Day: October 3, 2013

Just the Right Book


Hey guys just a quick post here but I wanted to tell you about a cool new service called Just the Right Book.   Its pretty awesome and would make a great gift for the book lover in your life.

You log on to their website and you create a profilejust right book

They ask you about your favorite books, authors you like, shows you watch and any additional comments (like I put that I’m LDS there and need things to be pretty clean).  You can also give this as a gift and put their preferences and it comes wrapped each month/bi-month/quarterly that you order.  You can also pick between paperback, hardcover or mixed.  The lowest cost is quarterly, paperback for $85 a year including shipping.

You can also return a book if you don’t care for it or already own it.  Pretty neat right!

Check out my youtube video to learn more

This is the book they got me this month and it is one I’ve wanted to read for a while.  I think they did pretty good

just the right book2I signed up for the bi-monthly subscription.  You can cancel at any time.



So dear readers here is a confession-  I have never been kissed.  I’ve never had a boyfriend.  Never been on a date with someone more than twice.  Yes, I’m 32 and a virgin in every sense of the words.  Sigh…

I’d like to say that the reason I am clean is because I have withstood temptation.  Alas I agree with John Bytheway when he asked his singles leaders ‘how do I get in a situation where I need to use these chastity talks?’  How indeed.

I don’t know why.  I think I’m pretty, interesting, creative and a lot of fun, but it just hasn’t happened.  I stopped feeling bad about it years ago and now only have momentary lapses of envy or regret (I’m human…)

I also really admire those that can wait to kiss until marriage.  I think it is a great gift you could give your spouse.  It is not required in my church but I like the concept nonetheless.  I’ve saved those tender moments for my spouse it would be nice if he had too.  Of course that is unlikely at 32 but I still think waiting to kiss each other until marriage is a nice concept and promise to each other.  Its an example that you can work through things together and be strong.  Keep a goal that is really hard.

Like I said, not required but I just think it is kind of nice when possible.

Anyway, I thought I would share with you the kissing scene I wrote for my last book.  Nanowrimo is coming soon and I have a married and single character so its going to be interesting.  I think its a pretty romantic yet clean scene.  Makes me laugh.  I’d be curious for your feedback

The Kiss

Oliver makes as if to leave but then notices my bookcase.  I’ve never met a guy that is interested in my books and I feel instantly excited.

“Have you read all of these?” he asks.

“Yes, every one.  Most of them in college.”  I tell him about Dr. Thomas, being a teaching assistant, how much I love philosophy and the way it makes you think.

“If you don’t mind my asking how did you end up writing checks and entering invoices” he asks.

“That’s the billion dollar question.  I guess I just took what was offered to me and I was fine with it while I was going through grad school but I couldn’t afford to be impractical then.”

“You’ve been to grad school” he says with a start.

“Yes, I did the work study program so I could keep my job and get my degree.  It was great. Even though it was an MBA and not philosophy I loved learning new things every day.  I know it makes me a super nerd but I really miss it.  I wish I could find an excuse to go back”.

“Have you thought of grad school?” I ask.

“Well, it’s crossed my mind but nothing has felt right so far” he says sort of awkwardly.  I figure he’s just tired.  It is after 2 now.  My Mother would definitely not like this scenario.  Oh well, for some reason I didn’t care.

“I wish I could find a school that excited me as much as just reading seems to do.  I hate describing what other people want me to say.  I want to read something and react the way I see it, not some scholar or professor.” He says with more than a hint of frustration.

“That’s true.  I always hated the teachers that spoon-fed me.  Dr.  Thomas was special because he let you speak your mind about anything we were reading.  There was one kid who would argue with him about Marxism for the entire class session and at the end Dr.  Thomas gave him a pat on the back and said ‘it takes a lot of guts to spar against the teacher.  Great job’.  Jamie is a good teacher like that.  She lets her students grow and be creative. “

“She seems great” he says.  “Have you ever read Schopenhauer in your classes?”

“It’s been a while but yes a bit of a pessimist for my taste but interesting” I respond cramming my brain for anything I remember about Schopenhauer but secretly thrilled to be asked about him.

Seeing the excitement in my eyes he goes on “He believed that love was nature’s trick, used to convince us to be together when we’d rather be alone.  What do you think of that?”.

