Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hidden TravelGems (Travel)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: The Hidden Travel Blog offers a vast collection of worldwide travel news and tips. Learn how to plan the perfect trip and avoid unwanted surprises.

MY REVIEW: This blog is rather popular on the Kindle, if the sales ranking is to be believed. (#134,314 in Kindle Store). It kind of surprises me, because I wouldn't think it's suitable for the Kindle. Lots of the articles have "Click here to read more" lnks. Oh, the links work, and perhaps I'm in the minority of people who don't like to use the Kindle to get onto the web. If you're going to have to do that on a regular basis, you may as well just bookmark the blog itself.

While the authors certainly go to interesting destinations (there seem to be several authors) the articles aren't in-depth enough to be really valuable. They provide just a soupcon of a taste of the destination, no more than that.

Therefore, I can't give this a recommendation.

-Seen that? Terre-de-Haut, Guadelupe (Feb 21, 2010)
-Boutique Hotels for Valentine's Day (Feb 11, 2010)
-Living in the Manchester airport (Feb 4, 2010)
-Glitz and Glamour: Beirut Reborn (Jan 31, 2010)
-Hotels: Luxury Can Be Worth It (Jan 27, 2010)
-Airport Hotels Can Make Business Travel Easier (Jan 27, 2010)

Classic Mysteries (Arts and entertainment)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Podcasts, reviews and conversations about fine mysteries worth reading and re-reading.

MY REVIEW: I love this blog. A definite must subscribe, if you are any kind of a mystery fan.

Truth to tell, I was raised on the classic mysteries Les Blatt talks about here, so much so that I return to them again and again, instead of the modern stuff written these days that is too gruesome for my taste, or just so much pap. (How many middle-aged women with cranky mothers or otherwise disfunctional families can operate a catering service or a bed and breakfast or a dog walking business and on and on).

Okay, inconsistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. I normally discourage subscribing to blogs that make you click on a link to be taken to the complete article... but with this blog, it's worth it. Also, a few of the reviews are podcasts, which you can't hear on the Kindle. But, when you come across a book and Blatt's prose makes you curious to know more, then you can bop on over to his website and take a listen.

-Book Printing: the way it was
-Looking back: Vintage Ngaio Marsh
-"Death of a Peer"
-Looking back: "Trent" and the Imperfect Detective
-Agatha Nominees
-"The Poisoned Chocolates Case"

Go With the Flowski (a photo blog of American scenery)


MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations



BLOG DESCRIPTION: Technomads blogging the U.S.A. like never before photographing spectacular, compelling, offbeat, utterly unforgettable cool places. We're the new breed of geeky gypsies livin' the dream on the road by summer and skiing Tahoe in winter! New photos/videos are uploaded to our photo blog frequently, follow it today!

MY REVIEW: I hate to give this blog a bad review, as the photos are pretty nice -- on their website. But with the greyscale of the Kindle, the photos really do suffer in translation.

Each post has several photos of each particular site.

Bookmark this blog if you like photos of American scenery. Try a Kindle subscription if you're satisfied with greyscale photos.

-Snow at Sierra in Tahoe
-Alice in Chains Concert
-Lake Tahoe, California
-Welcome to CAlifornia
-Mono Basin Scenic Area
-Crab Cooker Hot Spring, CA

Ars Technica (science and technology)





BLOG'S DESCRIPTION: Ars Technica offers news and reviews, analysis of technology trends, and expert advice on topics ranging from the most fundamental aspects of technology to the many ways technology is helping us enjoy our world.

MY REVIEW: If you're a gamer of any kind, this is the blog for you. Indeed, despite the blog's description on its Amazon webpage, that does seem to be it focus - the technology of gaming on computers, on ipads and Iphones, and so on.

Even if you're not into gaming, the technology covered here is interesting, and stuff that frankly, any member of a technological society needs to know about. Any gaming technology is also technology that will find its way into the real world eventually, from our movies to how our computers operate.

Check this blog out via the Kindle free two-week tryout, and I think you'll continue your subscription after that.

-The A4 and the A8: secrets of the iPad's brain
-They won't see you coming: the XAI Laser Mouse with LCD
-My oil droplet is smarter than your lab mouse
-Weird Science finds marriage can kill
-Week in gaming: Bad Company 2, Mario Galaxy 2, Steam
-Week in tech: we're all so predictable

Daily Dose of Medical Knowledge



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Daily Dose of Medical Knowledge

WEB ADDRESS: The publisher is Brim. The web address...can't find it! I suspect it's generated by an application and is not resident on the web. But, pace our erstwhile imitaor, it is indeed active.

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Daily Dose is just what the Doctor Ordered! Written by an Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society member & internal medicine physician, Daily Dose delivers a medical fact a day straight to your Kindle. Most medical professionals strive to stay current in their medical knowledge and Daily Dose is here to help you along the way!

Facts will range the gamut of medical knowledge, from lab tests and their uses to patient management and diagnosis. Nurses, medical students, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, residents, and physicians will all enjoy getting a medical tidbit daily. And even though Daily Dose caters to those in the healthcare professions, it can be enjoyable to anyone with an interest in medicine and health.

Studying for the USMLE, shelf exams, and specialty boards has never been more fun with Daily Dose!

*Please do not use Daily Dose as a substitute for your own medical judgement. Non-healthcare professionals are encouraged to not use Daily Dose to diagnose or treat themselves but to instead see their own physician.*

MY REVIEW: This blog is not for the layperson, but rather for pharmacists, nurses, nurse assistants, anyone in the medical field. Well-written (as far as I can tell, being a layperson!) and informative. Highly recommended.

-Mechanism of Acetazolamide (Feb 26, 2010)
-MRSA and Rifampin (Feb 25, 2010)
-Young Patient with Shingles (Feb 24, 2010)
-Blood Transfusions (Feb 23, 2010)
-Aortic Stenosis (Feb 22, 2010)
-Angle Closure Glaucoma (Feb 21, 2010)
-Glargine Dosing (Feb 20, 2010)

Your Life. Organized (Lifestyle and culture)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Your Life. Organized, published by Monica Ricci


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Organizing Expert Monica Ricci shares clutter control & organization tips, tricks, ideas, inspirations and information to simplify life. Get organized, manage your time, overcome procrastination and achieve life balance to create a meaningful life you can be proud of!

MY REVIEW: There are two websites on the web called Your Life Organized. One is entitled Your Life Organized and is run by professional home organizer and author Candita Clayton. She has no blog, however.

Your Life. Organized is by Monica Ricci, and in it she gives plenty of tips on how to organize your life.

Frankly, this is an important subject. How many minutes of every day do you waste looking for things you've misplaced? Now double that, and that's the time you've really wasted - because you could have achieved twice as much in the time it took you to find your missing item.

Organization is important in every facet of life, from cooking and cleaning, to office work, to creating anything. For every one individual who "thrives" in a disorganized environment, there are thousands who suffer, in little ways, from it.

The thing is, of course, just like dieting, becoming disorganized is easy, and creating good habits to help you become organized and keep organized are hard to do. This blog can help you. (But check out the other one, too.)

-When is a negative a postive? (How saying "No" can free you of clutter) (Feb 25, 2010)
-Quote of the week: Habits (Inspirational quote) (Feb 24, 2010)
-Sometimes hanging is the only option (3M Command Hooks) (Feb 22, 2010)
-Why I agree with Tiger (Don't clutter your life with things) (Feb 19, 2010)
-Multi-purpose products multiply organizing success! (a podcast) (Feb 18, 2010)
-Quote of the week: Positive magnetism (Feb 17, 2010)

From the Inside...Out (humor)


MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: From The Inside... Out, published by Kathryn


BLOG DESCRIPTION: So life happens. I'll report. You'll hopefully laugh.(With me and not AT me.) Cocktails are optional, but highly recommended. I'll do my best to make you smile. If I fail, just pour yourself another. It's a win/win.

