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At this time of year, working at a year-round school is so freaking awesome (not so much in June and July, when other schools start vacation and I’m still working in the heat). I get my vacation separated into months throughout the year, with two weeks added on to Christmas vacation, and a whole month for Spring Break, and then one month in August. Now, a reminder for those who don’t know…teachers are technically not paid for vacation…we get ten months of pay every year, and that pay is split up amongst the twelve months for some teachers. This is why many teachers take a second job during vacation–summer school, independent contract work, etc. But, not me!

Every time I get a month off, I set personal goals to accomplish. Most are simply things I wish I had more time for, and I always set one for something that I’ve always been too chicken to do–a big goal. Last year, in April, I set the goal of reading as many books as possible, and ended up reading 28 and gained 10 pounds in the process! In August of last year, my big goal was starting a blog, and here I am! January of this year was the beginning of boxing and Muay Thai classes, which I am still taking four times a week! So, what are my goals for this Spring Break?

    1. Read at least two books per week! I think I can easily manage this one (except for The Canterbury Tales…I think that will be read concurrently throughout the month!) I’ll just be reading during the day while the husband is at work. Depending upon the difficulty of the books, I should be able to manage more than two per week!
    2. Write at least five posts per week! Again, I think I should be able to easily manage this, if not more. With all of the reading I’ll be doing, I’ll have a lot of reviews to write and post. Plus, there’s some really good television happening in April (Mad Men and Game of Thrones), so I’ll never run out of things to talk about!
    3. Just Dance video game WiiDrop five pounds–cut calories, run, bike, etc. Ugh. Despite my major sweat sessions doing boxing and Muay Thai for four hours per week, I have actually gained about six or seven pounds since January! I’m told that this is muscle, but this is ridiculous. I have never weighed so much in my life! So, it’s time to get all Dr. Phil and get real…time to cut calories and take more walks or ride my bike. Maybe I’ll also “Just Dance” it off. I just want to see if I can!
    4. Deep-clean the house! When I say “deep-clean”, I mean normal stuff that I’ve been putting off–dusting and sweeping, clean the bathrooms, pick up the clothes in the bedroom, shred the huge pile of stupid, unsolicited credit card applications, etc. I’ve become a terrible housekeeper!
    5. Sansa Lemon Cakes Recipe Game of Thrones

      Sansa's Lemon Cakes! (Man, she drives me nuts)

      Cook at least one Game of Thrones- A Clash of Kings-themed meal! Ah yes! This is a fun one! Last year, when Game of Thrones premiered on HBO, I got together with friends to watch, and I cooked Honeyed Chicken with potatoes and onions (like they serve in King’s Landing) and Sansa’s favorite–Lemon Cakes. Then, for a later episode, I made a true Dornish meal with pita, hummus, olives, rice, and chicken (I think?). I get all of my recipes from The Inn at the Crossroads, and this year, I want to make another GOT-themed meal. Maybe something they’d serve in the kitchens of Harrenhal…

    6. Go for at least one hike! I better do this one–I need some nature in my life!
    7. Do something special for my one-year anniversary with my husband. We got married during my Spring Break last year–April 12 in Reno. We need to do something for this occasion, since we both accidentally missed our other anniversary–the anniversary of our first date, which we have celebrated every year for the last five years. What to do though? Maybe a camping trip or a night in a hotel or something. I have no idea.
    8. The Canterbury Tales by ChaucerRead The Canterbury Tales! This one is long and difficult! I will be reading TCT in it’s original format (using the footnotes a lot!), so I’m anticipating a very slow rate of reading. Since it’s broken up into each traveler’s tale, I’ll probably set my goal for two tales per day. That way, I should be able to complete the text by the end of April. It’s a moral imperative that I do so! I have been wanting to read this for the last 12 years!
    9. Write a short story that I don’t want to throw in the trash! This is the big goal! I haven’t written a short story since college–ten years ago, to be exact. I want to see if I can write one complete short story that doesn’t make me want to puke! To do this, I have to do the next task as well.

