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Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Abhorsen by Garth Nix.

This story was good but I think I prefer Sabriel over these last two books.

Abhorsen was the completion of the story that started in Lirael. You don’t really meet anyone new and I found myself predicting all too well what was going to happen. Also I feel like the characters that die just die so conveniently. The story switches between Lirael and Sameth’s journey and Nicholas at the Lightning Pit. In the very beginning we even have the story from Sabriel and Touchstone’s point of view.

Overall the book tells of Lirael and Sam’s continued journey to rescue Nick. As they get closer you find out about the Spirit that posses Nick. We also learn who exactly Mogget and the Disreputable Dog are near the very end of the book. We learn more about Death in Abhorsen. Lirael walks in Death all the way to the last gate, The Ninth Gate, to look into the past. That part I found interesting because I liked how Lirael described the different Gates and the Precincts of Death.

It’s hard to write this review without telling too much about everything that happens. Let’s just say that overall I enjoyed the book. But I didn’t enjoy it as much as Sabriel. All three of these books were very easy to read. Once I started reading one I would finish it within a few days. This last one I started on Friday and ended on Tuesday.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Australian Open 2013 Final

Novak Djokovic vs Andy Murray. Australian Open 2013 final.

The outcome of this match will make history. Novak going for three Australian Opens in a row. He won 2011 and 2012. Winning three has never done in this modern Open era. The last time it was done was in the 30s. And Andy, if he wins it'll be the first time someone has won the next major after winning their first major. He won the 2012 US Open. This Aussie Open is the next major.

These two players are so evenly matched. The first two sets ended with tiebreaks.

* * * * *

Novak won.

Novak Djokovic has won his third consecutive Australian Open title and fourth overall, defeating Andy Murray 6-7(2) 7-6(3) 6-3 6-2 in three hours and 40 minutes.

Novak with his fourth Australian Open trophy.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

AO Semi - Roger Federer vs Andy Murray

Roger Federer vs Andy Murray. Australian Open 2013 semifinal.

So this match lasted exactly four hours. It definitely made up for the disappointing short match that Novak had.

It was intense and a nail biter match for me. Roger and Andy went to five sets. These two have never played five sets against each other. So that was a first.

And Roger lost.

Score for the match. {Click to enlarge}
Andy was playing so awesome! He was just better then Roger today. I was shocked. I really wanted Roger to win because I love Roger and always want him to win. There were several times during the match when I found myself holding my breath. Also I talked to the computer a lot. And I might have yelled at it a few times. (I watch on my laptop from the comfort of my warm bed. lol.)

Overall stats for the match. {Click to enlarge}
I read two great articles about the match earlier this morning. One was about Andy (Murray makes it happen) and the other about Roger (No regrets for Federer).

Andy celebrates a point during the semifinal.
Roger gives a fist-pump celebration of a well made point.
So wrap-up. Andy Murray defeated Roger Federer 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3 6-7(2) 6-2 in exactly four hours. And I cried.

* * * * *

It has taken me until today (Saturday) to write this post because I've had to deny the outcome while it sunk in. I really hate when Roger loses matches. It breaks my heart.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

AO Semi - Novak Djokovic vs David Ferrer

Novak Djokovic vs David Ferrer. Australian Open 2013 semifinal.

Novak ran away with the first set in 29 minutes at 6-2. And also the second set in 34 minutes at 6-2. Novak was completely out-playing David. Just to clarify David is still playing great tennis and they had some great rallies. But he misses his shots a lot more then Novak does. Novak is just so much better. Novak took the third set at 6-1 in 26 minutes. So in an hour and half Novak wins the semifinal and moves on to defend his 2012 Australian Open title.

To be honest this match was quite boring and a little bit disappointing to watch because it was so one sided. Novak was playing better then David.