MY REVIEW: The author, Kathryn, is a mother to two teenage sons, and a widower. She writes well, but on such trivial, random things, that I have no interest in.

However, I've visited the actual webpage of the blog, and it is very popular. Every post gets a half-dozen comments, all commenting on how funny her posts are.

Since if you subscribe to a blog via the Kindle you get two weeks free, check it out for yourself and see if you like it.

Here's a few sample paragraphs:
It’s snowing again.

Never…in the history of winters….has it been so crappily snowy, icy and downright treacherous.

And never…in the history of meteorologists….have they been so freakin’ wrong.

They’re like 0 for 5…or batting a .240 average….or, whatever translates to really bad. I’d fire ‘em all in a New York minute.

Last night, they’d predicted a dusting to fall overnight….two inches, tops. We awoke to a light and delicate snow this morning and I remember thinking, “Normal Rockwell painting” when I looked out the window.

Yes, I know. Hell must’ve frozen over…or pigs must be flying ("Hey, Jen!!") ‘cause you just heard me say something nice about the snow. Don’t get used to it. I only said it ‘cause it was supposed to be stopping…and the roads were virtually un-snowed-upon. I figured we were golden.

I was wrong.

The school buses arrived….da boys grumblingly boarded said buses and I sat down to write.

When it’s sans sun outside, I often do not bother to open the drapes in my master bedroom-slash-office, for it does a better job of keeping the warm air in and the cold air out.

-Silver Lining
-Happy Pill
-Lost in Translation
-Poop on the Stoop
-Let it Snow. Let it Stop. Let it Go!
-Very Superstitious

The Kindle Blog Report is Always Evolving

Up until now, the Kindle Blog report has focused on blogs that are available for subscription via the Kindle. However, there are thousands more blogs out there that are not yet available on the Kindle, so if we see a particularly great blog out there, we'll recommend it here. (In other words, we won't review "bad" blogs that aren't on Kindle, but if there's a great blog that isn't on Kindle, we'll tell you about that.)

We've got so many great reviews here, and I'm behind on adding them all to the external index page. Hopefully I'll get that done before Wednesday of this week.

And as always, if you've got a blog you'd like reviewed, send us a line at Kindle Blog Report.

Airspeed (Aviation)


MY RECOMMENDATION: YES, with reservations



BLOG DESCRIPTION: Join Stephen Force for everything aviation and aerospace. Here you'll find show notes, links to show audio, and updates on Capt Force's never-ending quest to go higher, faster, and harder. Smoke on!

MY REVIEW: Airspeed is the "The Official Blog and Website of the Airspeed Podcast and Media Network."

As such, many of the posts here aren't really suitable for the Kindle, as they are links to podcasts and episodes, which can only be viewed at the actual blog site. On the other hand, I'm giving this a thumbs up because the "regular" blog posts are pretty interesting and informative.

Here's a sample:

So it's late at night. And a Twitter follower tweets me with a link to Joe Sharkey’s High Anxiety blog. And I go read the blog entry in question. Crap. Did I mention that it's late at night? It is. I have way too much work to do. But I can’t let it go.

In his post, Joe asks, in relevant part, “Who [sic] do private aircraft, including corporate jets, some of which are the size of commercial regional jets and even 737s, get by without direct federal security screening before takeoff?” And he then goes on to suggest that DHS and TSA are going to take it in the pants politically for failing to adequately regulate GA.

Okay, I’ll trade in some sleep and rise to the bait.

Exactly what security procedures would you suggest? No background check of which I’m aware could possibly have revealed the threat that this guy is alleged to have posed. (Note that 18 of the 19 September 11, 2001 terrorists would have passed even an aircrew background check with flying colors.) No ramp security would have prevented what we saw in Austin today.

The fact is that private aircraft above a certain maximum takeoff weight (e.g. 45,500 kg MTOW) are subject to security procedures, as are private charter operations and other operations over a broad range of aircraft types and/or operational circumstances (DHS Full Program, Partial Program, Private Charter Program, sterile area requirements, DCA Access Program, etc.).

Smaller aircraft under most circumstances aren’t subject to TSA screening for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which seems to evade the American public: The elusive fact is that, as long as he was predisposed to do dramatic harm at the building site in the first place, this guy probably saved lives by using a general aviation aircraft. Any reasonable person should understand that using a GA aircraft is more difficult and less effective at the task of damaging a building or hurting people than much more easily obtainable things like a backpack or a rental truck.

I don’t want to belabor the point with a series of scenarios involving backpacks full of explosives or raise again visions of the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City with a rental truck. And, lest my words be twisted, I’m by no means suggesting that anyone ought to bomb or damage anything under any circumstances.

The point is that a GA airplane is a wholly inefficient and overly complicated way to deliver any explosive. Or even blunt force. You have to get the plane. You have to know how to fly it. You have to be able to fly it with reasonable precision at high speeds. (I fly some aerobatics and I can tell you that it’s not as simple as it looks.) You have to navigate to the intended target. And you pretty much have to stay in the plane all the way to impact (leaving you, er, unable to do it again).

If your goal is to hurt people and damage property, that’s ridiculously complicated and unnecessary. No self-respecting terrorist would go through all this trouble if hurting people and damaging property was the goal.

Joe, if you fear actual loss of life and damage to property, you need to re-focus. It’s not the airplane, man! Sure, airplanes crashing into buildings are exciting and they make the news. But to focus on the airplane is to bury yourself and your readers in fluff and ignore the real issue. This guy would have been a lot more dangerous with a rental truck.

-It's Not the Airplane, Man
-Cessna Citation Mustang - video episode
-Talking with Acro Camp IP Don Weaver
-Tailwhhel Training and Camera
-Acro Camp Announcement and Casting
-L-39 Driver Tim Brutsche

Seattle Mariners: Caffeinated Confines (baseball)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Caffeinated Confines features the latest updates on the Seattle Mariners players, personalities and news.

MY REVIEW: Another blog that used to be hosted on the MVN (most valuable network) which is no longer in existence.

Since the baseball season is coming up rapidly I'll be reviewing lots of baseball blogs. This one unfortunately no longer exists.


Sean's Mountain Adventure Update (mountain climbing)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Sean's Mountain Adventure Update


BLOG DESCRIPTION: First hand ski touring and climbing reports from Rainier, Crystal and points east

MY REVIEW: This was a young blog, only 17 posts in 2009, and one in January. It could have been interesting, but perhaps the author had unrealistic expectations on how long it would take to build up a readership. Unless an author is very lucky, it takes at least three months for a blog to pick up a regular readership, and that only after posting at least three times a week during each week of those three months.

I'll keep an eye on it...if the author ever revives it, I'll let you know.

-Big White Ski Resort (Jan 5, 2010)
-Finally Some weather (Dec 31, 2010)
-Teanaway Dec 19 (Dec 22, 2010)
Stevens Pass Nov 14 (Nov 17, 2010)
I hate the fall! (Nov 5, 2010)

The Wind Beneath My Wing: Thoughts of an Aviator (Christian inspiration)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: The Wind Beneath My Wing, published by Steve Johnson


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Steve Johnson is a pilot, father, and a Christian. From an airplane high above the earth, he has a unique perspective on the Christian walk and faith. He shares his perspective through stories which can be found here.

