August/September Update

Based on the cobwebs around here, it looks like I’ve hit a rut again, which is both true and not true. Expanded Universe wise, I started Jedi Twilight on July 24th.  Honestly, I am not a fan and am struggling a bit with it.  It was easy to put down, but I know that I can power through it if I get back into it.  I’m not invested in anyone yet.  I also started reading Heir to the Empire, the first of the Thrawn trilogy books.  I read this series back in the 90s but don’t remember a ton about them, so it’s basically like reading it for the first time.  I skipped ahead to that one because of a new podcast, Thrawncast.  So I am reading a few chapters a week along with them.  I’m still listening to Rogue Podron, but I already read the book they are on, so I am just listening in each week.

In non Star Wars news, I finished War and Peace!  Yay me!  I kind of feel like I should have a button so that people will know of my accomplishment.  Overall, I really like it.  There were parts that were tedious, but I loved pretty much all of the character driven parts, even when they were being idiots. :)

On top of that, I’ve just been BUSY.  Football season is in full swing, DragonCon happened (and was lots of fun), and baseball season is winding down.  These are the last few games at Turner Field, so I am going to 3 games this week.  I also went to Nashville for a long weekend for E’s birthday and M’s baptism.  I’m heading back up there next week to help them move to a new house.

And on top of all that, I have decided to make a Resistance Pilot costume so I can join the Rebel Legion!  Right now I am just collecting the pieces (because omg this can get expensive fast) and will build it after I finish my other craft projects.  But I am so excited about it!  My goal is to have it done and approved before Star Wars Celebration in April.

Speaking of my craft projects, I am working on Lauren’s t-shirt quilt, but it is hard and I kind of hate it.  But I will get it done.  Somehow.  After that, I need to finish two baby quilts for my cousin and niece.  My cousin’s baby is about to turn 1 and M will be 1 in December.  I’ll miss H’s birthday, but I should have plenty of time to finish M’s by her 1st birthday.

And if all that wasn’t enough, I may be taking in my sister’s dog.  So I’ll have two dogs and the new one is younger and will require more walks than my current lazy old man.

Star Wars Weekends!

This post isn’t about reading.  It’s about what kept me from reading in the month of May!  Last fall, I decided to become a Disney World Annual Passholder.  There’s been a bunch of things I always wanted to do at Disney, but I haven’t had the time or money to do them because I was always going to stadiums.  Last summer, I finished going to all the active MLB stadiums (woo!) and decided I wanted to go to Braves Spring Training this year.  Since I was already going to Disney in November with my BFF Kristin, an annual pass just seemed to make sense.  It then morphed into 80 bajillion trips this year.  We did a week with free dining in November, I went back for my birthday in January (part of the trip was with Kristin’s family at OKW and part at Animal Kingdom Lodge with a stop at Universal’s Cabana Bay in the middle), and I went down for a week in March for Spring Training (this time at Pop Century with a couple nights at Universal’s Royal Pacific to start the week).  That brings us to May and STAR WARS WEEKENDS!

I’m a huge Star Wars fan (obviously) and really wanted to go down last year to see the Clone Wars actors Weekend 5, but decided it was too much money.  I’d just gotten back from San Francisco and Anaheim/Disneyland, so it made sense not to go, but I am still a little sad I missed it.  So this year, I was determined to go and have lots of fun!  I ended up going the first 3 weekends.  I would love to have gone all 5, but wow – I never imagined how tired I would be with all the travel back and forth and working during the week and going to baseball games.  It was exhausting!  Next year, if I do more than 1 weekend, I’m going to spread it out more, I think.  We’ll see.  I may end up living at Disney for 5 weeks.  (Ha, no, I won’t.  But I can dream, right?)

So anyway, here are random thoughts on various aspects of SWW from my perspective.

Galactic Gathering and Darth’s Mall:
This was a merchandise event the Thursday before Weekend 1.  It cost extra money to get in, but you got the first shot at all the merchandise, plus the opportunity to shop with smaller crowds than a normal SWW day.  You could pre-order some limited edition stuff and some items were specific to the event.  It was a neat experience, but probably not one I’ll do again.  I spent way too much money in Darth’s Mall!  First, you pre-pay for the pre-ordered stuff and then there are three different shops in the “mall.”  My budget kind of fell apart because I spent too much money each place. :) Plus the GG lanyard meant I didn’t have to wait in line to get into the mall at other times, so it was really easy to pop in and spend more money.  Oh Disney, I’ll just send you the next few paychecks, okay?

