Saturday, December 13, 2008

12-of-12: December 2008

No 12-of-12 this month.... Sorry.

The fun day I wanted to have never happened. Why?
Two reasons:

Well, earlier this month I was "displaced" from my job. After a few days of interviewing for another position within my company, I got a NEW one! BUT... this meant training, training, training. I've been reading and taking assessments all day since Wednesday.

But that wasn't the main reason why the camera stayed in it's case.
My neighbors' dog went missing yesterday. I fond out around 11am and went cruising around the neighborhood trying to find her for a couple hours. I felt terrible for the family. Today is the 13th and she still hasn't returned home. Poor kid.

Sorry for the lack of photos this month. I hope January is better, all around.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday?

No, not really. But I'm better now.

Yesterday, I was "displaced" from my job... effective January 30th. Displaced... in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary it's defined as:

Function: transitive verb
Etymology: probably from Middle French desplacer, from des- dis- + place place
Date: 1549
1 a: to remove from the usual or proper place ; specifically : to expel or force to flee from home or homeland <displaced persons> b: to remove from an office, status, or job cobsolete : to drive out : banish

I have been BANISHED! At least, for now. I've been given a lot of time to try to find a new place for myself within the company, then if nothing works out, I can get a severance package (don't know what that is yet - "It's in the mail") to help pay the bills while I continue to look.

This feels icky at the moment... I'm nervous about not having insurance and not being able to pay my bills, oh, and finding a job in this recession-like economy we're in.

BUT, I'm also optimistic. As Kate Bush says "I just know that something good is gonna happen". I've started applying places and have a plan to keep the resume rain going for a few more days. I'm also going to exercise more... the dogs and I are going to walk EVERY day - sun or snow. I'm going to be in great shape for the many interviews I go on! :)

I'll keep ya posted... but now I have to go visit a friend and play Wii! Yay!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Curious, indeed!

I can't help but think... "If Rube Goldberg wrote a book, it would be this one." - The Curious Education of Epitome Quirkstandard

I'm not even going to attempt a review of this novel, all I can say is that it was wonderfully creative, full of surprises, has fantastic characters and is worth every minute of its quirky text! I suspect that fans of the Monty Python series would get a HUGE kick out of the adventures of Epitome and Simone (and the others throughout).

I was saddened today for two reasons.... because the story came to an end and the end of the story. That's all I'm going to say about it. I will say this, however, if you're looking for a novel with twists and turns, adventure, mystery, love, zen, and a "gentleman" named Spigot, listen to this podcast. You won't be disappointed!

Getting in shape during the "dark season"

I love to come home from work, throw the dogs in the truck and head out to the park for a nice evening walk.
Well, nowadays, it's getting dark around 5:00-5:30, so this isn't happening.

BUT, I also need to keep exercising (stopping would be very very bad). So, I've signed up for the Hundred Pushups Training Program! I also recruited the hubby, so we have each other to keep the motivation (and participation) up.

It's a 3-day per week program... Monday was day 1. WOW, am I sore. BUT, I already feel stronger (even with this darned headcold!) and know this will be very good for me. It's funny... we took a "pretest" before starting the program to find out which level we're at. I was thinking - OH, I can easily do 5 (standard) pushups. NO! I struggled to get 3 complete (well formed) pushups. So, I've resorted to the "alternate" pushups - the ones where you are on your knees. I figure, I start this way and gradually increase intensity to the standard pushups, if possible.

We'll see. Thinking I might be able to complete 100 of these things (IN A ROW) at the end of 6 weeks is daunting, but I'm ready to try. I'll keep ya posted!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I don't remember where I was when I heard the phrase "sky full of stars"... but it had an impact on me. I imagine sitting on my back porch and looking up into the very dark sky, with stars twinkling at me. I think of the endless possibilities each one represents.

Then my mind wanders and I think of all the ideas I've had. The dreams I've had. The endless possibilities I have.

I see this blog as a place to catch these ideas and thoughts and dreams. It's not limited to any one theme. It's just here, for days when I want to share what's up in my universe with anyone who wants to listen.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


... at Avedon Hill

What do you get when you mix together a "quite little mountain-pass town", an eclectic group of country folks, some magic, some monsters, and a murder? Simply stated, it's PG Holyfield's Murder at Avedon Hill.