Novak goes to hit a ball during his semifinal match.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

AO Quarterfinals

Last night I watched Roger Federer's quarterfinal vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. It was kind of odd waking up when I heard my brother going to bed. lol. 1:30am was a little too early for my eyes to wake up to. I only got to sleep for about five or six hours before waking up to watch tennis. But I was able to go to sleep for a couple of hours after the match as well. This is the week that my sleep is all wonky though so I expect it I guess.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Roger Federer before their quarterfinal match.
So the match ... Tsonga was able to get two sets on Federer. Federer won the first set at 7-6(4) in 50 minutes. Tsonga then got the second set at 6-4 in 32 minutes. The third set went to Federer at 7-6(4) in 53 minutes. Fourth set was the second set Tsonga won at 6-3 in 40 minutes. And finally Federer won the fifth set at 6-3 in 39 minutes. So over all Federer defeated Tsonga 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3 in a total of three hours and 34 minutes. So it was Roger's first five set match this tournament as well as the first two times he has dropped a set. In Tsonga's defense he, Tsonga, was playing really good tennis. Roger had a few wonky shots. And a lot of unforced errors during this match. Also he only made 6 aces during the whole five set match. That is very odd of him. Hopefully he recovers and comes to the semifinal a lot more like his old playing self.

Overall Stats for Federer-Tsonga match. {Click to Enlarge.}
I thought there were a few times where Roger was not really himself. Tsonga was taking the initiative on some of these points. It was a very good match. I really enjoyed watching the whole thing.

* * * * *

The rest of the men's quarterfinals were quite good too.

The first quarterfinal we had was Novak Djokovic vs. Tomas Berdych. I watched this match as a rebroadcast. I really liked enjoyed it. Both players were playing well. Novak won 6-1 4-6 6-1 4-6 in 151 minutes.

The second quarterfinal was David Ferrer vs. Nicolas Almagro. I watched part of this match as well. It was very good. Almagro almost had Ferrer a couple of times but he couldn't capitalize on any points. David Ferrer won. 4-6 4-6 7-5 7-6(4) 6-2 in 224 minutes.

The third quarterfinal was between Andy Murray and Jeremy Chardy. Andy just ran away with this match. Andy winning in 111 minutes at 6-4 6-1 6-2. I did not watch this match but I saw highlights and Andy is playing great tennis. I think finally winning a major has really helped his confidence. Jeremey is an unseeded player that surprising got past some great players. But he couldn't beat Andy.

The last quarterfinal was Roger's.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fourth Round AO Tennis

Last night (or very early this morning) was the first time this year that I woke up at 2am to watch a tennis match. I woke up to watch Roger Federer's fourth round match. I had to cheer him on. Plus I like watch tennis. I always forget how much I miss until I'm actually watching a match.

Roger in his fourth round match.
So Roger's match... He played against Milos Raonic. Roger won easily. He made some awesome shots which almost felt like he was toying with the young 22-year-old. But I think he was just playing really good tennis and putting the shots away so that he could get the match over with quickly. He has the title in his sights. So as mentioned in an earlier post Roger has indeed moved on in straight sets yet again. He makes it to his 35 straight quarter-final in a Major. He is playing so good this year that he has not dropped a set so far in the tournament. That is so cool.

So fourth round for Roger. One hour and 53 minutes. Roger Federer defeats Milos Raonic. 6-4 7-6(4) 6-2.

Roger moves on to the quater-finals to play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.


Lirael by Garth Nix.

*Spoilers to follow. Read at your own risk.*

This book is a sequel to Sabriel but it's more of a huge run-up to Abhorsen, the third book in the trilogy. Lirael builds the main conflict but never resolves until, I'm guessing, the third book. That being said I did enjoy the journey that the two main characters, Lirael and Sameth, go on and it did have some twists I was not expecting.

Lirael and her Disreputable Dog

Lirael is a young woman who desperately wants Sight. She is the daughter of a Clayr woman and lives with the Clayr. The Clayr are a group made up nearly entirely of women, who live in a snowy mountain called the Clayr's Glacier, located in the northern part of the Old Kingdom. The Clayr are all Charter mages in possession of the Sight, the ability to see glimpses of possible futures. They combine their powers occasionally in order to have a better view of the future, something that is called the Nine Day Watch. The Glacier is also home to the Great Library of the Clayr, which is a library filled with many lost treasures and horrors. It is in this library that the first part of the book takes place. In order to give her a purpose, Lirael has permission to work in the library as a librarian. Here she learns many things from getting into trouble with monsters and reading many of the forbidden and hard to find books.