Blushing again. ‘I remember that.  He must have been a laugh riot to have around.  I heard once that he got refused by a huge crush and that made him so bitter.  That must have been some crush”

Oliver looks at me with a wink.  Maybe, I wonder to myself, I should take a hint from the bitter old philosopher and go to bed but I just can’t say goodbye.

Slightly changing the subject I get out my Lincoln biography and show him the inscription from Dr.  Thomas.

“Last time I saw him, Dr.  Thomas told me I was one of his favorites.  He couldn’t believe what I was doing for my career but was proud of me, but truth is I want nothing more than to live up to this person that he saw, a person who he admired for ‘sticking up for the marginalized and fighting injustices’.  That is my dream.  If only I could figure out how God wanted me to do it.  Then I could take that leap.”

I realize I’m rambling and Oliver is staring at me.  “I wish I had a tenth of your ambition.  Your goals.  You’ve got to do it.”

Now I’m feeling more than a little awkward, so I stand up and say “Well, I’ve got to go to the soup kitchen tomorrow (what a nice excuse for getting rid of a cute boy)”

Unfortunately I don’t seem to have dissuaded him much and he is coming towards me.  Before I know it his arms are around me and he is kissing me.  I Rachel Marshall am being kissed by a handsome curly haired man who quotes philosophy!  I try to kiss him back but honestly I’m kind of new at this thing so I follow his lead.  It feels great.  My whole body tingles and is alive.  Who can go to sleep with such excitement?  His lips feel soft and I hope he notices my vanilla scented hair.  Before I know it his hands feel my waist and the sensation is like a jolt up my spine.

Suddenly I am flooded with all of those lessons at church about pureness and chastity.  I guess it’s for moments like this that they drill it into us.

I pull away for a second but he kisses my cheek and I want to die.  Why didn’t anyone tell me how great this was?  Oh wait, everyone told me that.

My head is spinning.  I’d already gone way past the holy hours but I couldn’t ignore all those lectures about a ‘man who really loves you will wait’.

“Wait”  I say as I use all my will power.  “I’ve got to stop”  I realize this is a strange thing to say but how else do you say it?

“Sorry, I just got caught up in the moment” he says still holding on to my waist.

“No, thank you”. Who says thank you for being kissed?  What a dork.  “I’ve just got to go to bed and work at the CHURCH soup kitchen”  I say emphasizing church as clearly as I can.

“Right.”  He seems to get what I am saying.

“Well, I’ll see you Monday then”.  He reluctantly lets go and walks towards the door.  As he leaves I pull him towards me and give him a little kiss on the cheek.  “Thanks for coming over and saving the day with the whole fire and everything”.   Grabbing me he kisses me one more time more roughly than before but it’s the best one of all.

“Goodnight”. He closes the door and heads up the hill towards his car.

“Oh my gosh” I yell out loud.  “AHHH!” I scream and shout and then I realize it’s like 3 in the morning. Better keep it down.

Fall 2013 TV Review


Anyone who knows me knows I love television and yet I don’t think that has gotten quite the treatment on the blog that it deserves.  I have written a lot about books and movies but not as much about TV.

The funny thing about me and TV is that neither of my parents watch it at all.  There is not one show that my parents watch on a regular basis or have ever devotedly watched.  Even the siblings I grew up with (Megan and Ben) are not huge TV people.  Aside from the Simpsons there wasn’t anything we were big fans of (and yes I have like 12 seasons of the Simpsons on DVD.  Not sure why that surprises people but it does).

Why do you think that is?  Why would I be such a fan of TV from an early age when I had almost no exposure?  I suppose part of it is my friends watched a lot of TV so I picked up some of it from them.  I also have a bit of a lazy streak in me and I’ve always liked TV as a way to unwind.  A movie is more of an investment where television is 30 minutes to 1 hour (less with the magic of DVR).

TV is also a longer commitment so you get to know the characters better and I’ve always been a lover of layered characters.  Even silly shows like Boy Meets World provided relatable personalities that grew up with me (literally when I started high school Corey and Topanga did, college, etc).

