Tuesday, July 29, 2008

If you are looking for a distraction...

... a panorama of Paris at night.

You zoom in for a very clear, full panorama. It's quite beautiful. I've never really wanted to go to Paris before... but now I kind of do!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Run away! Run away!

So last week I laid down the butter tart gauntlet that I would be a skinny biatch lot smaller by the time that the Surrey International Writers’ Conference came around.

I’m down 2.5 lbs so far!

Can I get a woot woot?

Today I ran 1.65 miles in 25 minutes. I know it's not a world record, but it's a record for me! (I THINK that is 2.6 km, but someone please correct me if I'm wrong!)

I've also signed up for the CIBC Run for the Cure on October 3rd. You can donate to me online here. And for my 'mericuhn friends... it's durn cold up here in October so you should donate twice as much!! I think I was feeling especially brave after my lunch run... and I was thinking about my friend Karen who was just told that that biatch breast cancer is back again. So while she's fighting a real fight... I'm going to run to support her.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'm more of a short stretch reader myself...

Michael Hyatt is the President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He writes a blog called From Where I Sit. Back in June he wrote a post called What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. In it he disects an article in Atlantic Monthly where writer Nicholas Carr asks, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?

There's one quote in particular that Hyatt pulls from the article:

Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

I read this and thought... whiskey tango foxtrot ... are you kidding me? That's what reading is like for most mothers. (she said, noting that the writer and the blogger are both male)

I think he lost me where he said he'd "spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose". I have not had long stretches of anything remotely close to reading since early 2001.

Some other pics

Over the weekend (whilst groaning about my belly and lying .. crap.. laying?... whatever on the couch, I did keep my camera close...)

In Which I Will Submit To A Kiss

Oh EEK A Bug!

Try Cut Me Now


Jodie Coston's Photography course - Lesson 1 - Assignment 2

We've had some weird sort of bug going through the house so my creative juices (gah, I hate that phrase... it's sounds so icky!) have been runnin' low.

But here's the lesson where I tried to take pictures of something from different angles. So, um, I present you Tree From Angle #1.

And Tree From Angle #2.

This is not very exciting, I KNOW! But I've been lying on the couch for the last couple of days! Weak excuse, yeah... I really liked assignment #1.

100 Best Novels

Modern Library has come up with the 100 Best Novels. I'm wondering... how many you have read? Sadly, I haven't read even close to a quarter of them... wouldn't that be a cool challenge? Hmmmm ... I am not sure I could get through the first one!

The list below is the Reader-chosen list, there's also a list that's picked by the illustrious board.

  1. ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand
  3. BATTLEFIELD EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard
  4. THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
  6. 1984 by George Orwell
  7. ANTHEM by Ayn Rand
  8. WE THE LIVING by Ayn Rand
  9. MISSION EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard
  10. FEAR by L. Ron Hubbard
  11. ULYSSES by James Joyce
  12. CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller
  13. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  14. DUNE by Frank Herbert
  15. THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS by Robert Heinlein
  16. STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Robert Heinlein
  17. A TOWN LIKE ALICE by Nevil Shute
  18. BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
  19. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
  20. ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
  21. GRAVITY'S RAINBOW by Thomas Pynchon
  22. THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
  23. SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
  24. GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
  25. LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
  26. SHANE by Jack Schaefer
  28. A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving
  29. THE STAND by Stephen King
  31. BELOVED by Toni Morrison
  32. THE WORM OUROBOROS by E.R. Eddison
  33. THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
  34. LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
  35. MOONHEART by Charles de Lint
  36. ABSALOM, ABSALOM! by William Faulkner
  37. OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
  38. WISE BLOOD by Flannery O'Connor
  39. UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
  40. FIFTH BUSINESS by Robertson Davies
  41. SOMEPLACE TO BE FLYING by Charles de Lint
  42. ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
  43. HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
  44. YARROW by Charles de Lint
  46. ONE LONELY NIGHT by Mickey Spillane
  47. MEMORY AND DREAM by Charles de Lint
  48. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
  49. THE MOVIEGOER by Walker Percy
  50. TRADER by Charles de Lint
  52. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
  53. THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood
  54. BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy
  55. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
  56. ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute
  58. GREENMANTLE by Charles de Lint
  59. ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card
  60. THE LITTLE COUNTRY by Charles de Lint
  61. THE RECOGNITIONS by William Gaddis
  62. STARSHIP TROOPERS by Robert Heinlein
  63. THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
  66. THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson
  67. AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
  68. TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller
  69. INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
  70. THE WOOD WIFE by Terri Windling
  71. THE MAGUS by John Fowles
  72. THE DOOR INTO SUMMER by Robert Heinlein
  74. I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
  75. THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
  76. AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS by Flann O'Brien
  77. FARENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury
  78. ARROWSMITH by Sinclair Lewis
  79. WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams
  80. NAKED LUNCH by William S. Burroughs
  81. THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER by Tom Clancy
  82. GUILTY PLEASURES by Laurell K. Hamilton
  83. THE PUPPET MASTERS by Robert Heinlein
  84. IT by Stephen King
  85. V. by Thomas Pynchon
  86. DOUBLE STAR by Robert Heinlein
  87. CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY by Robert Heinlein
  88. BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh
  89. LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
  91. A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
  92. THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
  94. MY ANTONIA by Willa Cather
  95. MULENGRO by Charles de Lint
  96. SUTTREE by Cormac McCarthy
  97. MYTHAGO WOOD by Robert Holdstock
  98. ILLUSIONS by Richard Bach
  99. THE CUNNING MAN by Robertson Davies
  100. THE SATANIC VERSES by Salman Rushdie

And Now... Something that makes me cranky.

