[sticky entry] Sticky: Mission 101

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 07:03 pm
winter_solise: (vala-daniel farscape lol)
Mission Start: October 4, 2012
Mission End: July 2, 2015

Edit: I revised and completed the list, finally. I took off all of the individual reading goals and combined them into one goal to make room for more challenging goals. I really feel like the whole point of Mission 101 is personal growth, and while all of those books are titles that I want to read, reading is not entirely challenging for me.

The List )
winter_solise: (vala-daniel farscape lol)

 I usually stay far away from Bill O'Reilly. I can't really stand those Fox News right-wing extremists,but as this is a biography of sorts, and on a rather fascinating topic, I thought I'd give it a try. That, and I had just finished reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, so I was in the mood to read more about President Lincoln.

The beginning deals a lot with the end of the Civil War, which I found interesting, but not entirely relevant. It helps you to understand the US' position at the time, and the fact that the South could very much have won if things had turned out just a little differently, but I didn't think it was really entirely relevant to the end of Lincoln's life.

There's quite a bit of speculation going on, but it's a well-known fact that Lincoln's assassination is shrouded in mystery in some places. It's well-known that John Wilkes Booth hated the late President and that he was an ardent supporter of the Confederacy, but the book goes into what Booth was thinking at the time, which no one can really know.

Killing Lincoln is written in the style of a thriller, so it doesn't sound like a history book or even a real biography, which I think makes it more interesting.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, as someone who was interested in knowing more about Lincoln's assassination and not having read much else about Lincoln, aside from a fictional biography of his life.

Busy week

Saturday, November 10th, 2012 02:52 pm
winter_solise: (Default)
 I've been bad about updating, as usual. XD Job-searching has been consuming massive quantities of my time, and I just got back yesterday from an impromptu two-day trip to Colorado. I drove down to my parents' house in Colorado to get some of our stuff that we left there when we moved. Even though I couldn't fit it all in my little Kia Soul, we got about half of our stuff, and once we get it put away, it'll seem much more like home. Actually, I think it already does!

We got our kitchen stuff, which we'd really been missing because we've spent two months eating prepackaged food, which is all right, but when you're used to eating home cooking (and your girlfriend is a really awesome cook), you start to miss it after a while. Now we have our Cutco knives back (which I had missed more than anything XD) and our food processor and all the other stuff that made cooking a more pleasurable experience, it's going to seem more like we really do live here.

We also got more of our blankets, so even though we're still sleeping on an air mattress, and my girlfriend and I still don't have a blanket that's big enough to cover us both, we won't get cold at night. It gets surprisingly cold in Arizona at night. I guess that's how deserts are; hotter during the day and colder at night.

Things changed a lot in the two days we were gone. When we left, we'd still had 80-degree weather and the house/apartment thing next-door to us was still unoccupied. When we got back, it was colder and rainy, and someone moved in next-door! Amazing.

Anyway, now that we have some of our stuff, we can really start moving in, which I'm glad about. I think it'll be easier for me to get a job, now that I feel like we really live here, and I've really missed having my own money and being able to pay my own bills. My girlfriend has very generously been making my car payments for me. 
winter_solise: (Jean Grey)

Here's my first real Mission 101 update.

In Progress:

1. Read 101 books I've never read before (1/101)
    Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

40. Complete 200 Sudoku puzzles (22/200)

47. Take 100 pictures (10/100)
      (Haven't done the processing or final tally yet)

49. Go on 100 Hikes (2/100)

54. Go to 10 restaurants I've never gone to before and write a review for each (2/10)

75. Make 101 LJ icons (6/101)

80. Write a review for every book in the challenge (1/101)

87. Make or get each of the 4 Harry Potter House scarfs (1/4)

90. Listen to the 50 albums that changed music (1/50)


11. Learn my blood type (A- Completed 10/07/2012)

41. Join the bone marrow registry (Completed 10/16/2012)

I like little progress reports. It puts into perspective how much you've actually done when you can see it all together like that. :) I think I've got a pretty nice start. I've got to be a little more vigilant in keeping up with it, though. I haven't really been doing much lately, and I don't have an excuse, since I don't even have a job yet.
winter_solise: (nice person)
 I happened upon this listopia list on Goodreads yesterday. 'Books I will never read.' The list is of popular books that your friends insist you simply must read, and included books like the Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings, and a lot of what most people consider great "classics." In fact, I was surprised I didn't find Game of Thrones on there, especially because it's become a hit T.V. series, just like Charlane Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books, which were on the list. Maybe I just didn't get far enough.

