Strahbary's Fields

A California Girl's Place for all things Geek Chic

Diana’s Top Ten Literary Turn Offs July 22, 2013

Filed under: The Doctor,Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 11:51 pm


This week’s topic is Top Ten Literary Turn offs. As a disclaimer this will be a fairly cranky post listing all my pet peeves. I already hear the Beetles at my window yelling “Hey Mister? Can we have our ball back?”

1. Twighlit I am so sick of everything that has to do with this series of books. I hate the characters; I hate the story line and anything that is related to those books. If a book says that it is a fan fiction of twighlit or is just like twighlit I’m out. I know it’s the ultimate crumudgen point but there are so many other really good vampire/werewolf stories out there and Bella just really really really gets on my nerves.

2. Domineering Male Characters Male characters written so strongly that they not only overshadow the female characters but they try to push the strong ones around. There is a distinct difference between the two alpha personalities going at it versus the one major alpha personality just trying to run the show.

3.  16 year olds with mid life crises I am sorry but when you are 16 you don’t have to have it figured out. You don’t always find the love of your life. I can’t stand these YA books that have these teenagers that are struggling to figure everything out. The end result: I feel old and like I looser, I didn’t have my life figured out until I was in my 20’s.

4.  Strong Main Stream Religious Themes. I am not an organized religion kind of girl and books with these themes for me are just a turn off.

5.  Military. Live with a soldier. Have a bunch of military stuff around the house. Spent 3 years living by a base. Have absolutely no desire at all whatsoever to read anything fiction or non fiction that has to do with the military.

6.  Legal Thrillers In my day job I am a paralegal. From 9-5 I eat, breathe and sleep law. I am also a board member of the Orange County Paralegal Association. Though I love being a paralegal and a board member, when I tuck into a book I want to escape. I don’t want to be reminded of work or a board meeting or something that I need to do.

7.  Weak Willed Women these characters are just so hard for me to get behind. How can you root for someone who is supposed to be your heroine when they can’t even make up their mind.

8.  Erroneous Facts on Real Events.  When writing a piece of historic fiction there is a certain amount of literary license an author gets when writing the story. Ok you smudge a relationship or two. You fill in some blanks in an age old mystery but as the Doctor says: YOU CAN’T CHANGE A FIXED POINT IN TIME. Get the big stuff right. Take the time to study your history. There are certain things you cannot fudge or change. Dates, people, certain cultures interacting before their time(Dan Brown, I’m looking at you).

9.  Dues Ex Machina or Force Measure Endings. These are the endings where your characters are in a horrible situation and then all of a sudden the hand of God (or the writer in this case) causes an earthquake, hurricane, a certain horcrux placed in just front of the main character at just the right time….yeah total turn off.

10. Too Many Parallel Story Lines When done properly this can be a really effective style. However, when you have too many differing voices or points of view as a reader I just get lost and frustrated.

So hopefully I didn’t sound too cranky. If you want to play along just post a link to the Broke and the bookish on your blog and then one on to theirs.


Top Ten Authors That Deserve More Recognition July 16, 2013

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 11:31 pm


Authors in today’s world are often just as popular as their work, sometimes even more so.  There are a number of Author’s that I could list and you could certainly list a number of their books. So today’s Top Ten Tuesday is Author’s who deserve more recognition.

1.   Spencer Quinn He is the author of the Chet and Bernie Mysteries.  These are cleverly written from the perspective of the dog and should be more well known.

2.   Gail Carriger. I am not the first person to list her in today’s Top Ten Tuesday. Her steampunk world is very well written. Likewise, her werewolf/vampire lore is some of the best in current modern fiction.

3.   Jumpha Lahiri. The Interpreter of Maladies is one of my all time favorite books.  It’s also a Pulitzer winner. She has two other lovely books written and she should be more well known than she currently is.

4.  Frederick Forsyth. He wrote a little book that I read years ago called the Phantom of Manhattan. It’s the sequel to the Phantom the Opera which is also the basis of a really lovely musical called Love Never Dies.  A sequel to the Phantom of the Opera truly could not have been done any better.

5.  Maria V. Snyder. She wrote the Magic Study Trilogy. The world that she created is so intriguing, the main character is compelling along with a cast of equally great supporting characters.

6.  Jennifer Egan. Another pulitzer prize winner she wrote, A Visit From The Goon Squad. It was a beautiful book and it should be talked about far more than it is. MK Hobson. The Author Native Star and The Hidden Goddess, there aren’t that many American based steampunk books she creates a fascinating world with compelling characters.

7.  Diana Galbadan. I have a feeling that her name is going to explode once the TV show airs based on her Outlander books. But overall I feel she rights a naughtier novel then E.L. James. I dare anyone who has read 50 Shades of Grey to pick up an Outlander book, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it much much more.

8.  Bee Ridgeway. After reading her debut novel River of No Return I have become a die hard fan anxiously anticipating her next book. She really needs to get more recognition for such a well written book.

