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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm..., Book Cover Edition

Can't you just see the committee that came up with this book concept?

"Kids love Winnie the Pooh!"

"And kids love to learn how to cook!"

"Let's join them together, in 'Cooking with Pooh'!"

(Here's where normally someone on the committee is supposed to speak up and say, "ummm.... guys." Apparently that committee member was sick that day.)

And for this one, I imagine the concept design like this.

"Okay, we want to make sure the reader knows that there is a lot of sex in this book."

"What about having man and woman staring into each other's eyes like they're just about ready to hop in the sack?"

"Hmmmm... I think we need something more. How about a crotch?"


"Yup. Go with the man and woman thing, but frame the whole thing with a crotch so that there's no question."

More interesting book covers here. Via Scobberlotch

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Things That Make Me Go "Hmmmm...."

If you've ever noticed that section of your favorite magazine which is devoted to "classified advertising", you may have noticed that it mostly consists of shaky business opportunities and male enhancements. However, in my husband's Popular Mechanics, I noticed that the classifieds pretty much ranged all over the place. For your reading amusement, I'm highlighting a few that especially stuck out to me.


First of all, you might not think that PM seems like the right place for accessorizing, but how wrong you were.

"SUSPENDERS WITH PATENTED No-Slip Clip. Free Catalog."

This ad led me to, where there is a hefty dose of this new fashion trend... yup, urban suspenders. When you combine comfort, style, and the no-slip clip, I almost want a pair. Almost. But am I cool enough to wear a silk chirt with suspenders??? The world may never know.

Luckily, there was some old school suspenders for those who are not quite so hip as to have urban suspenders. More "Red-Green Show"-ish. Less sexy, more practical. Yeah. Practical.

Business Opportunities

This one was absolutely fascinating to me, because clearly in order for these advertisers to fork over money to advertise in PM, they must be reeling in suckers somewhere along the line. So someone somewhere reads these and thinks, man what a great business opportunity. Let's see what scams you can get yourself involved in this month:

"1000's WEEKLY mailing beautiful rose catalogs! Free supplies/postage! S.A.S.E."
(I'm not exactly sure who makes money on this endeavor or how, but I'm sure it isn't going to be you, oh dear sucker).

(I'm glad you qualified that with "potential", so that I know there's also the potential I'll hand over money to you, dear scammer, for some pie in the sky and get absolutely nothing in return)

"BUNKBEDS. Clear $300/day making Bunk Beds. Start at home in your spare time."
(Props for mentioning what I'll be making money on, but sorry I'll pass. Even mysterious "potential-to-make-my-annual-income-my-monthly-income-guy" promised training.)

"RARE COIN INVESTMENTS. Our clients DON'T LOSE money! FREE brochure."
(Well in this economy, not losing money is probably a plus, but I'm curious as to whether or not you make any.)

"PATENT YOUR BRILLIANT INVENTION!!! Registered Patent Attorneys Available to Assist You."
(What about my not-so-brilliant inventions? Are we being prejudiced against them, huh??)

Just Plan Bat-Shit Crazy

Under the heading of "Education & Instruction" (note that this heading is very important):

will enforce the MARK OF THE BEAST
Let THE BIBLE identify him
The Bible Says"
(Well are you going to tell me what the Bible says, or not?)

The following ad fascinates me on so many levels:
"NEW INVENTION ALLOWS HUMANS TO STAY PHYSICALLY YOUNG FOREVER! Proven affordable new technology. Guarantee works or money back."

Now with a promise like that, how could I not visit the website? As it it turns out, Alex Chiu has discovered the secret of immortality, and he's willing to share it with you. The website pleads, "Please believe me. Everything you read is true and is important. Now people do not have to age anymore." It then goes on to explain that immortality is granted by "Eternal Life Rings" and "Eternal Life Foot Braces". They "Protect your body from germs and disease as it keeps you immortal." You might be wondering how it works, but Alex has got you covered. There is an entire page, with explanations! ("The reason why healing wounds and scars of the body is the secret to eternal life is because - cholesterol does not pile up at blood vessels that has good circulation. Cholesterol piles up at blood vessels that has bad circulation. And what causes bad circulation? Wounds and scars.") And graphs!