As mentioned earlier, MaAH was my first taste of a podcast novel. When first searching iTunes, I wasn't sure what to expect from these stories. To be honest (even tho I'm embarrassed to say), I was leery of the quality of these novels. I mistakenly thought that since they weren't published (in the traditional sense... i.e they were FREE), that they'd be "hack" works. WOW, was I wrong!

I also need to share with you that I had just finished reading a bunch of Anne Rice before performing my search for a new book, so I typed in "vampires" to see what iTunes had. I assumed that MaAH was a medieval vampire story - WRONG AGAIN!

So about the story... In so many books, the reader cheers for the good guys and wishes ill to the bad guys. In MaAH, I don't know which is which. PG Holyfield does an excellent job at hiding the identity of the "bad" guys and make you question the "good" guys (well, except Aremes and Aarin - I'm pretty sure they're purely good guys) while keeping the intrigue level high!

I am DYING to know who killed Gretta Platt... I want to know how all these characters fit together... are some of my assumptions right? Will I be utterly surprised at the end of the novel (which is coming soon, I think)?

I hate waiting, but I will. I am truly looking forward to the remainder of the novel. I suspect PG Holyfield has a couple more tricks up his sleeve to reveal before it's all over.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

12-of-12: November 2008

I've mentioned in my other Blog that I travel for work. I drive A LOT! Everyday, I put somewhere between 100-300 miles on my vehicle.

Today (November 12th) was a work day, so my pictures are taken from where I spend much of my day. I've been calling this set "the view from the driver's seat".

- Jill

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I need...

...a new story.
But I don't know what.

OR, maybe PG Holyfield could drop a new chapter of Murder at Avedon Hill????
DAMN YOU, Holyfield!!

The other problem I'm facing is I've been REALLY busy with winter-prep stuff, so much of my free time is unavailable for perusing podcasts/podcast novels.

Tonight is "dinner and a movie" with the hubby, so maybe I'll try to find something over the weekend. If there's anyone out there with a suggestion, please feel free to post it in the "comments" section, or send me a message.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

My first "Comment"

Okay, this is cool! I received my first comment this week! WOO HOO!!

.. altho, it makes me a little nervous, 'cuz that means someone (besides me) is reading my blog. I guess that's the point of blogging, tho, right. If I wanted it to be "just me", I'd be writing in a paper diary or notebook.

Well, after receiving Mur Lafferty's comment this week (yes, Mur Lafferty - the author of Heaven & Playing for Keeps, amongst other titles), I figured I needed to follow-up on my promise to further review some of the podcast novels I've read... and I'll start with hers!

Let me back up a bit. When I read (or listen to a novel), I tend to be more on the sci-fi/fantasy side of things. I love adventure and abhor mushy, sexy, romance novels. I like to have fun when I read, or let writers challenge my ability to "suspend disbelief" and enter the world they create.

When I came across the Heaven Series, I thought: "This could be interesting!" I'm not a religious person, so having an adventure through the "afterlife" really intrigued me. Kate & Daniel seemed "real" to me, like people I would know or hang out with. Their take on the afterlife was along my lines of thinking, too.
...HEY! I just saw two things, that Heaven is listed as "Magical Realism"... I like that classification. That's what I meant by suspending disbelief! Also, this series was nominated for a Parsec Award in 2007 - much deserved!
{{{Oh, Ms. Lafferty... Mur... in case you're reading this... when might we see Season 5/War?}}}

Most recently, I finished Playing for Keeps. Keepsie & her pals are AWESOME! I love it when the "not so popular/special/cool" people save the day... probably because I'm one of those people, too. The characters were SO creative. The various "special powers" they had were nothing I've every come across before. If anyone is a fan of the TV show Heroes, they will LOVE this story.

EDIT: Check it out, Playing for Keeps won the 2008 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Story. Here's the link to the nominees & winners. CONGRATS, Mur!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Podcast Novels

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am a HUGE audiobook "reader". I gobble them up at the rate of about one every week. I love those that give an interesting story but don't require super-focus or concentration seeing as how I'm driving & listening at the same time (and I try to be a good driver).

