Saturday, October 27, 2012

An Open Letter to Blurb

Doug and I are HUGE fans of the book publisher Blurb.  He uses Blurb to make photo books of our adventures.  (We have two huge volumes for our three years in Japan, a San Francisco book, a Rhode Island book and a handful of others.)
I use Blurb to print my blog.  (Okay, well...I've printed one book comprising one year so far.  But I plan to do all of them!)
The point is, we've tried other photo book publishers, and Blurb is our favorite.  That is why I'm gifting THEM with my BRILLIANT invention!!!

Anyway, my letter...

Dear Blurb,
Thank you for your awesome products!  We're big fans!  I have an idea for an invention and I want to share it with you first.

When my husband and I go somewhere, we take millions of photos, but we also take short videos.  I know that recently you've incorporated the two in your new e-book format.  Brilliant!  

I'd like you to take the concept a step further to hard bound books.

I would like to be able to reference a specific video clip, say by a number, flip to the front of my photo book, and play the clip on the super thin screen imbedded in the front cover.  

With all the emphasis on making phones and i-Pods super thin these days, it shouldn't be that hard to do.  The technology is already there.

The tricky part, I think, would be how to download and format the clips to make them easily accessible.  And then of course, how to incorporate a port for downloading and recharging.  But really, I can picture in my mind how those things could be accomplished so I'm sure you can too.

Oooh!  I just had another idea!  Maybe the player could be removable and you could use it for multiple books to make it more cost effective!  Anyway, I'll let you work out the details.

All I ask in exchange for my brilliant idea, is free books for life for me and my husband!
Deal?  Deal!

Thanks Blurb!  Keep up the good work!  And don't forget the lifetime of free books!!!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Me + Pandora Radio = TLA

Dear Pandora Radio,
Will you marry me?  Is this too sudden?  I know we've only had a few days to get to know each other, but I'm pretty sure this is True Love.

In a strange twist of fate, it was my husband who introduced us.  When I kept having to "thumbs down" Taylor Swift, I knew it was time that I stepped in and got to know you.  (Turns out he had typed in "Taylor Swift" which, ya know, explains things.)

(I don't have tweenage girls.  I don't have to acknowledge her existence if I don't want too.)

I was so traumatized that I could barely think straight.  I went to the laptop and typed in the first band to come to mind:  "U2".  Ahh...sweet relief.  After a few bars of Bono's melodious voice, I was feeling a little more calm and added "Coldplay" to the mix.  The playlist that commenced was nothing short of brilliant!  So brilliant that I stopped doing dishes and started taking notes for this post:

Counting Crows
The Fray
Goo Goo Dolls
Peter Gabriel (Who woulda thought?  But YES!)
Snow Patrol (How did you know I'm a closet Grey's Anatomy fan?!)
Matchbox Twenty
Collective Soul
and Lifehouse
Then you played a song by
Deep Blue Something and I thought maybe you weren't as perfect as I first thought.  But I was singing "Breakfast at Tiffany's" pretty dang loud, so I guess you know what you're doing.
Next, "Someday" by Sugar Ray.  Again, not my favorite, but again, I was singing right along again.  (Loudly--again.)
So far today you haven't played anything new to me, but all the songs you've played, I LOVE!
You reminded me that I really like Lifehouse and need to buy a few of their songs!  (Namely "Breathing", "Broken", "You and Me", and "Hanging By a Moment")
You just kept on wooing me with
Duncan Sheik (Barely Breathing) and
Eve 6 (Inside Out)

Not a single song was new to me, but many were songs I'd forgotten I loved.  How could you possibly plumb the depths of my musical soul on such short acquaintance?

(How did you know my cousin Wendy and I spent hours memorizing every single word to 
Blue's Traveler's "Runaround" in high school?) (<---just played.)

