Friday, February 27, 2009

Dead People

The Keepsake
by Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen was a medical doctor who wrote suspenseful romances on the side, and then eventually moved on to Medical Thrillers starring Boston medical examiner Maura Isles. From there she broaden out to Detective Jane Rizzoli and straight forward police murder investigations, though both characters interact within her fictional Boston.
The Keepsake begins with a young woman with a mysterious past being stalked and having strangely preserved bodies turning up. Bodies like a mummy and a shrunken head. Through investigation the woman's past starts to come to light, and the conspiracy surrounding it. Well worth the read and it can be read independently even though it is in a long series of books. The over arching plot of the series is less than 5% of the story, so it still makes sense out of order.
I have read all Gerritsen's books* and can highly recommend them all.

*I haven't read the early romances, but I might one day because I really like her writing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Oh Yeah - I will listen
This is how Lisa did it - deceiving underwear
Older Missionary Program -FAIL!!!

I think I will have bubble gum

I love this

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Can't Win

Lisa asks me at church "How do I look?"

I respond "You look thin"

To which she gets mad at me because obviously she was trying to look cute/sexy, not just thin.

So yes, I got in trouble for calling my wife thin.

What exactly went on?

JT spends the night at his cousin's house Saturday night and we do not see him until church on Sunday. He states that since the "incident" last night that his butt really hurts. Yes he did use the word incident.

I of course feel compelled to question his Uncle and learn the facts of said incident, especially given the sore butt. It turns out that JT had such a collossal poop that he not only hurt his butt, he clogged the toilet right up. He gets that from his mom's side.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Green Death

On This Rockne
Ralph McInerny

A short little mystery starring the Private Eye Phil Knight and his brilliant, morbidly obese, Notre Dame philosophy professor brother. This is the first of a series of mysteries set on the Notre Dame campus, which is where the author has a day job (he is also the author of the Father Dowling mysteries). Anyways, a university trustee has been murdered; then the prime suspect, her bitter ex-husband, is also killed. The duo quietly investigates until uncovering the conspiracy under it all. Not that gripping, but at a scant 200 pages it went fast.

Not the first sunday

By Anita Shreve

First of all I listened to this book on CD and it was brilliant. Produced by Hachette Audio it was read by 14 different voice actors, each highlighting different characters in the story. This made it almost like a radio play and the narrative really flew by. I will be avidly looking for more books by the same group.
The story was also quite moving, focusing on a small sex scandal at a private New England boarding school and all the horrific repercussions. From the victim who wasn’t and the perpetrators who were; and the lies, abuse, cover-ups, and conspiracies, one innocent event literally destroys many lives. A good reminder that our behaviors have consequences.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's Wednesday

If one of my kids brought this note home from school I think I would be proud and happy - I would frame it.

Zeke's project for next year
Japanese - so different - so WRONG!!

WTF, I mean seriously, who thinks this stuff up?? What is in Saki???
(Please note size of knife to realize scale and that it isn't a real dog)
BTW - this is "Dog Sushi"

A shirt I would wear

The Early Years

Rough Treatment

by John Harvey

The other book I read was the second in John Harvey’s Charlie Resnick series. Charlie is a police detective on the Nottingham police force investigating a series of burglaries that are very similar to ones he saw ten years previous. Of course this leads to a deeper conspiracy which must be uncovered. The whole thing is interlaced with sad story of his personal life.

John Harvey is a prolific writer who has only gotten better over time. I started with another series he wrote, the Frank Elder books, just recently and came to love his style. I say this because the Resnick books were among his first and while these early ones are okay, I am only sticking with them because I know the writer he will become. So start with the newer series or his recent stand alones to meet the author, and then hit the early Resnick books to really enjoy his development as a writer over time (there are 11 books in the series)

If Anyone Gets Killed

I have had a very rough week, hence the lack of posts. Basically I think I had a very small kidney stone, but that is all guess work in hindsight. One of the few things I did besides watch
TV was read a few books.

Silence of the Grave
By Arnaldur Indritason

As you can imagine Icelandic fiction isn’t that easy to get hold of here in Minnesota, but my library does have a few of these modern police procedurals starring detective Erlunder and his cohorts. I have been enjoying them because they remind me of one of my favorite authors Henning Mankell. Anyways, an old skeleton is dug up at a construction site and the police set out to uncover a 50 year old mystery surrounded by lies, abuse, shame, suicides, and cover-ups. Luckily Iceland is so small and contained, the truth eventually finds it way out to a satisfying ending. Indritason’s books are great fun by themselves, or if you just want to get a feel for Iceland (via a Law & Order vibe). Like I said, I am prepared for my vacation if any one…

SPAM Books

I will be sending them out this week.