Anyway, so I’ve watched a lot of the premiere’s and new shows for the Fall 2013 line up and here are my initial thoughts

New Shows (this seems to be the year of the return of the sitcom where last year was the ‘we want to be Mad Men dramas):

Mom- Anna Feris,  Allison Janney are a mother daughter team of misfits.  Kind of a recycle of Reba with a bit more bite.  I thought the pilot was promising but the second episode not as much.  We’ll see.  Good casting.  Love Janney in just about anything.  Has lead in of How I Met Your Mother so that could help it.  B

The Crazy One’s- Robin Williams, Sarah Michele Gellar- father, daughter ad executives (that seems to be the big fall back career for Hollywood when they need a blah job for its characters).  Didn’t think it was funny and Gellar looks old and haggard.  Whoever does her makeup isn’t doing her any favors.  Robin Williams does the same schtick he has done since Mrs.  Doubtfire.  D

Dads- So bad.  Corny.  Nothing was funny.  Sons and their competitive annoying Dads (seems to also be a theme this year child and obnoxious parents).  F

Super Fun Night- Rebel Wilson stars as a buisnesswoman who has just gotten a big promotion, but parties with her girlfriends to keep her motivated at work.  It is a cliched premise but I laughed a lot.  It hasn’t gotten great reviews so probably won’t last long but I thought it was really funny.  Dialogue is sharp.  The banter between the girlfriends was natural.  Watch it America A+

Back in the Game- James Caan is a former baseball player who’s daughter comes back to live with him and ends up coaching the little league baseball team of her son with her Dad’s help.  Basically the same kind of banter that was in King of Queens or Everybody Loves Raymond.  A real dud.  It makes the crucial mistake of taking itself seriously.  F

Devious Maids- Kind of entertaining for a soap opera.  Good performances although some latina cliches (how many times can they say hot salsa or hot mama in one show?) Still, if you are in for some drama and can’t watch telenovelas without english subtitles check it out B-

Returning Shows-

Middle- Still my favorite show on TV.  I think the writing is funny.  I love the child actors.  I love that it is about Indiana and they get the details right.  I love that the couple aren’t constantly bickering.  I love that there isn’t always a moral at the end of every episode (had enough of that with Modern Family).  I just love it!  A+

Modern Family- Speaking of the before mentioned show its back and returning to its boring, cliched ways.  I’m so sick of the women on this show.  They are all such types.  Now Cam and Mitch are getting married which could be funny but everyone I know is over this show.  It isn’t modern and worse it isn’t funny D

Simpsons- The premiere episode was a spoof on Homeland and as I’ve never seen Homeland I didn’t really get it.  It still looks great and the even on a sub-par episode the nostalgia alone is enough to get some votes.  25 years I’ve been watching that show . 25 years!  B-

Drop Dead Diva- (This was actually a summer season but I didn’t mention on the blog and it is a great show! I love the leads.  I love the return of old Jane (Although they got rid of her way too fast). They need to bring Fred back . New angels have all been bad.  Was totally on team Owen until he was a petty jerk all season.  Go Grayson! The cases are so stupid but they are really just angles to get to the juicy developments with the characters.  A

How I Met Your Mother- I was very skeptical of a 9th season for this show but it was renewed and I’m glad.  The first couple of episodes have been really funny and sweet.  I’m glad we get a whole season getting to know the mother and seeing how she meshes with Ted (although they haven’t met just yet).  All the characters are returning to their original warmth and the plot has become simpler I think this entire season is focused on Barney and Robins wedding.  We will see how it ends.  A-

Big Bang Theory- In premiere episodes Leonard comes back from sea and hides from Sheldon to spend time with Penny.  Very funny.  Rajesh can now talk to girls so that should be funny and I’m going to make 2 predictions- Sheldon has long island iced teas and things progress with Amy and Bernadette gets pregnant.  I think both of those would be really funny.  Still, really funny start to season. A

Downton Abbey- And yes, I am watching the UK stream online and it is great!  Matthew is gone, Mary is reeling, O’brien is also gone but a new hire has a previous connection to Mr. Branson now Lord Branson husband to the late Sybill.  Edith is coverting with a married publisher.  Lady Violette is keeping everyone honest and change is happening all around them.  Fashion is noticeably different this season..  Love the addition of Lady Shackleton.  She’s going to give Lady Violette a run for her money.  B+