Not only that, but he has a Gorgeouspill, which makes you (yep you guessed it) more beautiful each day. There's testimonials! And Gorgeouspill can save the world! (Actual Gorgeouspill is the "only one savior of the world!"). Please check out the lengthy explanation. I may have snorted something out of my nose as I read it.

I wonder sometimes. I really do.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More Cool Stuff For Free

I blogged the other day about free services and websites that I love. It was awesome to see that I introduced a few of you to Pandora. Hey, Pandora is awesome. It makes me sad that there people out there who don't know about it.

Anyhow. My friend Lauryn reminded me of a few more free things that are awesome.

Google Calendar. I've used Google Calendar for personal appointments for a couple of years now. At my previous job, we had for a long time the mini-version of Outlook that doesn't include a calendar, so I ended up using Google Calendar for work too. Then at the new job, I did have the Outlook calendar, then they moved to some crappy generic email program with a calendar I despised, so I'm back to Google Calendar for all my needs. It's great except when I forget to check it before making plans. My coworker has learned to ask me to check my calendar before I agree to anything...

Open Office. I have not personally used this, as I have managed to finagle connections and avoid paying the full price for Microsoft Word (I hate to brag but because hubby works at a college, we paid $25 for the entire Office Suite). But if I had a choice between Open Office (free) and the regularly priced Microsoft Office ($100+), I'd go with Open Office.

Flickr. I've used this one and I know it is supercool. I don't currently use it. But that doesn't detract from its supercoolness.

Facebook. In Lauryn's words, "The cheapest and easiest way to stay in touch with everyone! :)" There is a backstory to Lauryn's comments. Lauryn likes Facebook. I do not. I do acknowledge that it is great for planning events. I keep foiling Lauryn's event planning by not ever checking Facebook. For a while, she would send me an email along the lines of, "Ummm... we're planning a scrapbooking night and you haven't responded, because you're not on FACEBOOK." And everyone has to accomodate my non-facebookness, because I am a dork like that.

Lauryn, I hope you haven't given up on me. I just checked Facebook a month ago! Speaking of, when was our next scrapbooking event?? Seriously, I forgot to add it to my Google Calendar.

Friday, February 20, 2009

More Memage

Melody tagged me for this meme, which is to find your fifth photo file and pull out the fifth picture in there. This one happens to be a kind of goofy picture from when we went to an apple orchard two years ago with some friends.

Rusty is just a baby puppy in that picture. I had hardly even taken him out anywhere before, but I swear I know it is like to be a celebrity after that day, because every single person we walked past wanted to pet him. While I sat outside and waited for everyone to finish buying their apples indoors, a couple of young girls actually sat and played with him for a good twenty minutes.

No wonder he's an attention whore. He's been spoiled since puppyhood!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Reason for Reading: Sci Fi Experience
Rating: 3/5

The Martian Chronicles is pretty much a cornerstone of science fiction. In short stories that sometimes overlap, sometimes diverge, the history of human colonization on Mars is explored. From the first expeditions and their unsuccessful first encounters with the telepathic Martians, to their eventual dominance of the planet, to the nuclear holocaust on Earth that recalls most of them back. Private stories of survival, grander tales of adventure, this book encompasses the human experience on Mars.

I first read this back in middle school, and I picked up it up eagerly, only to find that some of the stories didn't really live up to what I remembered. I remembered loving Usher II, but rereading it, it seemed slapped into the collection, being hardly related to Mars at all, rather about a man and his Edgar Allen Poe-style revenge on the morality police who've destroyed all of his books. Book burning and the morality police come up nowhere else in the collection, odd since the rest of the stories hang together much more solidly.

