Radio silence

Sorry I’ve been silent for a few days. There’s some stuff going on here, but I’ll get to that later in the post. First, let’s close the contest. Thanks to everyone who suggested songs for my workout playlist. There were a lot of songs I never would have thought of and am going to add to my list!

I chose the winners using random.org. Of course, the first two #s it chose were me. Duh!

The winner of the Australia Bronzed Boys calendar is…Mad! Congratulations, Mad, please email me or use the contact form here on the website and let me know your mailing address.

The winner of the Australia Bronzed Girls calendar is…Albert. Same goes, Albert. Please contact me using the form here on the site and give me your mailing address so I can get your calendar in the mail.

On the good news front, Sony sent me a 700 to try out (because they rock like that) and I got it Friday. I’m going to use it for a few days over this weekend and will try to post my thoughts on it next week.

Other good news: My dad was in the area for a business meeting and decided to extend his trip and come visit us. He got here yesterday afternoon and will be here just for the weekend. Since they live in North Dakota, we usually only get to see them once a year because it’s expensive, and time intensive, to fly in and out of there. So we’re all glad to see him, but Brianna is especially thrilled. She loves it when she gets to see family and she’s seen a lot of them lately!

On the bad news front: Ugh, I don’t even like to type this but we’ve joined the ranks of Americans affected by the economy and the “reduction in workforce” as of yesterday morning. Josh was laid off yesterday morning when he went into work. It was a complete shock to us and not expected at all. Obviously we’re still processing this, since we only just found out. But I just keep telling myself it could be worse and that we’re certainly not a unique situation.

And to end on a positive note, we visited the beach yesterday, even though it was windy and cold. But we walked the beach, collected seashells and I took some pictures. It was a good day. Mostly 😛

Kindle 2.0 initial impressions

I wasn’t as excited about the imminent (and subsequent) arrival of my new Kindle as I should have been, mostly because I knew the file management system hadn’t changed and that meant that my use of the Sony 505 wouldn’t change either.

Initial impressions of the Amazon box are that it’s small, much smaller than the box the old Kindle came in. When I open the Amazon box, I realize that it’s packaging made especially for mailing the Kindle 2. It’s lined with the same type of paper that wraps the Kindle packaging. The Kindle packaging is not as fancy as the original Kindle 1 packaging, which was kind of nice and sturdy. This is very much a temporary-type of packaging. (nice pictures of unboxing the Kindle from Engadget here)

The Kindle itself is much sleeker and thinner. I think it’s ten times more attractive than the original Kindle, but still not as sleek and trim as the Sony. But definitely an improvement over its predecessor. I’m already glad of the smaller buttons, as I had a lot of problems with unintentional page turning before. The buttons on the bottom of the Kindle have lost some of that “chiclet gum” feel and are rounder and slightly more recessed into the device.

I’m not sure what to think about the “joystick” in my initial look. I’ll have to wait and see. I’m happy about the new design as far as the back goes, as well. As Smart Bitch Sarah said, on the Kindle 1, the back would come off “if you sneezed wrong”. They’ve removed the button for turning off the wireless and made it an option on the menu instead. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet either. The wireless does seem to be faster, which it was supposed to be, and it downloaded the content I had waiting (a free copy of Silent in the Sanctuary) immediately, along with my welcome message from Jeff Bezos and a guide about Upgrading Your Content to the new Kindle (which seems relatively easy). One thing I notice is that having the wireless be part of the system, if you try to do something that requires the wireless to be on, and you have it off, the device will ask you if you want to turn it on, then do so and continue with the task.

Several things I’m disappointed about: 1) the Kindle comes with no cover or protective sleeve. Which means an automatic outlay of more money if you have any interested in protecting it at all while in your purse/bag/pocket. 2) They switched from a micro USB to a mini USB, which is a less common USB. And this also means that the iGo tip I bought for the original Kindle is now obsolete and I’ll need to buy a new one. Bugger (on closer look there is no tip for the Kindle 2 at this time. Damnit). 3) No improved file management. And to this I say, WTF, Amazon? That was the ONE improvement I wanted in the Kindle 2. The one thing that might have enticed me over from the Sony and the one thing I point to as a serious drawback to people shopping for a dedicated reader. Well, also the fact that you don’t recognize any DRM formats, including the PRC format. WTF again?

Text-to-Speech. This isn’t really a function I think I’ll use, but I tried it out. One thing to know is that if you stop in the middle of a page, when you start again it will start reading from the top of the page, not from where you stopped. Also, it tends to run things together in an odd way.

The last thing that’s not immediately clear to me is whether the Kindle is charging while plugged into the computer via the USB cord. When plugged in, I see the “charge” symbol flash onto the battery indicator before the USB screen comes up. And the light on the bottom comes on, but a message on the screen states “USB Drive Mode: If you want to use your Kindle and continue charging, please eject your Kindle from the computer.” But the instructions say that if the yellow light is on, then it’s charging. So I’m not sure what the screen message indicates. Something to investigate.

Final first impressions: Being thinner and sleeker, it does fit in my smallish purse, though it’s about an inch longer than the Sony 505. However, that’s without a case, so it depends on whether I can find a case that doesn’t add a lot of extra bulk. If I were going to use this Kindle (I’m not except for demo purposes) I would invest in this M-edge case (along with the optional light) which I wish to the depths of my soul they would make for the Sony. And yes, I did say I won’t be using it. Why? No file management. I love Sony’s tagging system, which allows me to sort my books in a variety of ways, including personal and business use, and I hope that Amazon can fix their unusable (for me) system with a firmware upgrade, rather than waiting another couple years for a whole new device.