MY REVIEW: I'm particularly interested in aviation blogs. Although there are probably hundreds of aviation blogs on the web, only eleven or so are offered - to date - for subscription via the Kindle.

The Wind Beneath My Wing seems to be written by a pretty knowledgeable pilot. The fact that he never missed an opportunity to praise God in his posts might get tiring to those who are non-religous, but religious people will no doubt find his posts inspiring.

Or at least, they would have, except he hasn't posted since December 17, 2009. Having said that, he never did seem to make more than one blog post a month. However, since it's already the end of February, I assume it is now inactive.

-The Door To Freedom (Dec 17, 2009) (musing on Texas prisons)
-He is Always in Control (Nov 23, 2009) (trusting in a senior pilot who was off-course)
-The Hot Dog Stand (how a man with a successful business allowed his son's advice - to cut back on quality - to ruin it) (Oct 12, 2009)
-The Spiritual Journey (July 29, 2009)
He Calls Me Higher (flying a King Air) July 9, 2009)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Under the weather...

Your Kindle Reviewer and Publisher Ms. Cairo has been under the weather for the last couple of days. We hope to resume our publication schedule of at least 6 blog reviews a day tomorrow.

Broken Cool (hip hop music)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Broken Cool, published by Adam Aziz


BLOG DESCRIPTION: A funny, insightful, and at times controversial look at the daily goings on in the world of Hip-Hop and urban entertainment.

This is a blog about rap artists and their music. It is thorough and either deep into the industry with very good sources or it is nothing but gossip, I feel strongly, it is the former. There are new posts to the blog many times a day. Photos include pictures of the artists, album covers, etc. Posts concern song reviews, record reviews, information on comments, record deals, album contracts. Someone knows what the scoop is. If this is your thing, this is a blog you may want to look at.

- Video: Boe Thugs-N-Harmony “Rebirth”
- Bobby Creekwater “Pursuit of Greatness” (Over CuDi’s “Pursuit of Happiness”)
- Video: Snoop Dogg Shows Off the Adidas Originals (Star Wars Collection)
- Video: Elephant Man “Party Up in Here”

Thursday, February 25, 2010

This Is Momma's House (humor, women's interest)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: If mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy. Someone wanna run that by my crew?? This blog is a record of my life with 4 boys...3 being my children, the 4th being my husband.

MY REVIEW: Women with kids will probably love this blog.

It is well written, and the tales told are humorous. I don't enjoy these types of blogs as much as those written by dads, because of course mom's are supposed to be like this, where very few people think dad's do anything...or worse, should do anything. (I'm thinking to myself - what is this - your husband can't help you do the laundry? Your kids aren't old enough to help you out?)

Sample Paragraphs
I always let my kids have the best of everything. Whether it's the last piece of pizza, the last scoop of ice cream, the last glass of milk....I always give up what I want for them. Always.

(My mom used to do this when we were kids, and still does this, and drives me crazy! It's the last scoop of icecream, you have it! And in any event my brother, the eldest kid in the family, had and has no respect for her, just because she's so willing to cast herself as unworthy of having the final piece of pie, et al. When your mom doesn't hold herself in high esteem, how can you as a kid respect her? I had those feelings to as a kid, also, I expected her to give me everything I wanted because of how she treated us - and yes, I got it, but she got no respect for it - now as a grown woman of 48 it still infuriates me when she does this - she still does this. But she sees herself as a mom who sacrifices for her kids first, last and always, instead of a an individual with just as much right to exist as her kids, and maybe even more because she is the parent.

Okay, sorry about that rant.

Here's a better example of her writing.
It's no secret that I can't cook. I try, really I do. I want my kids to have delicious, balanced meals that they can turn their noses up at. But it seems that no matter how hard I try, I always fall flat.

Well, not always. There are occasions where I actually produce a great meal. Last night was not one of those.

I had planned to cook chili. My chili recipe consists of browning hamburger meat before adding it to several cans of different type beans and stirring. That's it. Simple enough, huh? Yeah, you would think.

I had fended off several thigh attacks from my younger two while standing in front of the stove when I realized there was an awful lot of smoke coming from the pan. I was browning the meat, so I expected it to smoke, but what I saw was excessive, even for me. I ushered the kids out of the kitchen, because in my head I already knew what was about to happen. I was right.

I slid the pan off the eye, and the sudden introduction of oxygen caused a hot orange flame to burst forth and threaten to melt my mounted microwave.

A sight like that should cause panic. After all, most people aren't accustomed to seeing flames erupting from their stovetop. Most people aren't me.

This is the sixth, yes I said sixth, time I've set my stove on fire. I'm so used to seeing flames by now that there is no panic at all. I remember the first time it happened. I freaked out and covered the kitchen in fire extinguisher foam. Not anymore. I laughed to myself and said, "Well, damn. The kitchen's on fire again," as I opened the cabinet below me and reached for a pot lid.

-Passion vs Payday (an interesting post on her writing ambitions)
-Life's Moments (young son flunks a social studies test)
-Man am I HOT (Mom can't cook!)
-Mama's My Name, Laundry's My Game
-One Day With Chuck E. (Cheese - at the restaurant)
-You're Gonna Miss This (a song with foolish lyrics about raising kids)

The Dean's List Guide to Movies


MY RECOMMENDATION: No, I don't think it exists anymore.

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: The Dean's List Guide to Movies, published by Dean Mallory.

WEB ADDRESS: Can't find

BLOG DESCRIPTION: Movie Impressions and Reviews.

MY REVIEW: This blog made its debut on February 3, 2010 at the Kindle, so its had over 22 days for its post to be archived in search engines, yet I have searched and searched for this blog (using phrases from blog entries, as well as the title, as well as the author's name) and can't find it.

The last entry was made on February 11, 2010.

The author writes well, and covered the films very thoroughly, but all I can conclude at the moment is he has decided to close down his blog and remove it completely from the web.

-A Serious Man (Coen Brother's films) (Feb 11, 2010)
-Surrogates (Feb 5, 2001)
-Moon (Feb 4, 2010)
-The Hurt Locker (Feb 3, 2010)

Hallucina (arts and entertainment, satire)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Hallucina, published by Hansel Castro


BLOG DESCRIPTION: A daily melange (I like that word, melange) of movies, books, music, cultural criticism and verbal jackassery. Am I going to review Lady GaGa's newest underwear? Dan Brown's erotic short fiction? Bergman movies? Jason Statham movies? You never know. And that's the fun. BONUS: Hallucina also serializes the Super Abridged Marie Antoinette Saga, an old epic novel spastically resuscitated for your reading pleasure.

MY REVIEW: Difficult to know what to make of this blog. He's summarizing chapters from the Super Abridged Marie Antoinette Saga (SAMAS), and I'm assuming he has decided to make a movie out of it (in his mind) and cast various actors such as Kevin Spacey and Keira Knightly in the roles.

It's intriguing. Amusing. Well worth a look.

Sample Paragraphs

Ever since the departure of M. De Choiseul, the French Parliaments have been jumpy... jumpy with the Jumprope of Intrigue, which can easily turn into the Whip of Punishment. Typically, the Whip is about to lash out at the Duke D'Aiguillon (Kevin Spacey), since the King has just nominated him to the command of the cavalry. The Parliaments converge, deliberate and come up with the decision to "investigate the suspicious conduct of the ex-governor of Brittany." But this is just idle frothing; what's needed is a public outcry to ruin D'Aiguillon. In these way-back, no Internet days, there is a surefire way to make the people rally toward scandal:
A funny-ass song.

