Saturday, May 30, 2009

Photohunters: Books

Day 1 of 365
Originally uploaded by amandavisualzen
This week’s photo hunters (which I have been a very poor participant of this month) is books. What a perfect return for me. I just happen to have a little obsession with books. Every couple of months or so I begin to feel my space overwhelmed with books so I take them all off the shelves and go through them trying to decide which books should be put into a pile to find a new home. Often times not many books head out but my home is always open to another book.

Photohunters Themes | My photohunter pictures | Zen Home

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason

Originally uploaded by amandavisualzen
Title: The Rule of Four

Author(s): Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason

Publisher and Date: Dell, June 2005

Four college buddies find themselves in the middle of a deadly adventure all because of a book from the 15th century that very few read much less study.

Favorite Quotation from the Book:
There were so many quotes from this novel that I absolutely loved. I usually read with a little notebook next to me (old habits are hard to break) for notes and to jot down quotes that I really like and never in all my reading this year have I added more entries to the book… I actually need to buy a new one after reading this novel. Here are just a few of the quotes I liked from The Rule of Four…

“Strange thing time. It weighs most on those who have it least.”
“If you ask him why he’s not reading Fitzgerald he’ll grunt and say there’s no point. As far as he is concerned literature is just an educated man’s shell game, three-card monte for the college crowd: what you see is never what you get.”

“I’d began to realize that there was an unspoken prejudice among book-learned people, a secret conviction they all seem to share, that life as we know it is an imperfect vision of reality, and that only art, like a pair of reading glasses can correct it.”

5 out of 5
I have seen many reviews of this book that only give it 3 out of 5 stars so I have to admit going into the novel I did not expect much because usually the majority is right about a novel. In the case of The Rule of Four the majority underestimates the novel. Now admittedly none of the action actually takes place in the novel but outside the novel. We never actually see Paul and Tom find the missing art that the Hypnerotomachia hints at. It is an interesting approach to have the action take place outside the novel and most likely would not work in many stories. But in The Rule of Four it works. The language of the novel is fantastic and approachable for many audiences. Perhaps the best thing about this novel is that it at times reads like a thesis on Hypnerotomachia, even going to the lengths of placing photos from the book into the novel that we are reading. As a lit major I appreciate this aspect of the book and it is the main reason that gave this book a 5 out 5. I prefer a reading of the novel that is at the center of all the scandal as opposed to unbelievable action that the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons are notorious for.

Do not get me wrong I am not claiming that there is not an interesting plot or character construction. There is. The plot is just like all the other historical fiction, book adventure novels out there. People study this one book or time period and all of a sudden find themselves in some sort of adventure trying to discover the secrets that the book holds. The characters are just as round as those found in the same novels. Although I have to say that Tom in the end seems to have more of an epiphany in the end than Robert Langdon at the end of both the Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.

If you have not read this novel yet, do. It is well worth it if you are like me and appreciate a little story and a little literary exploration.

Need a bookmark? Try out some of our Christian Bookmarks, Buddhist Bookmarks or Disney Bookmarks at Zerepa Designs.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Peace Buddha Sigg Bottle

Peace Buddha, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.
One of my latest designs that I came up with to put on a Sigg Bottle. The bottle came out great here it is on Cafe Press...

Peace Buddha Sigg Bottle
Sigg Water Bottle 1.0L
Sigg Water Bottle 1.0L
Buy this product at CafePress

Golf Courses near Thousand Trails

Amanda on the Golf Course Amanda at Oak Trail, originally uploaded by amandavisualzen.
Florida boasts that it is the golf capital of the world and truly it is. There so many golf courses in Florida that you are guaranteed to find one that fits your style. If you are a traveler with Thousand Trails and you golf you will find that Thousand Trails Orlando is a convenient stop adjacent to many courses. Right on property there is a three hole course (very rough not a place to actually play three holes but great for practicing with your fairway clubs). There is also a driving net and a mini golf course. The driving net has platforms and is most often empty. Just down the road (headed towards Haines City) is a course that advertises low green fees. If you want to play 18 holes on a 4 and 5 star course the best place to play is at Disney World’s Magnolia and Palms. Greens fees are reasonable but I do recommend making tee times in advance because they are popular courses. If you are going to the Disney World Courses head towards Magic Kingdom and turn as if you were going to the Polynesian. You will be headed to the Shades of Green Resort.
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Need more information on Thousand Trails? Check out our Thousand Trails Information page. Also check out Ladies Green for more Florida golf course listings.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Callaway Gems

Amanda at Oaks Trail Originally uploaded by amandavisualzen
What the Callaway Gems Set Includes:

The Callaway Gems golf clubs set is designed just for women. It comes with a Sunday bag, putter, chipper, sand wedge, #9 I-brid, #7 I-brid, 5H Hybrid, #7 Fairway Wood, and a Driver. It also contains the covers for the Driver, #7 Fairway Wood, 5H Hybrid and putter.