They will go out soon.

Paige should we just hold yours until you come back this way? If not you need to get Lisa your address.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Changing Austin

Downtown torn down, getting ready for new jail

The old dip/underpass on Oakland. Been filled in and the bridges have been torn down. This view is close to Firestone looking toward East Side lake.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Leaping Rodents

US News & World Report released their Most Popular Colleges Survey, based on reports from the students (i.e. the students chose to be there among other markers). It turns out among private colleges Berea (my sister’s school) ranked #4, and on the big overall list of National Colleges my very own BYU ranked #2.

Story of my family, no thinking crowd followers who make the safe popular choices.

I am so right

I have never really watched Dancing with the Stars, but occasionally Tivo records it. Cenny likes it so I watch the episode with her, a good Daddy daughter activity. Anyways, given that introduction, I saw the list of new contestants today

--Access Hollywood’s Nancy O’Dell

--Rapper Lil’ Kim

--Former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor

--“Jackass” wild man Steve-O

--Actress and reality show star Denise Richards

--Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson

--Singer Jewel

--Rodeo star Ty Murray (who is also Jewel’s husband)

--Actor and comedian David Alan Grier

--“Sex and The City” guy candy Gilles Marini

--Country singer Chuck Wicks (who is also Julianne Hough’s boyfriend)

--Former Go-Go’s singer Belinda Carlisle

--Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak

I am predicting right now the winner – David Alan Grier – and here is why
He is not afraid of looking silly

He is capable of swishing the hips

He is a nice guy that can win over the audience.

Who do you see winning just based on the names alone?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Conversations with JT - Peer Pressure

I am making popcorn with the air popper and JT is eating an apple.

JT: I need to keep eating apples - to get my teeth out.

Me: What??

JT: EVERYONE at school are losing their baby teeth, and I am not. Apples are a good way to get them to come out.

Me: Good Luck with that.

Then we segue automatically to this statement:

JT: Wouldn't be awesome if I put the apple seeds in the air popper and whole apples popped out.

Me: Yes, yes it would.

JT: And it would be cool!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

He Found Them, He Killed Them

Totally unbelievable, large gaps of logic, giant leaps of reasoning, , a weak ending, and a cast of cliched bad guys who can't hit the broadside of a barn with an automatic weapon, let alone a man 6 feet away from them. But you know what -


This movie is about a "skilled" man who follows through on his promise to the bad guys when they take his daughter. "I will look for you, I WILL find you, and I will KILL you." Then over the next hour he does just that. Basically imagine if Jack Bauer wasn't such a wuss. That is our guy.

And I quote the bad guy: "We can neg.."

Where is the rest of the quote you ask? That's it - shot to the forehead, negotiation is over buddy.

A Must Read for all Travellers

The Travel Detective
by Peter Greenberg

A great book that takes the time to explain through clear examples how air travel works. I simply thought I booked a seat, went to the airport, and rode to my destination. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes and it is well worth the read if you want to have a better, and more importantly, a cheaper flight. He also spends time on car rental, cruises, hotels, luggage, and most other travel related topics. I will probably read all his books to be prepared for our vacation in June.
The funny stories and the secret to using your frequent flier miles are worth the price of admission alone.

Stardate Whatever

Up Till Now
By William Shatner & David Fisher
Occasionally I like to throw a biography into my reading mix; sometimes it is serious and now and again completely frivolous. Up Until now was a brilliant book who opens up the man who is comfortable with himself.
Things I learn:
  • It can take a really long time for being an actor to pay off.
  • While he never got that "make you a big star" role, he did manage to become identifiable throughout the world with the jobs he took to pay the rent.
  • Some members of Star Trek really don't like him.
  • There has been some real sorrow in his life.
  • He doesn't take himself too seriously, which is the key to being awesome.
  • He is Canadian

What we didn't learn:

  • Does he wear a Toupee

The one disagreement I have with his assessment, Shatner and Spader (as Crane & Shore) do not share the closest nonsexual male bond on television - for me that will always be JD and Turk.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Short Cuts

I have a coworker named Rae Dawn, and on the way home I heard the most interesting commercial. Apparently she is one of the most prolific silent killers in America and I should watch out. Amazing the things I don’t know, I mean, she doesn’t even look like a ninja.

