:: Always the Freak ::

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness"
:: welcome to Always the Freak CLICK HERE FOR THE NEW BLOG HOME: ATF v2.0 | | ?WHO IS JENN? |

Taste of San Diego, 9/2006
At the yummalicious Dussini in the Gaslamp.

[::..ABOUT ME..::]
Just Watched:
:: A Work In Progress::
:: Bacon & Ehs::
:: ectophensis ::(Taco Shop Psychic)
:: Geese-A-Plenty::
:: Grillboy.net ::
:: Insignificant Thoughts ::
:: Crazy Island ::
:: Leftbanker ::
:: Outhouse Rag::
:: Tyler ::
:: xxcentrik ::
:: Six Different Ways ::
:: Sam-I-Am ::
:: Freak Girl ::
:: Easily Amused::
:: Badmouth::
:: Picnic, Lightning::
:: In Passing ::
:: Home Brew Adventures ::
:: KAYMC ::
:: The Jencyclopaedia ::
:: Jenn Blogs ::
:: All Things Jen(nifer)::
:: Jen Bennett ::
:: Jenny Apple ::
:: Jen Speaks ::
:: Piehole ::
:: SnarkSpot ::
:: Very Big Blog ::
:: The Working Mom ::
:: Welcome to Jennville ::
:: What's Brewing ::
Listed on BlogShares
[::..Funny as Hell..::]
:: Stocker Mentality ::
:: Interesting Google Searches ::
:: PEEP Research ::
:: Cockeyed Science ::
:: Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About ::
:: Nude Carrot Man ::
:: Something Awful ::
:: NASCAR.com ::
:: Jimmie Johnson Fan Club ::
:: Lowe's Racing ::
:: Hendricks Motorsports ::
:: Jimmie Rules 2 ::
[::..Stuff I Like..::]
:: Pinball Promo Plastics::
:: Fellow Jeopardy Junkies, CLICK HERE! (This is Jennings)::
:: Found Magazine ::
:: My Wishlist ::
:: Jersey Girl Diary ::
:: Placebo Productions ::
:: Nick's NTN Site ::
:: News Askew ::
:: Honeyslide ::
:: Neil Gaiman ::
:: RoadsideAmerica ::
:: Everquest.com ::
:: Bored.com ::
:: WalMart Watch ::
:: My stupid personality test results ::
7 ~ The Innocent Man,
John Grisham
8 ~ The Lovely Bones,
Alice Seebold
6.5 ~ Rage,
Jonathan Kellerman
8 ~ Girls in Pants,
Ann Brashares
9 ~ Twelve Sharp,
Janet Evanovich
7 ~ The Icon,
Neil Olson
10 ~ Daughter of Fortune,
Isabel Allende
04/15/2005 7.5 ~ Envy,
Sandra Brown
7.5 ~ The Crush,
Sandra Brown
6.5 ~ The Conspiracy Club,
Jonathan Kellerman
4 ~ Double Homicide,
The Kellermans
5 ~ Courting Trouble,
L Scottoline
1 ~ Full House,
J Evanovich
10 ~ Small Town,
L Block
3 ~ Darkly Dreaming Dexter,
J Lindsay
5 ~ Cold Case,
S White
8 ~ Four to Score,
J Evanovich
9 ~ The Last Juror,
J Grisham
