Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Expected One

Have you ever read a book that completely and utterly floored you? Not to because it was exciting but because it completely changed your way of thinking? Well that was "The Expected One" by Kathleen McGowan for me.

This book follows a writer and part time historian, Maureen Paschale in her journey of discovery of Mary Magdalene. Maureen and her cousin Peter, a Catholic priest, to Europe on a path to discovery the lost gospel of Mary. I can't give too much more away than that because it'll ruin the story :)

While I had heard that there was a gospel of Mary, the ideas presented in this book, including the author's note afterwards (which part of me found even more interesting than the book to be honest!), were just shocking. The idea of children of Jesus is fantastic and such earth shatter to most people (though again, not to me ;)). McGowan does a fantastic job interweaving the truth with the fiction. I can't wait to see where this series (there are two other books, I'm currently reading the second one now) goes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Book Review

wow.. I just finished reading Magic Hour by Kristen Hannah. What a profound and magical book. I've read other books of Hannah's and I know she's a fantastic writer but this book took me to a whole knew level. I couldn't put it down.

This story tells the tale of a child psychologist who is disgraced by the press after  a bad case flees to her childhood home in Western Washington. While she's there, a child comes out of the woods with a wolf pup. What happens in the rest of the book is tale of love, reconnection, and heartache (I was in tears at the end!).

I was reading reviews on Goodreads and there was one that really struck me. The person had defaced her book by crossing out the swear word and was really upset by the sex outside of marriage... I wanted to respond but I didn't but Hannah is not a Christian writer! She's a romance writer...

Rating: 5/5
Highly recommend reading this (or any other Hannah book)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

measuring the quality: is it really quality over quantity?

So this week has been about how to measure your 2.0 technologies and it got me thinking. Is it really important to measure them or just go with the idea that quality is better of quantity?

In all rationale, yes, it is important to measure your 2.0 technologies. There are a million different ways to do this but I use Google Analytics for this site (even though Blogger does have it's own analysis). From an archival stand point there is Archival Metrics.

On the other hand I also think that sometimes, you should just say screw it. Why? because if you don't stress about the measurement stuff then it becomes less like work and more fun. And I've found when you are having fun, posts for blogs, facebook, twiter, etc. are generally written better. You get into your subject matter. Don't get me wrong, I think it definitely is important to look at your numbers but as JD Lasica said in his post, don't go crazy thinking about them.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Guide to Broadway

A couple of days ago I finished Seth Rudetsky's The Q Guide to Broadway. What a fantastic book! I've known about Seth for sometime, having read his other book, Broadway Nights and his Playbill column. I've been wanting to read this book for some time and I couldn't be happier. Seth gives advice on Broadway (and not really just musicals) from what shows to see to how to get tickets and anecdotes in between! One of my favorite stories that I didn't know was the story of Priscilla Lopez and her mishap one night during A Day in Hollywood/A Night n the Ukraine. Such an amazing story, it had me in tears!

Rating: 5/5 MUST READ

Seth gives two lists to new musical fans of cast records that they should own, one, that I consider "Major" shows and one that is "shows you've never heard of but you should". While I agree with some of the CDs on there (or the order their in) I don't agree with all of them. So I thought I'd give my own list:

1.  Aida
Who's in it: Adam Pascal (From Rent), Heather Headley, and Sherie Rene Scott 
Background: Very loosely based on Verdi's Opera of the same name, Aida (Heather Headley) is a Nubian slave captured by the Egyptian Radames (Adam Pascal), who has been engaged to Princess Amnaris (Sherie Rene Scott). Radames ends up falling in love with Aida but he must choose between his love for her and his love for his country.
Why: The scores (Tim Rice people!) and melodies are just fantastic. While the plot is kind of cheesy, the vocal and orchestral arrangements are not to miss.
 2. All Shook Up
Who's in it: Cheyenne Jackson, Jennifer Gambatese, Alix Korey to name a few
Background: Based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, ASU tells the story, using Elvis songs. 
Why: Well for one, the vocal arrangements. There are just some absolutely gorgeous melodies, harmonies, and chorus lines in the entire show. I was so blown that this show wasn't nominated for anything at that year's Tony Awards (Seth explains in the book above that some of it may have been backlash from people hating on jukebox musicals). Plus Cheyenne Jackson's voice is just phenomenal (Surprising tidbit, he was Will Chase's than Adam Pascal's standby than understudy in Aida!). He and Jenn have this amazing connection that comes across even in the cast album
3. Altar Boyz
Who's in it: Ryan Duncan, David Josefsberg, Andy Karl, Tyler Maynard and Scott Porter
Background: The musical is presented in real time as the final concert of the national "Raise the Praise" tour staged by the five-member group the Altar Boyz (Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan, and Abraham). The Altar Boyz perform their songs, with choreographed dancing in the style of boy bands, and present several scenes concerning the group and its origins, as well as each member's strengths and demons, as part of the concert. During the show, the Altar Boyz repeatedly turn to a machine on stage, the "Soul Sensor DX-12," which has a display that they explain shows the number of burdened souls in the theatre. Their goal is to reduce the number on the machine to zero by the end of the concert. (Source)
Sidenote: Just a random note, Cheyenne Jackson also originated this in many workshops and was going to do the show but then got the offer to do All Shook Up as the lead (he wasn't the original lead in that show).
Why?: The show not only has great catchy songs (like any boy band should) but it's got a great message at the end. However, because it does make fun of many Christian beliefs, I would not recommend this if your easily offended by such things.