While the composers get busy working on a slanderous ditty, the Parliaments print out 10,000 copies of their announcement to investigate D'Aiguillon, and comissioners will soon be sent to the hotel where he is now staying. D'Aiguillon is NOT expecting the visit: as a matter of fact, he's preparing to do some visiting of his own, to his uncle, the Duke de Richelieu (Jack Nicholson).

With the help of his cunning assistant Rafte (Michael Caine), Richelieu has let the rumor fly around that he turned down a Ministry so as not to owe anything to Madame Dubarry- so now D'Aiguillon looks like Madame Dubarry's lackey, and Richelieu has seen a surge in popularity since his unlinking from the King's mistress.
The Marshal's saturnine smile masks actual hurt: he'd been working for that Ministry, and to have it stolen by his snot-nosed nephew is an insult that requires revenge.

Stitches is a memoir about the wounds our parents unwittingly inflict on us, about how the horrors of childhood dictate the errors of adulthood. A fusion of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and David B.'s Epileptic, Small's graphic novel is raw, the sort of memoir one could only write after most of its characters are dead- and forgiven. The son of a Michigan doctor and his sullen, unloving wife, Small was subjected throughout his childhood to "curative" X-Ray showers, which eventually left him with a cancerous growth from his neck, a series of operations, and the loss of his voice.

The wonder is that even as he takes us down the Alice-in-Wonderland sink-hole of disease, he manages to leave us with hope: that he's an artist, and sane, and making these particular confessions- that makes this book the greatest of survival stories. Go read now.

-Chapter 94: Parlez Vous Parliament?
-Math (he's got over 400 more chapters of SAMAS to go....)
-Chapter 93: The More Things Change...
-David Small's "Stitches: A Memoir"
-Sight UnSCENE! Week of February 24 (Shutter Island)

Midlife Musings (Culture and lifestyle, women's perspective)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Midlife Musings, published by Karen Huff


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Midlife Mama is a woman in her early fifties who writes about family, life, laughter, adult children, marital issues, midlife crisis, wry observations of daily life and sometimes rants about things that frustrate her.

MY REVIEW: I don't care for blogs that don't have a unifying theme, which is something that this blog suffers from, but that doesn't mean I can't objectively review such blogs. The author, Karen Huff, chooses to cover the entire spectrum of middle aged life, rather than certain, directed aspects of it.

Karen is a 50-year-old woman, overweight, married to a man she calls Dr. Jekyll. (I love that!) She plays Second Life for two hours every night, on that would be a theme. Talk about Second Life and how to play it and how addicting it is!

The author writes well, however (although as usual I have my own particular dislikes and I dislike bloggers who talk to the reader as if they are right in the room. It's done for humourous effect but I've never found it funny...I'm willing to admit that that may be just me! As always, check out a blogger's posts for yourself - easy to do with Kindle which gives you a free two-week, trial, (and then only 99 cents a month after that!))

She also writes long posts, and posts often, and I'm going to give it a "Yes," therefore, because if you like these kinds of blogs, this is a blog you'll like.

Sample Paragraphs:
Okay so be prepared. This is the post in which I whine.

And that's different how? You ask.

Haha very funny. I don't whine ALL the time.

Ummm....yeah. Ya do.

*tossing my head* Hmmmmph. The hell you say.

Yep, I can have an argument with you all by myself. Don't need you to even be there, thankyouvery much. Ha!

This week, for some reason, has been the week from hell. I have no one to complain to except you, so you, my dear readers, are the lucky recipient of my brain dump.

Hey! Wait! Come back! Don't leave...

Sheesh. Abandon a gal, why don'tcha. Tsk.

*rolling my shoulders* Oohh there's a lotta tension there. Dr. Jekyll gave me a gift certificate for a massage at my favorite spa on New Year's and I promptly lost it. Did a big purge of the junk that collects on the dining table and must have tossed it along with the junk mail. I was bummed. And that's putting it mildly.

In order to prevent myself from shrieking and tearing my hair out today, and rolling around on the floor and screeching like a banshee in frustration at all the STOOOOPID people there are in the world, and that they all work at my work and have spoken to me in person or on the phone in the past four days...*inhale* *exhale*... I knew that, even if I had to eat macaroni for the next week, I HAD to have a massage. Had to. Or I would inflict bodily harm on the next person that darkened my door.

-Looking through 60 years of memories (her parent's 60 year wedding anniversary)
-Oh, and about that photo
-A little tease, if you please (she lives in California where it's sunny and warm!)
-Random Tuesday thoughts
-Ask more than once (Link to a video)
-Lasik update (Comments on the successful results of her Lasik surgery)

The Indie Spotlight (Book Reviews and Author Interviews)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: A blog dedicated to showcasing Independent and Self Published authors for readers looking for fresh, new content.

MY REVIEW: Before I get into my complaints - which are more on the website than on the blog, let me say that I heartily recommend this blog to anyone who is a writer, wants to be a writer, or wants to know what the writing life is like.

Having said that...I found the title of the blog/website confusing, because to me, "Indies" are independent movies, whereas self-published books are...well, self-published books. "Selfies" maybe?

The website has more content then appears in the blog. For example there's an interview with Mark Jeffrey, author of the Max Quick series, that I never would have gotten to read if I hadn't visited the website as well as taken a look at the blog on Kindle. It appears that what gets fed to the Kindle is their "Features" section, and perhaps their "articles" section...

Truth to tell, I found the website poorly designed and confusing... although that just may be me. ; )

But, this is definitely another blog I'd prefer to read on the Kindle rather than at the website home, because it is just so much easier to take a look at the list of titles and decide which one you want to read, then to gaze at a bland and confusingly laid out website.

Each entry consists of a brief bio of an author, then an interview, and then an excerpt from the book in question. If you're interested in the writing process, and how writer's work, you'll enjoy this blog.

Here are a few paragraphs from the one article that fed through into my Kindle:
Logic vs Illogic – Hanging the Lanterns
by Edward C. Patterson

So you’ve finished your draft and have all your ducks in a row. You’re ready for the revision and, as you do your read-through, you begin to second-guess the logic of specific elements in your work. These logic flaws sometimes sneak up and stymie when you least expect them. Some are easy, continuity problems and relatively routine to fix. However, others are like quicksand. The more you try to resolve them, the more damage control you need to apply.

To my mind, there are four categories of logic lapses:

1. Continuity
2. Poor Research
3. Counter-active
4. Global

Continuity and Poor Research are the easiest to fix. They are also the elements most evident to editors, long before readers get their mitts on your book. Continuity is a lapse in memory. Simply put:

Paragraph one:

Tom inherited his wonderfully green eyes from his mother.

Paragraph two-hundred and eighty:

Suddenly, Tom’s eyes changed from blue to gold signifying the presence of Sydney’s spirit.

You might laugh, but I have in one of my novels a possession sequence, which has a blue-eyed character possessed by a green-eyed character. The effect was perfect, except I had the eye coloring wrong at two ends of the novel. Now because the continuity error was separated by nearly 200 pages, the reader may never had noticed, but never underestimate the reader.

The simpler paragraph-to-paragraph continuity lapses scarcely need mention. We all know that things that are pocketed are suddenly out in the open or pocketed twice. Characters leave twice, or never enter. However, in my opinion, the worse logic lapse is ignorance – the lack of proper research. Many times, we will make it up as we go along, and many times, we can get away with it. However, even if it is for short stretches, we, as authors, owe our readers a proper look and feel.