My Writing SpaceStart writing in my office. Last summer, I turned our spare bedroom into my own personal writing office. All of my writing books are in there, I have a huge desk covered in quotes from my favorite writing texts, pictures of my heroes staring down at me from the wall (two pictures of Stephen King, hard at work on his own writing, as well as my signed picture of Felicia Day, who is one of the hardest-working creators I know of –she’s my lady-hero!) It’s all set up and ready for me, but because I don’t have a working laptop, I haven’t been working in there. But, for Christmas, I got a keyboard to go with my IPad, so I could turn that into a laptop. I need to start making that office work for me! This will have to happen!

So those are my ten goals for Spring Break! If you had a month off from your responsibilities, how would you spend it?


Free air conditioning--all year long!

It’s another cold, wet, blustery day here in San Diego! One of the perks of being in San Diego is that there really isn’t any reason to have a high energy bill. The weather typically is moderate, so no need for AC in the summer and no need for heat in the winter. However, on days and nights like this, with a house full of wide door jambs and such, it’s not too different from camping. You can feel the wind blowing in right through the cracks of the walls! That makes for a chilly house (but great on a hot, windy summer day)! So, I’m all bundled up in the house in my robe, scarf, long johns, wool socks and sweater. We San Diegans can be wusses about temperature changes, I know! But, it would be ridiculous to try to heat up this old, drafty house with no insulation whatsoever. So, we bundle up!

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

So, the fanfare may commence…I finished The Wise Man’s Fear relatively early (9:00 p.m.) last night! It was so good! If you missed them, I wrote readathon posts on Friday and Saturday, each with reading updates and reflection (and silly videos). Today, I will write my review (to post tomorrow) and begin reading The Waste Lands in continuance of The Dark Tower Reading Challenge (and The Stephen King project). I also need to read a classic for March still, and while I was planning on reading The Forsyte Saga for this month, it’s a hefty book and March is almost over! So, I’m going to push that off until I have a lot of free reading time (Spring Break in April or summer vacation in August). Instead, I think my classic will be A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. My sister has urged me to read it, and the little bits I’ve skimmed while flipping through have shown it to be a very interesting book. So, I’m excited to start that up this week! I hope it counts for some of my challenges…

What else has been going on? Well, I’ve been having an internal debate on whether or not I should accept books for review. I’ve been getting approaches by authors about reading and reviewing their books, and I am skeptical to say the least. I don’t like being given something to read. It’s like someone throwing themself at you. I’m all about the chase. I want to find the perfect book for right now, and read it on my own time. Plus, I’m a horrible snob when it comes to what I read. It sounds pretentious, but I don’t read bad books. I just don’t. Or, if I do, I’m doing it on purpose. I can be in the mood for fluffy crap, but, even then, I seek it out. I seek my crap carefully. Plus, there’s the whole problem with my dislike of contemporary fiction. It’s a struggle for me to even read the Pulitzer winners for the Insatiable Booksluts’ Award-Winning Challenge, and those are award-winners!

So, after careful consideration, and the seeking out of advice from two book bloggers I greatly admire, and finally, after reading this article from the Los Angeles Review of Books, I have decided that I am not accepting books for review at this time. I will place this in my Contact page to avoid further consideration. I’ve just got too many good books of my own choosing to read, and I read enough sucky writing from my students–I don’t need to read potentially sucky books in my free time! So, if you’re looking for reviews of the newest upcoming novels, Adventures in Borkdom isn’t the place! Sorry!

Some really good news…Dewey’s Readathon is returning in April! I participated in my first Dewey back in October, and I had a blast! I read for the full 24 hours, ripped through 4.5 books, and participated in the challenges! If you’re looking for a good time, I urge you to sign up when the official linky becomes available (I’ll let you know when it does)! It could be a like a big fun sleepover, where we are all reading together and blogging and tweeting and rooting each other on! It could be so fun!!! It’ll take place April 21st, the third Saturday in April. Please, friends, set aside the date and sign up! IT COULD BE SO MUCH FUN!!!

