Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ever have one of those days...

...where all you want is to come across as cool, confident, and just all-around classy when, in reality, you know that all people are getting from you is this?



Yeah.  Me too.


This picture is from one of my favorite new sites, Upside Down Dogs.  Please go check them out-they put up new pictures on a regular basis, and they always crack me up!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Things I've Done

Okay, I admit it, I am a sucker for this kind of stuff.  I saw this on Softdrink's blog, who saw it on Stephanie's blog, who saw it on...etc., etc.    Oh!  Also, I didn't really plan this, but it seems appropriate to do a list of 100 things since, according to Blogger, this is my 100th post!  (Actually, it's not since some of my posts are just drafts, but I'll take what I can get right now.  If I feel like it, I will celebrate my 100th "real" post too!  You know why?  Because I can.)  

So.  The things I've done are in bold.

1. Started my own blog 
2. Slept under the stars (in a tree!)
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii (Well, I never visited before I moved here, but I've visited other islands.  Does that count?)
5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain 
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch 
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train 
21. Had a pillow fight (I don't remember any specific instances, but I just know that there's no way I made it to adulthood without having had at least one pillow fight somewhere along the line.)

22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke 
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant 
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (Hubby pointed out that I have, indeed, done this one.  Technically, he's right-40 MPH does constitute speeding out here!)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (does a fish count?)
88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club 

93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant

Hmmmm...only 35*.  I guess I've got some stuff to do (well, some stuff I don't mind not doing)! There are a couple things that I'm not sure if I've ever done like bounced a check, been in the paper, and eaten caviar, but I didn't mark those, only the ones that I knew for sure.  How about you?  What have you done?

*12/28/08 Make that 36.  See #78!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Apple Kuchen" recipe

Bethany over at B&b ex libris is hosting a book giveaway, and I SO NEED THIS BOOK!  I wouldn't normally participate in a cookbook giveaway seeing as how my cupboard is full of cookbooks that I already don't use, but this one sounds different.  The Flavor Bible tells you how to put flavors together to complement one another.  What one flavor can you use to make another flavor really pop?  That's the kind of stuff they talk about in this book.  Bethany's already reviewed it, and she has videos!  So I would recommend going there for more info.  I seem to have the unique ability of being able to throw together a bunch of different flavors that I think will go well together only to find out that they have somehow magically cancelled each other out instead.  I then end up with, say, a soup that has 12 ingredients (11 of which are spices) and absolutely no flavor.  How does this happen?  Hopefully, if Bethany picks me, I will find out!

I received this recipe from a neighbor of ours when I was a little kid.  She was a super cool lady who made costumes for a living, and I always got to go over and try them on.  Talk about playing dress up!  Also, we would have tea and have very grown-up discussions about what had transpired at recess and how my book report was going and...I have no idea, but she managed to keep me entertained, bless her heart.  She must have made this for one of my visits or perhaps for Christmas or something, but either way, it's still one of my favorites.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Apple Kuchen

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup (?) coconut-My recipe says, "1/2 coconut", but I don't think that's right!  Anyway, the coconut is optional, so use whatever you want.  
1 can (20 oz.) pie-sliced apples, well drained OR 4 apples, sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
2 egg yolks

Heat oven to 350.

Cut butter into cake mix until crumbly.  Mix in coconut.  Pat mixture lightly in ungreased pan (13"x9"x2") building up edges.  Bake 10 minutes.

Arrange apple slices on warm crust.  Mix sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle on apples.  Blend sour cream and egg yolks.  Drizzle over apples (mixture will not completely cover apples).  Bake 25 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Serve warm. 

Notes:  I have never used coconut in this because I don't like coconut.  I have always used fresh apples-I'm not sure how this would be with apple pie filling.  This recipe is already fairly quick and easy, but the apple pie filling would just make it more so.  In regard to how thick to slice the apples...maybe 1/4" slices.  I haven't made this in a really long time, and it seems like the last time I made it I used one of those apple peeler/corer/slicer things and it made really thin slices and then I had way too much apple.  Also, now that I'm thinking about it, 4 apples seems like a lot.  Maybe start with 3, and see how that goes!  According to the recipe card, this serves, "1 if hungry!".  :)  

Do you have any favorite recipes that you have carried with you from childhood?  

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day-December

Carol over at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, a day in which all the bloggers in the world come together to show what's happening in their gardens. Okay, maybe not ALL the bloggers in the world, but quite a few! Anyway, I've seen a few of these posts over at My Bit of Earth, and thought, Hey, I like gardening and taking pictures-I could do that! Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is supposed to be the 15th of every month, but...um...I'm running on Hawaiian time?

Anyway, here's what's going on in my garden. Sorry it's not a great shot, but it was raining cats and dogs-you can see my poor bushes are pretty weighted down from all the rain. I can't tell you what they are; the only name I've ever seen is Mexican poinsettia, but if you do a Google search for this, you don't get the right plant. They do change color in the winter, like your standard Christmas poinsettias, but the leaves are very fine. This is one of my favorite plants. I love the winter white, and when it is in its white phase it also gives off a very subtle almond smell. (They really do look much prettier when they are all upright and fluffy and not thisclose to snapping in half).


For comparison, here is a picture of the same bushes exactly one month earlier. It is from a different angle, but you can see how much they've changed in that short time!



Here is a closer-up shot of the leaves. (Sorry about the Basset butt-he was busy exploring!) If anybody can tell me what the actual name of this is, that would be great! **Edited 8/11/09-I finally found out what this is! It is Euphorbia leucocephala.

Thanks for stopping by to check out my garden!

Five Go-old Rings!

This is a post where I am mostly going to re-direct you to a bunch of older posts in order to appear "helpful," when really what I mostly am is "lazy."

Firstly, since it is getting close to Christmas, some of you may be starting to panic if there are still people that you haven't crossed off your list yet.  You know how it is, you want to get them something nice, but you are running out of time, and you're afraid you're going to end up buying them something cheezy out of desperation.  Perhaps I can help.  Go here to read all about my friend at Silversmyth who makes hand-made jewelry-beautiful, practical, AND personal.  (Just substitute "Mother's Day" for your holiday of choice as you read).   

Here is a showcase of some of the pieces you can find at Silversmyth.com




In case you're curious, you can see the Silversmyth herself at work here




Even if you don't buy anything, stop over and tell her I said, "Hi!"  She's quite sweet!

Maybe jewelry isn't your thing.  That's ok, because in the post I referenced you to earlier (here it is again, in case you forgot in all this holiday madness!), you can also read about the fabulous chocolates at Lesley's Life is Sweet.  Not only does she make chocolate to die for, but she donates part of her proceeds to charity, and I'm pretty sure that officially cancels out any guilt that might be associated with indulging in the chocolate.  

Okay, so maybe jewelry isn't your thing and nobody you know likes chocolate, and you'd just like to make some charitable donations this year to help out those less fortunate than you.  Guess what!  I have a post for that too!  Here is a roundup of some of my favorite charities and why I like them.  Maybe one of them will catch your eye, or maybe you have some of your own favorite charities.  Either way, donations (of time or money) are greatly appreciated, especially now with more and more people finding themselves in need and more and more people finding themselves with less to give.  

What is standard practice for gift giving in your family, and is it changing this year due to the current economic situation?  Are you finding it difficult, or is it a freeing change of pace?  Whatever your situation is this year, I hope you are finding ways to celebrate the important things like friends and family.   