There were quite a few books on there that I can very comfortably say I'll never read. Like biographies about Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber and a lot of those political books that bash people just because they don't agree. I'm far beyond the age of caring about them. There was also Pride and Prejudice. I've tried several times, unsuccessfully, to read that book and I just can't bring myself to care about it. The first time I tried reading it, I was a teenager. I thought maybe I was just too young. The last time I tried reading it was last year. I don't know, maybe I'm still too young, XD Maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance. Who knows?

But the thing that bothered me was that there were so many great books on that list. I read Harry Potter at least once a year, even though I've read some of them at least ten times. (The first three XD) Even so, I still find a lot to enjoy in them, and I think I'll be reading them once a year until I die. They're really a modern classic. I don't know if that list was meant to be a personal list, to say the author will never read any of those books just because they're popular, or if it's there just to get people to vote on the books they never plan to read, but I say never is a long time and refusing to read a book just because it's popular isn't a good reason not to read it.

I actually refused to read Harry Potter when it first came out because it was so popular, and once I read it, I discovered something. Maybe some things are popular because they're really that good.

I've resolved that I won't refuse to try something just because it's popular. Someday, I might even read Twilight. I hear they get better around the third book, and I do think Stephanie Meyer has some decent ideas. Although why the vampires sparkle is still beyond me.

Anyway, I guess the TLDR version of this post is, if you refuse to even try something because it's popular, you're limiting yourself and having a very closed-minded attitude.
winter_solise: (aeryn in the rain)
For the longest time, I swore I wouldn't read this book. 'It's dumb,' I thought. Just as dumb as Seth Grahme-Smith's other book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But I happened across a free copy and while it sat in my Calibre library for a while, I happened across it the other day and thought, 'Well, maybe Halloween wouldn't be a bad time to read about our sixteenth president being a vampire hunter.'

The premise is that Abraham Lincoln kept a series of secret diaries from the time he was a boy, shortly after his mother died, killed by a vampire. These diaries were to chronicle Abe's ventures hunting and killing vampires.

Young Abraham swore that he would kill every vampire in America. A very lofty goal. The book is very much a biography of the life of Abraham Lincoln, with vampires scattered in for good measure. Grahme-Smith does a very good job with his facts, and making it seem plausible that one of the most popular presidents of the United States was indeed, a vampire hunter.

Grahme-Smith's vampires are also very convincing as well, appearing as normal people until such a time as they drop the facade and attack. I actually wish there had been a little more detail about Lincoln's vampire hunts. He's lauded as one of the greatest vampire hunters of America, and yet you only get to "witness" a few of his hunts. Although this is likely because Grahame-Smith uses Lincoln's diary entries as a major part of the narrative.

The book follows Abe's life from birth until his untimely death at the hands of John Wilkes Booth. One review I read on Goodreads said they didn't like how they used slaves and the Civil War as a plot point for vampires, but I thought this made complete sense. The vampires of America would very much like an almost unlimited food supply in the form of slaves, and for Lincoln, what better way to drive off the vampires than cutting off their food source? It was also quite clear that Lincoln still despised the idea of slavery, of a group of men being superior to another solely because of the color of their skin.

I found the book very interesting, and indeed, as with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I thought having Abe be a vampire hunter was a clever ploy to get people to actually read about one of America's greatest presidents and to learn about his life. It's amazing that Lincoln had such a humble birth, grew up on the American frontier, had very little formal education, and still became one of the most revered presidents through sheer tenacity and self-education.

Lincoln's life serves as a reminder that you don't have to be born to great means to become a great man.
winter_solise: (rooockett shiiip)
 This is a restaurant that's within walking distance of where I live. It's a Chinese place, and I've got to say it's probably the best Chinese I've ever had. I had a bottle of Chinese beer, which was really good, a very mild, smooth beer, sesame chicken, egg rolls, egg drop soup, and shrimp toast. Yeah, we got a ton of food, but we'd just done a six mile hike, XD.