But I did get a lot of fun stuff.  I was super happy to be able to try on Her Universe stuff before buying it.  It really helped with sizes because their stuff can be all over the place.  I also got some pins, a couple lightsabers, Stitch as Yoda plush, and an Ewok plush.  The last two made great pillows at various times during the weekends and on planes.  I think I am going to put some of the extra limited edition stuff up on eBay.  The lightsaber Magic Band is cool, but I probably won’t wear it much because I already have MBs I’ve decorated and love to wear and I love the new Luke pilot band.

I also enjoyed meeting a couple authors and getting books signed.  I met Jason Fry and Tricia Barr.  They were both really cool.

I did D-Tech Me during the Gathering.  It is really cool to have an X-wing pilot figure of myself, but it is also kind of weird.  I hate the hair on it.  I didn’t really like any of the hair options for women.  So the hair is strange and makes the figure look more like my grandmother than me.  :)

Celebrities and Autographs:
Lots of cool people come to SWW, which was great.  Getting autographs is a lot less great.  You have to get in line super early in the morning for a lot of them and you don’t have a lot of control on what time you’ll get, which can mess up other plans.  Weekend 3 I really wanted to meet Warwick Davis and Steve Blum, but I also wanted and needed more sleep and didn’t end up meeting either of them.  That was a little disappointing, but I’ll live.  But it was super cool to meet the ones I did!  Weekend 1, I met Tiya Sircar and Ashley Eckstein.  Weekend 2, I met Vanessa Marshall.  They were all really fun and cool.  I loved being able to tell them how much I love their characters and they were all really excited to talk about them.  And I met Ashley’s husband David in Darth’s Mall with the Her Universe stuff.  He was one of my favorite baseball players for a while.  We talked about my favorite scrappy Braves infielders Mark Lemke and Rafael Belliard.  It was cool.

Feel the Force Package:
I did the Deluxe Premium package twice – the Saturdays of Weekend 1 and Weekend 3.  It was really cool to do the first weekend, but ended up being unnecessary the second time.  I loved the spot for the parade viewing and being able to walk right up to the stage for the show at the end.  I loved the snacks and water that was available and not fighting for a spot to watch the parade.  Weekend 3 I was very grateful for the umbrellas when there was a little rainstorm right before the parade.  But I am not a huge parade person, so the second viewing wasn’t really needed.

This package included access to all the shows, which was awesome.  Weekend 1, I went to all the shows with the pass, but Weekend 3 I used FPs to spread them out on all three days, which worked just as well.  The seating for the package is right up front and great, though.  Between the package and FPs, I was really happy to never have to stand in the standby line for any of the shows.

The final part of the package was a dessert party prior to the fireworks.  This was okay.  It was nice to have a spot without waiting forever and food and drinks were nice, but probably not worth the cost.  The view of the pre-show was really cool, but it was a little too close to the stage for the fireworks.   The second time, my table was more off to the side, which helped with the view.  I really loved the fireworks.  They were amazing and I love the music anyway, so I was doubly happy.  I did watch the fireworks from Yulady’s spot farther back Weekend 2 and thought it was much better than the package area.  But the package has to balance the preshow and the view for the fireworks, so they can’t be perfect for both.  Overall, I was happy with the package.  It was a great deal, especially for what it cost compared to the VIP tour.

Star Wars Themed Meals:
I did two of the three Star Wars meals, the Galactic Breakfast and the Rebel Hanger.  I had an ADR for Jedi Mickey’s dinner, but ended up cancelling it because it was super easy to meet all the characters in the park without spending money on a meal I may not eat (I’m not a big fan of buffets).