4. Assassins (The Original Broadway Cast)
Who's in it: Among a plethora of huge names, Neil Patrick Harris
Background: This examines the people behind the presidential assassinations.
Why: It's written by the great composer Steven Sondheim and while I'm not Sondheim fan in general, this show is absolutely brilliant. 
5. Jekyll and Hyde (The original Broadway cast, though the London cast is excellent as well)
Who's in it: Linda Eder, Christiane Noll, and Emily Skinner to name a few
Background: based on the novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The rest of the synopsis can be found at Wikipedia.
Why: The music is done by an absolute genius of a composer, Frank Wildhorn. Just gorgeous melodies
6. Miss Saigon
7. Oklahoma! (I personally recommend the Hugh Jackman version)
8.  Songs for a New World
9. State Fair
10. The Civil War
11. The Light in the Piazza
12. The Pajama Game

Monday, October 10, 2011

Miscellaneous organziation Part two!

This week we covered other miscellaneous organziational stuff via web 2.0. Professor Franks talked about several things in her lecture that I wanted to comment on:

  1.   I heard about the thing in Bozeman (as where I live, we get a lot of news out of Montant) and I think it's extremely wrong and frankly against the law to do that. You're not allowed to ask about age, race, religion, etc on applications. So why should they be allowed to see that sort of thing on social networking sites? It's one thing to ask just for the URLs but to ask for the passwords and log in information? absolutely ludicrious!
  2. Using Evite
    - In a group I belong to we, have virtual gift giving and we use elfster to draw names
  3. Online reporting and ethics
    They may be getting it quickly but it also lowers the quality of the "reporting" and the
    ethical standards should be held on to...
  4. "News Now!"
    I love my NookColor but I still will rather pick up a physical book if I can
  5. Music Industry
    people still "trade" music every single day...
  6. Pandora/streaming music/Music trade
    I love my Pandora... My brother got me into them when they were still a really really small group and I haven't looked back. But I also use my itunes (now that I have it back, whole drama there in and of itself) to play music. It's free and very little ads like Pandora, except I don't waste my Pandora hours

    Great music websites:
    Music Map
    Miscovery (Similar to pandora)
    I will still and am on planning on buying CDS. I have an artist who has a new album coming out soon and I plan on buying his CD. Most of my Cd purchases now are by small artists or artists who don't have a big name label behind them.
    Pandora has also shown me new artists who's music I've really enjoyed
Just Cause music was mentioned. One of the most awesome music experiments ever, Joshua Bell in a subway station:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book that every person in the world should read

I just finished Full Frontal Feminism by

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

miscellaneous organziation

I'm very organized with my bookmarks... I have to been... have a ton of them... And I'm fastidious about backing them up (every 3 months) because I've lost them so many times... I've also used FireFoxes bookmark back up to store them.

I looked at the links provided and honestly? I wouldn't use any of them right now. I might use the ToDo List in the future if I had to share a project todo list but Windows 7 has a great little feature called StickyNote and I love it. I have several of them. I also like writting down my to do lists, especially in my planner because I get the satisfaction of crossing or checking them off when I'm done (or highlighting if it's a school assignment).

As for the clipping and saving.... I don't know that's just now how I surf the web. If I find a link I like I book markit then I will post it to my private journal (I have a post of links, tagged with just that: links and will post stuff there to remember it). I have bookmarked the LinCut as a possible backup... it looks intriguing.

I also think FireFox has some great tools of users making that work will. I haven't used any of them because a lot of ad ons slows down firefox for me but I highly recommend checking out their user created tools. I have several ones (not for bookmarking) that I love and I don't know what I'd do without. Probably my most favorite at least for school is Zotero. If you don't have this, you should. I don't know what I would have done without Zotero this last year and a half. Its such an great add on.

I have several friends who love Shareaholic (Another Firefox add on). I've never used it but those friends seem to really like it. Another Firefox add on that's being promoted right now by them is Web Clipper. I may try this one, but not at the moment.