Finally, I’ll be tuning in to tonight’s season finale of The Walking Dead! I was very happy when Shane died in the last episode (though, I wish it had been Carl who shot him. He could’ve done that when he was creeping around and saw Shane pointing a gun at his Dad. That would’ve been a huge turning point for Carl’s character! Of course, I’m assuming Carl was there to see the scene between Shane and Rick.), and I’m hoping to see some of Hershel’s red-shirt kids bite the big one tonight. And, if they’re not going to give T-Dog any sort of purpose, he could die too. If we played a drinking game where we drank everytime T-Dog appeared in an episode, we would be negative-drunk. He needs a purpose if he’s going to take up a valuable space on our survivor squad–there are too many stronger characters who could take his place! I’m crossing my fingers that one of those awesome characters will appear in tonight’s finale and set up an awesome new season in the Fall!

A rare sighting of T-Dog...

So, that’s what I’m up to. How ’bout you?


I stayed out a bit too late last night…one of those rare nights where I went out with friends. I got to dance to some of my favorite old tunes–The Smiths’ “Hang the DJ”, Blur’s “Girls and Boys”, Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. It was a good time, but now I’m a bit groggy. So, my readathon is off to a slow start!

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

But, as soon as I finish writing this, it will commence! I am going to finish The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss by the end of the weekend! I’m pretty excited because, yesterday, one of my commenters, The Other Watson, stated that the last 300 pages were his favorite, and that he read the final 200 in one sitting. So I’ve got some really good reading today!

I’m at page 767, so I have roughly 230 more pages left to read.

It’s a rainy day here in San Diego. I’ve got my favorite, comfy robe on. I have lit my Jane Austen candle for a good bookish scent. The couch is calling my name! I will check in here again in about two hours. Hopefully, I will have read at least 40 pages by then (the going is so slow with this book!).

Update 1:

Well, I didn’t start when I said I would. Not even close. I just started reading about 45 minutes ago. Before I started, I was emailing, commenting on blogs, reading blogs, and then I decided I wanted a fattening hot breakfast for this chilly wet day. So, my husband and I went to the local greasy spoon joint and each ordered a plate of chicken-fried steak, hashbrowns, eggs, and toast. It was delicious with a good cup of coffee.

Once I got home, I finally sat down and got to reading.  I did get close to 40 pages read, and I think this book is really about to kick into high gear. I think Kvothe is about to step up to the Adem people who have been training/threatening him. It’s hard to describe, but the last 40 pages have been like a classic ’80’s movie training montage, and now the Adem are threatening Kvothe, and when I stopped, it looks like Kvothe has had enough and is ready to get all Arcane on their asses! It’s gonna be good!

This montage is for Kvothe and readathoning me today!

I think I’m going to finish this book today! Even though I got a late start, it’s all good because my husband left for San Clemente a little while ago, and I think he’s going to spend the night up there. What that means is I get the whole house to myself to be a true readathoning bork!!! I can be in my own little world in the house with my book and not have to worry about anybody but me! Yes! So, I might make it a true readathon and be up late tonight reading–I really want to take advantage of this rare occasion.

So, it’s on! I will check in here in another couple of hours! How’s your reading going, friends?

Update #2: 

So, my prediction was wrong… but Kvothe has just gotten into a tussle with some ruffians. Pretty tuff, that Kvothe. I am at page 866 now, and I am fairly confident that I will finish this book tonight. No big deal if I don’t, but I’m going strong. I’m taking a short break right now to check in and make some dinner, but I plan to keep on reading through the evening. It’s still raining here, and I am still enjoying it.

For some reason, this theme song has been stuck in my head for the last 24 hours…To keep with this post’s ongoing sharing of song, I give you The Kids in the Hall theme!

Update #3

I have 20 pages left to go. Surely, I will be done within the hour. Well, that wasn’t so hard, now was it?

Denna, Kvothe’s love interest has just reappeared in the story. Earlier this week, I had planned and began to draft a character sketch of Denna. That didn’t happen, but now I’ll at least share what I think is the perfect love theme for Kvothe and Denna. It’s Candy’s Room by Bruce Springsteen.

Enjoy, and I’ll be back tomorrow, finished with The Wise Man’s Fear, and bubbling with excitement over the beginning of The Waste Lands by Stephen King. Good night!