Monday, December 15, 2008

Good news update

Our friend that was hospitalized last week with lymphoma is stage 2, which is much better than what they thought it might be, and it's NOT in his bone marrow or spinal fluid, which was another concern.  This also means less chemotherapy than they originally thought.  

My cousin's friend is also doing better.  She is sitting up and breathing a lot better.  They are still keeping an eye on her in the hospital, but things are looking up.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

A little help, please.

Remember how I told you that some of the nicest people we've ever met have been Cold Stone franchisees?  Well, one of those people was hospitalized last week with a diagnosis of lymphoma. We don't have all the details yet; they think it's fairly late-stage, but treatable.  Chemo began yesterday and is expected to run for 6 months.  

Remember how, in that same post, I told you about my cousin who cried because she was so happy to see me happy?  Well, one of her friends was hospitalized with pneumonia yesterday.  Today they pulled 3 liters of fluid out of her lungs and told her husband that it might not be a bad idea to get her family in town.  When asked to clarify, the doctor said it might be a good idea to get her family in town because otherwise they might not get another chance to see her.  

Back in...May, June (?) my great-uncle was diagnosed with lymphoma.  The good news is that they caught it pretty early, he has made it through all of his chemotherapy, and, so far, things are looking good.  The bad news is that a few months earlier his son was also diagnosed with lymphoma, they did NOT catch it early, and things are not looking as good.  

So, I know you all are busy thinking about your own friends and family this holiday season, and I'm sure many of you have worries of your own, but if you could just take a minute and send up a prayer, put a message out to the universe, visualize full recoveries for Dean, Doan, Joe, and Terry, whatever works for you, I'd really appreciate it, and I know they would too.  

Thanks.    

  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Props to Hawaii Pacific Plumbing Supply Company

So, it seems that our house is made of spare parts.  It's coming up on 10 years of age, and it's at that point where things are beginning to need to be replaced.  So far, anytime we've had to replace anything, it's some funky size that nobody carries.  This could just be a function of living on an island where supplies are limited, or it could be that the guy who built our house got some great deals on clearance items.  I don't know.  Anyway, I need to replace our bathtub faucet, and after having no luck at Home Depot, I turned to the folks at Hawaii Pacific Plumbing Supply Company (HPPS).  

Sadly, this tale does not end with me being able to get the part I needed, but, BUT, the folks at HPPS tried really hard to help me, and sometimes that counts just as much as getting me the right answer.  I spent about an hour-and-a-half in their showroom over a couple of days, the first day with the broken faucet and the second day with pictures of the parts that are still attached to our house.  (Note:  I could have emailed them the pictures, which is what they asked me to do because that would have been easier than asking me to come back into town, but I was in town anyway, so it was ok.)  Over those two days, the staff at HPPS dug through their warehouse; made phone calls; looked up information on line; tracked down the veteran guys in the office, who have been around and seen some things in the plumbing world, to try to identify my mystery faucet; thumbed through catalogs; and generally tried to provide some actual customer service.  Also, they managed to use the term "nipple," which is a vocationally legitimate term, in a relevant manner without snickering; and, let's face it, unless you are in the medical or body-piercing field, that's not always easy to do.  But, I digress.    

The end result:  I now know that the piece I need has been obsolete since 2002, and I will probably have to call a plumber to fix our situation.  That's a drag, but the fact that they didn't make me run all over town to 6 different plumbing supply places and make 14 different phone calls to find out the same information meant a lot!  Because that's the level of customer service I've come to expect these days.  Has anyone else noticed this?  Is it just me or do you find yourself doing more and more of your own leg work these days in order to help Customer Service do their job, things that Customer Service used to do in order to provide, you know, service to their customers?  

Anyway, thanks to Justin, Jeannine, Courtney, and the rest of the folks at Hawaii Pacific Plumbing Supply Company who helped me identify the latest obsolete part in my house!  (You guys wouldn't happen to know if there's some place that carries screen doors that are about 1/2" smaller than everything that seems to be in the stores, would you?)   

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What I'm Reading Now-The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World


The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern Worldby Steven Johnson-In 1854 cholera swept through the Soho district in London, killing hundreds of people in a matter of days. Popular theories at the time blamed miasma (bad air) or the weak constitutions and filthy living conditions of the lower classes for these deaths; but the Reverend Whitehead, who attended many of these deaths, noticed that class and cleanliness seemed to have nothing to do with who was dying. Cholera appeared to be an equal-opportunity killer. At the same time, Dr. Snow, who was an expert in anesthesia and had done many experiments with vaporous substances like ether and chloroform, thought that the whole miasma theory was a bunch of bunk. He suspected that cholera was spread via the water supply and set out to prove his theory.


Dr. Snow was up against some strong opposition, mainly the head honcho of the health department who was an adamant miasmatist (?). In an effort to clear the air of London, this guy whose name I can't remember (I'll call him Bob the Killer) decided that all the cesspits and sewers of London could no longer be allowed to stagnate and foul the air with their deadly smells. Good thinking Bob the Killer-stagnate, overflowing cesspits are nasty, nasty things! To remedy this, they would all drain into the Thames, which happened to supply most of London's drinking water. Bad, bad Bob the Killer! (Some of these details might be slightly off-I've already returned the book to the library and I'm finding that my memory for details has deteriorated rapidly since high school-but the general gist is correct.)


Anyway, Dr. Snow and the Reverend Whitehead were able to work together in a remarkably effective manner to determine not only the source of the outbreak but also to establish a new theory of epidemiology. Bob the Killer drowned in a cesspit, complaining the entire time of the dangerous stink. I'm just kidding. I don't remember what happened to Bob the Killer, but I think he died spouting miasmatic bunk.


I enjoyed this book, but then I like stuff about cholera and the plague and all sorts of fun things like that. This book definitely has a pretty high gross-out factor though, so if you have a low tolerance for talk of poo and sewage and such, you might want to avoid this one. I thought Johnson did a good job of explaining how and why London ended up in the state that it was in-millions of people crammed into a small space with no effective way of handling all of their waste is the short answer. It was also an interesting look at cities and how the very thing that makes them susceptible to epidemics-lots of people in close proximity to one another-also makes them the ideal setting for problem solving and innovation, the type of problem solving that can help us avoid epidemics in the future. I also found the "scientific" theories and psychology of the day quite interesting. While it's very easy for me to sit here at my computer and mock Bob the Killer from the distant 21st century, I can see where he was coming from, and I wonder what theories we have today that people will look back on 150 years from now and go, "Whaaaaaa....?"



Monday, December 8, 2008

How I'd Like to See This Go Down

The Big Three:  We'd like $34 billion, please.
Congress:  I think we can make that happen for you.  I'd really like to see you walk away with this $34 billion!  In fact, I think we can do this today, but I'm going to have to go talk to my manager.

...

Congress:  (sliding a piece of paper across the desk to The Big 3)  Well, my manager wasn't quite comfortable with $34 billion, but I think this will still make you very happy.  Whaddaya think?
The Big 3:  (crying) This is just a Polaroid of someone's middle finger!
Congress:  I think it's a pretty fair offer, but if you want I can go back and try to talk to my manager again.  

...

Congress:  Okay, I really fought for you guys, but this is the best I can do.  My manager says you can have twelve dollars and fifty cents, and you have to buy the rust-proof coating for all of your jets.  Oh, and I'm going to need that picture back.  Well, fellas, whaddaya think?

It might not solve anything, but it'd be fun to watch!

Helen, of Margaret and Helen, has a different approach, which I also like.  

