Thursday, October 20, 2011

Congratulations Silvergull

Silvergull has been named Chair for Conflux 8. The Speculative Fiction convention has been held in Canberra, Australia since 2004. Sometimes I wish I was an Aussie.

Thinking Out Loud

Blogging is many things to many people: a way to advocate for change, advertise a product, share an occasion, spread some news, debate an idea, promote a personal interest -- many things.

For me it has been all of that and more at one time or another. Mainly it is a way of sifting my thoughts and thinking out loud. Not quite a diary and more than notes to myself.

It is a joy to return to the creative process, filtering which ideas deserve light and air and then forming them into phrases, sentences and paragraphs. Bottom line: our move is complete, the wedding pictures are back, and NANOWRIMO begins in thirteen days. Details to follow.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Too Cute?

I was shocked to find pandas listed in the Times magazine as one of the Top Ten Evil Animals.

The author complains they are not only too cute, they are too helpless. Well, I should only be thankful they didn't include human babies in their list (although that didn't hinder them from including adults).

So nobody has accused pandas of being too smart or too sexy, but to compare them to bedbugs, rats and tsetse flies? oh, come on!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Continuing Crisis in Japan - Info Link

Google Crisis Response Center for the 2011 Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

People searching for news of loved ones or the latest information on the nuclear crisis can find links for all that and more at the above Google Crisis site.

And here is a page of links for people wanting to send help to Japan.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Perspective

A 9. 0 magnitude earthquake, followed by a tsunami sweeping 1300 miles of coastline, accompanied by fires, explosions and radioactivity released from nuclear plants malfunctioning - multiple disasters beyond the scale of human comprehension. Whole towns swept away, and even at the edges of the disaster, homes ruined and business demolished.

The eastern coastline of Honshu is home to the majority of the one-hundred-twenty-seven million people of Japan, and the northern part of the island is very cold this time of year. But areas of the island are without power due to the shutdown of five nuclear reactors. Reports are of 200,000 evacuated from near the nuclear plants.

As terrible as they were, this disaster is worse in scope and magnitude than the quake in Haiti or hurricane Katrina. According to a report on CNN, the quake appears to have moved the island of Honshu eight feet, and shifted the earth four inches on its axis. Parts of the coast have dropped lower, leaving water where cities used to be. It puts my personal worries and concerns in perspective. We pray for the people in Japan who are suffering in the aftermath.

Here is a link to the Huffington Post page on How to help Japan. Where to begin? One small act of kindness at a time.

Here's multiple links at PC World to stay informed and in touch with your friends - everything from live network feeds and live blogs in Japan to the United States State Dept. and the Red Cross, helping families communicate.

Among the help being sent by the United States government, here is a list of Navy ships sent to assist the Japanese government rescue operations. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan is already off the stricken coast, serving as a floating platform for refueling the Japanese and other helicopters involved in rescue efforts.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What is Anagogical?

I love to come across unfamiliar words. I enjoy tracking them down to their lair and discovering their meanings, usage and pronunciation.

The word today, anagogical, comes from John Granger in Harry Potter's Bookshelf. The definition comes from Merriam-Webster online:

"interpretation of a word, passage, or text (as of Scripture or poetry) that finds beyond the literal, allegorical, and moral senses a fourth and ultimate spiritual or mystical sense"

Of the several online dictionaries I checked, only Merriam-Webster puts anagogical in its proper literary context of four interpretations of a text. Granger applies all four interpretations to the Harry Potter books, beginning with the literal and ending with the mystical (anagogical) sense of the plot, action, dialog, names, colors and numbers in the books.

Some of Granger's revelations are not only stunning to me, but so obvious once they were pointed out that I was embarrassed to not have seen them already.

(Anagogical is a word new to the spell checker for eblogger - it keeps wanting me to change it to 'analogical', which is not at all the same. What a difference one letter makes.)

I have seen most of the Harry Potter movies, but have not read the books. Now I am happily anticipating reading all of them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Harry Potter's Bookshelf

Today I am reading Harry Potter's Bookshelf: The Great Books Behind the Hogwarts Adventures.

I stumbled across this enlightening work by John Granger while browsing the offerings at Library2Go, Oregon's Digital Library Consortium. Granger's analysis reveals ten genres and four layers of meaning in J.K. Rowling's amazing books. She disclosed in interviews that she planned the seven novels for five years before writing the first one.

I recommend HP's Bookshelf for a thought-provoking revelation of the depth of literary allusions and mystical meanings in the Harry Potter books.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Friends: old, true and gone

I have reached that time in my life when nearly every week brings news of a classmate that has passed on. A reminder that we graduated as a group from high school but we graduate to what is next individually, at seemingly random times and places.

This is a time to appreciate old friends and true: the ones who look me up on Facebook to say we are still friends after all these years; the ones who send emails and letters and cards, even though my response is sporadic at best; the ones who text me their important events as they happen. All generous souls who share their love and hopes, concerns and fears, with a dollop of humor and a helping of humility.