For example:

Sergeant O’Hara finished relieving himself in the muddy ditch, and then zipped up his fly.

Considering the above sentence is extracted from a Civil War novel, and the zipper wasn’t invented yet, it is anachronistic slop, which could have been avoided if the writer had taken some time to research Civil War uniforms in all their richness.

-Gail Smith - The Cattle on a Thousand Hills (Feb 25, 2010)
-Kristen J. Tsetsi - Homefront (Feb 24, 2010)
-K. Raven Rozier - Last Door (Feb 23, 2010)
-J. Dean - The Summoning of Clade Josso (Feb 22, 2010)
-Logoc vs Illogic - Hanging the Lanterns (Feb 21, 2010)
-Dana E. Donovan - Abandoned (Feb 20, 2010)

Makes Me Wanna Holler - Man, Dad and Husband (Lifestyle, African American)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Makes Me Wanna Holler - Mom, Dad and Husband , published by Eric Payne


BLOG DESCRIPTION: The evolution of a family man in NYC and all the joy, pain and insanity that comes with the love affair I have with my wife, my thirteen year-old boy who's growing out of control and eating me out of house and home, and my three year-old evil-genius princess intent on having her way at all costs. It's all about living life from the father/husband lane (and laughing a lot) --- one day at a time.

MY REVIEW: Another blog that I enjoyed reading, for all that it isn't really my cup of tea. I have no kids (and find life so much easier that way).

But it's a joy to read the writings of parents - in particular dads, who get so little credit sometimes for what they bring to a child's life - who so obviously love their kids, and bring them up right.

This is another blog that all parents will enjoy reading, and maybe even kids, too, who want to see just what parents go through to bring them up.

I'm typically very cool under pressure. However the one thing I cannot endure is my child not being able to get a full breath of air. I get angry quickly and begin to bark. Why? Because I've had bronchitis more than once as an adult and unless you've actually felt what's it's like to not be able to bring air into your lungs, you can't relate. I can call 911, I can tell someone or write out (to conserve air) what's wrong. My daughter, nor any child for that matter cannot. And for this reason I hate cigarette smoke, cat dander and anything else that can trigger such a thing as if they were the Devil themselves. What made matters worse, is we were out of medicine and I had overlooked refilling the prescription because it's almost been a year since her last episode.

Tuesday night I didn't sleep. I sat in her room on my iPod Touch, surfing the Net and watching the rise and fall of her chest, regulating the heat and the humidifier in her room, sitting her upright if she coughed, patting her back and rocking her (as my dad did me) back to sleep when she awakened from the discomfort of it all. At sunrise I picked up her prescription, her symptoms subsided and somehow I made it through the day with no sleep, a bit of personally disappointing news and the threat of the snowstorm of life being flashed on every channel on television.

Yesterday afternoon I took her to a park in my neighborhood where, armored from head to toe looking like a pink Stormtrooper (or pink mercenary), she pelted me with little snowballs, chased her grandfather at 1 mile per hour and made snow angels, laughing through all of it the whole time. I had to literally pick her up off the ground to get her to leave.

When I dropped my daughter off at pre-school this morning, my heart swelled as it does every morning. I lose a piece of me every time I part ways with her. But I don't own her. Despite all of what I described above she is NOT my human. She is my child and what I own is the responsibility of raising her and her brother, who currently believes he is God's gift to women and football, (Update: he managed to pull up all of his grades to a modestly respectable level for his 2nd quarter of high school. Now his challenge to to continue to pull them up even higher), protecting them and teaching them as much as I can until they leave the nest.

-Touching Robes (musing on ambitions past and present) (Feb 24, 2010)
-The Winners - The Soldier of Love CD (Feb 23, 2010)
-I (Didn't) Invented Sex - (talking to his son about music) (Feb 18, 2010)
-Make it wearable (comment on custom t-shirts) (Feb 16, 2010)
-Will it be Yours? (Valentine's Day) (Feb 14, 2010)

Mocha Dad (lifestyle, African-American)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Mocha Dad, published by Frederick J. Goodall


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Learning how to be a better father one day at a time.

MY REVIEW: I really enjoyed this blog. Mr. Goodall writes well, has a sense of humor, and so clearly loves his children. It helps that he also seems to have some pretty cute kids - well brought up and so well-behaved. These are stories that every Dad will enjoy reading. It's fun to see how much fun dads can have with their kids. I think moms, dads and even kids will enjoy this blog, and learn from it, too.

Rocking the Vote

Since my daughter, Nee, has been at her new school, she has really blossomed. I give most of the credit to her teacher, Mrs. Scott.

Mrs. Scott was the first teacher who has really nurtured Nee and pushed her out of her comfort zone. Under Mrs. Scott’s tutelage, Nee has done things that take courage, confidence, and determination.

I was shocked when she informed me that she had decided to run for Student Council. My eyes glazed over as “Hail to The Chief” started playing in my head.

“Don’t get all excited, Dad,” she said. “I’m only doing it because my teacher made me.”

“What do you mean by that?” I asked.

The world would be a better place if all politicians were so adorable.

“She said that I was lazy if I didn’t fill out the nomination form,” she said. “And I don’t want her to think I’m lazy.”

“Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked. “Being on the student council is a lot of responsibility.”

“What will I have to do?” she asked.

“You’ll be the voice for your classmates,” my wife, KayEm, explained. “You’ll help to make your school a better place.”

Nee thought about it for a while and then agreed to proceed. As a former student council member, her decision made me very happy.

-Rocking the Vote (Dad and his daughter, student council)
-Old School Hip Hop Meets New School Toddler (Dad and young son learning to dance)
-Freeway of Love (Dad and young son's love of cars)
-The Ultimate Player (checkers with 6 year old son and 8 year old daughter)
-25 Romantic Ideas For Men From Women

How To Get Focused (lifestyle)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: How To Get Focused, by Scott Scheper, is an online book that covers a variety of topics which teach one how to get their life back and get focused in an age of distraction.

MY REVIEW: This may be one of those times when it is actually more attractive to read a blog on Kindle than at the actual web address for the blog. Each of the blog entries, at the web address, is illustrated by a photo, and so you've got a table of ten squares - two across and five down, each one with an article title, a paragraph, and a photo. Frankly, I'd rather see the list of entry titles, and choose from them which entries I want to read. Of course, that means that the entry titles have to be descriptive - which they are in this particular blog.

I enjoyed reading this blog, because what the author has to say makes a lot of sense. Life is simply too short to waste even a second of it, or even an "unforgiving minute" of it. By learning how to focus on your goals, you will improve your life, and this blog will help you to do it.

The secret history of flow
The concept of flow was recently proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, in which flow was characterized as a state of completely immersible, focused energy. Because of Mihaly’s inspiring work, many fell into the belief that the concept is modern–they think the concept of flow is new. A state that describes the zone athletes enter into. History makes it clear that the concept of flow is not new. It’s been described for thousands of years–and the concept has been explicitly defined over-and-over again. Below, we’ll look into different cultures’ descriptions of flow.

Taoism’s sacred belief of flow
Wu Wei is an ancient concept rooted in Chinese Taoism. Wu Wei is the belief that one is at its most natural behavior when he or she doesn’t have to think about acting, or think about creating. By definition, “Wu” translates to not having; “Wei” translates to action. Combined, this translates to not having to act.

