responders/firefighters and about another 200 police officers. If you add the AMR workforce you add around  50 more hands on deck. That is only 450 trained emergency professionals servicing possibly 90,000 people. This doesn’t include the military personnel that’s also stationed on the island, but still, we’re talking 90,000 people. I was also reminded that if you take the worse case scenario and there has been damage to the main infrastructure, it could take up to seven days for outside aid to come in. We’ve been encouraged to build an emergency kit with supplies for 14 days.

What does this have to do with Amateur Radio?  

That’s just it. That’s my point. On an island that is about a five-hour commercial flight to mainland USA, it’s scary to think I cannot call for help. Ninety-thousand people texting and/or calling on their cellular phone. I know technology has come a long way, but again, if you take the worse case scenario and, say, hurricane force winds knocked down two cell towers I may not be able to use my cell phone to call for help. I didn’t want that limitation and/or restriction. 

And while I can charge my radio by an electrical outlet, I can also convert my battery pack to use AA batteries which extend the life of communication and not reliant on electricity.

It may not be for everyone. You need a license and to get a license you need to pass an exam. The exam is 35 questions in which 26 of them needs to be answered correctly. Questions on frequency and FCC regulations. But for someone who can be a sitting duck if the worse happens, having the license and ability to communicate with others is worth the $15 admin fee (volunteers administer the test so you’re only paying for the cost of administering the test, not paying the volunteers, just to make things clear) and $30 for a radio. I don’t need to rely on infrastructure. I can help others who don’t have a license and looking for their family. It makes me think of a saying someone once said to me, “I’d rather carry it and not need it than need it and not have it.”

I have a Technicians license that, I admit, I’ve rarely put to use, but the point is I have it.

And it’s good for ten years.

And since I have it, I can learn all that I want to amateur radio. 

And now that I’ve been reminded how valuable that skill set could be in times of need, I’ll be studying to upgrade my license to a General class this year. 

Cheers to no restrictions and the opportunity to be self-reliant (in terms of communicating of course)!

And at the very least it’s another way to connect with others on a global scale 😉.

There is no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.

Stephen King