The best stories in the collection are the first few, Ylla, The Earth Men, and The Third Expedition, all dealing with the disastrous first contacts between Earthling and Martian. I finished The Third Expedition with a chill running down my spine. When the Third Expedition of Earthling explorers arrives on Mars and encounters what looks to be a city snatched from 1950's America, populated with the dead grandparents, uncles, aunts and sweethearts, everything looks too good to be true.

Should I read it? It is a giant among science fiction collections. You may not enjoy every single story, but there's plenty of different subjects/styles, so you'll probably find at least one you like.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Write On Wednesday

This week, Becca asks:

How about you? Is your writing life healthy these days? How do you keep your writing life alive? What are some of the remedies you use to revive it?

I was just making a list today of all of the things I try to cram into my free hours at home, revolving around writing, and when I finally looked at what I'm expecting of myself, it was a "smack my forehead" moment. No wonder my time feels so cramped! I'm trying to do everything, everyday.

What do I actually get accomplished out of all of that? When it comes to writing, I have my highs and lows in terms of inspiration and wordcount. I am learning how to write when my muse is on vacation. Although I like it when she's around. I have much better wordcounts when I'm so inspired I forget how long I've been writing and it turns out I just pounded out 500 words in a single go of it. And then the next day it takes me two hours to get out five hundred words that I know I'll probably delete tomorrow.

So it goes. Days that I sit at my computer and write absolute crap, though, are still better than days I don't write at all. When I don't write one day, the next day I figure my word count for the week is shot anyhow, so why bother, I can just wait until the next Sunday to get started, and do better then... and then a week's gone past and I haven't written a blessed thing that wasn't for work. Or my blog, if I'm lucky.

So I try to be flexible with myself when I don't meet my writing goals. If I can't write, can I revise something I've already written? Can I do some research for The Great American Novel? Can I read a chapter from one of my awesome writing books that I got for Christmas? Then I give myself a pep talk.



"You can do it."

"No, I can't."

"Yes you can." (Inspiring music from Rocky playing in the background.)

"Nah, I think its more fun wasting time on the internets right now."

"Getyourrearintogearnow!! Ooh... internets... pretty... Paris Hilton got a nose job?"

When all else fails, I imitate other writers. I mark passages in the books I'm reading and copy them into a big ole Word doc and as I type I have to think through the structure and the words that the author chose for this passage and I feel WAY smarter. I've STUDIED! I've LEARNED!!

And when even that fails, there's always reruns of 30 Rock awaiting me online. Because TV helps me write (*eye twitches uncontrollably). Really!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Best Things in Life are Free

With the economic recession, free sounds better and better all the time. As I was setting up my new computer, I was thinking of all the free websites and programs I use. Here's a few that I can't live without.


Pandora, which is an awesome way to find new music. You set up stations by telling it a few songs you like, and it comes up with new songs you might like based on your preferences. As you hear songs you like, you can give them a thumbs up, you can mark them to download from iTunes or Amazon. I personally got about five new CDs for Christmas based on artists I found on Pandora. Of all the websites to help you find things to do in your area, I've found this one to be about the easiest and the most user friendly. I like the fact it allows you to search a particular neighborhood, so when I know approximately where I want to go, it gives me all the options.

Google Docs. Although nowhere near as fancy as a full-featured word processor, when I'm apart from my usual computer and have some time to kill, I use Google Docs to get in some writing time.

Google Books. In doing research for my nanonovel, this was extremely useful. Most classic novels are available in their full length on Google Books, and for newer novels I can at least see a portion.