-Interview with Seth Godin on Life and Linchpins
-The Concept of Flow
-Leveraging LinkedIn For Results
-No Joke: How to Get an Ivy League Education For Free
-The Habits of Focused Entrepreneurs
-Leveraging Sleep to Become More Focused
-Interview With Creative Productivity Company, Behance
-When to Ditch the Keyboard and Start Hand-writing

Hidden Mahala (lifestyle, humor)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Hidden Mahala, published by Mahala Davis


BLOG DESCRIPTION: From a tiny town hidden in a little valley tucked away somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I share stories from the Cubicle Asylum, the Grab N' Go (and go and go) and all the folks in Frog Pond Holler. Custom Cows, Kudzu Monkeys and Bigfoot expeditions with southern recipes, folklore and culture all come together to form Hidden Mahala.

MY REVIEW: I'm assuming that this blog is supposed to be in the same vein as Garrison Keiller's Lake Woebegone stories. Unfortunately, I don't see the humor in any of it. I've never cared for blogs, or books, in which the author uses "dialect" instead of proper English.

Having said that, if you like this kind of thing...if like Lake Woebegone stories told with a Southern accent, you might like this.

A few sample paragraphs:
Ya know, I try to be positive. I do. Then I have days like today when I just can't muster the emotional strength to even try.

As most of you have been reading, we've had an ongoing problem with our plumbing. Our sewer line has never worked right for long, but for the past year, everytime it rains, we get crap backing up into the bathtubs whenever we try to run the dishwasher or the clothes washer.

It's gross ya'll.

Ma calls the town, the town says it's not their problem then we pay $300 a pop for the Rooter people to come out with the super pooper cleaner outer to clear the line. We've had to have it cleaned out twice in the past year, the last time was just a couple of months ago and now we're all backed up again.

Ma has it stuck in her head that we need the sewage line replaced. I don't remember if the last Rooter guy told her that or if she just decided that was what was wrong. We've been calling people and asking everyone for so long, that it's all one big brown blur.

We've been harrassing the guy who put in our hot water heater for months. He told T.A. or her boss or her boss' boss.. some damn body.. that he'd fix our sewer line if we could get someone with a backhoe to dig it up, which we did, then he disappeared again.

I don't ask for much in life, but I'd like to be able to flush my damned toilet or use that shiny new washer sitting in the laundry room.

-Half Nekkid Hoochie Mamas (Feb 23, 2010) [Still trying to find out what that title has to do with sewer systems backing up!)
-Cuteness Matters (Feb 23, 2010)
-Night Air (Feb 22, 2010)
-Big Ol' Hooters Only Get You So Far (Feb 21, 2010)
-Kevin Smith, Tiger Woods and My Opinion, Because I Know You Care (Feb 18, 2010)

Relevantly Random (lifestyle)



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Relevantly Random, published by Maria Camp


BLOG DESCRIPTION: This blog is a collection of random thoughts that I find relevant. A few of the topics covered so far include: limericks, snow, trains and 3D technology. My interests are varied.

MY REVIEW: The author muses on various random things, nothing really connected. And without a single major theme - like reviewing movies, talking about books, politics, religion, whatever, it's not really interesting. It may be if you actually know the author...but for total strangers...they have their own thoughts. (In other words, if this were the blog of an actor or author I admired, or perhaps even a politician I despised, covering the same types of themes, I'd be interested. But a random person that I don't know? Not so much.

However, since all people are not alike, perhaps you will like such randomness. So I'm giving this a YES, because, after all, if you don't like it, you have only to unsubscribe within the two week trial time period given by Kindle, without being charged. (Or, if you just want to check it out on the web first, go for it!

Here's a couple sample paragraphs.
I found it to be too hard to select only one general topic for my blog. I am interested in a variety of topics that I feel are relevant; however, when one topic is compared to the next, it is likely to seem a random assortment of thoughts.

Relevance is often a matter of opinion; therefore, each reader is free to make this determination.

I just turned thirty and I’m basically okay with this now; however, there is something about “that number” that tends to make a person just a little insane, at least temporarily.

It’s a time when many of us stop to consider whether we’ve accomplished all that we might have hoped by this point in our lives. It can be quite depressing; however, it can also be an opportunity to decide to really “take charge” and increase efforts to try to accomplish what we feel is important in our lives.

- An Unexpected Snow (Feb 13, 2010)
- Pernell Roberts - Adam From Bonanza (Feb 3, 2010)
- January is National Hot Tea Month (Jan 24, 2010)
- 3D, Perchance to See (Jan 18, 2010)
- On A Cold Morning (Jan 14, 2010)

Science of Energy Healing


MY RECOMMENDATION: NO, unsuitable for Kindle

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Science of Energy Healing, published by Gia Combs-Ramirez


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Human energy is like a computer with downloads, uploads and new software. The more conscious awareness you have of it, the more power and freedom you have to create a joyful and empowered life. Explore the metaphysical world of human energy and how it is changing during this time of evolutionary shift.

MY REVIEW: Another blog that is unsuiable for the Kindle. All you get is a paragraph followed by an ellipsis signalling more content..but no hot link to get to it.

Check it out on the web if you are interested in energy healing. The author seems knowledgeable on the subject.

-The Story of Crystalline Consciousness Technique pt 2 (Feb 15, 2010)
-The Story of Crystaline Consciousness Technique pt 1 (Feb 13, 2010)
-Whew, I made It Through January, Did You? (Feb 2, 2010)
-Energy Healing in James Cameron's Avatar (Jan 24, 2010)
-2010 Energy Reading and Alignment - Fall (Dec 31, 2009)
-2001 Energy and Alignment - Summer (Dec 30, 2010)

The Kindle Taproom (Lifestyle, humor)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Friendly, entertaining bar chat on all manner of topics, but especially great stuff on Kindle.

MY REVIEW: The author, Joe Menta, posts on average a couple of times a day (the Sample posts below are his first posts on each day, not all the posts on one day). He'll review a book available on Kindle, or a movie, tell a joke, and so on. Because of the great amount of content, I highly recommend the blog.

He writes well, he's amusing (when he makes his posts, I actually don't find the jokes he shares amusing, but then I never have cared for jokes) and he articulates his reviews well. He's a friendly guy, I think you'll like sharing time with him in the Taproom.

Following up on my post of a few days back, we did end up seeing Shutter Island over the past weekend. Despite my fears, the movie was not an overblown special effects extravaganza (as the trailer seem to indicate), but a well-crafted, moody, slow-burn psychological drama that keeps viewers involved from beginning to end. I should have trusted Mr. Scorsese more. The big special effects scenes in the trailer, by the way, are mostly associated with hallucinatory scenes in the movie, scenes that are used sparingly and effectiviely.

There are definitely big, lurid moments and instances of underlined melodrama in the film, accompanied by disturbing blasts from the none-to-subtle musical score, but it all serves Scorsese's aim to emulate the psychological dramas of the 50's, which were at the same time overstated and artfully done. Kind of like those old 50's paperbacks, which sported lurid covers of violence and heaving bosoms, but very often subtle, well-done stories once you got past the covers.

In any event, the lurid (I love that word) and more subtle aspects of Shutter Island work together to deliver a decent movie, one that we both liked a lot.

-Pretty Good King (review of Stephen King's Blaze) (Feb 24, 2010)
-At the movies (review of Shutter Island) (Feb 23, 2010)
-Spirited try falls short (review of The Spirit movie) (Feb 22, 2010)
-One fine Sunday in the local pub (a joke) (Feb 21, 2001)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WW II Planes And the Pilots Who Flew Them



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: WW2 airplanes and their pilots


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Anecdotes and excerpts from interviews conducted since 1999. I learn about character, leadership and intelligent patriotism, then share with others.