**Updated 5:53PM-I just saw this article about Polaroid.  I think The Big 3 should take the picture and be happy.  It will be worth a lot of money someday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Weekly Geeks #27-Dewey

This week's post is a tribute to Dewey, author of The Hidden Side of a Leaf blog, who passed away recently.  For anyone who doesn't know, she was a book blogger and was part of a huge community of bloggers.  One of the activities that she ran was Weekly Geeks.  Each week a new theme would be announced and everyone was invited to participate by blogging about this theme and then linking to their posts on Dewey's blog.  So, this week, in honor of Dewey, Becky has suggested that Weekly Geeks #27 be a tribute to Dewey.  Please visit Becky's site for links to other Weekly Geeks' tributes to Dewey.

Like so many people, I was shocked to hear of Dewey's passing.  I didn't really know her the way a lot of other bloggers out there did-we didn't email each other, we didn't chat, but we did exchange the occasional friendly comment.  Hers was one of the first blogs that I started following.  I was drawn in by the title, which comes from this Toni Morrison quote:

"Birth, life, and death--each took place on the hidden side of a leaf."

I love this quote; as a gardener, I know how true this is in a literal sense, but it is also infinitely expandable and applicable as metaphor.  We each live on our own hidden side of a leaf, and there are a thousand different things that take place in each of our lives that no one else (or at least very few others) is ever even aware of, but that doesn't make them any less miraculous or any less important to us.  Dewey's blog existed in a microcosm of the blogosphere that I might never have found, had I not turned over the right leaf.  But I did turn over the right leaf, and there I found a huge community of bloggers who were deeply supportive of one another, with Dewey setting the example at every turn.  In fact, I think 80% of my current Google Reader list can be attributed to Dewey in one way or another!  

She organized and participated in challenges, reviewed books, headed up the 24-hour Read-a-thon and the Bookworms Carnival, not to mention the Weekly Geeks.  I don't know how she managed to do it all, but I was always impressed by her.  And I was always going to participate Next Time.  

If you visit The Hidden Side of a Leaf, it is easy to see how many people had become a part of Dewey's on-line community, and also how many of them considered Dewey a true friend, even though many of them had never met her in real life.  I can't remember where I heard this-some movie or something I think-but years ago I remember someone saying that when we leave this world, we will not be judged by who we loved but by who loved us.  It seems to me that Dewey was loved by an amazing group of people, both in the blogging world and in her real life (she paid a lovely tribute to her husband and her son in her "About Dewey" section).  She has been an inspiration to me and to so many others, and for that I will always be appreciative.  I have added the memorial button (courtesy of Bethany) to my sidebar as a tribute to a fellow blogger whom I admired.  

My deepest condolences to Dewey's family.  I am so very, very sorry for your loss.                     

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Life in Hawaii in a Nutshell


Yes, I have put most of those 92, 537 miles on myself in the last 5 years.  And, yes, I have really averaged 28 MPH the entire time.  For those of you without a calculator handy, that comes out to just over 3,304 hours in my car, or a little over 137 days!  I would complain, but I know people have spent more time than that on life rafts, and I'm pretty sure they didn't have McDonald's, air conditioning, or (mostly mediocre) radio stations to break up the trip.  Besides, when you are meandering along at 28 MPH, you have time to look at things like this:


You also have time to ponder things like: How did they get the ocean so flat?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Late to the game

Okay, so it's already noon...ish here on Black Friday, but that doesn't mean I can't still post about some Black Friday deals.  So, full disclosure here:  Yes, I am an Amazon Associate, which means I get credit if you click through my links and buy stuff.  I try to keep my links to stuff that I actually like and am interested in and not spam my readers with links for random crap just for the monetary opportunities.  That said, here is a link to Amazon.com's Black Friday deals.  (Hey, it's Black Friday.  I'm jumping on the monetary opportunities bandwagon.)  They have Deals of the Day and Lightening Deals, all kinds of fun stuff!  So, if you were planning on doing some shopping at Amazon.com anyway, you might as well show me a little love and do it from here!  :-)  

Also, Amazon.com has this thing called Amazon Customers Vote, which I had not heard of before but apparently they have done it in the past.  How it works is, they have six rounds, each round features 3 deals, and you vote on which deal you would like to have the chance to participate in.  From the voting pool, they will send emails out to randomly selected people, offering them the chance to participate in the race to buy.  So, there will be more participants than deals, and you have to hurry your butt over to Amazon.com to try to get the deal that you want.  I know I am not explaining this very well, so just go check it out yourself.  Some of the deals I am not that excited about, but Round 6 has a KitchenAid Professional Stand Mixer (licorice) available for $69.00.  That is a freakin' deal, my friends!  Some other deals include a Samsung 46-inch 1080p HDTV for $699.00, a Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder, 60-minutes (black) for $49.00, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Collector's Edition for $50.00 (there are 1,000 of these available, and the first 35 will be signed by J.K. Rowling).


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tesla Roadster still $109,000

Dang!  I was hoping the price would drop on these like it has on all of my stocks.  Cuz, you know, then I would be able to pick one up for the bargain price of $60,000.  HAHAHAHAHAHA! Hey, a girl can dream.  According to this article,** however, the Roadster seems to be holding its value.  Perhaps the guys from GM, Ford, and Chrysler could talk to the Tesla guys about developing an electric jet.  Seems to me that would be a win-win situation for everybody!   

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, go check out the Tesla Roadster. It's all electric, and it's HOTT!  The Prius is great and all, but it looks like a hamster.  Not that there's anything wrong with hamsters.  I talked about the Roadster before here, and if anyone wanted to give me one for Christmas, I would gladly add him (or her) to my list of people I wouldn't kick in the shins.

*BONUS*  I was searching for pictures of hamsters and I ran across this, which is super cute! and this which ties in nicely with the whole green revolution theme that I've sort of got going on here.  This is the kind of innovation our country needs, people!  Exercise your hamster, shred your documents, and create fresh bedding for your hamster all without using any electricity!

**1/13/09-I know this article was written on December 28, 2008, but the article that I had originally linked to seems to have disappeared, so I went in search of another.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's big purple suit time!


That's right, every year about this time, I pull out my big purple suit*.  Because I get cold.  Laugh at me all you want, but for me 72 degrees with a breeze blowing in off the mountains is cold.  The fuzzy socks are more of an all-purpose, year-round thing.  They make me feel like a Muppet, which is fun.     

*The big purple suit is basically a sleeping bag with leg holes and arms, and it's awesome!  It's like one of those footie sleepers that you used to wear as a kid but without the feet.  I wonder if I could wear this on the airplane. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thoughts on my Kindle

Okay, I've been meaning to do this for a while now, and with the shopping season upon us, I figured now might be a good time to put out a review.  

We have had our Kindle for almost a year now.  I think I will just break it down simply into Likes and Dislikes.  (All links below are to the Kindle versions of those items unless otherwise noted).


Likes:

The Lookup feature-I didn't realize how many words I just sort of skim over because I don't really know what they mean.  Let's say you're reading along and you come across a word you don't know.  You can put your cursor on the sentence containing the word and hit Lookup.  You will then get a page that has the definitions of all the words in that sentence, well, all the major words anyway.  You don't get bombarded with definitions for pronouns, proper names, etc.  Once you are done reading, you select Close and you are back to the page that you were on which contained the troublesome word, which, if you are like me, you will promptly forget the meaning of as soon as you move on to the next sentence.