9.  Neil Gaiman. I feel like I have been living under a rock for not having read any of his books until recently. I mean I have seen Stardust a million times, Coraline and the Doctor Who episode that he wrote is one of my favorites. So why did I not realize that these were great books that I could have been reading sooner? So this is why he is on my list because, he needs more recognition for his great stories.

10.  Suzanne Palmieri. She’s co written a few books that I need to add to my reading list but I fell in love with her first solo novel The Witch of Little Italy. The characters are so real and the family mystery had me turning the pages when I really should have been sleeping.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. If you want to play along, post a link on their site to your blog and then post a link them from your blog.

Happy Reading!


B Movies and the People Who love them July 14, 2013

Filed under: Fan Girl Awesomeness — dianatierney3 @ 10:14 pm


(Photo From the Movie Sharknado from the Syfy Channel)


At a recent family dinner my father and I tried to explain the gloriousness of “Manos, The hands of Fate” to some family members. They didn’t get our love for the horrible movie, however, there are many of us that have a fond love of horrible movies.

But why are we masochists? Why sit through an hour and a half of god awful acting, bad camera shots, and cheesy writing? To those of that love bad movies what others see as torture we see as a fun and enjoyable train wreck.

I can’t explain the draw for everyone but for me I find them hilarious. Whether they are trying to take themselves seriously or know what they are and are wallowing in it just as much as I am. Even if I am watching the movie by myself, I can be found talking to the television making jokes adding to the dialogue with my own commentary. Often it is even more fun with a group as you laugh and joke at the ridiculousness on the screen.

“Sharknada” made headlines this week with the Twitter explosion that occurred on the night it premiered. Just search under #sharknado to see what I am talking about. It was like one big movie viewing party.  I love that the Syfy channel is keeping this genre alive with made for tv movies that are just brilliant. Sharknado was just most recent movie in a long line of fantastic made for tv B movies.

If you’re not sure where to start with the wonderful world of B Movies here is a list of some of the great movies to get you into this cultural phenomenon:

Manos the Hands of fate: the story of an unsuspecting family that stumbles upon the cult of Manos on a fateful trip through Texas. It’s in black and white, a true classic. Keep an eye out for Manos, the Hands of Felt, a new take on this brilliant classic.

Army of Darkness:  “First you want to Kill me, then you want to kiss me” You can’t be a fan of B movies unless you have watched this movie, at least twice. It is the quintessential B movie. It’s also part of what makes Bruce Campbell so awesome.

Doctor Who The movie: I really do mean this with all love and sincerity, it is a horrible movie and they completely screw up the Doctor Who cannon. And of course I love it for just that. You can’t help but laugh the whole way through. Even as a diehard fan I have to laugh, I can’t take the movie as seriously as those who created it did.

The Room: Oh the room. I was recently introduced to this gem from my dear friend Antonia. It is ridiculous and horribly acted and I love every bit of it. “You’re tearing me apart Lisa!” is the Stella of our generation.

Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid: Yes folks they use term gateroid. This movie takes my childhood heroines of Debbie Gibson and Tiffany and pits them against each other in a glorious epic battle.

Jersey Shore Shark Attack: Because it makes fun of every single Italian Stereotype and my “favorite” jersey shore people.

And finally anything by Mystery Science theater 2000. They show a number of B movies with hilarious commentary to go along with it.

For better or worse, I am one of the people who loves these movies and their attempts to be something glorious.


Top Ten Tuesday….ish…. July 10, 2013

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesdays — dianatierney3 @ 11:13 pm

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a bit late because I was at the movies last night watching World War Z. Very fitting for this week’s topic, I haven’t read the book yet. However, I do have to say I really liked the movie, even though, as I understand it, it’s nothing like the book. Sometimes a movie is able to take another view of a story that that the book didn’t.  It can simplify a story or add more depth. Or as a friend of mine once put it “The book made me think, the movie helps me blow off some steam.”

So here before you are my Top Ten Best Movie Adaptations

  1. The Princess Bride. I really didn’t care for the book but the movie is my all time favorite.  I think the reason for it is because the movie simplifies the story told in the book. It allows the viewer to really get behind the true themes of the story.
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s an almost exact adaptation of the book that couldn’t have been casted better. Gregory Peck is the perfect Atticus Fitch,
  3. 1,001 Arabian Nights. The ScyFy channel did an adaptation of the book as a miniseries and it was just wonderful. It was as true as possible to the story and well done.
  4. A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I just love the 1999 version with Michele Pfieffer and Stanly Tucci, who plays the best Puck by far. It captures the play’s magic and romance and is one of my favorite movies.
  5. Pride and Prejudice. I am more of the Matthew Macfadyen portrayal of Mr. Darcy as opposed to Colin Firth’s, though Colin’s does have its attributes.
  6. Mansfield Park Just another lovely adaptation of a Jane Austen Classic.
  7. Sense and Sensibility. I enjoyed the book but I have to say that I liked the movie so much more.
  8. Jayne Eyre. Even though I enjoyed the book I found it to be a bit heavy and hard to get through. The movie made it more intriguing and easier to follow.
  9. Stardust. I am reading the book now. I have been a fan of the movie for a number of years and have just recently stumbled upon the book (I know I know, I feel robbed for not being an avid Neil Gaiman fan already) and it has been a welcome escape in these most recent stressful weeks.
  10. Much Ado About Nothing. I have always been a fan of the 1993 version. Kenneth Branagh is the quintessential Benedict. It wasn’t until Joss Wheden’s Much Ado About Nothing came out that I found a version of the play that could top the original.