Today, I was going to post a character sketch of Denna, the female love interest of Kvothe in The Kingkiller Chronicle series. That’ll happen. Maybe Friday, maybe Saturday, it’ll happen. I’ve pretty much written it, I just have to put the finishing touches on it. But, I’m not in the mood for that today.

Actually, I’m not really in the mood to be bookish at all today. I kind of just want to be self-centered and talk about ME. Usually, I save this for the weekends, but I’ve got a lot going on right now, and I feel like venting. If you’re not in the mood for it, tune in tomorrow when I get back to books and whatnot.

No, this isn’t just a book blog, this is also a Mandy blog. So, let’s talk about me, Mandy.

Now, I’m not looking for sympathy–I’ve got things under control. I just want to vent.

So, yesterday I received my pink slip at the school. Now, before you think this is a pity party, just know that I knew this was coming. I was pink-slipped last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and well, this is my fourth pink slip in five years of teaching. I’m used to it, and I knew it was coming.

So, I’m slightly bummed, just because it’s always an uncomfortable situation when your boss gives you a letter saying that you will no longer be needed in the upcoming year, “we’re sorry, but the budget…”, yada, yada, yada. And the sad looks that your colleagues give you is always depressing, because, of course, they knew that you were going to be pink-slipped too. Sucks to be you, bro!

Here’s the thing that always gets under my skin, and I know it gets under my bosses’ skin too. I am a kickass teacher. I’m not being cocky. It’s a fact. My students are engaged, I get them excited about learning, and my students always perform well. That’s saying something, considering that many of my incoming 7th grade students come at a 4th grade level. By the end of the year, every year that I have taught, the test results prove that I raise my students to proficient and advanced levels, which means I usually help my kids advance a few grade levels in about nine months time. Perhaps the best indicator for me has always been that the students who get busted for drugs, who are on the truancy watch list, who are most teachers’ worst nightmare…these kids always perform well in my class and have been known to skip every period except my class and lunch.

But, I’m the one that’s let go EVERY YEAR. All because I’m the new kid on the block, with only 5 years of experience, while the senior teachers sit back at their desks, collect their paychecks, and continue to be mediocre. Houston, we have a problem!

And here’s the sad thing–I’m not the only one. I work at a school that no one wants to work at–urban San Diego–where many of the kids are homeless, or have one or both parents in prison, or if they do have parents at home, they’re completely unfit due to various forms of abuse. Also, the majority of my students are English Language Learners. Yet, I’m estimating that at least half of our staff received a pink slip yesterday, and the majority of them were energetic, innovative young teachers who want to work with this population! And again, meanwhile, the staff that didn’t receive pink slips are the ones with seniority, who don’t want to be at our school (they were placed at our school because none of the other schools wanted them, and they’re too senior to get rid of). Just collecting paychecks and bitching about how bad our students are and how they receive no support from the administration. Same shit, different year for the majority of them.

So, what’s your point, Mandy? I thought this wasn’t going to be a pity party!

Well, it’s not…I’ll be unemployed in July and either get hired back in September or work as a sub throughout the year while I pursue my Masters in English again. Or, I’ll collect unemployment checks and blog a lot.

My point is that, well, this sucks. And nobody seems to be talking about the dire situation that is education. And I’m on the fence on the unions. I dunno. It’s because of the unions that the shitty teachers are able to keep their jobs even though they’re doing a shitty job. But, at the same time, I’ve worked at schools without union representation, and it was a totalitarian dictatorship. The administrators treated the teachers like shit, blaming us for the students’ shortcomings, paid us crap wages, and would often put us “on blast” in front of the students, so that the students felt that they had all the power. I actually had students who thought that they could get me fired because I scolded them–they actually thought that they had all the power!

But, teaching is supposed to be about the students, not about the teachers. So, when it comes down to it, all of these layoffs are really hurting the students. I’ve become a pro at doing a good job even though I’m currently laid off, but that’s me. The stress that comes with knowing that you won’t have a job in a few months really begins to impact the morale. Who would blame a laid-off teacher for not caring anymore about their lessons, for deciding to cash in on their sick days before they’re lost at the end of the year. It’s a crappy spiral—you treat the teachers like crap, the education suffers, and students perform poorly.

