Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We're Shakin' Our Rumps...Again.

First of all, you can get your mind out of the gutter.

Jackie has signed us up to run the Rumpshaker 5K this year. (You may remember when we ran it a couple of years go.)

The race is on March 30, so we've got some time to get ready. But we haven't started our training yet. The hardest part is finding the motivation to go to the gym. Last time we ran the Rumpshaker, we went to the gym for a month solid before the race to train.

Every other day or so, one of us will look over at the other and say, "When are we going to start training for the marathon?" (We call it a marathon because sometimes thinking about it makes it seem like a marathon. Apologies to all you marathon runners out there...)

The problem with training is that I've had a total lack of motivation to hit the gym. The race is 3 days after my 28th birthday, and I'd really like to be in better shape by then. I mean, I know I can't lose a ton of weight between now and then, but I like to lose something and be stronger. I keep looking at old pictures for motivation to remind me of how skinny I used to be. They remind me of how I've transformed my body before. If I've done it once, I know that I can do it again.

But why can't I get motivated this time??? I feel like if I can figure that out, I'd be unstoppable. In the meantime, I hope our looming race day will begin to get me to drag my butt to the gym in my free time (you know, the few seconds I have between class, prepping for class, dissertation work...).

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Welcome to Book Heaven

Welcome to Book Heaven
I love books. I've been an avid reader since I was little because my parents instilled a love for the written word in me at a young age. Being a book lover, I also love places where there are a lot of books... and that is one of the reasons that I love going to 2nd & Charles in Hoover.

It is like pre-read book Heaven! (I think "pre-read" sounds better than "used book.") There are rows and rows and rows of shelves packed with books. It's hit or miss what you'll find, but sometimes you might just stumble across a diamond in the rough.

This was the Star Trek section on my 1st 2nd&C visit. Nerd Nirvana!
I love their Star Trek section because, lets face it, if I can combine my love of books with my love of Star Trek, I'm going to think it's awesome!! The section used to be ginormous, but they've shrunk it down recently. (I'm hoping those books found good homes, and that they didn't just purge the non-sellers!) There are a bunch of older books that aren't available in e-format and that you just can't find at the bookstore.

And the best part is the price. Most of them are under $3! I could buy them all...but Jackie would kill me I don't have enough bookshelves.

Here's one of the Animorphs books.
So where do they get all of these books? You can sell them your pre-read books! (You can also cash in on old electronics, video games, records, and movies.) I found a box of old books that I had in middle school, so I took them up there Friday. The books were the Animorph series. (It was about a bunch of teenagers that get the ability to morph into any animal that they touch... and they fought aliens.) I had more than 40 of the books!

When you take your items in to sell, they give you a number and you have to wait while they evaluate what you brought in. Then, when your number pops up on the screen, they'll tell you how much they'll give you and if there were any books that they wouldn't take. The girl at the counter said they could give me $16 and some change if I wanted the cash, but if I wanted store credit, I'd get almost $29! Hello, store credit!

I'm sure you're asking yourself how Jackie and I spent our windfall. Well, I picked a Star Trek book (just 1) and 2 Hallmark Christmas ornaments that were on clearance for $1 (they are never that cheap--NEVER! My Hallmark Christmas ornament obsession is worthy of its own blog post. Maybe next Christmas, since I've already packed them away this year.) Jackie wanted to get some Golden Books. Even though we don't have kids (or any on the way), we want to go ahead and start building a library for any Future Finkleas that may come along. We picked out a ton of Golden Books that were in great condition. (Some had never been opened; you could tell because the spines were so stiff.) Jackie keeps a list of our growing library in her phone so we don't buy the same book twice.

Even with all of our books and my 2 ornaments, we only spent $24. (That means I've still got a little store credit left so I can buy more Star Trek books to buy Golden Books with.)

On our way back to the car, we stopped by the free bins outside. (Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention that there are free books in bins on the sidewalk outside! Free, I tell you! Free!) We dropped in a few random books that we had that we tried to sell with my impressive Animorphs collection, and we poked around to see if there were any good books that the book vultures (I've had people wait and watch me unload books from my car; they were old text books from our department) hadn't picked over already. And there, in all of its current-news-cycle relevancy, was a sad, sad book looking up at me:
Sorry, Lance.
Ever since my co-authored text book went on sale last year, I've wondered what it must be like for an author to see their book in the bargain bin at Walmart...but to be in the free bin on the sidewalk outside of a pre-read book store--that was a low I never imagined.

So, dear readers, if you're ever at the 2nd and Charles in Hoover and you see a copy of Fundamentals of Media Effects (2nd edition) in the free book bin, please pick it up and take it home. Spare me the pain of seeing it myself. (Of course, if you do find a copy, be sure to read the last four chapters. They're the ones I wrote all by myself. You'll love them!) If you would like to own your own copy of our book (and you can't find one in the free bin) you can purchase it online: click here! As of this writing, Amazon says it has 3 left in stock--and you can get it gift wrapped! ;)

What great books have you read lately, readers? Hit the comments to let me know!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Illumination Transformations with the Unhandy Husband

Ever since Jackie and I moved into our new house last March, the Unhandy Husband has been able to relax.

Although we've loved our house from the moment we stepped inside, we were not in love with the lighting over our bar and over the dining room. We jokingly referred to them as "Pizza Hut lights."

The Pizza Hut light in all its glory.
One of the baby Pizza Hut pendants

They were awful...and entirely not our taste. So we set out to change them.

Several months ago, Jackie declared, "We're going to Lowe's." We went and finally found some pendant shades that we liked. It was an easy swap out for the Unhandy Husband to undertake.
New pendant shades

You can sort of see the detail on the shade in this picture

Much better than the Pizza Hut lights!

We were really happy with the new pendants. The baby Pizza Hut lights were banished to storage in the garage.

Apparently, the Unhandy Husband went back into hiding after the mini-Pizza Hut swap out because the big light didn't get changed for a while longer. It wasn't until Jackie and I were hosting a Christmas movie marathon for our friends that we agreed it was time for the big light to finally hit the road.

We had taken the light that we'd installed in the trailer with us when we left, and it had been sitting in a laundry basket on top of our spare fridge in the garage since we moved in. Buoyed by my success of illumination transformations in the trailer and the mini-Pizza Hut light swap out, I told her it would take 10 minutes to do.

This is where the Unhandy Husband jinxed himself.

We wanted to use the ceiling mount part (I don't know the real name for this part) so that it would match the pendants. However, that ended up causing us to have to cobble together bits and pieces of both the old and new lights to make it possible to hang the new light. I kinda felt like Dr. Frankenstein mixing and matching parts.

However, about an hour later, we got everything wired up and working.
Here's the new light. So much better!

That part up by the ceiling is what turned a 10 minute job into an hour of frustration. But it looks great!

And we love it! I wish we'd done it months ago!