So these are my favorite movie adaptations. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. If you want to play along, post a link on their site to your blog and then post a link them from your blog.


Happy Reading!


The Great Kefir Experiment of 2013 July 8, 2013

Filed under: Adventures in Diana's Kitchen — dianatierney3 @ 11:33 pm
Tags: , ,

After getting my kefir fed and set up in its new home i set about doing some research. Kefir is a cultured product that contains friendly probiotics. Kefir comes in little grains (even though they aren’t) that look like this.

Kefir grains

It can be made with water, coconut, soy, rice or milk (goat, cow or sheep). The type that I currently have growing in my kitchen is your standard milk variety. Here is my kefir in it’s new home:


Kefir can’t touch any metal. The kefir, is in a glass mason jar with coffee filters over the top to keep flies out and let some of the gas out as well.

When I did my research I found an overwhelming amount information on the health benefits. Kefir contributes to a healthy immune system, has a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system (helping with sleep disorders, depression and ADHD). Kefir can also relieve intestinal disorders and creates healthier digestive system (that whole probiotic thing).  Once the body has balanced itself out it can absorb nutrients better. It is also rich in vitamins B12, B1 and K. And if your lactose intolerant, no problem, Kefir eats the lactose sugars found in milk.

I’ve been able to make a decent yogurt which I am now experimenting with. I’ve tried it with jam and fruit and so far so good. For breakfast I’m trying a mango juice, kefir yogurt and coco. This weekend after I harvest some more yogurt from my kefir I’ll be experimenting with some baking recipes I’ve come across.

This is my first attempt at a kefir recipe: Earl Grey Jelly, Kefir and fresh plums

Kefir and jam

So far this Kefir experiment has been pretty fun. It’s a cross between having a new pet and a houseplant. I have to feed it and care for it daily while I watch it grow. I will definitely post more about my experiments as the results come in.


Book Review: Farm City The Education of an Urban Farmer July 6, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — dianatierney3 @ 12:33 pm
Tags: ,

farm city


TITLE/AUTHOR: Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer/ Novella Carpenter

GENRE:  Non Fiction


Farm City is the story of how Novella Carpenter created a thriving urban farm in the middle of downtown Oakland. With the space that she had from her backyard apartment and the empty lot next door that she technically squats in she manages to be able to produce a thriving garden and raise chickens, geese, turkeys, rabbits and pigs.

Just as much as we learn about her ups and downs in this farming experience, we learn about her messed up little sesame street. An urban farm has its ups and downs just like any other farm, though their problems may be a bit more unique. For example, Maude, the turkey’s fate at the paws of the dogs in the junkyard next door. Or Bobby, the loveable homeless man that lived in a broken down car at the end of the street.

What this book exemplifies the importance and joy of having an urban farm in the middle of a concrete jungle.  As Novella wrote in the book when she had her pigs, so many people who had seen her pigs commented that that was the first time they had ever seen a live pig before….and these are animals we eat all the time. In so many ways we are so far removed from our food that even in our markets our animals look nothing like they did when they were alive.

The animals that Novella raised in her farm were not as pets, these were food providing meat animals.  On the one hand I really respect her for being able to raise an animal from birth to death and to be there for every stage of it life. It’s something I for sure could not do. I however, am very cautious about the promotion of slaughtering animals in one’s back yard. (I had the same hesitation with Animal Vegetable Miracle when she harvested the turkeys in her backyard) The reason why I am hesitant about it is that not everyone is going to be educated or responsible enough to slaughter them properly. Case in point, the backyard butcher.

In Santa Clarita there was a man who was butchering animals and selling the meat to the public from his backyard. (According to California law it’s legal to butcher your own animals for your own use) However, there were a number of animals that were suffering from infections and open wounds. This is what happens when people just start raising and butchering animals without the proper education and care.

Another issue that I had with the book was that at multiple points in the story she felt the need to justify that she was a real farmer because she was able to raise animals for meat. Anyone who didn’t was just a hobby gardener.  That got on my nerves, it was also when she was at her most hipster.  Who decides what an urban farmer is? Even if someone is growing a thriving garden in their community that they are able to share with their neighbors does it really make them any less of a farmer than someone who is able to raise chickens and rabbits? To me the answer is no. I commend anyone who is able to grow food in a rough urban setting. They should not be looked down upon because they aren’t able to grow a slew of barnyard animals. In my book an Urban Farmer is anyone who primarily grows produce for their own personal use and to share the extra produce with their community.

Overall I like the book and I do recommend it to anyone who is growing a garden or small farm in an urban setting.  Novella’s book is well written, she has a great writing style that sucks you in to the story.