Using Charter Magic and Free Magic Lirael creates a companion for herself, the Disreputable Dog. This dog becomes Lirael's greatest friend and constant companion. She acts just like a real dog but at the same time is entirely impossible. At one point in the story Dog makes an evil spirit walk back into Death by barking, using her bark like the Abhorsen bells to bind the spirit. So we know she has power beyond what Dog shows us here in Lirael. But we never learn what she is entirely. Dog says she was there at the beginning of magic and even explains some of the finer points of magic, both Free and Charter. Thus Dog complicates her story by being a mysterious Magic creature that is trustworthy and protective of her mistress, Lirael.

Sameth is the younger child of Sabriel and Touchstone. He is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting. But there is just one problem. After going into Death to confront this book's overall evil one, a necromancer named Hedge, Sam is so afraid of Death he refuses to set foot there again until it is his own time to die. Sam prefers to make things, gadgets and toys, using Charter magic. Lirael is very surprised to find that Sam is a very powerful Charter mage. For one so young he seems to be very in control of at least that aspect of his life.

Lirael and Sam meet because he ran away from his duties as Abhorsen-in-Waiting to go rescue his school friend, Nick. Sam quickly realizes that he is way out of his league when it comes to dealing with the Dead. Lirael leaves the safety of the Glacier because the Nine Day Watch Saw her with Nick on a boat. The only possible future. So Lirael sets off to find Nick too. Along the way she finds Sameth and Mogget, who has once again left the Abhorsen's House to help the Abhorsen, in this case the Abhorsen-in-Waiting. Since it is the fastest way to travel and running water repels the Dead, Lirael leaves the glacier taking a boat. It is on this river that Lirael meets Sameth for the first time. Sameth was on the river to escape the Dead that were chasing him. In the boat, Lirael and Sam and their companions, Dog and Mogget, float down the river toward the Red Lake that is their destination.

The bad guy in Lirael is a a necromancer named Hedge. We don't know much about him. He has been putting this plan of his together for years. Nick, Sam's friend, is in league with Hedge but not of his accord. Nick is possessed by a very evil Spirit whom we learn is trying to come back into Life by any means possible. Nick is a unknowing host to this unnamed Spirit. We know that Hedge serves this creature. All of his mischief is created for the unfortunate benefit of Sabriel and Touchstone and those that oppose the Greater Spirits. To keep them out of his way he creates scenarios to draw them to far off places. Hedge and his followers keep them busy. Sabriel and her family start to suspect that something beyond their power is falling into place and they try and do all they can to stop it. Having an Abhorsen-in-Waiting is really helpful to everyone but Sam is afraid of his duties.

*Super spoiler coming up.*

Lirael has always wondered about her lineage. She knows who her mother was but didn't spend very much time with her. Her mother left the Glacier when Lirael was five years old and died that same year. Lirael never knew anything about her father. While exploring in the Library Lirael finds a path that is meant for her, created by a Clayr long ago. She takes the path and in turn finds a room with three things inside. A book, panpipes, and a mirror. The book is called Book of Remembrance and Forgetting, which is similar to the Abhorsens' Book of the Dead. It teaches her about the art of a Remembrancer. With the accompanying Dark Mirror and pipes she comes to the realization that she might never be destined for the Sight but for seeing the Past. Lirael uses the Dark Mirror and her knowledge to look into the Past to find out who her father really was. She doesn't know her father at first but when Sameth and herself reach the Abhorsens' house she recognizes the main dining hall. It is then that Mogget reveals that she is the true Abhorsen-in-Waiting. Lirael is indeed the Daughter of a Clayr (her mother) and the Daughter of an Abhorsen (her father). As an Abhorsen she can bind and banish the Dead. And as the first Remembrancer in a hundred years she can look into the Past. The twist I was not expecting is that Lirael's father is in fact Sabriel's father making the two of them half-sisters. Thus also making her in Aunt to Sameth and his older sister Ellimere. I believe that as Free Magic creatures both Mogget and the Disreputable Dog knew about her heritage long before Lirael ever did.