So, I've run through the published works (getting expensive!) and so went on iTunes to see what might be available for free. Low and behold... it's a gigantic treasure trove of Podcast Novels! Below is a list of works I've "read" and would definitely recommend. I'll go into detail about these novels sometime soon, but now I only have a few minutes before I have to go grocery shopping.

My very first Podcast Novel was "Murder at Avadon Hill". This novel deserves special mention because it's still a "work in progress". You see, I didn't realize when I first downloaded it that it wasn't finished. I assumed that everything on iTunes was a complete set. Nope not MAAH. PJ Holyfield records when he can (he sounds like a busy guy), so installments come every week to two-weeks to month. I'm lovign the story, tho, so I'll wait.

Waiting is tough for me... so I have since downloaded a bunch of other stories to keep me preoccupied. Here's the rest of the list, with links, so anyone who reads this blog can learn more.

- The Heaven Series (I-IV) by Mur Lafferty
- Chasing the Bard by Philippa Balentine ** AMAZING Story, one of my favorite works of fantasy - I liked it so much, I bought the book!!!
- Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty - VERY FUN not-so-super superhero novel
- Space Casey by Christiana Ellis

I hope to have more in-depth info on all of these where I talk about my thoughts, feelings, etc about the books, but for now, we all have to wait. I have to go get milk.

Blog at ya soon,
- Jill

Monday, October 20, 2008

12-of-12: October 2008

Sunday, October 12th - Day THREE of our long weekend... we spent every day "leaf peeping" as the locals say. Leaf Peepers are (usually) the city folks who head out to the country to see the amazing colors of the leaves.

The pictures were taken in Cherry Creek, NY, USA (a tiny town about 60 miles south of Buffalo, NY). We left the house at Noon and got home around 6pm... my shots are from somewhere in that time-range.

Click on this LINK to see the full 12-of-12 set.

- Jill

New fun stuff: 12-of-12

Today is October 20th. Earlier this month I participated in the 12-of-12 for the first time.

What is the 12-of-12 you ask? I don't know the whole story (will post when I do), but from my POV, I learned about it from PodCacher. They, from what I understand, "borrowed" the concept from a blogger named Chad Darnell. He's the originator of the 12-of-12.

Soooo... what IS the 12-of 12, Jill?!

Twelve photos
taken on the 12th day
of each month.

Neat concept, eh?

I love photography, so I hope to participate each month. I think my major hang-up will be that I want creative photos for each month.... and some of my 12ths are pretty boring.
I guess we'll see.

- Jill

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Newest Podcast

Okay, so by now you likely know that I really enjoy Geocaching. It's true. I love it! I get to spend time with my family, I get great exercise (walking/hiking outside!), AND I am often introduced to places I may never have know about without being involved in this sport/game/hobby - obsession!

I also get to introduce people to places THEY've never seen before, too, through the caches I hide.

Today, I was doing a maintenance run on three of my newest caches - to get them ready for winter. Inside one of them was a Geocoin. The coin was one of DarrylW4 and Firefly03's coins. Had I found this coin a few weeks ago I might not have noticed anything special about it. But today I DID!

Why? You might ask? Well, DarrylW4 and Firefly03 are podcasters. They host a couple shows that I recently started listening to - Cache-a-maniacs and Cachers of the Round Table. I've only heard one Co/t RT, but I've become addicted to Cache-a-maniacs. In this podcast, they interview cachers every week... getting to know them and why they cache. It's cool to hear stories of these folks and see how alike or different we are, as cachers. I often learn a few things from seasoned cachers from the interviews, too.

I think I've listened to 5-6 CAM podcasts thus far... looking forward for more to come (and back-tracking a bit, too). Click on the button below for more info.

Thanks for the show!
- TotalNRG

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Favorite Podcast

I hate to say I have a favorite - every Podcast I listen to is cool/unique in it's own way - but one stands out as great in so many ways. Before I post which Podcast it is, let me tell you WHY it's my favorite.

First - Content. These guys really put together a nice show. Every week there is something new, something entertaining, or teaches me something I didn't know before I listened. The shows go by very quickly, leaving me bummed 'cuz I have to wait another week (usually) for the next show.