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Lucy, I’m home! (contest)

We got back from Las Vegas late last night. 13.5 hours from hotel to my driveway. We were…exhausted. Unfortunately, there’s no rest for the wicked. My FIL is due to pull up at any minute. He’s on his way north and so he’s going to spend the night here…oh, and he’s dropping my daughter off. Wheee! It’s been ten days since I’ve seen her. I’m ready for her to be home. But that did mean I needed to de-fur and declutter my house/spare bedroom today. Send. Maid.

I have a lot of pictures to share. I know many of you don’t follow my Twitter updates, so you weren’t able to share in any of my Vegas adventures, but I had a great time!

In the meantime, now that I’m home, my goal for myself was to start working out again. I’m ready to load the Nano so I can get started. Um. Soon. Heh. Right before I left, I realized I still had two 2009 Aussie calendars to give away. One is Australia Bronzed Boys and one is Australia Bronzed girls. I think I’d better give those away before the year is over, don’t you think?

In the comments, tell me what song(s) you either use for working out yourself or think would make good workout music. Help me load my Nano with everything from dance, to rap, rock, country and 80s music. Then tell me if you want to be entered for the Bronzed Boys, Bronzed Girls or both. Sorry, I can only ship within the U.S. because Las Vegas took all my money 😉 If you’re out of the U.S. and want to enter, I’ll give you a Samhain download instead.

Contest will close…Friday. You’ll need to come back and check to see if you’re a winner. If you don’t contact me with your mailing details by next Tuesday, I’ll draw a new winner. Fair enough?

Las Vegas Day 1

So those of you who don’t follow my Twitter probably didn’t get to hear the adventure of my travels yesterday. The adventure of 2 delayed flights, being rerouted to a new flight through Salt Lake City and how Delta lost our bags. Yes, they managed to lose my luggage for the second time this month. As we speak, one of our bags is supposedly here in Vegas (though not in our possession yet) and the other is in, wait for it…Portland, Oregon. No, I don’t know how that happens. Especially since both were supposedly in New York last night and on their way here. Apparently, Portland is on the way? Then, to top it off, after we finally got here (late) last night, Hertz had our car reservation but no car with which to fill that reservation. Genius. But, you know, there’s really nothing you can do except keep a sense of humor about the whole thing and carry on.

We did walk around the casino last night (of course) and I watched the craps tables for awhile. I don’t understand craps at all so this morning we’re going to attend a craps lesson. Because I need something other than slots or blackjack where I can lose my money. Although with our run of bad travel luck yesterday (I mean, seriously, not much went right. Well. The planes didn’t crash. That’s something), but with our bad travel luck, I figure we’re due to win some major money here in Las Vegas. Right? Heh.

Since I woke up at 6am LV time, we’re going to grab the chance to have some breakfast, tour the casino and then go get some craps lessons. We have no other plans for the day. Jaci and Charlie should be here by lunchtime and then it’s off to the tequila bar in the hotel! (okay, not really, but it sounds like something wild and exciting).

Wish me good gambling luck! Oh, and pray our bag makes it from Portland.

TBR Day: I don’t know what to choose!

It seems like over half of what I read these days would qualify for this challenge, so now that I find myself in the airport with a delayed flight and a Bloody Mary in front of me, I’m not sure which book to write about. Included in the books I could have written about that I read from my TBR pile include Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (which I followed with Plum Spooky) and Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts. I’m a fan of both Janet Evanovich and Nora Roberts, so these are pretty easy recommends for me. Even though I constantly tell myself I’m going to quit Evanovich because her books never seem to move forward with anything, I still find myself going back to them because they’re light and fluffy and never fail to make me giggle. And let’s face it, Ranger and Joe are hot.

But I think my favorite TBR book this month was Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy. This is one I picked up on the recommendation of Jane from Dear Author. I’ve been trying to branch out my reading to more genres other than just fantasy and paranormal, and contemporary is one I don’t read as much of. Plus, this book seems right up my alley because, hello! Nascar!

So the blurb:

“One of the romance writing industry’s brightest stars”(Romance Reviews Today) returns with a flat-out delightful, new, and sexy contemporary romance about a woman who’s happy being single—and the man determined to change her mind.

Independent single mother Tamara Briggs wanted to find a new, sexy, no-strings-attached man—just not one as young as NASCAR driver Elec Monroe. But he sure does get her heart racing. And after she’s tricked into a blind date with him, Tamara gives in to her passion. Things screech to a halt, though, when he asks to meet her children. Whatever happened to wham-bam-thank-youma’am? Suddenly Tamara has to decide how much risk she’s willing to take to experience the power of true love.

I’ll be honest, for whatever reason I didn’t expect to like this book, I think partly because of the widowed mom aspect of the heroine and the younger hero. Also, I have liked but not loved some of Erin’s previous books. But to my surprise, I liked both the hero and the heroine quite a bit. I enjoyed the relationship between them and found the conflict, while not overly complicated, to be both believable and relevant. I’m not an overly huge fan of children in romance but I didn’t find them to be either intrusive or just wallpaper either. I think that with this contemporary series, the author has found both her niche and a powerful storytelling voice.

To make this brief (because my battery is dying), the characters have wonderful chemistry, but also a really believable growth in both their relationships and their own personal demons. The secondary characters add a depth to both the characters’ relationship and the book itself. There wasn’t anything concrete I would point to and say that I overly disliked about the book and I’m very much looking forward to the next release, Hard and Fast, which releases in May.

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