Lirael ends with that thrilling twist but overall the plot in this book was very mild. They have minor, separate adventures which lead to them joining forces when they meet on the river. The float down to the Abhorsens' house. Lirael finds out who she really is. Then the book ends with the reader finding out Nick is possessed with the Spirit of Hedge's master. This book did a lot of setting up for the third book in the series. But I still really enjoyed the journey.

No Warm-Up

I knew that Roger Federer didn't play in any of the run-up tournaments to the Australian Open but I was reminded of that when one of the commentators mentioned it. Roger's first round matches were his warm-up tournament. lol. But the cool thing is Roger has yet to drop a set in this Australian Open. He is playing gorgeous tennis.

In this current fourth round match Roger has two sets. They are in the third set right now.

If Roger wins it'll be his 35th straight quarter-final. 35! That's almost nine years of straight quarter-finals. That is unprecedented. This is one reason why Roger is awesome. He makes history with out meaning to. He's just playing a sport that he loves.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tennis Update

Roger Federer's third round match was against Bernard Tomic. Roger defeated him in one hour and 58 minutes at 6-4 7-6(5) 6-1.

Roger Federer and Bernard Tomic at the end of their match.
Novak Djokovic has done well. His third round match was played against Radek Stepanek. Novak defeating Radek in two hours and 22 minutes in straight sets of 6-4 6-3 7-5.

Novak Djokovic playing his third round match.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Roger's Second Round

Roger Federer's second round match was won with ease. He defeated Nikolay Davydenko 6-3 6-4 6-4 in 119 minutes. I love his daytime outfit. Roger has accents of hot pink. Which is awesome.

Roger playing his second round match.
Roger's day match shoes are awesome. I like them.

Tennis Time

Last night I was to tired to stay up and watch Roger Federer's second round match. So I am waiting for 2pm when ESPN does their tennis coverage. They should (*crosses fingers*) re-show the match. Until then I am avoiding the AO website, Twitter, and Facebook. All of which will give my spoilers to the match outcome. lol. It's a good morning to read my book and not be on the laptop at all. lol.

It's tough when the tournaments are half way around the world. The time difference is killer for me. The night matches for the Australian Open start at 1am my time. And when the players are good the matches last for hours. And 1am is only if the game starts at 7pm Aussie-time. If my players are in the second night match I have to wait even longer. lol. It's silly but I still get up to watch the finals and semifinals anyway.

The other tournaments are not too bad of a time difference. If the night matches start at 7pm... London's night matches start at 12pm my time. Paris' night matches start at 11am my time. New York's night matches start at 5pm my time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Australian Open 2013

The 2013 Australian Open started this week. The draw this year for men's singles tennis is really good. Here is the PDF version.

As always I am cheering for Roger Federer to win. I love that guy. He plays with grace and ease. It breaks my heart when he loses and has to leave tournaments. Seriously, I cry when he loses. Roger has gotten through his first round with no problems defeating Benoit Paire 6-2 6-4 6-1 in just one hour and 23 minutes.

Roger playing his first round match.

I will follow Novak Djokovic's progress throughout the tournament. He is another player I like. He, too, went through the first round fine. He defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2 6-4 7-5 in one hour and 42 minutes. Novak has already played his second round. He plowed over my USA's Ryan Harrison to get to the second round. (That kid will go places in his career though. I like watching Ryan play. He is young and just starting out his tennis career. He has a long way to go before he can beat the top four players though.) Novak defeated Ryan 6-1 6-2 6-3 win in 91 minutes.

Novak playing his second round match.
Rafael Nadal is not in the Australian Open this year. He has been having problems with his knee so he hasn't been playing tennis for the past few tournaments while he recovers. It's sad because I like watching him play tennis. I miss seeing him play.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Sabriel by Garth Nix.

It is a very interesting story. It has adventure and a hint of romance. The characters walk among Death and live in Life.