The breakfast was really cool.  I was sad that Vader didn’t sign there, but I ended up meeting him elsewhere.  I was completely freaked out by Boba Fett.  NOT A FAN.  Vader didn’t bother me that day, but did when I met him later.  Who knows what kicks off my irrational fear of people in masks/helmets?  Anyway, I did get a fun picture with them.  Inside the restaurant was really cool.  I loved watching the trailers and clips on the big movie screen.  The characters that walked around were cool.  I was annoyed the stormtrooper wouldn’t sign my lightsaber, but Greedo did and I traded with the jawas.  That was fun.  The food was awesome too, and they would give you more if you asked.  I ended eating enough to not even notice I skipped lunch driving home that day.

The Rebel Hanger was one of the best parts of SWW.  The food was great and the themed drinks were awesome!  I wish I could have another Rebel Red.  The X-wing and Millennium Falcon glow cubes were amazing.  I have arts and crafts plans for those.  At first, the characters would come in, go to a few tables and then leave.  I didn’t like that, but they changed it so the characters came in and walked around and if you wanted to meet them, you had to initiate it.  I liked that a lot more.  I finally got to meet Ezra and Sabine!  I really hope the Rebel Hanger sticks around.

Meeting People:
So this final section is really about meeting characters, but before I get to that, I have to say that meeting people from the Disboards was awesome!  I really enjoyed getting to know Yulady and Stephanie and loved seeing familiar faces all over the park.  It definitely made me feel less like I was traveling alone.  I am glad I was able to share stories with people that understood it instead of gushing to my family while I looked at me like I’m crazy.  (That never happens, of course…)

So characters – I like meeting characters in theory, but in reality, I hate lines and am super awkward.  But I still had a ton of fun meeting Star Wars characters.  It was cool.  There were only a couple lines where I was too hot and unhappy, but usually they weren’t that bad.  I liked that they had umbrellas out over some of them, or the line was somewhat shaded.  The biggest annoyance was that there’s usually several characters rotating in one spot, so it can be tough to meet the ones you want, particularly when you’ve already met most of the other characters in that spot.  Also, all these pictures made it clear that my bangs can’t handle being sweaty. They just don’t recover well. :|

So here are my pictures from Memory Maker in basically the order I met everyone.  I am glad I had multiple days and was able to spread out the lines.  That’s probably a big reason why the lines didn’t bother me as much – I didn’t stand in a ton each day.

First up was the Chewy Run to meet Chewbacca and Logray without a long wait. I would have loved to have met Wicket, but I wasn’t going to stand in an hour+ line to do it!
SWW1D1 - 1 - chewy

Stormtrooper Donald and Darth Goofy!

SWW1D1 - 2 - goofydonald

The Chipwoks! I have another picture where everyone is looking at the camera, but I love this one of me laughing and Chip taking over my personal space. They loved my shirt.
SWW1D1 - 3 - chipwoks

My first super awkward meeting of the day! I got so flustered talking to Anakin. We were talking about how my lightsaber was green. He said it was like Master Yoda’s and I am pretty sure I said I was Yoda. IDK.
SWW1D1 - 4 - anakin

Jedi Mickey and Leia Minnie! They were fun to meet. The best part was when I was holding the lightsaber up for Mickey to sign, I wasn’t holding it high enough and said “I’m sorry – I am short!” and he cocked his head to one side like “And I’m not?” It was cute.
SWW1D2 - 1 - mickeyminnie

The last picture from Weekend 1 is Boba Fett and Darth Vader. At least you can’t tell how much I was freaking out in the picture.
SWW1D3 - vaderfett breakfast

Weekend 2 kicked off with Ahsoka and Cody. I am sad that Ahsoka didn’t have her eyes open in any of these pictures, but luckily she looks great in my one with Rex, so that’s good. This was the line where I was way too hot, so I am glad I don’t look too rough in the picture.
SWW2 - 1 - ahsoka cody

Leia. I think we talked it being as hot as Tattooine.
SWW2 - 2 - Leia

Luke. I liked the other friend of Luke more than I liked this Ken Doll Luke, but he was nice. We talked about how his lightsaber was his father’s and was blue, but maybe someday he’ll make a green one because he really likes green.
SWW2 - 3 - luke

There were a couple Magic Shots available. The force push with the troopers is my favorite!
SWW2 - magic shot trooper