0 ~ The Taking,
D Koontz
7 ~ The Last Girls,
L Smith
7 ~ Brave New World,
A Huxley
4 ~ The Virgin Blue,
T Chevalier
7 ~ Therapy,
J Kellerman
3 ~ Good Faith,
J Smiley
8 ~ The Survivor's Club,
L Gardner
6.5 ~ The Second Summer of the Sisterhood,
A Brashares
7 ~ Portrait in Sepia,
I Allende
6.5 ~ Thr3E,
T Dekker
6.5 ~ Blue Highways,
W Least Heat Moon
8.5 ~ The Face,
D Koontz
6.5 ~ Eyre Affair,
J Fforde
8 ~ The Murder Book,
J Kellerman
7 ~ A Cold Heart,
J Kellerman
7 ~ Ambush at Fort Bragg,
T Wolfe
5 ~ The Beach House,
J Patterson
10 ~ The Bonfire of the Vanities,
T Wolfe
10 ~ To Kill A Mockingbird,
H Lee
6 ~ The Brethren
J Grisham
5 ~ Hemlock Bay,
C Coulter
8.5 ~ Jonathan Livingston Seagull,
R Bach
6 ~ The Old Curiosity Shop,
C Dickens
7.5 ~ The Sisterhood..
Traveling Pants,
A Brashares
1 ~ Isle of Dogs,
P Cornwell
9 ~ The All True Travels...Lidie Newton,
J Smiley
[::..Movie Grades..::]
5 ~ Crash
9 ~ Rent
7.5 ~ Little Miss Sunshine
10 ~ Talladega Nights
9 ~ Cars
0 ~ The Grudge
7 ~ The Incredibles
4 ~ Ray
8.5 ~ National Treasure
7.5 ~ Timeline
4 ~ Haunted Mansion
2 ~ The Hulk
7 ~ Kill Bill, Part One
7 ~ Terminator 3
6.5 ~ Bruce Almighty
6.5 ~ Amelie
8.5 ~ The Italian Job
6.5 ~ Matrix Reloaded
6.5 ~ Identity
6.5 ~ Anger Management
6.5 ~ Dreamcatcher
4 ~ The Banger Sisters
4 ~ Bringing Down the House
6 ~ Tears of the Sun
5 ~ Daredevil
7 ~ How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
8 ~ Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets
2 ~ Mr. Deeds
5.5 ~ Lord of the Rings: TTT
7 ~ Star Trek: Nemesis
1 ~ The Transporter
6 ~ One Hour Photo
6 ~ Goldmember
8.5 ~ Signs
6.5 ~ Bloodwork
5.5 ~ Vanilla Sky
5.5 ~ Monster's Ball
7.5 ~ Interstate 60
7.5 ~ Escape From New York
4.5 ~ Elvira's Haunted Hills
4 ~ K19
6 ~ The Bourne Identity
5 ~ Halloween (8?)
7 ~ Men In Black 2
8 ~ Minority Report
6 ~ Scooby Doo
4 ~ Undercover Brother
7 ~ The Sum of All Fears
8 ~ Insomnia
7 ~ Star Wars, Episode II - Attack of the Clones
9 ~ Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone
4 ~ Snow Dogs
1 ~ Gosford Park
6 ~ Spiderman
6 ~ Jason X
3.5 ~ Murder by Numbers
7 ~ Panic Room
7 ~ Van Wilder
5 ~ Ice Age
4.5 ~ The Time Machine
2 ~ We Were Soldiers
7.5 ~ Blackhawk Down
7 ~ A Beautiful Mind
5 ~ Hart's War
4 ~ Collateral Damage
2 ~ Mothman Prophecies
7 ~ I Am Sam