MY REVIEW: Normallly when a blog isn't updated on a regular basis I caution against subscribing to it, except in special circumstances. This is one such. Mollison is an artist of aircraft, who also interviews the pilots (some men in their 90s) who flew these craft. So it takes a while to bring everything together. He seems to average at least a post a month, generally two. For 99 cents a month to get those posts delivered to your Kindle when they occur, I'd say it's a good deal.

Here's a bit of text:
As a lark, I sketched this little aerial combat scene - no clouds, but a single German Bf.109 G-6/R6 arcing in a desperate attempt to stop the inevitable... [then there's the sketch he refers to]

I prefer interviewing fighter pilot & crew, hence the very name of this blog. But sometimes, opportunities pose themselves that simply make personal preference seem silly.

Buddies Greg and Jim have cleared the way for me to spend time with Senator George McGovern. He's a riot. So far we've talked mostly "History," but I'm here to draw his airplane.

THE GOOD: If you're a military aviation buff, or a history buff, or a hero buff, you will love this blog. Mollison talks not only about the planes but the men who flew them, and he writes very well.

THE BAD: Updated every three weeks or so. Greyscale photos on the Kindle don't really do the artwork justice.

-Profile 39 - B25 H S/N 43-4267
-Profile 39 - B25 H S/N 43-4267 (Progress Note) "The H-Model, the most heavily armed aircraft of WW2. This one's no gleaming queen but a dark witch of hell."
-Profile 38 - "696" as flown by Lt. Claude Hone (Chance-Vought F4U-1A)
-Profile 37 - Dolph's Devil Korean War era aircraft, not specified
-Profile 36 - YO-YO as flown by Senator George McGovern (B-24 Liberator)

High and Tight (Baseball in general)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Headline news, analysis and commentary for the New York Yankees' fan, culled from SportsBlogs' New York Yankees Daily Entries.

MY REVIEW: Well, although the blog description says this is a blog for Yankees, the posts seem to skip all over the place. The "commentary" is a single sentence, commenting on comments made by other people - usually sarcastic. I found it uninteresting. I don't care for the man's sense of humor, and I also don't care to read F-bombs in blog entries... (It also hasn't been updated since January 13, even though spring training is already goig on.)

There are plenty of New York Yankees blogs, and plenty of General Baseball blogs. I don't see the point in adding this one to your list of must reads.

-Dumbest Statement of 2010 (So Far) (Jan 13, 2010)
-Worst Team Slogan Ever (Jan 12, 2010)
-Huge Move By the Padres (Jan 7, 2010)
-Congratualtions Andre Dawson (Jan 6, 2010)
-So How Many Interns Was Peter Gammons Sleeping With ((Dec 8, 2009) [Perhaps even now Gammons is suing this guy, which is why he hasn't posted in over a month]

Independent Instructor's Blog





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Learn about various aviation topics that are on the minds of our instructors. The blogs focus on common errors or gaps in pilot knowledge, procedures and technique. Rule and procedure changes are discussed as well. The instructor's blogs try to make a clear distinction when discussing procedures that are universal (for example: entering a hold), and techniques that make flying easier (for example: ways of determining what type of hold entry to use).

MY REVIEW: This Independent Flight Instructor's Blog is an excellent idea, and a must-read for all pilots. The blog entries are made by Jordan Miller.

The blog is updated with very detailed entries, twice a month on average. (On a whim, I emailed the author, and he said his entries take so much time because he is careful to cover everything. (Which is true, judging by the articles I've read.)

So, this is where subscribing via the Kindle comes in. Since the blog is updated on average every other week, and its only a dollar a month, it makes economic sense to subscribe to it so you get the updates as soon as they are made.

-Knowing the final fix (Feb 6, 2010)
-Risk Management Handbook Review (Jan 24, 2010)
-A Tough Decision (Recognizing fatigue) (Jan 17,2010)
-Multiple pilot SRM on guard (Dec 28, 2009)
-NTSB Chairwoman Lambasts the FAA (Dec 16, 2009)
-Little Mistakes Are Big Problems (NW Airlines 188 crash, and monitoring guard) (Dec 02, 2009)

Wander Mom: Resources for Independent Family Travel





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Michelle Duffy is the author of 'Traveling With Kids' in the Wanderlust And Lipstick guidebook series. On she blogs about family travel giving great practical advice on destinations, gear and activities you can enjoy when you travel with your children.

MY REVIEW: This is an excellent blog - she (and her guest posters, currently her sister) travel to interesting places and share lots of good info. It's also well-written, which is a big plus.

If I had any kids, I'd dump 'em on inlaws before doing any travelling. However, that's just me! If you've got kids, you'll enjoy the kid info and the travel info here.

Unfortunately, the blog is only updated once a week or so, on average.

-Villars, Switzerland – A Family Friendly Ski Village
-British Comfort Food in Seattle
-Western China and the Silk Road
-Holiday Decor Florida Style

John Brown Kin (American History)





BLOG DESCRIPTION: Follow a direct descendant of John Brown as she researches and documents her family history

MY REVIEW: I am more interested in the Civil War time period itself (the military battles) rather than the time period leading up to it, when diplomacy ultimately failed and "cold iron" was necessary to settle the question. Nevertheless, it's fascinating to read about the people of that time period, and what they were willing to sacrfice for their beliefs.

This is a well-written blog, with an author who knows her stuff. Obviously, since she is a descendant of John Brown. Anyone with an interest to the time period leading up to the Civil War, and anyone interested in genealogy, will find this blog of interest.

At the John Brown Remembered Academic Symposium held at Harpers Ferry, WV in October 2009, I had the pleasure of meeting Ian Barford. Ian is an actor, documentary film maker, and the proud father of twins! Last week, Ian traveled to Texas to do interviews for the documentary he is currently working on about John Brown. He traveled to Austin first to interview my good friend Evan Carton, author of Patriotic Treason. He then drove up to Allen to interview me. While he was here I showed him my prized family artifact - Oliver Brown's Bible that he carried throughout his years in Kansas.

The Bible is small, 2 1/2 inches x 3 1/2 inches and just over an inch thick. Just the right size to be carried in an inside pocket of a wool overcoat. The cover is black leather embossed with an ornate design. On the spine, the words Holy Bible are embossed in gold. For a book that is over one hundred sixty years old, the binding is realitively tight, the cover only slightly torn.

On the inside back cover the following is written in pencil, in an ornate old-timey script:
This Bible was carried all through the Kansas troubles by Oliver Brown.
On the left hand inside back page is written the name of the original owner of the Bible, Oliver Brown, in ink and in a beautiful calligraphic hand.

But it is what can be found on the front inside cover that makes this Bible so valuable to me personally -- in pencil, written over and over again, in the handwriting of a young girl perfecting her signature, is the name Annie Brown. It makes me smile to think of young Annie, my great-great grandmother, scrounging around for a piece of paper to practice her penmanship on, and noticing a clean white space inside the cover of big brother's Bible. The temptation was more than she could resist. I imagine that she got into a great deal of trouble when it was discovered that she used the inside cover of the Lord's word for her penmanship practice.

Annie had the Bible in her possession when she moved to California in 1863, and it is one of the items that escaped the fire that distroyed her house and most of her belonging in 1896. Annie passed the Bible to her granddaughter Beatrice Cook Keesey, my grandmother.