I go to the store to make a small beverage purchase and pick up my coat from the dry cleaning desk – but it turns out I forgot my wallet at home. When the stores insist on cash now for your purchases, well, Al Queda has won.

Only funny for LDS members. A young man in the ward starts to bless the water, too bad we were on the bread. He catches his mistake halfway through, stops, and says into the microphone “Sorry, My Bad.”

Deep Thoughts from the Shallow End #1

I have been on the facebook (I like saying “the face book”) pretty heavy the last few weeks, getting caught up in the excitement of seeing people I haven’t seen in 20 years. I am especially amazed at how many old people I went to high school with. While it has been nice to see the great successes in others lives, either professionally or personally, I have also caught up on some of the tragedies. I have learned that the cute little 12 year old girl who lived next door to me had such a hard time that in the end she took her own life. Since I wasn’t there for the bad times, to me she is still the happy 7th grader and it is hard to bridge that gap in my mind. Just this week a very good friend of mine let it be known that he is getting divorced, and another person shared with me that my pictures of some happy couple 20 years ago are now broken apart.
Now I don’t know the stories about these particular people and wouldn’t pretend to guess, but it has got me thinking about some stuff I have read or experienced. About half of those in love couples you see get married will get divorced. Now sometimes they probably should, but occasionally it is an accumulation of a lot of little steps in the wrong direction. What gets me the most, and again I am speaking generally (and absolutely not about anyone specifically), is when I here someone say we are married in the Temple (i.e. an official Mormon wedding) so we have a better marriage. I know quite a lot of people who not only believe this, but have said it out loud. While a temple wedding statistically speaking has better odds of surviving, it is no guarantee of success, or that it will be a happy one at that. Too often people use that ceremony as an excuse to get lazy and not do all the work to keep a marriage up. It is hard work to have a successful marriage,and there if you believe for one second that your temple certificate has given you a free pass you are probably in for a very tragic surprise one day. Any two people can be happily married, just some require a hell of lot more work than others.
What am I trying to say? I don’t know except if you were to talk to most divorced people I feel they would tell you how hard it was on them. You should marry well to begin with and do not ever assume for one minute that you will always be as happy as the wedding day; be working every minute to shore up the weak parts. Because up until the second the I35 Bridge collapsed, everybody assumed it was secure, safe, and would last forever.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Double O - My Goodness, Back up Dude!

Occasionally I am actually forced to interact with people as I muddle through life - too bad I know. And sometimes in those interactions you meet him, the secret agent of destruction

Mr. Tosis

Hal Tosis

liscensed to kill with one breath.

There is a guy at work who has his good and bad days, and to quote Mae West - when he is bad, he is very bad.

Of course being an adult I don't say anything, I just try to keep a lot of personal space between us, keep the conversation short, and hide my grimaces. Most of all though I get all paranoid about myself. I mean, if this reasonably intelligent and attentive adult can walk around killing plant life - maybe I am too. And since most people are polite, they are keeping it to themselves as well. So the cycle of paranoia ramps up and I start chewing gum until my jaw hurts.

What is the answer???

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I think I used to work there

The Crazy School
by Cornelia Read

A straight forward mystery which keeps you guessing pretty much until the end. I listen to this on tape as I went about my day and the woman reading it, Hillary Huber, nailed the voice perfectly.

Madeline Dare is a new teacher at a school for the mentally unstable, a place where desperate parents pay a lot of money for someone to take their kids off their hands. Unfortunately the people in charge are even crazier. When the bodies start adding up with all the evidence pointing at Dare - she is left to prove herself innocent.

A very good mystery, but be aware it is book two with this character. You may want to start with book one because her past is mentioned occasionally.

Cute Title

Florence of Arabia
by Christopher Buckley

Buckley writes very funny political books that are very quick to read. This is my 4th or 5th one, and they have all been great. This book looks at Middle Eastern relations when a recently fired state department worker, Florence, is given the opportunity to try and disable the region by creating a woman centered TV station in Matar. Much chaos ensues and the sad part is the extreme events are probably not to far off from the truth.

Read all of Buckley's works - while some characters carry through the books, they can all be read independently.