And of course, Blogger and Google Reader, but 'nuff said about those two. If you're reading this, you probably already know how awesome they are.


yWriter. I had never thought of trying to use any program aside from Word for writing. However, I saw other professional writers talking up Scrivener, where you write a novel in scenes instead of all in one big chunk. It is mac-only, a no-go for me, but it got me thinking that there might be something else that would work with my PC. Just by googling "writer's software", I came across yWriter, which works on a similar concept. You write scenes and organize them into chapters. You can create character, location, and object lists. I found it to be so awesome during Nanowrimo that I actually ended up importing all of my research for my novel from a Word Document that had grown wildly unwieldy into yWriter, where I could organize it by topic. The software also creates daily backups, so you never have to worry (too much) about losing anything.

Picasa. I've gushed about this one before, but seriously Picasa3 is pretty awesome. The red-eye remover is automatic, it can link directly to Blogger, you can also use its uploader to buy pictures from virtually any photo website. It makes video slideshows of your photos. It pulls together all the pictures spread across your computer, and somehow it magically figures out the original orientation of your photo and rotates it the right way automatically.

What's your favorite free stuff?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
Reason for Reading: Sci Fi Experience
Rating: 3.5/5

Jules is a young man barely a century old. He's lived long enough to see the cure for death and the end of scarcity, to learn ten languages and compose three symphonies.. and to realize his boyhood dream of taking up residence in Disney World.

How could I not pick up this book with an introduction like that? I have this thing for Disney World, science fiction, and especially funny science fiction. There was a lot to love in this book.

Disney World is ruled by a volunteer network of ad-hocs who keep the attractions running for the "whuffie" or good will they earn from tourists. In a utopian society, whuffie is currency. Whoever does the best job of keeping the guests happy gets the most whuffie.

You might be wondering that with all three of my favorite things coming together, why did I only give it 3.5 out of five?

While there honestly is a lot to like about this smart and funny read, the biggest con with this book is that Jules is not that sympathetic of a character. Okay, he's persistent in trying to prevent the Haunted House in the Magic Kingdom from being overtaken by a rival who wants to turn it into a new direct-to-brain interface. But the depths that he sinks to in order to get his way, including downright sabotage, start to alienate him from everyone else. And sometimes I had to sympathize with everyone else.

However, that didn't put me off enough that I wouldn't go for more Cory Doctorow in the future. I liked his concept, I liked imagining Disney World in the future, I liked the exploration of how life becomes so meaningless without death that most people voluntarily die in order to skip out on a couple of weeks, months, or years and see if things are cooler in the future.

Should I read it? Do you like sci fi? Do you like Disney World? Then yes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

*Runs in, Panting for Breath

Have. New. Computer.

Can't. Talk. Now. Must. Play. With. New. Toy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Soon I Will Be Invincible

Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
Reason for Reading: Sci Fi Experience
Rating: 4/5

Doctor Impossible - evil genius, diabolical scientist, wannabe world dominator - languishes in a federal detention facility. He's lost his freedom, his girlfriend, and his hidden island fortress.

Over the years, he's tried to take over the world in every way imaginable: doomsday devices of all varieties (nuclear, thermonuclear, nanotechnological) and mass mind-control. He's traveled backward in time to change history, forward in time to escape it. He's commanded robot armies, insect armies, and dinosaur armies. Fungus army. Army of fish. Of rodents. Alien invasions. All failures. But not this time. This times it's going to be different...

I just had to start with the book's dust cover because I pretty much can't sum the book up any better than that. The book alternates between Doctor Impossible and Fatale, a cyborg addition to the Champions, AKA the world's best known superhero team. Grossman takes a similar approach to the superhero genre as The Impossibles by imagining all the genre stereotypes as a given. What's it like to have an island laboratory? What's the not-so-good side of being implanted with so much machinery there's not much human left? How's it really feel to share a high tech lab with the members of your superhero league?

The flaw to this book is because we're following the perspective of Doctor Impossible, the reader can't help but sympathize with him and cheer him along even as the Champions hunt him down, making his ultimate demise a bit of a letdown. Because you know there's going to be an ultimate demise.

The book is a clever quick read and if it sometimes couldn't decide if it was a parody or not, well then, I forgive it.

Should I read it? Do you love superheroes? Did you love the Impossibles? Then yes, by golly, you should.