I don't know how you do it, Pandora, but you've won me over.   If this love is wrong, I don't wanna be right.  Tonic,  playing at this very moment, says it best:  "If you could only see the way [s]he loves me, maybe you would understand...why I feel this way about our love, and what I must do..."
"Regular" radio will forever be dead to me.  I'm yours forever!   xoxoxo

Your Not-So-Secret Crush,


*Pandora streams music (all sorts, including the churchy kind, according to your preference) --for free-- via the Internet.
*You don't have to download ANYTHING!
*Pandora is legal.
*Pandora plays ads after every 3-4 songs but they're short and not annoying.
*Pandora sometimes plays songs you've never heard that you never knew you already loved!
*You can give songs a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" and Pandora will further customize your radio station accordingly.  (Yellow Ledbetter {playing now} by Pearl Jam gets a THUMBS UP!!!  Love you Eddie!)
*You can skip songs you don't like, or pause songs you're currently listening to.
*Pandora did not request this review and they're not paying or compensating me at all.  (Though they're more than welcome to.)
Last but not least...
*Pandora Radio is an automated music recommendation service and custodian of the Music Genome Project.  (As seen on Wikipedia.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

"Despicable Me" vs. Pixar's "Up"

Let's compare and contrast:
UP (Two-Disc Deluxe Edition + Digital Copy)
Despicable Me (Minion Madness DVD Double Pack + Digital Copy)

Both have cranky old men and small neglected soliciting child(ren).
Both have cranky old men that transform into nurturers who love said child(ren) by the end.
Both have "mad scientists".

"Up" has a very depressing premise and the first part may or may not make children question their mortality and future child baring ability.
"D. Me" has "the box of shame".  (Which is hilarious.)

"D. Me" has Steve Carrell
"Up" has Ed Asner (?)

"Up" has overly scary robotically controlled dogs.
"D. Me" has Boogie Robots.  And then Cookie Robots.  (Totally awesome.)

"Up" has a scary bad guy.
"D.Me" has a nerdy bad guy with a shark tank and a shrink ray.

"Up" has balloons.
"D. Me" has super cool futuristic vehicles.

"D.Me" has killer music.
"Up" has forgettable music.  (I'm basing this on the fact that I can't remember the music at all.)

"Up"  has a few funny parts and a handful of redeeming moments. (You can see all the funny moments in the trailer.)
"D. Me" is laugh-out-loud funny all the way through.

Now, I generally love Pixar movies.  And Up does have it's moments, but mostly, it just let me down.  (Pun intended.)
Despicable Me, however, we purchased.  And it continues to make me laugh as my kids watch it ad nauseum.  (I'd have to put the kids on Suicide Watch if they were constantly viewing "Up".)

Therefore, my uneducated and unendorsed opinion is that...

Despicable Me wins hands down!

And now it's time to boogie.
The End

Gru: Uh, question. What are these? 
Dr. Nefario: A dozen boogie robots. Boogie! Look at this! Watch me. 
Gru: Cookie robots! I said cookie robots! Ah, why... why are you so... old?

Edith: When we got adopted by a bald guy, I thought this'd be more like Annie.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dear USA Network and Royal Pains Respectively;

Doug and I are HUGE fans!
Great job putting together quality shows high on wit, and low on the gratuitous scuz most shows use to fill the gaps between inane dialoge.

We love Psych, (loved Monk), love Burn Notice, love White Collar, and we love Royal Pains.  (Plus, we're going to love Covert Affairs.  We just know it.)

We just have one teeny tiny itty bitty complaint:
The song at the beginning of the Royal Pains:
"Independence" by The Blue Van
It doesn't work.
It doesn't elicit excitement.
It annoys people.  (Okay, well--it annoys us.  A lot.)

(And, until now, I thought it said "My Independent Wendolyn".  Which makes as much sense as "My independence went away" --which is what it actually says.)

In short, it BUGS!

And we'd like to respectfully demand that you change it to something more fitting.
Plus, why is Hank falling in a pool?
Plus, how in the HECK does WWE fit into the above line-up???  (Seriously!?)
Please change the whole opening.
And remove WWE from the airways.


Your Loyal Fans - Doug and Emily Dub

(Sometimes it just feels good to write a letter!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Reading List: Self Improvement Edition!

Here are a few of my all-time favorite, always recommended, practical/life-changing/perspective-altering self-help books.  Enjoy!

"...Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom. Seek learning even by study and also by faith."  Doctrine and Covenants 109:7

On Finances:
"Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey
Learn how to get out of debt and start accumulating wealth. (We're currently working on our debt snowball.)  This guy is very back-to-basics and common sense.  It's one of those books you finish and wish every one of your friends and family would read.

"The Richest Man in Babylon" by George S. Clason
Short, sweet and to the point.

"The Millionaire Next Door" by Thomas J. Stanley

I read this quite a few years ago but still think about it and remember some of the things I learned.  For example:  The people who think they have to look rich (like Doctors and Lawyers) are usually the ones with the most debt and least amount of actual accumulated wealth.