Most Canadians Would Grant Permanent Residence to U.S. Military Deserters

Albertans, males, and those with a high school education or less are least likely to agree.

A majority of Canadians would agree with the decision to let American military deserters stay in Canada as permanent residents, an Angus Reid Strategies survey revealed. Earlier in June, the House of Commons passed a non-binding motion calling on the federal government to grant residence to all U.S. soldiers who fled to Canada after refusing to take part in the Iraq War. In the online survey of a representative national sample, three-in-five Canadians (64%) say they would agree to give these U.S. soldiers the opportunity to remain in Canada as permanent residents. Click here to read more.

See, I took this poll... it was an online poll that asked a bunch of different questions. I noticed that when this question came up, it was rather ambiguous.

What most Canadians don't realize is that the US Army is 100% volunteer. No one made anyone sign up; no one made anyone sign a contract. But they did. They signed a contract. Some had their education paid for.

They are not the same "deserters" from the Vietnam War era. I could have some sympathy for those who were drafted back then. But the biggest problem I have is my government granting "residence to all U.S. soldiers who fled to Canada after refusing to take part in the Iraq War" because my family spent several thousand dollars and two years working to get my law abiding husband permanent resident status here in Canada.

We went into debt doing it. We turned down opportunities for him to work under the table because that wasn't right. We would wait, we would fill out all the paperwork, we would follow the letter of the law.

And all these "deserters" have to do is change their minds about something they agreed to do, buy a flight and bingo-bongo they get to be permanent residents of Canada.

Not in my Canada.

Ok. Time to Admit Something

I'm a big geek.

I love William Shatner even if I love Jean Luc Picard more. I never missed an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation.

"I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am."

The poster above is now stationed at my desk, just looking at it makes me smile!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jodie Coston's Online Photography Course

Thanks to Miss Carolyn, I am trying out Jodie Coston's online photography course. Which you'll see is freeeeee. Awesome.

I have done a bit of photography over the last few years. In fact, I did all the photography for my book, Rookie Reiner. But I could use a lot of help. It was easy to take some of the pictures, in summer with the sun shining and one subject to take a picture of. But what about more creative pictures where you want to actually say something with your photo?

Assignment #1 was to take an abstract photo based on the compositional rules in the first lesson (rule of three, golden mean, triangle, etc...). Here are my first two attempts:

I welcome any feedback, opinions... etc...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Quick Comment on all that Obama-Cover-Stuff

I don't know if it's because I'm Canadian or because I'm a writer or a combination... but I'm not sure I get the big kerfuffle about "the Obama cover" on The New Yorker.

Maybe it's because I'm from Canada and we had this huge controversy where a publisher DARED to print cartoons of Mohammed and was sent death threats, sued and hauled into a kangaroo court called the "Human Rights Commission". Since then I've felt strongly that the freedom of speech we need to protect is the most unreasonable speech.


Because women didn't get to vote by being reasonable.

Schools weren't desegregated because black people were reasonable about it.

Many things have been accomplished through unreasonable writing. This cartoon is a form of expression that should be protected. When we start to self-censor for fear of offending those with thinnest of skins then we lose something very powerful: the ability to change the world through words and images.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It's another countdown time!

Ok peeps, it seems that finishing a book under deadline while working full time, battling allergies and puking babies and juggling the big kid's summer schedule.... I soothe my stress with Food and Lots of It. All of It, apparently.

I say this because I am getting big... big ... big.. biggety big...

I'm going to be very open and honest here (mostly I am, really) and tell you all that I'm at my highest weight ever. Yes, this includes while being 9 months pregnant.

Yes really. And can you pass me those butter tarts please. I'm just going to stick one in my back pocket so that it has the shortest route possible to MY BIG BUTT.

So, here's the deal.

I signed myself up for (no, not weight watchers, that would be kind of smart) a writers' conference. Not just any conference by the Surrey International Writers' Conference. I'm signed up, my flight is booked, time is booked off of work and my roomie has booked the rooms.

And I don't want to go fat.

October 24-26th.

Averaging a pound a week is safe... so, 15 lbs.

Except OF COURSE I'd rather that it were closer to 30 lbs. Probably not safe. On the other hand... it's not dangerous.

Probably not going to happen if I continue my little relationship with Rickards White. But you drink it with an ORANGE so it's part FRUIT & VEGETABLE. And one part GRAINS. Hmmmmm.

So I've been at the gym Wed/Thurs and I rode my bike Thursday night. Today was a bit of a write-off but I did some weights/lunges etc.. at home after the baby went to bed. Yes, ok, so I had a beer. But I have not had a butter tart. Even though they call to me with their sweet voices. The bastards.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This was when I knew it would be ok...

I did it. I hit send.

I need a nap.

Or maybe beer.

Total word count is just under 73,000.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

You call me as soon as you have the courage to."

If you have to tell someone "I'm a complete catch"... you may not be. If you have to say "there is nothing wrong with me", then there may be.

Oh, and abuse in childhood? Mother with cancer? Anxiety disorder?

Look up "passive aggressive"?

Now I can tell you the last time I cried...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Someone pat me on the back... please?

I came across a blog today written by a very rich mommy and detailing her trials and tribulations of motherhood. Like, flying first class without a change table in the first class bathroom.

And I came THIS CLOSE to leaving a troll-ish comment. THIS CLOSE people. I was so very irritated.

But I backed away slowly, reminded myself that it would be WRONG to do that and now I'm going to put my head down and work while the baby FINALLY naps.

I just had to confess it out here so that I can feel a bit more accountable.