I am so grateful to be included in their lives, however haphazardly, for I am inconsistent in communications, often turning inward with depression, something I want not to share but probably most need to.

This afternoon I have an appointment with a mind doctor (aka psychiatrist). I wonder if psychic surgery were possible, would we choose to have painful memories excised? But that is a function of many anti-depressants - to repress the sad memories and enhance the good times. Too bad my biochemistry repudiates those happy pills and produces nasty side-effects. Oh well, when life gives you sh**, plant flowers!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vampires Biting Mother Earth

A recent development in drilling for natural gas, "high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking", resonates with me as a strong corollary to vampires biting our Mother Earth. Like the mythical monsters of blood-sucking fame who inject their poison to paralyze their victims and then drain them of life, these corporate monsters inject poisons into our earth before draining her of fluids.

Or at least, that is the nightmare I had last night, and waking did not dispel it, as proven here: The New York Times: Regulation Lax as Gas Wells' Tainted Water Hits Rivers.

What is next on the agenda? Glow-in-the-dark rivers? Glow-in-the-dark people? Perhaps when their profit-dollars also glow in the dark they will not want them quite so much?

I thought Erin Brokovitch fought and won this battle for us already, but the undead monster has risen again to torment mankind. As long as profits outstrip pollution-penalties, corporations will ignore the risks to humanity.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bit by the Inspiration Bug

Nothing else has changed - still looking for a house, still dealing with fibromyalgia, still deeply affected by unrelenting gray skies of winter BUT - my muse is back.

Don't know where she's been for two years, don't know why she popped up this week, but having a great time immersed in dirigibles, writing a steam-punk plot. Why should I be surprised? My favorite movies fall into or near this genre: The Golden Compass; League of Extraordinary Gentlemen; Lara Croft Tomb Raider and Lara Croft Cradle of Life; Sherlock Holmes etc.

Doing the research on dirigibles I find facts that are stranger than fiction. Who knew the Victorian Age was so scientific, so accomplished?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winter

Skies gray and weeping, ground brown and squishy, ten percent chance of sun. Winter in the northwest. High temperatures in the forties, and high electric bills.

I'm thinking about fabrics in bright colors of orange, yellow, red and purple - the energy spectrum, and what to do with them. Cushion covers, wall hangings, table cloths, enough large swatches of vivid, pulsing action colors that I forget the winter grayness.

My favorite home page these days: the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, also now a book.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

President Obama's inspirational speech

Here is a link to the text of President Obama's speech in Tucson today. At a time when our country is bitterly divided on so many political/social issues, he makes a plea for unity that is so eloquent and sincere that I believe it will live on past our times as a watershed moment in our history.

I'm grateful that I was able to watch him on public television in the live broadcast. He brought tears to my eyes and hope to my heart. He made a point that although we desperately need a more civil political discourse, there is no way for us to know whether the shootings were caused by anything other than the shooter's violent thoughts.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Words and Actions: Political not Personal

"Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change." Ingrid Bengis

We all know the old childish taunt "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me." We also know what bravado that is, and how very much words can hurt us. We need only to consider the way words of hate fed the holocaust to realize that words can indeed be fatal.

It is political speech to say "I disagree with the legislation." It is protected free speech to lay out all the ills I might conceive could result from legislation I disagree with. It is not protected free speech to wish bodily harm upon a legislator. That becomes incitement to terrorism and targets the person and not the politics.

Here in the land of free speech, it has been illegal to utter threats against the president since 1917. Congress may soon be considering legislation to extend that protection to members of the House and Senate and Judiciary. It would only make sense in light of the attempted assassination of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of U. S. District Judge John M. Roll, along with five other persons, and thirteen more people wounded at a public meeting last Saturday.

According to Robert Naiman on the Huffington Post, Representative Giffords was concerned that Sarah Palin's "crosshairs" map targeting her district could provoke violent action. Whether there is a cause and effect relationship to Saturday's shooting is not yet known.

Here's a non-violent response: just turn them off. Turn off the television or the radio whenever violent rhetoric is used. When the point is to foment hate for a person or a group, take action for peace and turn a deaf ear.

Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change. Let words of violence wither away from lack of a receptive audience. Foment a word revolution, exercising free speech to spread words of hope and peace.

Friday, January 7, 2011

All the Lovely blogs Out There

Thanks to a link on Pecked by Ducks, I found a blog with quilting and fabric ideas that even a Panda can understand, at Diary of Quilter.

Then my curiosity bump asked what is Faster Than Kudzu, where I was laughing out loud in the first paragraph. From there I traveled fast as a megabit can to If I Could - because of course I wondered, could what? Could anything! It is marvelous! They are all marvelous.

The one thing all these blogs have in common is that they are so upbeat they are a gift. After spending the past year sunk in depression, I can appreciate such a gift.

So here is my New Year's gift - a few links that made me smile. Let me know if they work that way for you too.