January 24th, 2010


Training Days

After being months behind, I'm almost caught up on online puzzles. BEQ, Matt Gaffney contest, CS, LAT, WSJ, Merl, BG, Onion, Tausig, and Daily Beast are now current, and I'm still working on Newsday (up to July 2009). There's also the rarely touched USA Today and Universal, where I'm in 2004 and 2003, respectively.

On paper, I completed Frank Longo's "Scrabble Bingo Crosswords" book. Because of the Scrabble-y nature of the entries, I had errors in 16 of the 50 puzzles. Eek.

As for NYT weekends (or days where the sprint factor does not apply, since I'm proofreading on paper and can't compare to the real speedsters, blah blah blah), I had some "doh!" moments:

Friday, 1/1 (Brad Wilbur) 7:34
Saturday, 1/2 (Robert Wolfe) 10:50, YTTRIT/SETTERS error at 43A/36D
Thursday, 1/7 (Xan Vongsathorn) 14:43, even though I got the theme early (oy, this is longer than the most of my Friday + Saturday combined times)
Friday, 1/8 (Patrick Berry) 6:46
Saturday, 1/9 (Chuck Deodene) 5:10
Friday, 1/15 (Joe DiPietro) 5:34
Saturday, 1/16 (Ned White) 7:40, SUD/DPN error at 28A/29D which was originally right until I decided it must be like Spanish
Friday, 1/22 (Natan Last) 6:00
Saturday, 1/23 (Karen Tracey) 7:26

Still Reading

"Reality TV Bites" by Shane Bolks - Allison works for a Chicago interior design firm featured on a makeover reality TV show. That part wasn't bad, but the character came across as a spoiled brat.

"The Dissident" by Nell Freudenberger - A Chinese artist associated with the radical "East Village" movement comes to LA to exhibit and teach at a girls' private school, while staying with a Beverly Hills family. The book is over 400 pages, yet the characters and plotlines are not all fully developed.

"Love in Condition Yellow: A Memoir of an Unlikely Marriage" by Sophia Raday - The author is a hippie-dippie Berkeleyite who falls in love with and marries a police officer/soldier. Yes, they are very different, and love pretty much conquers all.

"A Fairy Tale" by S. Steinberg - Maybe this was a laugh riot in 1980, but it now comes across as heavily stereotyped and trying too hard. San Francisco interior decorator Solly finally lets the Beverly Hills aunt and uncle who brought him up know he's - gasp - gay! Some of the action moves along in letters (remember letters?), and many hijinks ensue. To be fair, the ending was sweet, but in general - oy vey!

"Morningside Heights" by Cheryl Mendelson - I'm very familiar with Morningside Heights, though I'd like to think I don't resemble some of the talky, intellectual, self-analyzing characters in this novel whose musings sometimes made my head explode (the author is a philosophy Ph.D. and lawyer, so probably can't help it). Still, there was enough plot to make this enjoyable and I look forward to reading the other books in this trilogy.

"Slacker Girl" by Alexandra Koslow - Jane Cooper likes her leisure, but also likes material comforts and this means she needs to work. Ideally, in a job that allows her as much leisure as possible. In a new position as "relationship manager" for an investment firm, she tries to make it work in the face of corporate politics, a cute boss, and a meddling receptionist. I loved Jane's humor and irreverence, but her attitude (as well as what seemed like a - ick! - drinking problem) would make her a less-than-ideal employee in real life. Fun read, though.