-Join Me at the 2010 DFW Writer's Conference in April (FEb 19, 2010)
-2010 Winter GeneaBloggers Olymics Update (Awarding herself medals of appropriate colors for things she's accomplished on her blog - very amusing!) (Feb 18 2010)
-Tarantino to Free the Slaves Next? (Not happy about Tarantino's plan to film a movie about John Brown, given his penchant for violence in his films) (Feb 18, 2010)
-Letter from CORE - Letter to Gov to save John Brown Farm (Feb 17, 2010)
-Winter 2010 GeneaBloggers Olympic Games (Participating in the "Olympics' with other geneolocgical bloggers (Feb 14, 2010)

Breast Cancer? But Doctor, I Hate Pink



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Breast Cancer? But Doctor, I Hate Pink


BLOG DESCRIPTION: With an humor and intelligence, Ann Silberman, breast-cancer "ass-kicker," describes her life since diagnosis. She found her lump in May 2009 and was diagnosed in early September. She is sharing her journey through surgeries and chemo as they happen. A must-read for anybody who either has cancer or has a family member with this disease. Ann writes with wit and energy in her blog: Breast Cancer? But Doctor ... I hate pink.

MY REVIEW: The author of this blog, Ann, found out she had breast cancer in August, 2009. This blog tells the story of her fight against the disease. It is very moving, very affecting, the more so because she does indeed manage to be funny and heroic at the same time. (Yes, there are heroes who, in a split second, risk their lives for others, such as our soldiers, and police and firemen and just regular people, and then there are people who have chronic illnesses in which they suffer every day and have to rise to that challenge every day. They are just as heroic.)

If you have just been diagnosed with breast cancer, or have a friend or loved one who has been - this is an excellent resource for you to know what the future holds. There are photos, there's talk of the various drugs and the chemotherapy and so on. If you're just interested in how people live their lives when faced by chronic illness, you will find this blog uplifing as well.

A few paragraphs from a sample post:
I am a small person with bird bones. My wrist is five inches around; I wear a size 4 1/2 ring. I can't purchase a watch without a picture of Hannah Montana on it, and I buy bracelets to use as anklets.

I have correspondingly small veins. Watching people draw my blood has always amused me, because I have a strong sadistic streak and no needle phobia whatsoever. I like seeing sweat on the brow of the phlebotomist responsible for getting blood out of me and into that vial. It just doesn't happen without hard work.

Typically, the way it goes is the first tech pokes around a while, moving the needle in and out, muttering about tiny veins until she either pops one or freaks out. She then calls the specialist with the butterfly needle who has the finesse to start the flow. Even when I try to make it easy - drink lots of water and wear warm clothing to "plump the veins," it's never enough to get the well pumping.

I'm so dry if I was Bella, Edward would leave me. [Is this a Twlight reference? KBR ed]

- Chemo Angel (Feb 21, 2010)
- Vampire Diaries (Feb 20, 2010)
- Did I mention before, that I hate leukine? (Feb 19, 2010)
- Chemo number...oh I can't remember (Feb 18, 2010)
- Chemotherapy-induced anemia (Feb 17, 2010)

Tales From The Administrative Minefield



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Tales From The Administrative Minefield


BLOG DESCRIPTION: I am a seasoned executive adminstrative assistant with over fifteen years experience who loves her job. Very few other employment opportunites exist that allow me to manage people, events, and offices to my heart's content, then go home and have a life.

My many years of employment have given me plenty of opportunities to scratch my head and wonder what my employers and co-workers were thinking. As a consumate professional, I have just kept a smile on my face, done my job, and listened to my gut for the next opportunity.

Welcome to my world and I hope you enjoy the ride.

MY REVIEW: As a former administrative assistant, I know where this author is coming from. Very little gets done in an office in an efficent manner unless the admin assistant is herself (or himself) efficient. And yet they get so little credit for keeping the machine running smoothly.

This blog tells the story of one such admin assistant, and her adventures in the world of business.

Here's a few paragraphs from an entry on that ever-present evil - outsourcing work overseas [more often than not to the detriment of the business, costing them more money than they save, in loss of good will if nothing else!, IMHO]

Nothing seems to be safe anymore in today’s employment climate. Gone is security of generations gone by. Very few people can stick with one company for their entire career. If they manage to do that, they have to reinvent themselves to stay ahead of the latest management model that leans toward automation, downsizing or out-sourcing.

I realize that there are many processes that can be outsourced, off-shored, and just plain automated. When all these cost cutting measures are taking place, what happens to the actual employee, who helped build the company? The general morale? The principles that built the company? More importantly the corporate history?

While the government gives lip-service to keeping jobs in the country, more and more companies are sending department functions overseas. Why? ‘Because it can be done cheaper elsewhere’. Sure, there are binding contracts that impose penalties if things are not done to the SLA’s (service level agreements) of the corporation, but what happens to the customer service interface? There are no guarantees that expectations will be met.

To be frank the customer wants to interface with employees they feel confident will fulfill their needs. Not third-party vendors that have no clue as to why the company even exists

This blog is well-written, by a "soldier on the battlefield." Admin Assistants - the good ones, anyway, know what is going on in the office. Know how things are done and why they are done in that way. Aspiring admin assistants, and the people who have them, should read this blog!

I would like a bit more grounding for the blog, however. If not the specific business she works for, at least a general sense of what the company does.

-Melting the Myth [of perfection]
-On the Cheap [outsourcing]
-Valuable Resources [admin assistant's role in the work place]
-Upon Your Actions
-Follow Instructions [sales people, especially!

Dodger Hits (MLB Baseball)






MY REVIEW: Who would have thought a baseball blog would shut down? But that's what's happened to Dodgers Hits, which was apparently part of the MVN network (Most Valuable Network) of blogs which was shut down in November, 2009. But they didn't bother to remove the blog offering from Kindle.

I've left a review at the page to point this out, so other people won't waste time subscribing to a blog that no longer exists.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jesus Loves Biker Chicks, Too



AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION PAGE: Jesus Loves Biker Chicks, Too


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Biker chicks need Jesus, too! Come ride with me through this fascinating journey called LIFE and see what it's like as a biker chick on the road!

MY REVIEW: Whatever this blog was meant to be in the above description, now it seems to be merely photos of a variety of motorcycles, with a single sentence or two of text. Now, I love motorcycles, so I love this blog. However, because the photos only appear via greyscale, I don't know that it's worth subscribing via Kindle. But, check it out and make up your own mind.

In addition, the blog hasn't been updated since January 25th.

The author, Karla Akins, has a host of other blogs and is also caring for two teenage sons with autism, so it's no surprise she doesn't have a lot of time for this blog. (According to one of the posts on her blogs, she's a middle aged pastor's wife, who loves motorcycles. Hardly a biker chick! More of a biker lady!)

(In addition, Google caused great harm to her on December 31, when they deleted her Gmail account without warning - and since Google is also the owner of YouTube, and Feedburner, and Google docs, to which she had accounts...those disappeared as well. A similar thing happened to me, so I feel this lady's pain. There is no recourse. Google doesn't tell you what you did wrong, so you can't fix it or tell them that they're mistaken - they just delete you and that's it. No appeal. I'd love to start a class action suit against these guys for shutting down people's accounts with no warning and no good reason!

Well, end of rant. To continue my review of this blog:

Check out the blog at its actual link... don't bother with the Kindle.

-Build a Bike: American Chopper: TLC
-This Honda VTX1300R has been my dream bike for a long time now
-I love the look of the 2010 Honda Phantom
-I will not lie. The idea of owning this beautiful beast makes my...
-I will probably end up buying something used...