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June 23, 2010

Reading While Driving

Since both Steve's and my daily commutes have so vastly increased--mine went from about six minutes of driving a day (twelve if I came home for lunch) to an average of two hours; his went from about twenty minutes to closer to three hours--we needed something to keep us un-road-rageous.

Our solution? Audio books. It kills two birds with one stone, too. I was feeling like I hadn't been making time to read lately, and while audio books don't provide all the benefits of sitting down and reading a book, they're close.

What I've listened to:

Marley & Me I'd read Marley & Me several years ago, saw the movie when it came out, and now listened to the audio book. Unfortunately I ended up with the abridged version, which I didn't notice until halfway through the book when pieces I'd remembered from reading it weren't materializing. My one complaint (aside from the abridgment) was that John Grogan, the author, read it. On the one hand, it was nice when his emotion would be apparent. He even got a little choked up at one point. But while he's a very talented writer, a performer he is not. There were no varied voices, and very little inflection. You could tell things they were saying were sarcastic when the rest of the line was, she said sarcastically. But overall, quite an enjoyable introduction to audio books. B- (lost a whole point for abridgment, the minus is for the performance. Story would have gotten an A.)

It's Superman! (by Tom DeHaven) At first I was excited because, after having listened to Marley & Me, the reader of this book is award-winning and has over 200 audio books under his belt. Perhaps I'm too picky, but while he did have several different voices in his arsenal, all his New Yorkers sounded the same. And most of the book too place in New York. That aside, it was an entertaining story, and the reader was reasonably good. It was sort of a re-envisioning of the back story of Superman, or young Clark Kent (however you want to look at it), which is of course what attracted me. Love me some young Clark Kent! B

Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) Now this reader was good. It may have been the nature of the book--it was international and, as such, there was plenty of opportunity for varied accents. But all the characters were distinct, and the narration had the appropriate... tempo, I guess. The story itself was extremely engaging. I read The DaVinci Code about six years ago and enjoyed it very much. I think this one was better. A

Running With Scissors (Augusten Burroughs) Once more, this book is read by the author. Maybe that's a pattern with memoirs? His pacing seems a little rushed, and perhaps it's intentional? I've only gotten through the first disc (of seven) so we'll see if it settles in a little. So far, B.

We've been getting our books from the library, but I just gave Steve a membership to Audible.com for his birthday, and they have a much larger selection.

So... any recommendations?

June 21, 2010


Steve and I went to Fresno this weekend to visit his family. It happened to be the weekend of the Stone Fruit Jubilee, which was held at a local farm that specializes in, well, stone fruit. We got to see Steve's mom play cello in her string octet, and then further enjoyed a couple celtic music groups. There were booths offering foods incorporating stone fruit--we had a pulled-pork-and-peach sandwich, egg rolls with plum sauce, a nectarine-and-cream popsicle, and plout crumb pie, along with lemongrass-mint lemonade (not stone fruit, but organic, which was the other theme). Then, you could sample fruit from several growers, and buy a bag for either $5 or $10 and fill it with whatever fruit you liked best, straight from the farmers. It was really neat!

There was also a tea ceremony, jam-making demonstrations, and a few other programs we didn't make it over to the presentation tent to check out.

And then, more fruit! In the year-plus I was dating Steve while he lived at his old place, I never once consumed an orange from the orange trees growing in his backyard. When he finished cleaning the place after moving out, he picked two giant bags of oranges and brought them back here. They're juice oranges, so last night, we squeezed over a hundred (Gen's estimate is 108) oranges into orange juice.


This is only about half the oranges we squeezed.

The finished product. Yum!