It's easy to read-The electronic paper is not all glare-y like a computer screen-it really is very much like reading actual paper-and you can easily adjust the text size (6 sizes to choose from, so to give you a Blogger equivalent, you can go from this to a little bit larger than this).

Automatic bookmarking-You can manually bookmark pages, but the Kindle will automatically remember where you left off if you spaz out and go to the main menu in the middle of your reading or set the Kindle down and forget about it and it powers off, which I am prone to do.

Options-Thanks to the wide variety of titles available from the Kindle Store you can go on vacation and have a mystery,romance,a biography,the latest book in the Twilight series, The Wall Street Journal,and all your favorite Dickens stories to choose from all without having to pay an extra baggage fee or hauling around a 93-pound carry on!   

Samples-You can get samples of books that you are interested in so that you don't have to commit to buying the whole thing, sight-unseen, as it were.  Sometimes this is a whole first chapter, sometimes not, but it's usually enough to let you know if you want to buy the book or not.   Magazine,blog,and newspapersubscriptions also come with a 14-day free trial period.

The newly-available Kindle book covers-The original book cover
only has a small tab and two corner pieces to hold the Kindle in place.  These worked ok, but not great.  Sometimes the Kindle would fall out and land on your face if, say, you were reading in bed with the book over your head.  (I never had this problem, but my husband always seemed to be close to losing an eye to the Kindle).  The new covers have 3 leather corners with a 4th elastic-and-leather corner that you can use or not and an overall classier design, in my opinion.  Also, my husband is now much safer.  


Dislikes:

The newly-available book covers-While these are an improvement over the original, they still aren't terribly comfortable for long-term reading.  The edges are hard, and there is still nowhere to rest your hands that doesn't promote the accidental turning of pages.  The hard edges thing would be fine, after all books are the same way, but since you have to be cautious of the accidental page turning, you have to hold it weird, and that makes it uncomfortable.

Bad Ergonomics-See above.  You can use the Kindle without its book cover, but I think that makes it even more uncomfortable.  There just needs to be an extra inch or so of neutral space on each side where you can rest your hands.  Better yet if they would make a cover with some extra space, perhaps even a padded edge.  I'm a fairly small-handed gal; I don't know how people with big hands use these things.

No actual page numbers-The Kindle has locations, not pages.  For example, I just opened up to page 1 of Chapter 1 of The Reincarnationist,and the location is 158-64.  When I go to the next page, it is location 164-70.  What the hell is that???  If I change the font size to the next smaller font, page 1 becomes location 158-65, and page 2 is 165-73.  How are you supposed to quote anything like that?  I understand that it is hard to put page numbers on something when the pages aren't static-page 1 is going to end in a different spot depending on whether the font is 8 pt. or 14 pt. (or whatever the options are-I can't seem to find that information anywhere) I still don't like the locations vs. pages thing.  I don't know how to solve that issue, but I'm thinking if they can put a man on the moon, they can figure out how to put pages on the Kindle.  

The back burner effect-I have many good books and samples waiting for me on my Kindle, but I always have library books, and since those have deadlines, I read those first.  Also, I am reluctant to spend the money to get a Kindle book Now! when I know I can get it at the library if I am patient.  For something that was such an investment, I feel like I should use it more than I do.  I have been reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,for months now, and I am enjoying it and want to get back to it, but I have other stuff that I feel obligated to read first.   

There are a lot of other features that people love/hate about the Kindle, but these are the ones that are relevant to me.  If you've been on the fence about getting one, I hope I've helped inspire you one way or the other!  If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section, and I'll do my best to answer them.     

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday traffic

I took this as I was sitting in traffic because I was impressed with how high up the guy in the cherry picker was.  I was hoping to capture the blur of the street lights moving in order to show how windy it was, and I was kind of bummed when I was able to examine a perfectly clear enlarged view of this picture at home.  Then I noticed the street sign!

I took this as I was sitting (okay, driving) in traffic on my way home...(and talking on the phone.  Don't tell my mother-she'd have a heart attack.  I was being very conscientious though, you know, for somebody with no hands on the wheel.)  I didn't even realize I had the bird in the picture until I got home and was able to look at my pictures on the computer.  (And, in case you're curious, the cheap gas is $2.89).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday

As I was driving home yesterday, I noticed a crowd gathered by the side of the road.  They all appeared to be looking at something on the beach. Huh, must be a monk seal, I thought.  Sure enough!


Not all that impressive from here, I know, but there are only about 1,200 of them left and apparently sightings are fairly rare (even though we see them a couple times a year on our beach!)

See?  She's a little cuter now that we're closer.  That's about how I feel after a day in the water!  (Also, we're not really closer, I'm just zooming in.  Don't yell at me for getting too close to the monk seal!)  Doesn't she look relaxed?  I think we all need to learn to do this more often.  Ooooooooooommmmm.


Aww, monk seals remind me of our old Basset hound-she used to do this thing where she'd look up at you and her ears would fall back, and she'd look like a seal.  Or maybe I would just hide her ears with my hands.  I can't remember now, but I know she used to look like a seal!  Also, the fin-to-body ratio on a seal is similar to the leg-to-body ratio on Basset hounds.  Basset hounds are also good at intense relaxation.


So cute!  Sorry about the pictures getting smaller, but I don't know how to fix that.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  There's a reason I'm not a professional photographer (or a professional web designer, for that matter).  

I hope you have enjoyed your Monday Moment of Zen, brought to you today by your local neighborhood monk seal.  

Thursday, November 6, 2008

R.I.P. Big Coconut Tree


Before

We are having some landscaping done, and I am taking pictures of the process. I am excited about the landscaping-our yard right now mostly consists of California grass (read: really tall weeds)-but I am sad about one thing. We have (had) a beautiful palm tree in our yard that had to be removed. It was leaning toward the house, and if it ever came down, it would have taken out the entire front portion of our house, not to mention the possibility of our cars and anyone or anything which might have been in the yard at the time. We wouldn't have been so worried about the lean, but the ground looked like it was coming up around the base of the tree, and we get massive wind storms in December/January which could easily topple the tree right over onto our house.


This is what our tree looked like when they started.  See the man in the tree?

Now do you see him?  I think this picture provides a great perspective on just how huge these palm fronds are.  You can see how damaging just one of these could be coming down on your house or your car, now imagine the whole tree coming down!

Here is what our tree looked like after about half the leaves had been removed.
This picture makes me want to cry.  I feel terrible about having done this to our magnificent tree, but we just couldn't risk not having it removed.  It's hard to tell, but the man is standing against the tree and working on the top with a chain saw.  The picture sort of looks like he is kneeling with his feet sticking out behind him, but the part that looks like his feet is actually a piece of debris falling down from the tree.

After

You can see how much other stuff we had removed too because you can actually see our house in this picture vs. the first picture, where you could not.  I kept trying to do side-by-side comparisons of the two pictures and I couldn't figure out whey they didn't seem quite right.  It took me a while, but I finally realized that it was because one was horizontal and the other was vertical.  Duh!  I was trying to show the house without the tree, but I didn't think to take the picture vertically to show all the space that the tree was no longer occupying.  On the "Before" picture I didn't think about which way to take it; I shot it vertically because that was the only way to get the tree in the picture.  Once again, there is a reason I am not a professional photographer!  BTW, I did photoshop most of these pictures, but only to adjust for lighting so you could see the details better.  I didn't make the tree taller or the man smaller or anything! 

