Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers by Thomas Mullen

This is the third Thomas Mullen book I have read this year. And unfortunately he has only published 3 novels. Each one is completely difference from the others. The first I read was The Revisionists  which had more of a Scify feel. The second I read was The Last Town on Earth which was historical fiction. The Many Deaths had a mixture of historical fiction, and scify.

It is set during the beginning of Great Depression as the FBI is starting and the infamous bank robber gangs were at their peak. The Firefly brothers are founding members of the firefly gang of bank robbers and have just woken up in a morgue. They have bullet holes in their bodies and the police department is claiming victory for killing them. However, they walk away.

The book is divided into each of their deaths. They don't seem able to die. As they continue to rob banks "just one last time" before they go into hiding, we learn more about why they became bank robbers. And about their brother at home who is trying to live an honest life.

The writing was excellent. It drew me in and it wasn't too much. It seemed effortless, but I know that most people cannot write like that.

I don't know when Thomas Mullen's next book is coming out, but I will read it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Get the Pictures

I do what I can to get the picture. Sammie and Charleah like to make fun of me for it, but at least Charleah got the pictures she wanted without ruining her dress.

In this case I had straddled a bridge and was holding on with my leg. 

Sammie documented this to make fun of me. I think it is mostly to show how awesome I am. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Charleah's Bridals

I took Charleah's bridals two weeks before her wedding. It was really fun. I had plans to go all around Houston to get it done. I realized that I was making it too complicated so all the pictures were taken within 5 miles of my parent's house. It made the day less stressful. 

Also, people in Texas are just nice. (Maybe it happens everywhere) Several people stopped or rolled down their window to tell her congratulations. She was in a wedding dress after all.

Charleah is super photogenic. So I felt like every picture was pretty good. Add some photoshop elements actions from The Pioneer Woman, and you get some of my favorite pictures. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

TV Couples

I'm doing a bottle post.

I did this a bit ago.  But there are some TV couples I actually love.

1. Prince Charming and Snow White from Once Upon a Time (if you aren't watching it, get caught up on Hulu Plus)

2. Leslie and Ben on Parks and Rec

3. Cristina and Owen on Grey's Anatomy (The inspiration for this post since Chris and I have been catching up on it)

4. Jess and Nick on The New Girl

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

I loved this book. The book jacket had it as a cross between Harry Potter, X-Men, The Bourne Identify, Indiana Jones, Ghostbuster, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A lot of things to fit into one book. I'd say it had mutations like X-men, memory-forgetting like Bourne, paranormal hunting like Ghostbusters and a strong female lead like Buffy.

Basically, lots of things that I like. Myfanwy wakes up in London surrounded by dead bodies. She doesn't remember anything and finds a letter in her pocket addressed to her. The Myfanwy 24 hours ago knew that she would be losing her memory soon and left letters and instructions to the future memory-loss self. Myfanwy discovers she can control others and works in a secret governmental agency controlling people with unusual talents like herself. Some are good, others like to cause problems.

As Myfanwy puts together the clues to find out what happened to her, she finds there is a mole inside the agency trying to take it over. Her new life is trying to pretend she is good as normal while making it up as she goes.

I couldn't put it down. The bad thing about reading an author's first novel is they don't have other novels for me to pick up.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


We had a teacher get yelled at by a parent at school the other day. It got me thinking again how teachers are viewed by parents and the general public. They are seen as less than human things who have easy jobs and get summers off. I just read this blog post on this blog.  These are some excerpts.

I used to be a molecular biologist. I spent my days culturing viruses. Sometimes, my experiments would fail miserably, and I’d swear to myself in frustration. Acquaintances would ask how my work was going. I’d explain how I was having a difficult time cloning this one gene. I couldn’t seem to figure out the exact recipe to use for my cloning cocktail.
Acquaintances would sigh sympathetically. And they’d say, “I know you’ll figure it out. I have faith in you.”
And then, they’d tilt their heads in a show of respect for my skills….
Today, I’m a high school teacher. I spend my days culturing teenagers. Sometimes, my students get disruptive, and I swear to myself in frustration. Acquaintances ask me how my work is going. I explain how I’m having a difficult time with a certain kid. I can’t seem to get him to pay attention in class.
Acquaintances smirk knowingly. And they say, “well, have you tried making it fun for the kids? That’s how you get through to them, you know?”
And then, they explain to me how I should do my job….
I realize now how little respect teachers get. Teaching is the toughest job everyone who’s never done it thinks they can do. I admit, I was guilty of these delusions myself. When I decided to make the switch from “doing” science to “teaching” science, I found out that I had to go back to school to get a teaching credential.
Teaching isn’t just “making it fun” for the kids. Teaching isn’t just academic content.
Teaching is understanding how the human brain processes information and preparing lessons with this understanding in mind.
Teaching is simultaneously instilling in a child the belief that she can accomplish anything she wants while admonishing her for producing shoddy work.
Teaching is understanding both the psychology and the physiology behind the changes the adolescent mind goes through.
Teaching is convincing a defiant teenager that the work he sees no value in does serve a greater purpose in preparing him for the rest of his life.
Teaching is offering a sympathetic ear while maintaining a stern voice.
Teaching is being both a role model and a mentor to someone who may have neither at home, and may not be looking for either.
Teaching is not easy. Teaching is not intuitive. Teaching is not something that anyone can figure out on their own. Education researchers spend lifetimes developing effective new teaching methods. Teaching takes hard work and constant training. I understand now.
Inspiring kids? Inspiring kids can be downright damned near close to impossible sometimes. And… it’s downright damned near close to impossible to measure. You can’t measure inspiration by a child’s test scores. You can’t measure inspiration by a child’s grades. You measure inspiration 25 years later when that hot-shot doctor, or lawyer, or entrepreneur thanks her fourth-grade teacher for having faith in her and encouraging her to pursue her dreams.
Maybe that’s why teachers get so little respect. It’s hard to respect a skill that is so hard to quantify.
So, maybe you just have to take our word for it. The next time you walk into a classroom, and you see the teacher calmly presiding over a room full of kids, all actively engaged in the lesson, realize that it’s not because the job is easy. It’s because we make it look easy. And because we work our asses off to make it look easy.
And, yes, we make it fun, too.