With the theme of this post, I thought it would be a good time to mention another important topic: creating your own superhero. I created mine, The Mighty Flying Jones at The Hero Factory.

Her superpower appears to be flying and managing not to hit herself with that whip. Wanna try? Let me know when you've created your superhero so I can stop by and visit.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Have you gone to see the movie Coraline yet? No? Get going already, because it's awesome.

Coraline Jones is bored. With her parents both busy working as writers, there's not much for Coraline to do. So she spends her time exploring the new flat that she and her parents have moved into. There's eccentric neighbors living in the same building. Miss Forcible and Miss Spink are retired actresses who keep a pack of their dearly departed dogs stuffed on a shelf and feed Coraline 50-year-old taffy. Mr. Bobinsky upstairs is a gymnast who is working on his mouse circus.

And in perhaps the greatest departure from the novel, Coraline makes a new friend in Wybie, grandson of the house's owner. He gives her a strange doll he found that looks exactly like Coraline, and that's when things start to get strange.

One day while counting everything around the house, Coraline encounters a strange little door that leads to another apartment just like her own, except better. There's an Other Mother and an Other Father, an amazing garden, a piano that plays itself, and the food is way better.

But things aren't quite what they seem. Her Other Mother and Other Father have buttons for eyes and if Coraline wants to stay forever, she'll need to have buttons sewn in her eyes as well.

This delightfully creepy book could have been translated any number of ways to the screen, and most of them would have been completely wrong. But the gorgeous, stop-motion movie is funky, eye-poppingly beautiful, and completely perfect for the tone of the story. Even Coraline's ordinary world looks fantastic, and the only word for the Other World is AMAZING. The delights that the Other Mother initially prepares for Coraline are stunning.

When you think 3-D, you might be thinking chintzy, but the effects are subtle and well-suited for the movie. There is of course the little moments with things flying out of the screen, but they were a real enhancement.

The source material is most definitely creepy, and the movie does not skimp on the creepy factor. In some ways, the movie is scarier than the book because instead of just imagining the hideous monster that is the Other Mother, you actually get to see her as a boated spider-creature. And oh yeah, the bat-dogs are pretty creepy/cool.

I loved this book and I loved the movie. It is a very rare thing when that happens, so I commend the film makers for bringing Gaiman's vision to the screen.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Reason for Reading: IRL Bookclub
Rating: 2.5/5

The plot: A father and son struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. 10 years in, there is nothing growing, no animals living, and food is almost impossible to find.

The pros: The relationship between the unnamed father and son is very vivid, touching, and propels the book forward. The young son was wise beyond his years, and yet still maintains innocence despite the harrowing situation they live with. A frequent theme of the book is the discussion the boy has with his father as he struggles to understand who the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are, and which side the two of them fall on.

The cons: Written without much punctuation or chapter breaks, this book's styling was more distracting to me than anything. The writing is also very spare. Lots of ink is spent describing what the characters do, with the analysis left up to the reader. I have to mention that there are some very disturbing parts in this book, so do not read right before bed (those of you who have read this already can imagine the nightmares I had the night I made this mistake).

And I don't know whether to call this a pro or a con, but this was an emotionally exhausting book to read. The relentlessness of the devastation visited upon the planet never seems to end.

Should I read it? If you enjoy character-driven novels and don't find avante garde punctuation distracting, yes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Loving those B's

So the wonderful Trish of Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'? had a letter-themed meme going on and now I get to pass it on. It goes like this. Trish posted about 10 things she likes that start with the letter O, and then you could ask to be tagged and get an assignment for a new letter to post about. So my letter is B, which happens to be a really awesome letter to have when you are a book blogger and your blog is entitled Bold. Blue. Adventure. And, with no further ado, here are ten things I like that start with the letter B.

Bed. This is honestly the first thing that came to mind, because I luurve my comfortable bed, and I enjoy spending as much time sleeping there as possible. Somehow between writing, blogging, and my real job, I have less time there than I really like.