What I'm Reading Now-The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade


The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade by Ann Fessler-This book was heartbreaking to read. The author and her mother were both adopted, and after a chance encounter with a woman who had surrendered a daughter for adoption around the same time that Fessler was adopted, Fessler began working on an autobiographical project about her adoption, and during her presentations she would invite others to tell their stories of adoption. From this grew her book. She began to realize that many of the stereotypes that people had about women who had given up babies during the post-WWII era were false. Most of these women were woefully uneducated about sex and birth control. They just had no idea. Some of them knew how pregnancy occurs, some did not. Most of the time their boyfriends assured them that it wouldn't happen to them. These were not tramps who were out sleeping with everyone they met on the street; often they were in committed relationships and deeply in love. These were not frivolous women who saw adoption as an easy fix to a mistake. These were women (often girls) who lived in a time when being an unwed mother was about the worst thing you could be, perhaps only slightly higher on the social scale of acceptability than axe-murderer and Communist. Maybe.

According to Fessler, poor women tended to keep their illegitimate babies more frequently than middle class women while rich women came from families who were able to pay a doctor to quietly take care of the situation. The middle class girls who found themselves in trouble didn't have the money to obtain abortions, which were still illegal at the time, and their parents absolutely couldn't risk the shame and scandal of having an unwed pregnant daughter.

The solution was to send these girls away to a maternity home where they would finish out their pregnancies, deliver their babies, and surrender them for adoption. The girls were usually so horrified about all the trouble they had caused their families that they felt they were in no position to argue about this solution, nor did it even occur to many of them to do so. At the homes they were generally counseled about what a wonderful thing they were doing for all these married people who wanted babies and couldn't have them and what a wonderful thing they were doing for their babies who deserved so much better than they could provide. They were counseled on how to give up their babies, but they were rarely informed that keeping them was a legal option as well. They didn't know that keeping their babies was an option in most cases, so they did as they were told and signed the papers, all the time being told that in a few years they would get married, have other children and forget all about this. A few did inform the homes that they wanted to keep their children, but they were told that if they did so they would then be responsible for all of their medical and boarding expenses. Most of them simply did not have the money to do this, and often their families threatened to disown them if they decided to keep their babies. They were not counseled about any financial aid that might have been available to them. So, most of them played the role of the dutiful daughter, did as they were told, and tried their best to forget about their babies.

Not surprisingly, none of the women in this book managed to forget their first-borns. They lived every day with the pain of having given up their children and not knowing what kind of lives they had. They couldn't talk about it-many of their friends and family never even knew what had happened, although I'm sure many suspected that they hadn't really gone away to help take care of their sick grandmothers during their senior year. It just wasn't something that was talked about. Many of these women went 30 years or more never telling anybody about the baby they had been forced to surrender so long ago. It was a loss, and their pain was never even acknowledged much less dealt with. To make matters worse, the fathers of their children were often held completely unaccountable. Sometimes the fathers were interested in staying with the mothers and even raising the child, but often their parents would talk them out of it. While a young woman could be kicked out of school for being pregnant, no such punishment existed for the young men who had gotten them that way.

Some of the women in this book spoke of depression and mysterious physical ailments that they could never really figure out but that disappeared once they broke their silence and/or found their grown children. Depression seems to be a very common ailment among women from about my age through the baby boomer generation, and I'm wondering now if this might be a big reason for it. Dealing with the emotional pain that these women spoke of in isolation and without the skills to deal with it or even acknowledge it certainly must have contributed to countless cases of depression through the years.

I think this book would be extremely helpful for anyone who has suffered silently through the pain of a forced adoption-just knowing that other women out there have gone through the same thing has got to be a huge relief. Even women who willingly gave up their children, for whatever reason, could probably benefit from this book, as I'm sure many of them still wonder about their children. I think this could also be helpful for children who have been adopted and have suffered with abandonment issues, feeling like their own mothers didn't even want them all these years. So often the mothers DID want them, desperately, but they just didn't know that it was even an option. Like I said, this book was heartbreaking for me to read, but I'm glad I read it.

This book focused on the aftermath of surrendering a child for adoption which occurred in large part because abortions were illegal at the time and also because abortion went against many families' religious beliefs. I would be interested in seeing a similar follow-up of mothers who aborted children, both before and after it became legal, either by choice or because that's what their parents decided would be best for them. I'm sure many of them found themselves in similar situations-young, single, still dependent upon their parents, and scared to death. I'm sure many of them also lived with this as a secret that they were not allowed to talk about, but I think the big difference would be that they never got to hold, feed, and care for their babies after they were born as did most of the mothers who surrendered their children. I would like to know if they felt the same way as the mothers who were forced to give up their children, if they felt they had any choice in the matter or not, and if they have the same sense of loss. One of the things that many of the mothers in the book said was difficult was that they didn't know if their children were still alive or not. They lived everyday wondering about their children's fate. In the case of abortion, the fate of the child is obvious, but does that make the sense of loss any less or just different?



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Who had the best voter turn out?

Here in Hawaii 63% of registered voters cast their ballots in this historic election.  Since Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii, many people thought that voter turn out would be a lot higher because people would turn out in a show of local support.  Although Hawaii did deliver the second largest margin of victory for Obama at 72% over McCain's 27% (Washington DC was first with 93%) the overall turn out was still a bit low, historically speaking.  In 1960, 93% of Hawaii's registered voters participated in the general election, and it has since dwindled to its current 63%.    

So, how did your state do?    

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm being quoted internationally!

I'm not sure what I said, exactly, since this article was written in Portuguese and the translations via both Google and Yahoo are a bit wonky, but I think it was pretty good!  Check out the article if you get a chance, especially if you can read Portuguese.  If you don't speak the language, just do what I did and copy and paste into a translation device of your choice.  It won't be great, but you'll get the general idea.   

**11/5/08 update:  Wow, check out the comments on this post!  Heather J. was kind enough to forward this article to a coworker of hers who is studying Portuguese, and he, in turn, was kind enough to translate the whole article for me!  How cool is that??  Thanks so much to Heather and her anonymous coworker!
 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just a word

That's all you get at oneword.com.  You click on the "Go" button, and you get a word.  You then have 60 seconds to write anything you want.  When you are done, you can save what you wrote or not and you can see what other people have written.

I visited this site for the first time the other day and got the word "bulb" which, judging by some of the other writings, is a word that gets assigned fairly often.  Here is what I wrote:

"Bulb.  An idea.  A thought.  A flower in hiding, waiting for the storm to pass, waiting for spring to arrive.  Tiny, compact, full of possibilities.  Illuminating.  Bright light spilling forth onto the world, lighting up the darkness.  Coils, Einstein, oops, Edison."

I like the fact that even though I was writing about three totally different things-a light bulb, a flower bulb, and the lightbulb symbolic of a bright idea, they all kind of go together and are all somewhat interchangeable.  I had my own lightbulb moment as I was writing, and that was kind of cool!  

This is a great little exercise-it's enough to get you thinking and writing, even if it's just a little bit each day, and it's fast enough that you can actually do it every day.  I encourage everyone to go over and check it out.     

P.S.  Thanks to Kuanyin Moi and her Way Khool Sites for pointing out this site.



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blogging for a Worthy Cause

Until I read about it today at fivecentnickel.com I had no idea that today was Blog Action Day.  The theme this year is poverty, and bloggers are encouraged to discuss this topic today to try to bring awareness.  Nickel has generously agreed to match food bank donations made by his readers, so please check out his post and see if you can contribute.  If not, that's ok, but maybe you will be inspired to do something else.  

