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Monthly Archives: June 2011

To Coupon or Not to Coupon

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I know I said a while ago that I was going to be couponing this summer. I did it last summer, and it was kind of fun. You know, the thrill of the hunt and all that. I actually bought enough shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in a couple of months to last me all year. I just ran out of body wash last week, and I’ve still got a couple of shampoo/conditioner sets left.

I haven’t been able to work up the energy for it this year, though. It may be that I’m still decompressing from the stress of the school year. I’m starting to get interested in it again. We’ll see if anything comes of it. I’d really love it if I was able to do it low-key enough that I could sustain it even while I’m in school next semester.

Meanwhile, here are some of the resources I’ve found and used. Have some great ones yourself? Let me know!

Blogs and Boards

  • Krazy Coupon Lady – a daily blog with weekly store specials matched with coupons, plus all kinds of deals and freebies
  • Deal Seeking Mom – another daily blog, similar to the above
  • Hot Coupon World – a forum with boards for individual stores and general couponing advice, as well as more general discussions

Printable Coupons

Most stores will take these now.

  • Coupons.com
  • Red Plum
  • Like your favorite stores and brands on Facebook to get special offers.
  • Also, check the websites of you faves for coupons and specials. If they have a mailing list, sign up.
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Sunday Comics

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Since it’s Sunday, I’m going to talk about comics today! I’ve previously mentioned some that I like in this post, but, lucky you, now I’m going to tell you why I like them.

Calvin and Hobbes

My oldest-favorite comic is Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson. I remember (vaguely) when it first came to my little hometown newspaper. I liked it immediately. The irrepressible Calvin has the usual kid-ventures with home, school, friends, and play, but with the added twist of his stuffed tiger, Hobbes, whom he sees as completely real. Some people say that Hobbes is a manifestation of Calvin’s conscience; he is often telling Calvin that a particular exploit might not be such a good idea. I think he may be more of an older version of Calvin, though. He is still fun-loving, but he thinks through the consequences of their actions a little better, and he thinks kissing girls might not be so bad.

XKCD

The modern comic I’ve been following the longest is probably xkcd. This is an Internet-only comic by Randall Munroe. It’s sarcastic and nerdy, two of my favorite things. Although it is generally inhabited only by stick figures, a few regular characters have emerged, including the main guy, a geeky girl (possibly named Megan), a really weird guy with a beret who likes scones, and a sociopathic (but lovable) guy with a flat hat. This comic often has punchlines that involve math, physics, and other science-y things. If you don’t get it, you can always check the forums, where someone has likely already explained it. It is also sometimes about relationships, and can be risque, so it’s not always family-friendly.

Sheldon

Another webcomic I love for its nerdy content is Sheldon, by Dave Kellett. Sheldon is a 10-year-old who wrote some kind of software and now owns a multi-billion-dollar company called Sheldonsoft. Sheldon lives with his Gramps; a talking duck named Arthur; Arthur’s “son,” a lizard (don’t ask) named Flaco; and his pug, Oso. I got into it because of Oso; the author owns a pug himself and occasionally does a pug comic that is just right on. Dave has also started a second webcomic called Drive, a space opera. It’s more serial and less laugh-out-loud funny than Sheldon, but still fun.

FoxTrot

FoxTrot is an oldie that I’ve just discovered. It’s fun comic about a family with three children who get up to all kinds of antics. My favorite is, of course, the younger boy, who is a huge nerd. It’s pretty widely syndicated, so look for it in your paper.

Cul de Sac

I found Cul de Sac, by Richard Thompson, not too long ago after seeing quotes from Bill Watterson about how great it was. This is another strip about a family, the Otterloops, but this one is centered around 4-year-old Alice. There is a supporting cast of her little friends at Blisshaven Preschool, each with their own personality. I love the way Alice is portrayed – Mr. Thompson really gets preschoolers. Alice is often bossy, and occasionally mean for no apparent reason, but she is generally a bright, creative, energetic child just doing her best to figure out the world around her. Then there is her family: a mom and dad, plus big brother Petey, and and occasional appearance from a grandmother. I think Petey is supposed to be around 8 years old. He prefers laying on his bed reading comic books about a boy who lays on his bed to any sort of actual physical activity. He does have a few friends, including a girl named Viola, on whom he may or may not have a crush, and who may or may not have a crush on him; Andre and Loris, whom he met at comic book camp; and Ernesto, who may or may not be imaginary. Petey is more of a caricature than Alice (I guess a normal 4-year-old is funny enough), but he may be my favorite character. In fact, I think Cul de Sac is probably my favorite comic right now. You should check it out.

Asteroid!

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Asteroid 2011 MD is going to be so close to earth on Monday that it will actually be within the orbits of our GPS satellites. Earth’s gravity will slingshot the asteroid around the planet and back into space. Check out the story on discoverynews.com. (Be sure to follow the links if you want more information.) You can also find some more neat animations created by Pasquale Tricarico of the Planetart Science Institute here. Cool!

I am Legend

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I know, I know. I promised this post a long time ago. What can I say? I forgot a little bit.

So, I bought I Am Legend a few weeks ago from Amazon’s Sunshine Deals (now unfortunately over).

I’m not writing spoilers beyond a few basic plot points. However, some of the links may contain major spoilers.