What Colors do the Callaway Gems set come in?: The set only comes in two color dark blue and powder blue. The clubs that it contains are all that a beginner (and most intermediate women’s players) will need for regular course play.

How do the Callaway Gems Clubs feel?: All the clubs have comfortable grips and are a light. They are a perfect length for ladies. At 5 foot 2 I find all the clubs to be a great length for swinging. The all have a soft grip and has placement for your fingers.

What is the Callaway Gems bag like?: The Callaway Gems bag is a cart bag with back pack straps. It is a Sunday bag thus making it considerably smaller and lighter than normal ladies cart bags. It is not very decorative and the stand is somewhat disappointing. The foot that allows the legs to pop out tends to disconnect not allowing the legs to always come out smoothly. There is however plenty of room in the bag for all the clubs, balls, tees and and the club covers. Since the rain cover made for a smaller bag larger club covers do not fit inside the rain cover. The back pack straps are padded and very comfortable making it easy to carry the bag if you choose not to have a golf cart or a pull cart.

How much do the Callaway Gems Cost?: The Callaway Gems are very affordable. They are currently selling at Callaway’s site and many retailers for $499.

Are the Callaway Gems good for a beginner?: Absolutely! They are light, easy to swing and since there are only 8 it makes it easy to decide which club to use next on the course.

*This post also appeared on Ladies Green.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Buying your first set of Clubs

A good set of clubs is important for any beginner. While I was searching for my first set of clubs there were a couple of things I was looking for. First I wanted to buy a complete set not put one together. Since I am a beginner I did not want to spend a fortune on clubs just in case I decided soon down the road that I did not want to play often. It was difficult to determine what was a good set of clubs online because of course every brand states that their clubs are the best clubs to own. What I ended up doing was going to different shops in my area and asked what was recommended then held and used the different clubs at their indoor driving ranges. After trying a couple of sets I was torn between a set of Tight Lies from Adams and the Callaway Gems. Both felt nice and were a good looking set. I ended up purchasing the Callaway Gems for a couple of reasons:

1. The set is only eight clubs instead of 16 (a lot less to carry around the course)
2. The bag, although not as pretty as the Tight Lies pink bag was a lot lighter (it is only a Sunday Bag)
3. The grips and the seven iron- I really like the grips on the Callaway Gems each club felt natural in my hands and I really felt comfortable with the seven iron.

Ultimately the most important thing to consider with your first set of clubs is up to you but I do recommend actually holding the clubs and swinging them before buying.

The average set of women’s clubs can range anywhere from $200 and up. Both the Tight Lies and the Callaway can sometimes be found on sale for $400 and $500 respectively.

*This post also appeared on Ladies Green*

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Belle Ruin- Martha Grimes

Title: Belle Ruin

Author: Martha Grimes

Publisher and Date: Viking Adult 2005

A 12 year old girl causes trouble in a small town while trying to solve a murder mystery and almost becoming a victim herself. This book is part of a series that revolves around the same protagonist.

Favorite Quotation from the Book:
“Details piled upon details, which I have been told is one of the problems about this story. It is drowning in details.”

1 out of 5

The quote listed in favorite quotations section of this review sums it up. This book had way to many details early on that by the time I read the first 40 pages I was bored. Although we are given many details about some of the characters in the novel they are flat and our 12 year old hardly seems like a 12 year in speech and actions.

I found this book at a trading shelf in a Florida campground and picked it up thinking it might be somewhat interesting. Perhaps the book is better after the first 40 pages but this reader put it back on the trade shelf.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ringling Museum of Art- Sarasota Florida

Ringling Museum of art is the legacy of the circus entrepreneur and art collector John Ringling. He left his home and collection to the State of Florida upon his death. The state of Florida later transferred the grounds and the collection the Florida State University. Today it is an art school and one of the top twenty art museum art collections in the United States. The grounds are 66 acres and there are several different collections on the grounds. You are free to wander the grounds and take as many photos as you like of the outdoor collections such as the rose gardens, the statue collections (there is a large collection of Greek and Roman myth outside the Art Library that sits on the grounds) but there is a few for admission if you want to tour the indoor collections.

Also across the street from the museum grounds is the center for performing arts where you can catch live shows.