I feel left out

Just because a guy had his boyfriends name tattooed on his butt, while in prison for drug use* - He Cannot Donate Blood in this Facist Country!!!

Wait - it is because I might have the Mad Cow from living in England for so long. I mean honestly - do I look like that?
*You should disclose that if you want an excellent reaction from the screener.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's Official

I bought the plane tickets today for Iceland - June 6th through the 18th.

Posting Early

I really, really like this one - this will be my catch phrase everytime I go swimming from now on
This is why I can't donate blood anymore

Real magazine - I think Eric gets it
I will bet money several of Gunnar's teachers have felt like saying this

Just silly

Here is my list of 25 things

For those of you who need to more about me.

1) I know the formulation for SPAM® Luncheon Meat
2) I read approximately 125 books per year. all genres
3) I only dated girls whose first name ended with the last letter A, not intentionally, I just noticed it in hindsight (Vanessa, Theresa, Pamela, Gina, Lisa, etc.)
4) I grew 2 more inches in height (I specify height because I know what my friends are like) when I was 20.
5) After I saw the movie ET I didn't open my closet for a month.
6) For most of my college life I went by the name Howie.
7) Lisa and I dated/courted through letters. We met our freshman year at college (same dorm complex) and then only saw each other approximately 3 weeks in the next 3 years prior to meeting at the chapel in Chicago the day before the wedding.
8) I walked home from the hospital after the vasectomy, the only patient to have ever done that at my clinic.
9) My first real kiss was at 14 with Julie Pitt from Sellersburg Indiana.
10) I had a very severe episode of ITP when I was 31 years old
11) I get really motion sick. Body Wars at Epcot Center in Walt Disney World - WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE.
12) When my 1970's peers were rocking out to KISS I was totally loving ABBA.
13) I got my undergraduate degrees at BYU in Psychology and Family Science. My intention was to become a Marriage Counselor, but after working with the mentally ill and the juvenile jail system I decided I did not have the patience to listen to people whine about their problems all day.
14) Thomas S. Monson, Wilt Chambelain, Kim Catrall, Hayden Panetteire, Carrie-Anne Moss, and I all share the same birthday, August 21. We meet up in St. Louis for the party.
15) Having lived all over the world, I have now lived in Austin Minnesota the longest.
16) I cannot tolerate Wheat anymore, even a little bit makes my Ilium very CRANKY.
17) Anytime I hear someone use a word that rhymes with Fart in a conversation, I make the substitution in my mind and laugh on the inside.
18) I had a BCC (skin Cancer) removed from the tip of my nose.
19) One of my youth leaders when I was a kid (and used to get rides home with), ended up sexually assaulting a young kid and then beating the whole family to death with a cricket bat.
20) I tend to think of myself as funny, but haven grown up English culturally, not a lot of that humor translates in America. When that happens, Lisa will just tell them he's European. Odd thing is everyone has accepted that as a valid excuse.
21) At Junior Prom I went with Kara as friends (and at the last minute), we were the only couple not to get pictures and I still feel bad about that.
22) I dropped out of college twice - first when I got really bad mono, and then after my son was born. It took me about 9 years.
23) I was a vegan for 5 years.
24) My name while my Mom was pregnant was going to be Beauregard Cornelius; I only got a reprieve shortly before birth.
25) I had my slot to become a Missile Launch Officer in the USAF (the key turner guy in the silo) but passed a few weeks prior to my final commitment

Near Misses and Stories to Tell

I was just reminiscing about my youth when I remembered that a former young men's assistant in my ward, who was always a little off, ended up going off the deep end. He maintained a forced sexual relationship with a young man, and when it went bad he beat the father to death with an iron bar, and then stabbed both the boy and his mother to death. Afterwards he went in the back yard, climbed a tree, and tied a rope around his neck threatening to jump if anyone came near him.

I remember getting a few rides home from him as a youth. He was just a little off, and sometimes you could get a sense of some hidden anger underneath it all - but the ultimate conclusion was quite a surprise when I saw his face plastered across all the newspapers while I was on my mission.

Here is a short blurb in a recent copy of the Sun newspaper (thanks to my friend Kristy). You notice they leave out the pedophilia and the tree/rope portion. And here is one of the pictures I have of him from my younger days; Peter Robak is the really big guy front and center.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Phil Conners Day

I hope you all enjoyed it several times
I actually had this poster, but instead of the Beatles it was for the


Speaking of the double G's,

Don't Ya!