I had caught the movie a few years ago on TV. I thought it was OK. I do like Will Smith, but there were some odd things about it. There were some bits that I thought would be important later but never panned out. I later found out that they had scrapped the original ending and written a new one. (Spoilers in the link, obviously.) Wow. The alternate ending wasn’t the same as the one in the book, but it was closer than the theatrical one, and, I think, truer to the spirit of the book.

The premise of both book and movie is that humanity has been wiped out by a mysterious disease that turned everyone into vampire-like creatures. One man, Robert Neville, remains, alone, defending himself against the monsters. In the book he is just a guy, but in the movie he is actually a doctor who was involved in creating the plague. In both, he is trying to find a way to reverse the disease. I can’t really say much more without spoiling it for you more than I want to.

The book was written in the 50s, so it’s a little dated, but actually not too bad. When there’s only one man left on earth, social issues are pretty much irrelevant. It’s a fairly quick read. Amazon says the hardback is 320 pages, although it didn’t seem that long on my Kindle. (Although that may be because I’ve been reading really long books lately.) It’s not guaranteed that you’ll enjoy it if you liked the movie, but I thought it was a good read. I recommend it.

Like I said, the movie stars Will Smith, so I like that about it. It’s probably worth the watch, as well. If you’re like me and it makes you mad when they change a perfectly good book into an almost unrecognizable movie, you’ll definitely want to watch before reading the book. I’d also get it on DVD (buy or rent) rather than trying to catch it on TV or Netflix so you can check out the alternate ending.

So, in conclusion, I am Legend: worth it for both the movie and the book.

Who Am I, Anyway?

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Sigh. I know, it’s been almost two weeks. What can I say? I guess part of what I am is flaky, ha ha.

While messing around with my blog appearance, I have discovered that I may have a split personality. On one hand, I like the kind of old-fashioned, “shabby chic” look. Warm, faded colors. Feminine flourishes and clutter. On the other hand, I’m also attracted to a smooth, modern look. Deep jewel tones. A minimalist interface with clean, curved edges. Which one is me?

Then I realized, there are (at least) two aspects of my life that I want to blog about. So I’m keeping the shabby, scrapbook look on this blog to write about my personal life. You’ll keep getting posts about my family, books I’m reading, and other stuff I like here. I also started a new blog to write about computer and technical stuff at marianneplayswithcomputers.wordpress.com. I’m going to keep that one more professional in nature. But still feel free to drop by and say hi! I think I’m going to be doing some posts about general user stuff, like how to make sure only people you know can see your Facebook page, as well as some more technical stuff. I’ll try to come up with some good tags so you can find things you’ll be interested in there. That blog is also linked to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, so if you’re getting notified of new posts through those services, you will also get links to the new blog.

More Kindle Bargains

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Looks like in addition to Amazon’s sales, some of the publishers are putting their books on sale as well. Most of the big publishers dictate the price of their ebooks so that Amazon can’t put them on sale, but the publishers themselves can. Unfortunately, there isn’t a convenient link like there is for the Sunshine Deals. That means it’s treasure hunting time!

I’ve already bought this one:

Let me know in the comments what treasures you’ve found!

Busy Week

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Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted. We’ve had a pretty busy week around here.

First off, my DH was at youth camp. He left Sunday afternoon and returned Friday afternoon. So I had MB all by myself during the week. Which isn’t so bad, but I also had to take care of the dog, which is a bit of a pain, since he doesn’t obey me nearly as well as DH. I was also stuck doing all the little household chores, like watering plants, that he usually takes care of. And the cooking. He usually does more of the cooking than I do.

So Monday was OK, but I should have given MB a bath, as you shall soon see. Tuesday, we went to church to watch Cars with the other preschoolers and young school-age kids. Lots of fun, and free dinner, but before we had to come home to take care of the dog, and after we didn’t get home until almost 9:00, so straight to bed. Wednesday, we went to church again. (There was a Bible study starting that I want to do this summer.) Again, we had to come home in between work/day care, and church. We got home a bit earlier, at around 8:30, but still after MB’s 8:00 bedtime, so, again, straight to bed. At that point, the poor child hadn’t had a bath since Saturday. (Her usual bath nights are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.) So the Thursday bath is an absolute must. Then…Thursday.

Ah, yes, Thursday. It started out OK. I had told MB that we were going to have chicken nuggets for dinner. I wanted to try out my new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. The idea is to hide vegetables in your kids’ food; since MB refuses to eat most vegetables, this sounded perfect for us. Unfortunately, I used spinach this time. Basically the recipe called for using a vegetable puree as the batter for the chicken, which was then rolled in crust and pan fried. Since I don’t cook a lot, especially not this elaborate of a recipe, it took me about an hour from start to finish. I actually thought they came out pretty good, the small grease burn on my arm notwithstanding. You really can’t taste the spinach, and the crust was yummy. MB, however, refused to touch them because they were “green.” (You could see the green puree under the crust. So we had a huge to-do about that, and I ended up making her toast with peanut butter. Then the bath. Then it was pretty much bed time.

So that was mostly what I did this week. I did finish A Breath of Snow and Ashes, which was just as good as the previous Outlander books, last night. Only took a month. Sheesh. As usual, I need at least a short break from the series, so I started I Am Legend last night. It’s pretty short (only 2719 Kindle locations, if that means anything to you), so I should finish it within a couple of days. I’m almost halfway through already. Definitely want to review this one for you and compare it to the movie.

Sigh. So that’s my week. Looks like it’s going to be a busy summer, but at least DH will be around for the rest of it!