So, my point is…I don’t know. Things kind of suck. I don’t know what the solution is, but I know there is a problem.

Sorry if my rant was ranty, but I just wanted to put it out there.

Back to the regularly scheduled program tomorrow!


It's a chilly morning in San Diego...

So, February is just flying by! It’s the last Sunday of the month, and I thought I might write a little about what I’m up to/been up to lately.

Today:

• On the Blog– I think I might change up the theme on the blog and add some copyright info, as well as my affiliate listing disclaimer (I’m simply going to imitate what I see on some other blogs). I’ll also update my Reviews page and Challenges page so that they’re all caught up with where I am.

The Wise Man's Fear

• Reading– I am back in the world of Kvothe, fully engaged in my reading of The Wise Man’s Fear. This book has picked up right where the last one left off (Duh, Mandy, it’s book 2 in a series.) and I am enjoying being back at Kvothe’s University, watching him expertly play his lute on the stage for his adoring audience at the Eolian, and waiting to see what hijinks he’s going to get into. Right now, his nemesis has poisoned him with a drug that turns off his “inappropriate” filter–he doesn’t know what he shouldn’t say or do. Thus, he told a female friend of his that he would like nothing better than to see her with her clothes off and he had to be coaxed out of murdering another student. It’s a lot of fun to see Kvothe letting loose, even if it’s under the influence.

• Watching– Tonight, I will be watching The Walking Dead (unfortunately, no more Downton Abbey until next year). In Walking Dead news, one of the top theories about The Governor has been disproven via the announcement that The Governor has been cast. For those of you who haven’t read the graphic novels, be prepared for the introduction of one of the most interesting and disturbing bad guys to the show. He’s definitely one of my all-time favorite villains! I, along with many other internet theorists, had guessed that Darryl’s brother Merle would make his return on the show as The Governor. Apparently, Merle is dead, or up to some other mischief. Fine by me!

The Governor Walking Dead

Drive Ryan Gosling – Also, it should be noted that I watched Drive last night and loved it. The acting was perfect, the story was solid, and I need to download the soundtrack right now, as I loved the music throughout. It’s weird how I haven’t noticed the absence of a score in most movies until I watched this movie, which uses music perfectly to set the tone. I think movie directors are really forgetting what a useful tool music can be to add to the story of their films. Hitchcock knew it, and Bernard Herrman’s scores for his films always added a great deal to his films. Would the shower scene in Psycho really have hit us without Hermann’s screeching violins? I don’t think so!

• Writing– I am planning on writing at least two of my posts for this week in advance. This week you can expect to see a review of I Want My MTV and a fun post that is tentatively titled “Punk Rock and Classic Literature”.

• Other Stuff– Might as well share that I will also be grading about 60 persuasive essays and doing some laundry today as well.

Winner of A Discovery of Witches!

Yesterday was the last day to enter to win A Discovery of Witches, and a winner has been selected! With the use of a random number generator, SJ of Snobbery has been selected! I will mail out her copy of A Discovery of Witches this week! Meanwhile, a new book giveaway should be announced at some point later today. I’m thinking that it will be a signed copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. Keep your eye out for the announcement!

2012 So Far: January and February

• Number of Books Read: 10

• Number of Reviews: 7

Mrs. Warren’s Profession

Locke & Key, vol. 1-3

The Drawing of the Three

The Gunslinger

Bleak House

Charles Dickens: A Life (not really a review, but a reflection)

A Discovery of Witches

• Number of Pages Read: 4, 226

• Favorite Book of 2012: Bleak House

• Challenges Completed: 1 (Charles Dickens Month)


I am a warrior. I carry an Elven Greatsword, poisoned with Drain Magicka. I am equipped in full Steelplate Armor. Four brown dragons have attacked me in various towns–I have taken them all down with my trusty bow and arrow. I am also somewhat versed in magic and alchemy and am considering training at the Bard’s College. Or becoming a thief. I hate trolls and the undead, while I enjoy a good hunt. There is nothing better than clearing out a bandit’s den and grabbing all the loot.