:: Friday, October 27, 2006 ::


Where is your blog, woman!?! I was just thinking about you and wanted to go visit you via your blog and I can't find it. =( Hope things are fantabulastic. Can't wait to hear about the cruise!!! HUGS!!!

:: Jenn 2:56 PM [+]

:: Thursday, October 26, 2006 ::

So, I'm going to have a challenging 6-9 months on my hands. I must get 15 upper division college credits by September of next year. Wish me luck and recommendations of online accredited schools are very welcome.

:: Jenn 9:24 PM [+]

:: Tuesday, October 24, 2006 ::
In August, my boss asked me about New Mexico - if I knew what was there and if there was anything interesting to see and do there. He was considering a long weekend trip with his girls and figured he could drive there. He didn't end up going, but maybe that was what planted the seen in my brain.

At the end of August, my friend Susan called me and we chatted about everything and I mentioned we were planning to take a long weekend vacation to somewhere that Southwest flies in October since we had two free airline tickets to use. She recommended going to Santa Fe. She'd used her Southwest tickets to go there and loved it. I broght up the idea to Mr. San Diego and he immediately thought "road trip". So Santa Fe was out and Road trip was in. During the month or so prior to us leaving for New Mexico something weird happened. Every time I turned around, New Mexico was turning up. I listened to The Husband by Dean Koontz and the bad guy/kidnapper made frequent references to cities in New Mexico where his life had changed. Several other books had characters heading to New Mexico for whatever reasons. In movies I watched, characters would take off for Santa Fe. It seemed like every time I turned around some reference to New Mexico was being made. If I was superstitious, I'd say that I was SUPPOSED to go to New Mexico.

While I loved it there, my life did not change. I don't think. But we had a fantastic time. We flew into Albuquerque and rented a car. Luckily they gave us a mini van so we had plenty of room for all of our crap, including all the things we bought while we were there... no, of course I'm not talking about souvenirs, I'm talking TOYS here. Silly readers.

We immediately headed to our first destination, west on the I-40 to Grants, New Mexico. Just South of Grants, we arrived at El Malpais National Monument. Unfortunately there was no audio-visual program, but the friendly ranger told us all about the things to do there. We quickly realized that at the late hour (3:30) we were unlikely to be able to do much there so we headed back out on the highway to the next National Monument, 20 miles away, El Morro.

El Morro National Monument was a fantastic visit. We were there a total of about 2 hours. It was a moderate to strenuous hike up to the top of a mesa. ALong the hike, we viewed the history of the area in the form of inscriptions by travelers on the soft sandstone of the mesa walls. It was really awesome to see writing that had been there since the time of the Spanish explorers. We also saw Native American ruins at the top of the mesa. It was a really amazing park and if you ever have the chance to visit, I highly recommend it.

We stayed the night in Grants and started our next morning with a stop at the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center where we explored the museum and watched some films - one on El Malpais and one on neon restoration along Route 66 in New Mexico. We spent the day exploring the El Malpais National Monument, which was a lot of hiking and much of it in the rain, but that was okay. There is a tourist trap located on the monument called the Ice Caves and it's nothing spectacular, but definitely worth a visit. You do a hike to the top of a caldera of an extinct volcano then once your return to the start, you head off in the other direction for a short walk to the Ice Cave. The Ice Cave is actually something to see. It's sort of gross because it's totally bright green with some sort of algae, but, it's so bizarre how as you descned to the mouth of the cave the temperature DROPS and then there it is. YOu can look in and see this ice that has been there forever and it self-perpetuates. It's really unusual. But, then that's it. you're done and you head back to your car and you're on your way.

After another night in Grants, we headed off in search of Chaco Canyon National Historic Park. It was a quite a drive - one hour of it on a 20 mile dirt road, but Chaco Canyon was a truly fantastic site. The ruins there date to the 900-1100s and the buildings are still there. The Canyon is considered to be the center of the Anaszi people: their government and religion. THis is a site everyone should see. We had a ball hiking around the ruins until the heavy rain came... then we were on our way north to Farmington.

After a night in Farmington, we visited the Aztec Ruins National Monument, which is a smaller version of what you find at Chaco Canyon, but much easier to get to as it's right in the middle of the town of Aztec. The cool part about this siste is that they have restored a Kiva to what they believe it would have been like when it was in use, so all the Kivas that we saw at all of the sites sort of came to life and it gives you a better understanding of what it might have been like. Obviously it's all guessing, they don't know for certain it was just like that, but it's likely a close match.

Once we finished up at Aztec, we headed back to Albuquerque. We had hoped to spend the last day at the Balloon Festival, but unfortunately, even though we kept showing up at the festival grounds, they kept canceling the events for bad weather. It's the Jennifer Travel Curse. It always rains when I go on vacation! Although I think the wind was the bigger issue this time. We did round out the national park tour with a stop at Petroglyph National Monument, which was fine, but we found that it is difficult to see Petroglyphs whent he rocks are wet. Ah well.