On Physical Health:
"Eat for Health" by Dr. Joel Furman
These books have changed the way we eat and view food.  It's very empowering to think you don't have to suffer through the last years of your life.  If  you take care of your body, you can stay healthy even as crotchety old people!

Doug has lost a bunch of weight and I might also if I'd lay off the chocolate!  (Hey, I'm nursing!  Give me a break!)

On Mental Health:
"Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" by David D. Burns
Another empowering book!  Change the way you think, act and react--without drugs.  I'm a big fan of cognitive behavior therapy because I believe the brain is very powerful.  I'm not anti-drug, I just think a lot can be accomplished without them!

On Changing Your Outlook and Life:
"Hard Times and Holy Places" by Kristen Belcher
Written by my sister-in-law, I've heard nothing but GREAT THINGS about this book.  And it really can change your life for the better if you let it.

"The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten-Boom
Amazing and perspective changing.  The best holocaust book you'll ever read.  (Besides maybe "Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl--also highly recommended.)

On Pain:
"The Gift of Pain" by Paul Brand
I loved this book and recommend it to everyone!  It is fascinating and reads like a really good novel.

On Gardening:
"Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew

An easy and practical (AND PRODUCTIVE) way to plant a vegetable garden. Plus everything you need to know about composting, planting schedules, etc.

We're currently enjoying our broccoli and lettuce harvest.  Peppers, tomatoes and beans are on their way.  Crossing our fingers for pumpkins and corn!

On Getting Babies to SLEEP:
"On Becoming Baby Wise" by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam
I believe the first edition of this book was quite controversial because people were following the suggestions to the letter without using their own judgement.  (Duh.)  I researched the hysterical claims and didn't find anything (In my version) to substantiate them.  I personally don't do everything this book says.  But I credit it for making all four of my crazy boys into excellent sleepers.  All of my boys have been able to sleep through the night from an early age and sleep deeply at night.  (I.E., Gabe shares a room with Gray and doesn't wake up when Gray cries in the morning.)

On Marriage:
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
Like her or hate her, if you follow even a little of the advice in this book, it will improve your marriage.  I happen to love Dr. Laura because she is a tireless advocate for healthy strong marriages, intact families, stay-at-home moms, religion, strong moral values, adoption and foster care, etc.  Plus, she likes Mormons!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Review Times Two - Brandon Sanderson

I've just finished a couple of books I really enjoyed, both by the same author.

Warbreaker (Tor Fantasy)

both by Brandon Sanderson.  Both of these books fall into the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category which is not usually my thing.  (I'm a huge mystery/suspense/thriller fan.)  BUT, I love anything with good writing, a good plot, and at least a little suspense.   So I make exceptions.  (A lot.)   My other stipulation for giving a book a big thumbs up is that the writer doesn't rely on gratuitous s-e-x to fill the pages or swear too dang much.  (A book I absolutely hate for this reason:  "The Pact" by Jodi Picoult)

These books fit the bill.  Both sucked me in from the very first page and kept me reading.  (Too much, too fast!)  Both have strong characters and well crafted plots and what I call "artistic unity" (which means that everything in the book is in there for a reason) and although they both include swear words, they're made up swear words in a made up language.  So not offensive to me at all!

Now, I must say that "Warbreaker" does include some s-e-x.  Nothing graphic but it is part of the plot: since two characters get married and are supposed to make a baby.  To me, that excludes it from the "gratuitous" category so I don't get all het up about it...but it is in there.

One other thing I don't enjoy in all Sci Fi/Fantasy in general?  Made up nouns.  I like being able to pronounce things and I have no idea what the proper pronunciation is for "T'Telir" or "Susebron".  But, I can never have everything I want.  Even my perfect husband likes Country music, after-all...!  So I try not to be too bugged.

When I started "Elantris", Doug told me I'd be sorry there is no sequel.  He was right.  I was sad to finish it.  Which is why I started "Warbreaker" soon after.  That's my idea of a good story.

Therefore, I highly recommend these books.  Especially "Elantris".

Have you read these books or any others by Brandon Sanderson?  What did you think?
Read anything else I'd love lately?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Congrats Mel!!!  
You're the Winner of the Sea Glass necklace!!!!!
Hooray!  I'll be in touch.

Everyone else, ease your personal pain by going to and buying something.  On-line shopping always works for me!

Thanks for entering everybody.  Thanks for the beautiful necklace Misti.

And let's not forget:  The world has enough a FOLLOWER!!!!