Actually, this is Skyrim Me. Or, rather, Kajagoogoo from Skyrim, as that’s my character’s name.

I am loving Skyrim. Almost more than reading one of the two books that I am reading.

Skyrim

For those who don’t know, Skyrim is a role-playing game (RPG) that I play on my PS3. After I create a character, I go on quests where I fight other humans, monsters, and the paranormal, using weaponry, magic, and, occasionally, wits. I love these kinds of games, and have had a long history with them.

I started out playing PC games in the late ’80s with King’s Quest, and then when I got sick with pneumonia in 8th grade, my dad brought home Final Fantasy IV. I truly fell in love with RPGs then. I would be home sick, playing for hours, gaining levels, moving on through the story, and then I’d get stuck with a boss monster that I couldn’t beat, and my dad would take over through the night. I’d wake up early in the morning to find that he had moved our game on a bit. We never did beat that game (I still think there’s a glitch at the end!), but it began a long love affair with Final Fantasy games.

final fantasy Iv

I fell out with gaming in my teen and college years. Other things were more important, like hanging out with my friends. Yet, when I moved back to San Diego in 2004, my sister and I found a way to hang out together across the 500+miles of separation–online gaming. And, no we didn’t WOW it up–we stuck to our roots and played Final Fantasy XI together. It was awesome to sign on and find her in one of the towns and then go on quests together–me, always the warrior, and she, the trusty mage. She really enjoyed instigating tiffs with the players who chose dwarfish characters as their avatars. She was a troublemaker and a lot of fun!

Dorky Me at Comic-Con in front of a poster for Final Fantasy XIII

For some reason or another, we fell out of love with Final Fantasy XI, and then last year, I finally gave in and signed up for World of Warcraft. I leveled very quickly and then got bored again.

Now, I have Skyrim, which is not an online game, but is so amazing in its limitless possibilities. I am loving it!

I’m thinking my Skyrim addiction is pointing me towards reading one of two books on my TBR list.

the hobbit

RPGs are heavily influenced by Dungeons and Dragons. Dungeons and Dragons is heavily influenced by The Lord of the Rings. Therefore, my love of Skyrim and RPGs is telling me that I either need to read Tolkien’s The Hobbit or The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

The Wise Man's Fear

With The Hobbit, I’ll get thieves, wizards, warriors, elves, dwarves, and the most awesome of all dragons (Smaug still beats out Dany’s dragons in the Song of Ice and Fire series). With The Wise Man’s Fear, I’ll get a bard who is attending magic school, romance, and battle. All of these things are my favorite parts of Skyrim and RPGs in general.

I’m guessing that I’ll probably go with The Wise Man’s Fear, as it’s part of a series that I’m dying to pick up again and I want to read The Hobbit around the release date of the upcoming movie (that means that I should read it in the Fall/early Winter).

So, that’s how my mood reading typically works–I pay attention to what I’m up to in life, what my interests are, or what I’m trying to escape from (stress and the weight of the world on my shoulders usually equates to a light read). And now you know a little bit more about what a huge dork I am. : )


I haven’t checked in with the Sunday Salon in a while, so today is a good time to do so!

Well, as mentioned on Friday, I was in an apathetic funk all week. I didn’t do much of anything, including blogging. I did write a Happy Birthday post for Charles Dickens, as it would’ve been wrong not to as I spent so much time getting to know him in January. Which, by the way, I did complete all of my posts for Charles Dickens month and finished Bleak House in January. Win for me!

I have been reading in my funk, and am still reading Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw and I Want My MTV by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum. I should have both books finished this week. Yesterday, I picked up volumes 2 and 3 of Locke and Key by Joe Hill at Mysterious Galaxy Mysterious Galaxy bookstore San Diegobookstore, so I’ll be reading those this week as well.