The museum and grounds are open daily 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Prices for admission are as follows (be sure to check their sites for updates

Adult $20
Senior $17
Students $7
Child 6-17 $7
Fl Teachers w/ID $7
Active US Military $7
Children under 6 No Charge
Members No Charge

You can also become a member of the Ringling Museum of Art for as little as $50 a year. Check out their site for more information

If you are traveling with Thousand Trails Sarasota Florida is short distance from the Peace River campground in Wachula Florida.
Take highway 17 to highway 64. The address is…

Ringling Museum of Art
5401 Bay Shore Road
Sarasota FL 34243

Directions are correct from TomTom.

If you would like more information about Thousand Trails or how to upgrade with Thousand Trails check out our Thousand Trails Informationpage. Also if you would like to see more photos from the Ringling Museum of Art or of Sarasota Florida check out my Sarasota Florida photo album .

Friday, May 08, 2009

Breaking Dawn-Stephenie Meyer (Twilight Series Book 4)

Title: Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4)

Author: Stephenie Meyer

Publisher and Date: Little Brown 2008

The last book in the Twilight Saga that promises to finally decide who Bella will choose, Jacob or Edward. And of course we will finally be able to see how Bella becomes a vampire and what special powers she will have. We also are promised a large battle of vampires and werewolves.

Favorite Quotation from the Book:
“Not one string, but a million. Not strings, but steel cables. A million steel cables all tying me to one thing- to the very center of the universe.” (Jacob talking about the female he imprinted on)

2 out of 5
While readers of the Twilight Series can take the third book as a sign of what the fourth book will offer to the reader. This is by far the most disappointing book of the series. The writing is slow and the story really seems to be reaching for anything. When reading this novel I felt that Meyer was rushing to the end that we all new was coming from the first book but not sure how to actually get there. There are also uncomfortable parts of this novel that I would think should be inappropiate for people under 18 years old. There is much more violence, incest and sex in this novel than the three before them.

There are some moments of beautiful writing which seems to surround the character of Jacob and the werewolves in this novel. But it is not enough to pick this book up and read it if you are not reading through the series. I will not give anything away as to plot in this review, well for two reasons if you read any of the books or seen the movie you already know the plot and two there is not much plot to give away. I have to admit though the last chapters of the novel made me laugh out loud, but I am positive that it was not Meyer’s intention.

Related Book Reviews:
Eclipse- Stephenie Meyer
New Moon- Stephenie Meyer

Books related to this book:
Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3)
New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2)
Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Eclipse -Stephenie Meyer (Book 3 Twlight Series)

Dead Leaves

Title: Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3)

Author: Stephenie Meyer

Publisher and Date: Little Brown 2007

Summary: This is the third book in the Twilight Series. In the third book we read more about the werewolves and Jacob becomes a bigger threat to the Bella Edward relationship. As if having to choose between a werewolf and a vampire were not enough Bella must also face old enemies when Victoria returns to finish Bella.

Favorite Quotation from the Book:
“Now I could hear the faint rustle of the matted leaves beneath my toenails, the whisper of an owl’s wings above me, the ocean- far, far in the west- moaning against the beach. Hear this- and nothing more. Feel nothing but speed, nothing but the pull of muscle, sinew, and bone. Working together in harmony as the miles disappeared behind me.” (Jacob running away from Bella)


3 out of 5

After reading the second book in the second book in the Twilight Series New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) I immediately wanted to read the next book for hopes that there would be more about the werewolves. In this aspect I was not disappointed with the third book. The werewolves do come back in this novel and they are a more dominant part of the book. In this book there are more stories about the spirit warriors. I really enjoyed the legends that Meyer writes into the exacerbating love story of Bella and Edward. However, the novel as a whole is disappointing. New Moon was a spectacular novel in comparison. The love triangle and Bella’s inability to make any decision besides wanting to be a vampire as soon as possible is tiresome. The only part of this novel (besides the legends of the spirit warriors) that promised to be interesting was the battle that the whole novel built up to at the end (trust me I am not giving anything away here it is obvious from New Moon what will happen in the next book) was briefly dealt with and at times boring. Overall, the story and the writing were not as interesting and engaging as the second book which is why I gave the book 3 out of 5. If you read the other two books though and you want to know what happens next in the series it is worth it to read this book. If you have not read the series and you, like me want to see what everyone is raving about… don’t start with this book, it is not worth it.

Related Book Reviews:
New Moon- Stephenie Meyer

Books related to this book:
New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2)
Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)

Need a bookmark? Try out some of our Christian Bookmarks, Buddhist Bookmarks or Disney Bookmarks at Zerepa Designs.

Friday, May 01, 2009