Anyway, the sesame chicken was kind of crispy, but it was still very tasty, as was everything else we had. The service was fast, but it was slow when we got there. Not that I think the service wouldn't have been excellent if it had been busy. Asian restaurants always tend to have very good service. I also tried some of my SO's lo mein and my brother's General Tsao's chicken, and all of the food was excellent. It was so good, in fact, that I really stuffed myself silly. I didn't even have leftovers like I usually do when I get Chinese.

All in all, it was a great experience. Nice atmosphere, good food, and excellent service. I'd definitely go again, especially with the added bonus of it being so close to where I live.

Once again, I forgot pictures until it was almost too late, so I grabbed a picture of the girlfriend's lo mein and my beer. XD

winter_solise: (Jean Grey)
 Yeah, I knew that would be the hardest part. Though I think I'm doing pretty well with my goals.

On Friday, I went on hike #2, and it was a doozy! 6.6 miles. I went to West Fork Trail in Oak Creek Canyon with my roommates. The trees were all starting to change, and I had really wanted to do this particular trail because it's supposed to be beautiful in the fall, and it was! I took well over 200 pictures on my iPod, which I'm still working on processing. So far, I've only Instagrammed six out of the 200 some-odd. Not all of them are going to stay. Some of them came out really blurry because I was moving at the time I took them. Unfortunate, but most of the pictures are of the beautiful fall foliage. There were so many trees in yellow, orange, and red. We also got a really good picture of the three of us.

So I'm gonna work on putting all the pics through Instagram and post them as I do them, that way, I won't have a huge photo dump of 100+ pics. I'm not going to consider that particular goal complete until I've actually got all the pictures processed and posted, just in case by some miracle, it turns out to be less than 100.

I'm also working on the icons. I'm really pleased with this Jean Grey icon I made. I'm thinking about making a set with Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Iceman, Beast, and Kitty Pride. Then I might even go and make X-Men: First Class icons. XD I'm going to rework my McGonagall icon, too. I'm thinking about starting a separate icon journal, even though I plan on posting them all on this one. >___>

On the job front, I sent a resume to Ace Hardware in West Sedona for their Lawn & Garden position. I've got three 'years' of garden center experience, having done a season each at Lowe's, Walmart, and ShopKo. Lawn & Garden is hands-down one of my favorite departments to work in, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for my interview tomorrow. I really need a job, at least until I can try for Pink Jeep Tours in late November/early December.

I'm feeling too lazy to upload my pictures to Photobucket, so I'll post them later. XD

Oh yeah, and I also went to another new restaurant. Pics and review later!


Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 05:35 pm
winter_solise: (Maester Seymour)
Okay, so today I joined the bone marrow donor registry. I'll be getting a kit for a cheek swab tissue test in about two weeks to finalize the thing, but for all intents and purposes, that goal is complete. Part of me hopes I'm never called, and part of me hopes I will be someday. It's kind of like jury duty like that. Although it seems that only 1 of every 200 people are ever called to be a donor. We shall see. I've made the commitment at any rate, and if they call me to be a donor, I won't say no. I think the most valuable donations are ones where you're directly helping another human being; where you know exactly what your donation is doing and where it's going.

Also, I got two new pictures the other day,  one going for a walk at Bell Rock, the other at Trader Joe's in Prescott

Bell Rock trail

A little daring

Saturday, October 13th, 2012 03:44 pm
winter_solise: (Default)
I was cruising around Cragslist today for my job hunt and decided to check out the personals for platonic relationships. I thought it was pretty nifty, but I didn't e-mail anybody and kind of went about my business online until I was doing a little editing on my Mission 101 list and saw the goal I had to make a new friend.

So I went back to Craigslist and posted an ad for a friend. To my surprise, someone e-mailed me. Let's see where this goes. XD

I'm also working on my goat to listen to the 50 albums that changed music. I'm listening to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band," which I actually sang in middle school choir, lol.