Mindy Project- Anytime Morgan is on screen I laugh and luckily he is on screen a lot.  The cameo with James Franco was funny.  Wish he could have been fulltime cast because it was good.  Bummed Casey is getting the heave-ho so fast after Haiti but it had to happen.  Clearly the producers want Danny and Mindy to get together but they will probably drag that out over 8 seasons.  Still I laughed a lot at the first 2 episodes.  A-

Reality Shows-

This is my favorite category this season

Survivor 27: Blood vs Water- I was very skeptical when I heard about the latest twist.  10 returning players and their family members are battling it out for a million dollars.  I think its a little lame when they’ve had now 2 all star seasons in a row (well basically 2 fans vs favorites in a row).  However, the family angle has proven to be better than I expected.  What makes it interesting is that there is a new layer at tribal council.  For instance, when the team voted out Rachel it wasn’t because of her strategy or her skill/lack of skill in challenges- it was because they wanted Tyson, her boyfriend, out of the other tribe.

What I don’t like about the new season is the return of redemption island.  Didn’t Boston Rob’s epic season basically prove that was a dumb idea?  It doesn’t work.  The person who makes it back on redemption island will get voted off every time.  Think about who would want to face a scrappy redemption island winner at the final tribal?  Plus, it is anti-climactic to have people not really be leaving the game after tribal council.

My pick to win it all- I’m going with Tyson.  He doesn’t have the burden of family early on, can be more strategic, he’s great at challenges and is likable guy that a jury will want to vote for.

Could you guys believe the whole Colton fiasco tongiht?  What a wimp!  I mean did he think survivor would be so different this go around?  What on earth?   He kind of pulled a Brandon Hantz and knew he was on the outs and quit.  That is so lame and Probst said that he faked the appendectomy on One World.  I guess the producers brought him back to create drama but please.  Quitters are so lame.

Still, very entertaining season so far.  A

The Voice- Christina and Ceelo return and I’ve lost interest for some reason.  The contestants just aren’t doing it for me and I would rather watch HIMYM and Dancing with the stars on Monday, so I’m done with this show.  Plus, I can’t remember a single name from last season.  Clearly they didn’t make an impact.  D

Amazing Race- new season started this Sunday and it is looking interesting.  There honestly isn’t a team that I’m really pulling for.  At first I thought the Afghans were going to do well but they’ve made some pretty dumbheaded mistakes.  I couldn’t believe how many people didn’t read the clues all the way in Chili.  Come on!

Boy girl teams usually have the best chance so I think Tim and Marie or Nichole and Travis could do very well.  I love seeing the different cultures, challenges and characters.  Still the show I would most like to be on.  I think my brother and I would be a fun match up because we are so different.  A+

Dancing with the stars- this season is pretty entertaining. Diverse stars from Bill Nye to snookie. Lots of high scores early on. Leaves little room for improvement. Only Monday episodes this season which is very smart A

Project Runway- An interesting and quite volatile cast (how many meltdowns can one cast have!).  So far I haven’t been blown away by anyone but I think Braden will probably win.  There hasn’t been a great season since Christian Siriano won.  C

I guess those are the biggies.  The Foodnetwork I give a C.  The old shows like Chopped are still good but new shows like Cutthroat Kitchen have been lame.  They are clearly running out of ideas.  Nothing on Bravo has interested me for many years and I do not like much on premium cable.  I am told the season finale of Dexter was a big disappointment but never watched the show.  I did watch some of the season of Mad Men that just finished and it was depressing.  Don Draper is just a despicable human being and so is everyone else on that show.  I admit I’m curious to see how it ends but not that curious.

I also have tried to watch Breaking Bad 3 times and each time I get to episode 3 and start to squirm.  Too violent and cynical for my tastes.  So you all enjoy it and I’ll stick to my lighter fare.

What shows do you like this year?  What about returning shows?  I am disappointed Bunheads doesn’t appear to have been renewed.  I liked that show.   Oh well.  That’s Hollywood for ya!

Please share in the comments section what you think of reality tv, comedy or anything else.  Also please share if there is something I missed which you enjoyed.    I would love your feedback.

Thanks!   (anyone seen Orange is the new Black?  What do you think? I’m leary to try netflix again after what they did to my arrested development.  Egads.)

fall preview