The story follows a young women named Sabriel on her adventure to rescue her father. But she is not just a normal girl. She is a Necromancer who uses bells to control the Dead. Sabriel is part of a long line of Abhorsens. She banishes the evil Spirits to their Final Death. She is able to walk in Death.

Sabriel: A drawing by numendil via deviantART.
Sabriel travels with two companions. The first is a trapped Spirit who serves the Abhorsens. For Sabriel he is in the form of a talking cat and calls himself Mogget. He is bound by the red collar that he wears around his neck. When the collar comes off, Mogget turns to his Dead form of fire and malice. But with a ring that Sabriel wears she is able to bind him again.

Mogget: A drawing by Liz Stifel.
Sabriel's second companion is a man called Touchstone. He was trapped in Death for two hundred years but was rescued by Sabriel. He serves her and helps her fights the Dead that come to prey on the living.

Touchstone: A drawing by Bryce Homick.
While on their dangerous adventure to rescue Sabriel's father they find out that one of The Greater Dead, possibly the Great, has finally crawled up from the Ninth Gate of Death to reach Life. Kerrigor wants to destroy all of the Great Charter Stones so that the Dead can walk in Life forever. He has been trying to do so for two hundred years. And many Abhorsens have tried to banish him to Final Death. With the help of her friends, Sabriel must do what many others were unable to do. Even her own father could not banish this Evil. Killing his body makes Kerrigor weak enough that she can banish him to his Final Death. But they have to find her father and Kerrigor's body before any banishing can be done.

Kerrigor: A drawing by Bryce Homick.
I enjoyed this book a lot. It was so different then anything I would have read otherwise. I thought Garth Nix does a good job at balancing Life and Death. The way he imagines them interacting is brilliant.

I'm looking forward to reading book two and three of this trilogy.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snow Surprise

The snow itself wasn't a surprise. I knew this snow storm was coming.

After work I rode the train home like I always do. After 40 mins of being on the train and seeing all the snow I wasn't really looking forward to sweeping the snow off my car. I was tired and cold and I just didn't want to do it.

So I was surprised when walking to my car that they was less snow on my car then everyone else's. I was thinking some nice stranger had swept of another stranger's car. That's a nice random act of kindness. But then I walked around my car to the driver's side and saw Mark the Sheep in the snow.

I laughed. My brother had swept the snow off for me and left his little sheep cartoon. Actually it was big. You can see that drop at the bottom of the photo. That's the curb. lol.

All I  did was do a quick brush off one more time and I was good to go.

It was a nice random act of kindness that I really appreciated  It was a long and busy day at work. I was tired coming home so I was grateful that I didn't have to be out in the snow and the cold longer the necessary.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I think I make resolutions every year but I never really do any of them. This year I'm setting some goals that I really want to achieve this year. They are good ones.
  1. First and foremost, I want to get out of debt completely. I have debt on my credit card that I'm still paying off. And I owe my parents some money still too. This year I want to be debt-free.
  2. I've been really bad at paying my tithing. This year I'd like to be a full tithe payer. Maybe I'll notice the blessings of giving back to the Lord. I seem to never take note of the good things, only the bad.
  3. My room is a mess. There is no room to store all the things I have. This year I want to get rid of some of those items. Like old papers, clothes I never wear, things I don't ever use. I feel like I'm keeping stuff that I'll never need. Mostly paper. For some reason I'm a hoarder of paper. Things like receipts, ticket stubs, holiday and birthday cards, magazines, etc. There are a few papers that I should keep for tax purposes but the rest I really don't need.
  4. As far as a more personal, fun thing this year I'd like to chat on FOJG (Friends of Josh Groban) more often. I know I said that last year but this year I mean it. I miss my sisters and I feel like I missing out on their lives and them on mine. (Which isn't too exciting at the moment but it could be. lol.) Also with a new CD and tour (hopefully soon) then the boards are going to be really fun this year. There are always newbies that are fun to talk to.
  5. Also something fun and totally frivolous, I'd like to join in Chantelle Ellem's (aka: FatMumSlim) photo-a-day. I tried it a couple of months ago and I dropped out half way through the month. But I'm starting again. New month. New prompts
And that's pretty much it this year. Five items. 365 days to improve them.