The Craigslist thing is working much better than I anticipated. I'm getting so many responses that I can hardly keep up, lol
winter_solise: (aeryn in the rain)
 Yesterday, I went to Bodacious Burgers in West Sedona with the roommates for their $7 burger and beer deal, since we were low on cash and the food was cheap ;)

The restaurant is kind of like Denny's or Perkins on the inside, but they've got a nice family-oriented atmosphere. They had Oak Creek Brewery beers on tap, so I got an Oak Creek Ale and my brother got the nutty brown, both of which are very good beers. They've got quite a few yummy-looking burgers on their menu, but they give you a regular quarter-pound burger with the special. Next time I eat there, I want to check out their all you can eat salad bar.

The food and the service was very good. I remembered I was supposed to take a picture halfway through eating my food. Oops. I didn't put my lettuce or tomato on it. Yeah, I know, I should eat my vegetables. XD It might look a bit like a fast food burger, but it tastes much better than it looks, especially with beer, and the fries are very good.

Burger, fries, and a beer. Don't bother me, I'm eating 
winter_solise: (nice person)
 I don't feel like my day's really started until I've had a cup of coffee. I'd like two or three cups of coffee in the morning, really, but one's enough to get me going.
winter_solise: (srsly?)
 I am seriously neurotic sometimes. I don't even know how I think.

I started downloading library books on my iPod. No, that's not the neurotic part. The neurotic part is that I was using Overdrive, since my iPod Touch supports it. It's a cool app, not the best e-reader I've ever used for the iPod, but it downloads the books and I can read them, so it does what it's meant to do and as an added feature, I can browse my library's catalog right from the app and download the books I check out right there. It even keeps track of the due date so I know how long I have to read my books.

 By accident, I got one of the books I downloaded for Kindle. I've used the Kindle app, but I didn't have it on my iPod at the time, but I didn't know how I could return the book and download it for Overdrive, so with a sigh of resignation, I re-installed the Kindle app on my iPod and went on my computer to send my book to the Kindle app...and as it turns out, the book was formatted so much better on the Kindle.

The book I was checking out was 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.' Yes, I've already read it XD I just re-read all the HP books every year, and the other books had some formatting issues with the epubs on Overdrive that were eliminated in the Kindle edition. So, I've started using the Kindle app again, even over my preferred reader, iBooks.

This is not an uncommon occurrence. I've been switching between the two apps ever since I got my iPod about two years ago. I don't know if anyone else has this thing, but I like the apps I use to look nice. I like iBooks because it's pretty and I can change the highlight colors, which hasn't really mattered, as I haven't been doing a lot of highlghting in the books I've been reading lately ^^; BUT STILL! It can! That's the important thing, Goddammit.

Although I have to point out that the Kindle app definitely has an advantage over Overdrive because if you make highlights or annotations in the library books, the Kindle app saves them in case you ever check out the book again or decide to purchase it. I can mark up my library books!

First goal complete!

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 10:32 am
winter_solise: (winners don't play video games)
 Finished #11 - Find out my blood type October 7, 2012

Since I wanted to follow the blood type diet for another one of my goals, I of course, needed to learn my blood type. I'd been wanting to find out what it was forever anyway, mostly because of the way the Japanese believe that blood type is a factor in a person's personality. So my girlfriend and I bought the blood type test at Vitamin Cottage and did it together.

My girlfriend did the finger stick for me, and it was probably the least painful finger stick I've ever had! XD So we did our tests and I came up A-. I knew I'd be either A or B because my mom is O and my dad is AB. I didn't really expect to be A, lol but it's pretty cool that I know now, and it explains a few things.

According to 'Live Right 4 your Type,' type As have a higher basal level of the stress hormone Cortisol, which makes them more prone to stress. About a year ago, I was trying to do Jillian Michaels' workout programs, which are very intense, and while an already healthy A can do more strenuous exercises like what Jillian has you do, I'm really not that fit, and her workouts were just too stressful. Type As should do things like yoga and Tai'chi, both of which I've been wanting to take classes for.

So yeah, I've been unduly excited about finding out my blood type, but according to the blood type diet, I should avoid quite a few foods that I really like, like eel and squid D: Not that I eat a lot of eel and squid, but blood type As are supposed to be largely vegetarian.

Well, now that I know my type, it's time to work on following the blood type diet!

November 2012

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