I have been meaning to do a post about some of the organizations that are featured in my "I think you're nifty too!" sidebar, and this seems like the perfect opportunity. 

Habitat for Humanity "seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action."  They help build houses for people who wouldn't be able to afford a house through traditional means.  Most of the materials and labor are donated, and the houses are sold for no profit to the recipient families.  The families who receive houses must invest "sweat equity" by assisting in the actual building of the house and by helping to build houses for other families.  If they are physically unable to participate in the building process, they can volunteer in other ways.  Habitat's program is a great example of a hand-up not a hand-out mentality and it fosters a lot of community/neighborhood support by getting local people involved in the building of a house.  I've volunteered on a work site, and while there weren't many of us who knew how to build a house, there were enough people that did who could instruct the rest of us about where to pound nails, how to cut the necessary lengths of lumber, etc.  The progress we made in one day was pretty impressive, and it was a great feeling to know that you were helping to give a family a home.  

Heifer International is another great "hand-up not a hand-out" program.  Heifer works with families and communities to educate people about animal husbandry and farming techniques that are sustainable and, very importantly, relevant to their local areas.  Heifer recipients must also pass on the gift by sharing their wealth and knowledge with their community or other communities.  For just $20 you could provide a family with a flock of ducks, geese, or chicks or you could purchase a share of a llama.  A flock of birds can provide a family with protein for themselves as well as providing a new stream of income through the sale of eggs and fowl.  Sometimes this can be the difference between a child being able to receive an education or not.  The recipient family must also pass on a part of their flock to another family in need, and so forth and so on.  You can purchase anything from a beehive to a water buffalo.  This is a great chance to get a child interested in charitable giving!

Kiva.org facilitates microcredit loans to people in the developing world.  You can lend as little as $25 and know that it is going to help somebody who is trying to build a better life for themselves and their families.  Recently there was so much interest in Kiva.org that they actually ran out of loans to fund!  This is amazing, but they seem to be back on track with new entrepreneurs awaiting loans.  You can read a brief biography on all the loan applicants and decide to whom you want to lend money.  To date I have loaned out $950, $723 of which has been paid back.  Lenders don't earn interest on their loans, but then that's not really the point.  The point is that you're doing something good with your money.

Lesley's Life is Sweet is founder Lesley Byrne's way of fulfilling her mission to "help end extreme hunger, poverty and diseases in the world through the sales of [her] artisan chocolates and gourmet confections."  Her chocolates are amazing-you can read about how they made me cry here-and you can eat them completely guilt-free because by doing so you are helping to make the world a better place!  How's that for win-win?

Women for Women International is a great organization that goes into war-torn communities and helps rebuild those communities one woman at a time.  In times of war women are often the most victimized and also are the ones left to rebuild when all of their men have died in war.  These women need to know that they have rights as individuals, what those right are, how to stand up for those rights, and how to exercise those rights.  They also need to be able to provide food, clothing, shelter, and, hopefully, an education for their families.  Women for Women International's programs help women develop literacy and vocational skills, learn about their rights and become active members in their communities.  Individual women are sponsored through monthly donations, and their sponsors are encouraged to communicate with them via letters.

Of course any of these organizations will accept cash donations and, indeed, rely on them to continue doing what they do, but if you can donate your time, even better.  Please check out these organizations to see if any of them might be a good fit for you or let me know which organizations you've found that you would like to share.  

**Update-10/23/08-You all know how much fun I have finding the little coincidences between what I'm reading and my everyday life.  Well this time it has to do with what you're reading (in this case, my blog!) and my everyday life.  Don't worry, I haven't gone totally off my rocker; I realize that there's usually going to be some tie in between what I write and what's actually going on in my life, and I'm not going to start pointing it out to you all the time-(Hey, guess what!  I just wrote about going to the mall, and today, I was AT THE MALL!!  Ooooooh.).  

I have worked with Habitat for Humanity in the past, but I haven't been in touch with them recently, and while putting together this post, I was thinking, Hmmm, I really should get in touch with them again and see if they need any help right now.  Well, 3 days later, they called me!  They were trying to pull together some last-minute help for the following day's annual kitchen and bath tour and wanted to know if I could help.  I could and I did!  So, yay me!  Ok, it would have been a much bigger and better "yay, me!" if I had called them, but still.  You gotta start somewhere.    


Freedom!

Today is the one-year anniversary of the day that we sold our Cold Stone Creamery store and got our lives back, so I figured today would be a good day for this post.

While we were in the store, I knew that I hated it and I knew that I wasn't happy and I knew that it was sucking away my will to live and making me wish for things one normally doesn't wish for like sink holes, tornadoes, and lightning strikes.  That said, I still didn't really realize how unhappy I was and how much other people were perceiving it until a picture of me imitating a plant made my cousin cry.  

What?  The progression isn't intuitive?  Let me explain.

My husband took these picture of me in Australia back in July.  

(Yeah, I'm not afraid to make a fool of myself on camera.)


We were at the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain, and I saw this plant and thought I could do a funny imitation of it.  Well, we took the pictures, and I'm fairly happy with them, even though you can't totally see what a really great imitation I am doing of the scrunched up leaf because I am sort of hidden behind the other leaf.  Anyway, other than having some fun with these pictures, I didn't really think too much of them.  

After returning from our trip, I put the pictures on line and sent out invitations for people to view them.  My cousin called me later and said she got all choked up looking at the picture of me imitating the plant because it was so nice to see me looking that happy.  That, of course, got me all choked up because, well, I cry at just about anything (but usually in a good way!).  

I've briefly mentioned the misery that was our Cold Stone Experience a few times in this blog, and you may be wondering what, exactly, happened?  Well, I'm probably never going to go into any detail for various reasons.  Suffice it to say that owning a Cold Stone Creamery franchise was the worst experience we've ever had, and we learned many painful lessons along the way.  It sucked away our will to live every single day for the year-and-a-half that we owned it.  We're still not Done with the Cold Stone fiasco, but at least we don't have to walk into hell every morning and set a pile of money on fire.  

My cousin captured our sentiments best with the Congratulations card she made for us upon the sale of our store.  The front has a picture of Mel Gibson in Braveheart attire with "FREEDOM!" written underneath it.  Inside it says, "Because they don't make cards that say:  'Congratulations on getting out of that stinking shithole.'  Congratulations on having your lives back!"  

So, apparently it took me about 10 months, but I finally made it back to Happy.  And that's a good place to be.

You may be wondering if there is a silver lining to this experience.  It's taken a while, but on our recent trip to California and Oregon I think I finally figured out what the silver lining is.  Through our Cold Stone training and our local Cold Stone community, we have met some of the nicest people ever (I'm talking about franchisees here, not corporate folks, although some of them were very nice too).  There are our friends in Oregon who had to close the doors on their store and walk away.  There are our friends in California who sold their stores for roughly half what they paid for them.  There are our friends in Pennsylvania who had to close the doors and walk away from their store.  There's our friend in Texas who had to declare bankruptcy, and there are our friends in Georgia who have managed to keep their doors open but have never actually had to pay anything toward the purchase of their store.  So, while it sucks that we're all in financial ruin or close to it, I do feel sincerely blessed to have all these people in our lives-they really are some of the nicest people I know.      

(Also, I didn't realize it at the time, but the plant pictures make a pretty good "during" and "after" representation of our Cold Stone ownership experience.)      

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thanks to all the Weekly Geeks!