Second - Quality. Sound, music, lead-ins, organization. Everything is top-notch. From listening to podcasts for almost a year now (gobbling up 6-8 hours of content every day!) I have heard the best to the worst of podcasts. These guys really deliver on the quality side!

Finally - FUN. I am in on the fun with this show. Now, granted, not all the podcasts I listen to are aimed at being fun (medical ed, for example - not fun), but this one is. They sound like they're having fun putting the show together, they want their listeners to have fun, and they want their listeners involved. I love it!

Okay, okay... so who are these awesome, groovy, cool (and good-looking) podcasters??

Sonny & Sandy (of Sunny San Diego, CA) of PodCacher!
They do a show all about Geocaching. As they like to say, the show gives the listener:
  • Geocaching News
  • Tips and Tricks
  • Tools of the trade
  • Interviews
  • Opinions … lots of opinions
  • Cache stories and experiences
  • "Live" on-the-field tours and hunts

  • Check out their show by clicking the icon above or clicking here to learn more. Or, you can find them on iTunes.

    After you listen once or twice, then get up and go find an ammo can in the woods... it could change your life!

    Thanks, Sonny, Sandy (& Sean)! Keep up the good work!
    - TotalNRG

    Saturday, October 11, 2008


    I've decided! (I know... finally!)

    Here's the story behind my 1st Podcast Download:
    It's January 2008. I have to go back to work after a nice holiday break. I've loaded the iPod up with a TON of music, but I still have quite a bit of space remaining. The hubby suggests I try to find a podcast or two. At this point, I'm totally overwhelmed with the idea of narrowing down the MILLIONS of podcasts out there to one or two that I might enjoy and might want to subscribe to. He suggests I do a search for something I enjoy... Geocaching. What's geocaching, you ask? Follow this link to learn more (or post a comment and I'll get back to you).

    So I searched in iTunes for "Geocaching" and up pops Icenrye's Geocaching Videozine! Now, you have to remember... I'm totally new at this whole podcast thing... and even though I see "Videozine", I assume I can get the full effect just by listening.
    - After all, I can't drive and watch a video at the same time, right?!

    Well, I was wrong (about getting the full effect just by listening). I tried to listen while on the road and failed miserably. I then took some time during a break to watch the show and it was WELL worth it. Icenrye does a great job - with his adorable co-host, Roxi, and cameraman, Able - talking about the sport/hobby/obsession of Geocaching, technology and much, much more.

    Icenrye just got back from "summer vacation" where he spent the majority of his time working Agility with the pups - I sure have missed the videozine and am glad they're back - with NEW things! I look forward to the Daily Find, this should be a great addition to the show.

    Thanks, Icenrye!! Keep up the good work.
    - TotalNRG

    Wednesday, October 8, 2008

    Ready... Get Set...

    I want to GO... but I don't know where to start.

    I'm currently listening to about 20 different Podcasts... most of them weekly newscasts. I'm not sure if I want to start with my favorite or my first or just pick one at random. I know I'm NOT interested in doing this alphabetically.... that's not me.

    Going to give this a little more thought. Maybe tonight (since it's raining and I can't walk the pups) I'll jump back on the blog and FINALLY start.

    See ya in a bit!

    Monday, October 6, 2008

    New Blog

    I drive a lot for work... a LOT!

    With all this "windshield time" I like to do more than just listen to the radio. In fact, many times the radio is frustrating because of the distance I travel; I lose the station's signal and have to search for another.

    So, at first, I was listening to books on CD. That was okay, but it meant spending LOTS of money on new CDs or many trips to the library (sometimes not finding a selection I wanted and having to wait for my order to come in).

    Last year, for Christmas, my wonderful hubby bought me an iPod... 60 GB of storage! Whew! This is when I discovered Podcasts. WHAT A WONDERFUL INVENTION! Now I can listen to books, medical information seminars, humorous stories, you name it. Better yet, they're FREE!!!

    Today, I decided to keep a bit of a journal of the Podcasts I listen to... I'm not exactly sure why - whether it's for my own edification or for others. Dunno. And who knows, maybe this will be something that grows into something bigger or fizzles and fails. We'll see.

    For now, this is the intro to my new blog. I hope to post my first "real" entry in the next couple days. Unfortunately now, the dogs need me and I have to get to the grocery store. Bye!