It was a really wonderful vacation. We had a great time and plan to return to New Mexico at least a few more times.

:: Jenn 9:26 AM [+]

:: Friday, October 20, 2006 ::
In My Thoughts

In my thoughts, I have a million things to write. I want to write about the fantastic time we had in New Mexico and the relaxing time at the Hot Wheels Convention and I want to write about going back to work after being off on vacation. I want to write about how I can't figure out what the hell we're dressing up as for Halloween and I want to write about my insane television schedule and some interesting shows I'm watching. But, I'm tired and I have a headache and I should be in bed. So, I'm still not going to write about all of those things and more... maybe tomorrow?

:: Jenn 10:46 PM [+]

:: Tuesday, October 10, 2006 ::
The Road We Travel

We've just returned from another road trip. This time we headed to Northwest New Mexico and it was fantastic. We flew into Albuquerque, rented a car, and headed west on Interestate 40. We visited five National Parks: El Morro National Monument, El Malpais National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, Aztec Ruins National Monument, and Petroglyph National Mounument. We made some changes in our plans in order to also hit the Annual International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. Unfortunately, due to the weather, we did not get to see any hot air balloons. I'm bummed about this part, but the rest of the trip was awesome. My favorites were El Morro and Chaco, but they were all wonderful. One thing I learned is that it is really hard to see petroglyphs when the rocks are wet! Phooey!

I'm going to give a little more detail on the trip as soon as I get a chance, but guess what, we're off to Anaheim for the Hot Wheels convention next. So, I'll update next week when all the diecast fun is over.

:: Jenn 12:44 PM [+]

:: Sunday, October 01, 2006 ::

The Lovely Bones by Alice Seebold

Well, it's been a while since I've done my audiobooks review over here. I admit it, I've been spending a lot of time on Gather, but I recently finished listening to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. It was narrated by Alyssa Bresnehan. I had been hearing about The Lovely Bones for some time, but I knew that the story was about a dead girl telling the story of being murdered and I was a little leery of it. But, a few weeks ago, there it was in the library just waiting to be taken home, so I did.

I am really glad that I listened to the audiobook. It is a interesting story and Ms. Sebold's writing is really good. This was her first novel and it sounds like it was a book that she used as a way to work through her own life issues after being raped. There was a great article posted on Gather on September 6 by The American Public Media on The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor that gives you a little of Ms. Sebold's history. I recommend you read it for some background.

The Lovely Bones follows the story of Susie Salmon, a 14 year old girl who is raped and murdered. I'm not giving anything away as this is the known premise for this book. She then goes to "her heaven". She describes heaven as basically different for each person because it seems to fit that which they know and desire. It was a wonderful take on the idea of heaven. She spends years watching her family and friends through their struggles over her death and just putting one foot in front of the other to keep going. She watches her sister and brother grow up and she keeps an eye on the friends whose lives she touched.

Her writing is descriptive and interesting without going overboard on the descriptions and becoming tedious. The characters are well rounded and each individual personality is explored. This story is about people and love and life and how something like Susie's violent murder affects not just the immediate family, but a whole community. I thought it was going to be a sad story and while it had elements of sadness, it was much more than that – it explored many emotions. It gives you a glimpse into the lives of people who you grow to care about. It is an emotional story that won't quickly leave your mind once you finish. The only negative reaction I had was a scene towards the end (I won't go into details and spoil it for you) that one, didn't really fit in and two, was just too out there for the story. I wish she had left that out and I think the story would be much improved.

The narration was excellent. Ms. Bresnehan did a great job with both the voices and the pace. She had just the right voice for Susie's story. I definitely recommend this book to anyone because it is well-written and offers a unique perspective on a tragic event.

Some of the other audiobooks that I've been listening to are rated over there on the left side, if you're interested! There have been some GOOD ones lately!

:: Jenn 9:57 AM [+]


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