Thanks to all these Weekly Geeks who participated in the First Lines challenge.  I got a lot of my answers from visiting their sites, which are listed below.  Between the 13 of us, we are a fairly well-read bunch, if I do say so myself!  It seems there are still a few books out there that none of us have run across.  As of this writing, I am still missing 32 titles!  Click here to see if you know any of them.

I know a lot of people tried to stop by earlier, and my link was not working, so thanks for trying, and I'm SO SORRY! 

Here is a list of all the people from whom I mooched information.  I appreciate all their help, and I look forward to checking out these sites in more detail sometime in the near future.  I hope I didn't forget anybody, but if I did, please let me know.   

Rachel (Not Another Mom)
raidergirl3 (an adventure in reading
Susan L (Just Books)
melydia (It Never Stops)
Jessi (casual dread)
Joanne (Book Zombie)
belleofthebooks (Belle of the Books)

And, last but not least, a big thanks to Dewey for hosting these Weekly Geeks events.  Please stop by and visit her blog sometime.  

Wierdness


I've read two books back-to-back which talk, in a fair amount of detail, about humans being dismembered. (Unwind and American Gods)



Also, I watched two movies today which both referenced an old man's false teeth being buried, one set in a yard, one set in an orchard.  (The Fall and Meet the Robinsons


You can watch a trailer for The Fall here.  Watch it and then try to tell me that the little girl in this film, Catinca Untaru, isn't the cutest thing you've ever seen!  Go ahead, try.  Can't do it, can you?  I didn't think so. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Posts Showing Up in Google Reader After They've Been Deleted

So, I found out today that my "Weekly Geeks #21-First Lines Answers" post is showing up in Google Reader, even though I deleted it from my blog last night.  My apoloigies if this has caused confusion for anyone.  Does anyone know how to remedy this?  Thanks in advance for any advice!

Weekly Geeks #21-First Lines challenge

Dewey, over at The Hidden Side of a Leaf, has posted 100 first lines from books.  Our mission, if we choose to accept it, is to identify the books (and authors) from which these lines came.  While I was only able to identify a few (and, sadly, some of the most obvious few I think), I thought this sounded like fun!  Listed below are all the first lines that need to be identified.  I will make a separate post for this challenge, and as answers come in, I will remove them from this list and post them on the "Weekly Geeks #21-First Lines Answers" post.  I've never participated in a Weekly Geeks before, so I hope I am doing this right!***UPDATE-WOW, WAS THIS A BAD IDEA!  LOL!  Everything is now in one post, so don't go searching for my "Weekly Geeks #21-First Lines Answers" post. I went ahead and left the original text of this post in here in case anyone else was considering doing something similar or in case anyone was in the middle of reading this as I was editing.  I am doing my best to avoid unnecessary WTF??s.

Bolded items are still outstanding.  If you know any of the answers, please help me out!  No cheating by Googling all the first lines though!  If you want to double-check your answer, that's fine, but please just don't go looking for the answers.  There are a few lines that I definitely recognize, but I have no idea where they come from, so this should be very educational all around.  

1. Call me Ishmael.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville

2.  It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (thanks, Rachel!)

3. A screaming comes across the sky. 
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (thanks, Joanne!)

4. Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (thanks, Rachel!)

5. Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.
Lolita by Vladimer Nabokov

6. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (thanks, Eva!)

7. riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.
Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce (thanks, Eva!)

8. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
1984 by George Orwell (thanks, Rachel!)

9. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

10. I am an invisible man.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

11. The Miss Lonelyhearts of the New York Post-Dispatch (Are you in trouble?—Do-you-need-advice?—Write-to-Miss-Lonelyhearts-and-she-will-help-you) sat at his desk and stared at a piece of white cardboard.

Miss Lonleyhearts by Nathanael West (thanks, Katherine and Icedream!)

12. You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

13. Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.

The Trial by Franz Kafka (thanks, Eva!)

14. You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler.
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

15. The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.
Murphy by Samuel Beckett (thanks, Maree!)

16. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (thanks, Eva!)

17. Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo.

The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (thanks, Rachel!)

18. This is the saddest story I have ever heard.

The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford (thanks to commenter "thescriblerus" on Belle of the Books)

19. I wish either my father or my mother, or indeed both of them, as they were in duty both equally bound to it, had minded what they were about when they begot me; had they duly considered how much depended upon what they were then doing;—that not only the production of a rational Being was concerned in it, but that possibly the happy formation and temperature of his body, perhaps his genius and the very cast of his mind;—and, for aught they knew to the contrary, even the fortunes of his whole house might take their turn from the humours and dispositions which were then uppermost:—Had they duly weighed and considered all this, and proceeded accordingly,—I am verily persuaded I should have made a quite different figure in the world, from that, in which the reader is likely to see me.

Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne (thanks, Susan!)

20. Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (thanks, Eva!)

21. Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed.

Ulysses by James Joyce (thanks, Ali!)

22. It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.

23. One summer afternoon Mrs. Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary.

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (thanks, Rachel!)

24. It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.

City of Glass by Paul Auster (thanks, Joanne!)

25. Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting.

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (thanks, Rachel!)

26. 124 was spiteful.

Beloved by Toni Morrison (thanks, Eva!)

27. Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing.

Don Quixote by Cervantes (thanks, Softdrink!)

28. Mother died today.

The Stranger by Albert Camus (thanks, Eva!)

29. Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu.

Waiting by Ha Jin (thanks, Ali!)

30. The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

Neuromancer by William Gibson (thanks, Jessi!)

31. I am a sick man . . . I am a spiteful man.

Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky ( I knew if I pulled enough books off my shelf I would find something!)

32. Where now? Who now? When now?

The Unnameable by Samuel Beckett (thanks to Penryn via Rachel!)

33. Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. “Stop!” cried the groaning old man at last, “Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.”

34. In a sense, I am Jacob Horner.

The End of the Road by John Barth (thanks, commenter Miriam!)

35. It was like so, but wasn’t.

36. —Money . . . in a voice that rustled.

37. Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

38. All this happened, more or less.
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut (thanks, Ali!)

39. They shoot the white girl first.

Paradise by Toni Morrison (thanks, Yasmin!)

40. For a long time, I went to bed early.

Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (thanks, Rachel!)

41. The moment one learns English, complications set in.

42. Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature.

43. I was the shadow of the waxwing slain / By the false azure in the windowpane;

44. Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (thanks, Ali!)

45. I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (thanks, Susan!)

46. Ages ago, Alex, Allen and Alva arrived at Antibes, and Alva allowing all, allowing anyone, against Alex’s admonition, against Allen’s angry assertion: another African amusement . . . anyhow, as all argued, an awesome African army assembled and arduously advanced against an African anthill, assiduously annihilating ant after ant, and afterward, Alex astonishingly accuses Albert as also accepting Africa’s antipodal ant annexation.

47. There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (thanks, Eva!)

48. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.
The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

49. It was the day my grandmother exploded.

50. I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

51. Elmer Gantry was drunk.
Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis (thanks, Softdrink!)

52. We started dying before the snow, and like the snow, we continued to fall.

53. It was a pleasure to burn.

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (thanks, Eva!)

54. A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.

End of the Affair by Graham Greene (thanks, Joanne!)

55. Having placed in my mouth sufficient bread for three minutes’ chewing, I withdrew my powers of sensual perception and retired into the privacy of my mind, my eyes and face assuming a vacant and preoccupied expression.