But fighting Vader isn’t bad. I look very tough.
SWW2 - magic shot vader

Meeting Vader. SO MUCH AWKWARDNESS. It was funny because he wanted me to hand him the pin and the saber, but I didn’t understand. It took me a minute.
SWW3D1 - 1 - vader

Amidala was a bit awkward too because I didn’t have a ton to say to her. If she’d been from a later movie, I would have had more, but I don’t like or remember the Phantom Menace that much. We talked about Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber.
SWW3D1 - 2 - amidala

MACE! He’s gorgeous. He was fun to talk to.
SWW3D2 - 1 - mace

REXXXXXXXXXXXXXX! I was really excited to meet him. I wasn’t expecting Ahsoka to be there as well, but she came out right when I got to the front of the line and I was the first person to meet them together. I really loved the friend of Ahsoka. She was great.
SWW3D2 - 2 - ahsoka rex

And the best meet of all! The Droids! I like this Luke better. I should have stood by him instead of awkwardly by Leia. Awkward is my specialty though.
SWW3D2 - 3 - droids

Blog fail…

I ended up not even keeping up with what I was reading monthly.  Sad!  I was derailed in August because I did a Sci-Fi Lit class where I was only reading parts of books and some were eBooks, so I lost track of how many pages I’d read.  Then I got busy and stopped reading as much, which happens in the fall a lot, and I moved, which took up a lot of time.  Now I am back to reading quite a bit, but I’m rereading instead of reading new books.  But I do love the Harry Potter series so much!

It wasn’t a bad year, though.  I didn’t finish the alphabet challenge, but I did finish the PBS YA Challenge.  I’ll be attempting that challenge again in 2013, so I’ll put up a new post soon.  I’m going to attempt to do monthly posts again, maybe with a small tweak to the format.  I like that I am reading whatever I want to, not because it fits a challenge category or whatever, so I hope to continue that as the year begins and not get caught up in finishing the challenges and stuff like that.  We shall see!

Jenna likes to read…

…but Jenna doesn’t really like to blog about it. :)

I went through a funk this fall where I didn’t really want to read as much as normal.  I did end up finishing most of 2011 challenges, but some where very last minute.  This year I’ve decided to do the PBS YA Challenge again, but that’s it.  We’ll see how far I get on it, but I am not going to push myself.  I need to read because I want to, not because I have to for a challenge or a swap.  Just for fun.

So my little blog here will probably be pretty quiet this year.  Maybe I’ll start blogging again, maybe not.  We’ll see.


I updated my blog theme yesterday and it overwrote my banner! I may have the old banner on my old computer at home, but I guess this is an excuse to update the books in the picture. :)

And I lost all the modifications I’d made!  I’ll definitely make a list of the changes I’m remaking now for next time.   And I won’t delete my back up until the new one is running correctly…

Secret Santa and In My Mailbox 12/29/09

I have been way slack in doing In My Mailbox this month.  I’ve received and bought a whole lot of stuff and probably won’t be able to come up with the full list at this point.  Oh well! :)  I haven’t even put it on my TBR list, so that is going to be fun to update.   I’ve read a couple books recently that I later realized weren’t on the TBR yet.  Oops!

But in other news, I did get a package from my Secret Santa!  This is the stuff I got… (ignore the stack of paper in the background.  That’s my “filing system” at work.)

It’s a card, a book light, peppermint sticks, a mini scrapbook, a box of Hershey Kisses, and a way fun Santa bird pen.  I mean, seriously, how fun is this thing?

I took him to meetings last week when I didn’t really want to take notes or pay attention.  I’m not sure my boss appreciated that, but my coworkers were amused.  The note in the box said I am also getting a book from The Book Depository, so hopefully that will be here soon!  I can’t wait!  Thanks so much, Secret Santa who didn’t sign the card! :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Mine was really good – spent time with my dad’s extended family, then my mom’s extended family the weekend before Christmas, then spent Christmas Eve/Day with my parents (and dog).  I have this week off, then my parents and I are heading up to NC to see my sister and brother in law this weekend.  I have been a reading maniac recently and I’m a little behind on putting my thoughts up on here, but I should probably catch up before I read too much more or I won’t remember anything!