Speaking of Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, after much debate about affiliation, I have decided to hitch my wagon to Mysterious Galaxy and IndieBound books as an affiliate. For the last month or so, I have been considering what it means to be an affiliate, and would it be like selling out or going commercial if I did so? Am I plugging in like Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival? I don’t want my blog to be a crummy commercial. After being approached by Audible and I considered Amazon, I decided that I would affiliate my blog with something that can use some attention. I realized that I could use affiliation to show my love for my favorite bookstore and help support other struggling independent bookstores. So, I applied for and was accepted as an affiliate for Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore and IndieBound. Now, if, by some off-chance, a reader clicks on one of the links that is connected to MG books or IndieBound AND decides to BUY the book via the link, I will get a small commission. However, that is unlikely, although it would be very cool. But, at least I am spreading the word about independent bookstores and Mysterious Galaxy, the coolest bookstores in Southern California (there are two- one in San Diego and one in Redondo Beach).

Another blogging thing I was considering was copyright. I see all of my friends’ blogs have little copyright symbols or some sort of copyright statement at the bottom of their page. What’s the deal with this? Do I need to do this? What do I need to do to get started on this? If anyone can give me some advice on this topic, I’d appreciate it!

Meanwhile, in my outside-of-blogging life, my husband and I have a dilemma on our hands. It looks like this:

Morgan Freeman the stray cat

This is a young gentleman who we like to call Mr. Fluffers or Morgan Freeman (he’s so cool and calm around our own hissing cats that he seems to be ready to handle any job in a crisis, much like Freeman in his presidential roles). He’s been hanging out on our porch the last few days, and the collar that he wore on Wednesday is no longer there. So, there is no contact info. One of his eyes is sorta cataract-y, and he’s awfully thin and needy, so we decided to let him into the house last night. Our little lady cats are not too happy with this decision, but what are we to do? He might get eaten by a coyote or beaten up by one of those ginormous raccoons I see fishing in the sewers. Today, I will make some posters to post around the neighborhood and put a “found cat” listing on Craig’s List. Then, today or tomorrow, I will take him into a vet or the humane society to see if he has a microchip that we can scan. Poor Morgan Freeman. Is he somebody’s lost baby? Is he abandoned? Who are you Morgan Freeman?

Other mentionables before I sign off on Sunday–

I am offering four giveaways this week! I am giving away Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, A Visit from the Goon Squad, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and And Then There Were None. These are all in very good condition (Kavalier and Clay and And Then There Were None are brand new!) and are all very popular and/or acclaimed books. I will mail them out next week, to anywhere! So, sign up people! I don’t have that many followers on my site, and not many people have signed up, so you have a very good chance of winning! Just do it! Click on the links attached to each of the titles above to be directed to the announcement post and sign-up form. All I need is your name and contact info. That’s it! You don’t have to follow my blog and you don’t need to leave a comment. I’m just trying to share the love with other book lovers!

• I should be posting my reviews of The Drawing of the Three and Locke and Key, vol. 1 this week. Be on the lookout for those!

the Stephen King Project• Obviously, January is over, and I have not yet shared my challenges progress. I will do that now!

Charles Dickens Month in January–COMPLETE, with Bleak House read and 5 Dickens- related posts written.

End of the World Challenge: have read 2952 pages toward my goal of 3500 pages (really? only 3500 pages? that’s the end of the world? someone has to have won by now. I’ll be done with this challenge by the end of the week! oh, I just read the rules. it’s the person who reads the most pages by the end of the year that gets paid out a penny per page via giftcard, up to a limit of 3500 pages. I see…).

The Stephen King Project: have read two books towards my goal of 12 books. This will be a piece of cake!

The Dark Tower Challenge: have read the first two books of the series. I am actually holding myself back from reading The Wastelands right now. I want to have just finished Wizard and Glass when The Wind Through the Keyhole comes out in late April. I guess I’ll read a book per month!

The Award-Winning Challenge: have read two books towards this challenge, and am currently working on the third.

Back to the Classics Challenge and A Classics Challenge: have read one book towards both of these challenges, and am working on the second. I have written one post for A Classics Challenge, and will probably put my February post out later this week.

What’s in a Name Challenge: Have read one book (Bleak House) towards the challenge. 5 more to go!

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday! If you have any advice regarding copyrighting blogs, please leave a comment! Well, of course, please leave a comment about whatever you want. Also, don’t forget to sign up for one of my giveaways! I want to give you a book!