Books. I mean, duh that's a no-brainer.

Blogging. Because its awesome to make other bloggy friends. And ya'll are awesome. Pat yourself on the back. Yeah!

Booze. My favorites are the really sugary drinks that don't even seem alcoholic until you all of a sudden stand up and realize that you just drank three of them and they actually are alcoholic. And I sometimes tolerate beer.

Banana Bread. My hubby made banana bread muffins last weekend. Nuff said.

Blue. When naming my blog, I wanted to incorporate the color blue, because its my favorite, the world bold because it sounds strong, and adventure came to me, because embarking on blogging felt like an adventure to me.

Bethel University, my alma mater. If you would have asked me about the time I was finishing up college, I would not have included Bethel on my list. Because I hated being in college and I wanted SO BADLY to be done. But now, my hubby works there and so half of my income is derived from Bethel. So I likes it.

Bargains I'm cheap. I can't walk away from a clearance rack, even when its in my better interest.

Battlestar Galactica. Frak, that's a great show. Even though I'm really annoyed about the episode I just watched. But still, a great show.

Black Friday. This relates to the "bargains" item. I love Black Friday. The thrill of the chase... the feeling of having all the Christmas shopping done... its a big ole shoppingasm.

There, so now the rules are, if you want to be tagged, leave a comment and I'll assign you a letter.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Slaughterhouse Five

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Reason for Reading: Sci Fi Experience-ish
Rating: 6/5 (Yeah I know)

This will be a real test as to whether or not I can write a mini-review and still manage to give a coherent report on what the review is about.

Okay, I'll do my best. Slaughterhouse Five is about a man named Billy Pilgrim, and we are introduced to him in this manner:

People aren't supposed to look back. I'm certainly not going to do it anymore.

I've finished my war book now. The next one is going to be fun.

This one is a failure and it had to be, since it was written by a pillar of salt. It begins like this.
"Listen, Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time."

It ends like this:

Listen, Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. I will never forget that opening line. Billy travels through all the moments in his life, from his birth to the purple nothingness that is death. He is in the cellar of a Dresden slaughterhouse on the eve of one of the greatest man-made disasters. He is on the planet Tralfamadore in a zoo with the famous Earthling movie star Montana Wildhack. He is getting married to the daughter of one of the finest citizens of Ilium, New York. He is preaching the message of the Tralfamadorians on the radio, which is that there are four dimensions, the fourth dimension being time. All moments past, present and future have always existed and always will exist, and death means nothing more than that a person is alive in the past. It is an illusion that one moment follows another.

This book is hard to describe because yes, it is science fictiony, but it is also about tragedy. About how to comprehend what is almost incomprehensible. The Tralfamadorians, with their ability to see the fourth dimension, give Billy a way to make sense of life. When someone dies, they say, "So it goes."

Billy's wife dies in a car accident. So it goes. The city of Dresden is wiped off the map by firebombs. So it goes. A fellow POW is killed for stealing a teapot. So it goes.

This was supposed to be a mini-review. So it goes.

Should I read it? Why are you reading this review? Go pick it up!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

New Format!

Since December, my reviews have gotten shorter and shorter, so I'm just going to roll with it, people. Instead of blaming my shorter reviews on less time to write them, I'm going to roll this format change out as a permanent thing, corporate-style.

Bold.Blue.Adventure. is cutting out the fat! The new improved Bold.Blue.Adventure. format will be lean, mean, and miniature. That's right, Bold.Blue.Adventure. is going to an all mini-review format. That's right, this doctor recommended formula offers the following benefits:

Less time reading about a book, more time actual reading
Short, concise, to the point. You'll know immediately if I liked it.
Who doesn't love bullet points?
More time actually reading (Did I mention this one already?)

So tune in this week for more reviews, coming atcha fast and furious. Look for Slaughterhouse Five, The Road, and Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.