Out With the Old Challenge – Week 4 Recap

The challenge is over!  I didn’t get to read as much this week because I have a big project for work that is taking up a lot of my time, but I still feel I did pretty okay.  Short books helped! :)  I can’t wait for my project to be over so I can read some of the exciting 2009 books I’ve been putting off for most of this challenge!

Number of Books Read: 7
Number of Books Not Finished: 0
Total Points: 3100
Books Read:

  1. Angels Watching Over Me by Lurlene McDaniel (1996) – 500 pts
  2. Lifted Up By Angels by Lurlene McDaniel (1997) – 500 pts
  3. Until Angels Close My Eyes by Lurlene McDaniel (1999) – 500 pts
  4. Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (2006) – 250 pts
  5. Little Men by Louisa May Scott (1871) – 1000 pts
  6. Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess (2007) – 250 pts
  7. The Ex-Games by Jennifer Echols (2009) – 100 pts

Hopefully I’ll have good new tomorrow when I come back to update my placement!

I do have good news!  I ended up in 5th out of 34.  I won two PBS credits!  (I don’t exactly need those, but hey – I won something!)

Out With the Old Challenge – Week 3 Recap

So Week 3 is done!  Only one week left.  Yay!  The Challenge has been fun, but I’m ready to just grab something off the shelf and read it and not worry about how long it is or how many points it is worth. :)

Number of Books Read: 9
Number of Books Not Finished: 0
Total Points: 3700
Books Read:

  1. Size 14 Is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot (2006) – 250 pts
  2. Confessions of a First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway (2009) – 100 pts
  3. Big Boned by Meg Cabot (2007) – 250 pts
  4. Beauty by Robin McKinley (1978) – 500 pts
  5. Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1895) – 1000 pts
  6. Run With the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams (1982) – 500 pts
  7. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts (2009) – 100 pts
  8. Put Me In Coach by Barbara Dooley (1991) – 500 pts
  9. Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen (1998) – 500 pts

I am still in 4th this week!

Out with the Old Challenge – Week 2 Recap

So this was week 2 of the Challenge.  I thought my total would be lower this week because Jane Eyre was a beast, but it helped that I read several shorter books around it.  (BTW, Jane Eyre was great!  I am glad I read it.)  Pretty Monsters just didn’t hold my attention, so I gave it up after reading the minimum to get points.

Number of Books Read: 8
Number of Books Not Finished: 1
Total Points: 3875
Books Read:

  1. That Summer by Sarah Dessen (1996) – 500 pts
  2. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (1908) – 500 pts
  3. Persuasion by Jane Austen (1817) – 1000 pts
  4. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (2008) – 250 pts
  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1848) – 1000 pts
  6. Wake by Lisa McMann (2008) – 250 pts
  7. Fade by Lisa McMann (2009) – 100 pts
  8. Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot (2006) – 250 pts

Books Not Finished (and abandoned):

  1. Pretty Monsters: Stories by Kelly Link (2008) – 25 pts (I only read 100 pages)

I’ll update tomorrow with my placement. I moved up to 4th!

Out with the Old Challenge – Week 1 Recap

As I mentioned earlier this week, I am participating in a 4 week challenge on PaperBackSwap to read older books.  I’m still reading a little YA and will blog about that, but probably won’t blog about non YA stuff.  Here’s a recap of my Week 1!

Number of Books Read: 9
Total Points: 3100
Books Read:

  1. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (500 pts)
  2. Watership Down by Richard Adams (500 pts)
  3. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (250 pts)
  4. Mossflower by Brian Jacques (500 pts)
  5. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (500 pts)
  6. Wuthering High by Cara Lockwood (250 pts)
  7. The Scarlett Letterman by Cara Lockwood (250 pts)
  8. Moby Clique by Cara Lockwood (250 pts)
  9. School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer (100 pts)

I listened to the Mossflower audiobook while working this week.  It was a lot of fun – I recommend the Redwall series audiobooks!  I was able to download it for free from my local library.

I decided not to blog about the last two I read.  I didn’t like either of them very much, so I decided not to waste my time blogging about them!

I’ll update this post tomorrow with my rank in the game! I’m in 6th of 34 this week!