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Fever Pitch
Written by Mike Noel   
Wednesday, 09 November 2005
Fever Pitch Cover Image At one point in American history baseball was called the official American Pasttime. Since then the sports enthusiasts' focus has moved on to other, more exciting sports such as football (American) and basketball. To a fan, baseball has never really been about the game played on the field. Certainly that's part of it, but the real draw has been the players and the managers and the ballfields and the history. Talk to any ball fan for more than a couple minutes and they'll start telling you all kinds of statistics about their favorite players and teams. Keep talking to them and you'll soon start to hear all the legends. This is what Fever Pitch is about.
Last Updated ( Friday, 02 December 2005 )
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The Abductors: Conspiracy -- Jonathan Frakes
Written by Mike Noel   
Friday, 11 November 2005
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This book had red flags all over it. That's probably why it sat on my bookshelf for a couple years before I mustered the courage to read it. The first red flag was the author. While being an actor doesn't preclude one from being able to write a book, there's is a good chance that the publishing house is willing to promote poor quality in the hopes that people will buy it because of the name. Secondly, I bought it for $1 at a dollar store. Books aren't sold at the dollar store for no reason. Thirdly, the title suggests a series ("The Abductors") but in almost 10 years book two hasn't been written. Despite the warnings I read the book. It was pretty bad but it could have been a lot worse.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 30 July 2006 )
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Nothing Is Sound -- Switchfoot
Written by Mike Noel   
Thursday, 03 November 2005
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Nothing Is Sound is Switchfoot's newest release following their phenomenal Beautiful Letdown release. Expectations for this release were high -- maybe a bit too high. While generally a good, solid album Nothing Is Sound doesn't compare to the brilliance from Letdown. On a whole the CD is a bit of an introspective downer. Most of the songs sound muted and melancholy while the lyrics tend to make us look inward and face our own failures and shortcomings. Not exactly inspiring stuff. This CD is honest. Clearly these songs are heartfelt expressions of the feelings from the songwriters. The liner notes indicate that most of the songs were written while the band was touring for Letdown. Those long, quiet miles of riding on a cross-country tour bus or staying in lonely hotel rooms seems to color all of the songs and provoke deep reflection. While The Beautiful Letdown inspired us to look out, wake up, and live life, Nothing Is Sound asks us to settle down, inspect ourselves, and wait for healing.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 13 November 2005 )
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Bringer Of Storms -- L. B. Graham
Written by Mike Noel   
Friday, 30 September 2005
ImageBringer Of Storms is the second book in The Binding Of The Blade series.  The first book was Beyond The Summerland. The first book ended rather abruptly with a significant twist of events that left most readers more than a little stunned.  It was expected that the second book would pick up where the first left off but it didn't.  Instead Storms skips ahead 17 years and we enter the world the way it is after 17 years of dealing with the problems introduced at the end of Summerland.  In some ways this works well for the book but it also clearly makes it a "second book" in a series. This book could never be read as a stand alone story. 
 
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 06 June 2007 )
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Tonsils be gone
Written by Mike Noel   
Wednesday, 21 September 2005
ImageEar, nose, and throat doctors categorize tonsil size as 1 through 4. Size 1 is the smallest and size 4 is the largest. Size 4 tonsils are so large that they are touching each other or very close to it. At three years old our youngest son managed to have size 4 tonsils. The overly large tonsils generally led to difficulties with eating and drinking and were also more suceptible to infection. Our ENT doctor recommended that we have his tonsils removed. So that's what we did.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 August 2006 )
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Hiking On Daisy Mountain
Written by Mike Noel   
Tuesday, 06 September 2005
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North of Phoenix by about 15 miles and just to the east of I-17 are a couple peaks that stand out from the desert floor. The more rugged peak is called Gavilan Peak and the taller but gentler is called Daisy Mountain. On Labor Day we decided to hike to the top of Daisy Mountain. We were not aware of any trails so it was cross country all the way up which turned out to be just as strenuous as I thought it would be. Even though the slopes look gentle and smooth from a distance, in reality prickly bushes and cacti crowed together and the angle is much steeper that it appears. The view from the top, however, is worth all the effort.
Last Updated ( Monday, 04 September 2006 )
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A scorpion at our house
Written by Mike Noel   
Sunday, 21 August 2005
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It finally happened. We finally found a scorpion in our yard. Well, actually, in our swimming pool. Apparently it had fallen into our pool and drowned. I found it stuck in the bottom of the pool vacuum. So let me see. About a year ago I was bit by a Brown Recluse. About half a year ago we found a rattle snake in our neighbor's driveway. And now we find the scorpion. I guess the other dangerous Arizona creatures we have left to find are Tarantulas, Black Widows, and Gila Monsters. If we stick to our schedule we should run into something else in another 6 months or so.
I took a few pictures of the guy I pulled out of my pool. You can see a couple of them here.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 August 2005 )
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Beauty From Pain -- Superchick
Written by Mike Noel   
Wednesday, 17 August 2005
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The third release from Superchick, Beauty From Pain, is one of their best albums. Most of the songs carry forward the typical Superchick sound that we've become accustomed to from their first two albums (although there are a few exceptions). This isn't a bad thing if you like their sound -- and I do. This album stands out in that it is more thematic than their others. As the title suggests, the songs on this album tackle issues dealing those painful situations that life throws at us.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 August 2005 )
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10 Useless Ways To Reduce Your Electricity Bill
Written by Mike Noel   
Thursday, 04 August 2005
As summer rolls into full swing here in Phoenix Arizona one of the biggest issues for home owners is their electricity bill. The scorching outside temperatures force air conditioning units to work overtime to keep the insides of homes habitable. It's not unheard of for home electricity bills to be over $400 per month during this time of the year. Naturally this prompts a consciencious homeowner to try to lower their bill. Below I've described 10 mostly useless ways that one can lower their monthly payout.
Last Updated ( Monday, 08 August 2005 )
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