56. I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, tho’ not of that Country, my Father being a Foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull; He got a good Estate by Merchandise, and leaving off his Trade, lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my Mother, whose Relations were named Robinson, a very good Family in that Country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but by the usual Corruption of Words in England, we are now called, nay we call our selves, and write our Name Crusoe, and so my Companions always call’d me.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

57. In the beginning, sometimes I left messages in the street.

58. Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.

Middlemarch by George Eliot (thanks, Eva!)

59. It was love at first sight.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (thanks, Icedream!)

60. What if this young woman, who writes such bad poems, in competition with her husband, whose poems are equally bad, should stretch her remarkably long and well-made legs out before you, so that her skirt slips up to the tops of her stockings?

61. I have never begun a novel with more misgiving.

The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham (thanks, Tammy!)

62. Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.

Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler (thanks, Yasmin!)

63. The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children’s games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up.

64. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (thanks, raidergirl3!)

65. You better not never tell nobody but God.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

66. “To be born again,” sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, “first you have to die.”

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (thanks, Eva!)

67. It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (thanks, Katherine and Icedream!)

68. Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden.

69. If I am out of my mind, it’s all right with me, thought Moses Herzog.

Herzog by Saul Bellow (thanks, Rachel!)

70. Francis Marion Tarwater’s uncle had been dead for only half a day when the boy got too drunk to finish digging his grave and a Negro named Buford Munson, who had come to get a jug filled, had to finish it and drag the body from the breakfast table where it was still sitting and bury it in a decent and Christian way, with the sign of its Saviour at the head of the grave and enough dirt on top to keep the dogs from digging it up.

71. Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there’s a peephole in the door, and my keeper’s eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me.

The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass (thanks, melydia!)

72. When Dick Gibson was a little boy he was not Dick Gibson.

73. Hiram Clegg, together with his wife Emma and four friends of the faith from Randolph Junction, were summoned by the Spirit and Mrs. Clara Collins, widow of the beloved Nazarene preacher Ely Collins, to West Condon on the weekend of the eighteenth and nineteenth of April, there to await the End of the World.

74. She waited, Kate Croy, for her father to come in, but he kept her unconscionably, and there were moments at which she showed herself, in the glass over the mantel, a face positively pale with the irritation that had brought her to the point of going away without sight of him.

The Wings of the Dove by Henry James (thanks, Susan!)

75. In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (thanks, Susan!)

76. “Take my camel, dear,” said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.

The Towers of Tebizond by Rose Macaulay (thanks to commenter "_lethe_" on Rachel's site!)

77. He was an inch, perhaps two, under six feet, powerfully built, and he advanced straight at you with a slight stoop of the shoulders, head forward, and a fixed from-under stare which made you think of a charging bull.

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (thanks, Susan!)

78. The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

The Go-Betwee by LP Hartley (thanks, raidergirl3!)

79. On my naming day when I come 12 I gone front spear and kilt a wyld boar he parbly ben the las wyld pig on the Bundel Downs any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor him nor I aint looking to see none agen.

80. Justice?—You get justice in the next world, in this world you have the law.

81. Vaughan died yesterday in his last car-crash.

Crash by J.G. Ballard (thanks, Susan!)

82. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (thanks, Softdrink!)

83. “When your mama was the geek, my dreamlets,” Papa would say, “she made the nipping off of noggins such a crystal mystery that the hens themselves yearned toward her, waltzing around her, hypnotized with longing.”

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (thanks, Softdrink!)

84. In the last years of the Seventeenth Century there was to be found among the fops and fools of the London coffee-houses one rangy, gangling flitch called Ebenezer Cooke, more ambitious than talented, and yet more talented than prudent, who, like his friends-in-folly, all of whom were supposed to be educating at Oxford or Cambridge, had found the sound of Mother English more fun to game with than her sense to labor over, and so rather than applying himself to the pains of scholarship, had learned the knack of versifying, and ground out quires of couplets after the fashion of the day, afroth with Joves and Jupiters, aclang with jarring rhymes, and string-taut with similes stretched to the snapping-point.

85. When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.

Last Good Kiss by James Krumley (thanks, Joanne!)

86. It was just noon that Sunday morning when the sheriff reached the jail with Lucas Beauchamp though the whole town (the whole county too for that matter) had known since the night before that Lucas had killed a white man.

87. I, Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus This-that-and-the-other (for I shall not trouble you yet with all my titles) who was once, and not so long ago either, known to my friends and relatives and associates as “Claudius the Idiot,” or “That Claudius,” or “Claudius the Stammerer,” or “Clau-Clau-Claudius” or at best as “Poor Uncle Claudius,” am now about to write this strange history of my life; starting from my earliest childhood and continuing year by year until I reach the fateful point of change where, some eight years ago, at the age of fifty-one, I suddenly found myself caught in what I may call the “golden predicament” from which I have never since become disentangled.

I, Claudius by Robert Graves (thanks, Softdrink!)

88. Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, is women.

Middle Passage by Charles Johnson (thanks, Yasmin!)

89. I am an American, Chicago born—Chicago, that somber city—and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent.

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow (thanks, Ali!)

90. The towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods.

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (thanks, Susan!)

91. I will tell you in a few words who I am: lover of the hummingbird that darts to the flower beyond the rotted sill where my feet are propped; lover of bright needlepoint and the bright stitching fingers of humorless old ladies bent to their sweet and infamous designs; lover of parasols made from the same puffy stuff as a young girl’s underdrawers; still lover of that small naval boat which somehow survived the distressing years of my life between her decks or in her pilothouse; and also lover of poor dear black Sonny, my mess boy, fellow victim and confidant, and of my wife and child. But most of all, lover of my harmless and sanguine self.

92. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.

93. Psychics can see the color of time it’s blue.

94. In the town, there were two mutes and they were always together.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (thanks, Maree and Icedream!)

95. Once upon a time two or three weeks ago, a rather stubborn and determined middle-aged man decided to record for posterity, exactly as it happened, word by word and step by step, the story of another man for indeed what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal, a somewhat paranoiac fellow unmarried, unattached, and quite irresponsible, who had decided to lock himself in a room a furnished room with a private bath, cooking facilities, a bed, a table, and at least one chair, in New York City, for a year 365 days to be precise, to write the story of another person—a shy young man about of 19 years old—who, after the war the Second World War, had come to America the land of opportunities from France under the sponsorship of his uncle—a journalist, fluent in five languages—who himself had come to America from Europe Poland it seems, though this was not clearly established sometime during the war after a series of rather gruesome adventures, and who, at the end of the war, wrote to the father his cousin by marriage of the young man whom he considered as a nephew, curious to know if he the father and his family had survived the German occupation, and indeed was deeply saddened to learn, in a letter from the young man—a long and touching letter written in English, not by the young man, however, who did not know a damn word of English, but by a good friend of his who had studied English in school—that his parents both his father and mother and his two sisters one older and the other younger than he had been deported they were Jewish to a German concentration camp Auschwitz probably and never returned, no doubt having been exterminated deliberately X * X * X * X, and that, therefore, the young man who was now an orphan, a displaced person, who, during the war, had managed to escape deportation by working very hard on a farm in Southern France, would be happy and grateful to be given the opportunity to come to America that great country he had heard so much about and yet knew so little about to start a new life, possibly go to school, learn a trade, and become a good, loyal citizen.

96. Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.

Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (thanks, Icedream!)

97. He—for there could be no doubt of his sex, though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it—was in the act of slicing at the head of a Moor which swung from the rafters.

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

98. High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour.

99. They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (thanks, Icedream!)

100. The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.

The Red Badge of Courage (thanks, Ali!)