Monday, November 29, 2010

Dad facing surgery.

My dad is choosing to have surgery done to him to stabilize his neck. I don't know when this will happen.
Today, during a break in the rain, I laid down many leaves on the weeds in the garden and broke the pumpkins I accidentally left on the porch too long and they froze. Sprinkled slug bait. Now I will continue removing by hand every single marked indent I should have let the computer do on Circumnavigation.

The Prince of the Marshes

The Prince of the Marshes and Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq by Rory Stewart. An absolutely fascinating look at Iraq through the eyes of a UN provisional government person. I have to keep reminding myself that the US invasion and occupation was not to make the Iraqis people we can like and enjoy, but rather to make Iraq a country that won't threaten us anymore. The deep, deep selfishness of tribal outlook and corruption amazed me. And then, of course, the corruption and ineptness of the people was blamed on the US. Yeah, right.
The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons: A sprawling, massive novel following a whole series of sprawling, massive novels. His accomplishment astounds and awes me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Some books about Rwanda

I received the books about Rwanda: as we forgive by catherine claire larson, Our Lady of Kibeho by Immaculee Ilibagiza, and Land of a Thousand Hills by Rosamond Halsey Carr. I am looking forward to reading them.

On the treadmill I am slowly working through the book about culture and found it striking when he stated that denial, critique, and consumption of culture does not change culture. Only the making of more culture changes culture.      Ah, but can you get published?

I read Cradle by Arthur C. Clarke and Gentry Lee. For some reason one or both authors thought it needed lots and lots of really explicit sex. I ended up skipping many chapters to get to the stuff I wanted, which were aliens.
A little story here: At a science fiction convention I ended up sitting with two other writers and the woman mentioned that sometimes she was embarrassed to meet her fans because she knew they had read her explicit sex scenes and wondered what they were thinking when they looked at her. The man said that whenever he wrote pornography he couldn't (have sex). And I've heard from a couple wives that when their husbands watched a lot of pornography, they could not (have sex). Do I detect a pattern here?
Tolkien: A Look Behind The Lord Of The Rings by Lin Carter where he slapped together some outlining, some quotes, and mentioned possible influences and done! Wonder if I should try that, but I'm not that interested in Harry Potter.

A 1953 book called a classic on the front, Costigan's Needle by Jerry Sohl. I started it. Maybe if I had read it all the way to the end I might have found that it was indeed a classic, but I don't think so. 
40 Days in Ordinary Time by Judith Quinton was an emotional ride. 
We're Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy And The World's Getting Worse by James Hillman and Michael Ventura. Wonderful title. Started and dropped because of its vulgarity. 
The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction edited by Avram Davidson, Thirteenth Series. Some hits, some misses. 

Alpha Redemption by P.A. Baines. I like the interweaving of back story and regressing story. A computer coming to faith strikes me as odd, but then, I think androids "wanting" to become human is risable also.
The Secret of the Gnome which I read at my grandson's and so don't remember the author was a lot of fun. Rumplestiltskin in his later years.
The Eye of Warlock by P.W. Catanese. Hansel and Gretel 50 years later. Also fun.

I reread Orbit 21 edited by Damon Knight. And what have we here? Nestled amongst so many bright lights of the sf world is a short story by me! Wheee!
The Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg. Exciting, yes indeed.
Molly Banneky by somebody. A picture book I sent to my grandaughter. Fascinating look at a bit of colonial history.
The Streets Are Free by Kurusa, illus by Monike Doppert. Based on a true story of child activism. How much child and how much guidance I don't know. I like the lesson of taking things into your own hands.
Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson illus by Sophie Blackall. Good to read to the first child when the second one is coming.
Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina: Now there is a fun classic.
In the Days of the Comet: Boring preaching.

My son gave me a book called Unit Operations   An Approach To Videogame Criticism. I goggled at him and asked if I would be able to understand a single word of it. In the first two pages, Ian Bogost, the writer, taught me a new word: moil. whooo.  So I thought a poem on the way home while best beloved drove through light snowfall. Boil, moil, and toil, As invisible armies fight invisible foes, And toxins spilt stab joints and veins, dum de dum forgot this line, Coiled capillaries deliver, ah, not fluenza, not affluenza, effluence? to tender liver, Cells leak, a fever peaks, and I don't recall the rest. It sounded better in my hypnogogic state than it does on a cold, white screen. Anyway, it promises an interesting read whilst I keep dictionary near.

Abscission cells

I do hope the early ice and snow has not killed all the abscission cells so that all the dead leaves hang on like rags all winter long.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reading some more books

On my treadmill is Making Culture by Andy Crouch. I am going through it slowly, for I watch the Animal Planet channel while walking, and during the commercials read about culture and permutations. Sometimes I would like to watch another channel but something has happened to either the TV or the remote and I can't change the channel. So why don't I fix the problem? Because it's easier to let it go than to figure out (possibly) how to solve the problem.

The best book I've read lately is Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey: The RIVER of DOUBT. A riveting story of the intersections of cultures and physical difficulties. I have always admired Teddy Roosevelt. Now I see that he had some psychological quirks, perhaps even problems. And I feel so badly about his son for whom there was not adequate medication then, and ended his glorious life badly.

The Aedyn Chronicles   Chosen Ones  by McGrath: I loved the full cover illustration, the many drawings inside to text, the subtle page illustration at the beginning of each chapter. But the, ah, imitation of C.S.Lewis?, the something of the text made it hard slogging. I tried twice to finish it and could not make myself do it. When the main character proclaims the Truth is not always logical, I gave myself permission to quit. I'm sorry Mr. McGrath. I wanted to love the book, and I'm sure many people will, but I was not one of them.

Legacy by R.A. Salvatore: Lots of Plot, fun to read. Set in a universe that seems like hell to me.

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold: more wonderful adventure of one of the most enjoyable heros: Miles.

The Secret of the Swamp King by Jonathan Rogers: Almost as much fun as The Bark of the Bog Owl. I thought it would end with the hero crowned as king, but ended up with Saul casting out David, metaphorically. I look forward to the third book.

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler: I enjoyed the writing but not the story about people who would not give each other any space or forgiveness at all.

Abiding Darkness by John Aubrey Anderson: I enjoyed it, then the miracles got to be a lot and the hero more Christ-like than Christ. It's hard to explain this southern story. One weeps at the end.l

The Bad Place by Dean Koontz: more thrills


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dad has been moved.

Dad has been moved back up to Longview to a care facility near my sister, to the facility that she has ministered at for, what, thirty years now?         Do I go up to visit him taking my wookie daughter since I have to take her somewhere today, or do I go up after work? And do I go to the home meeting tonight, or should I stay home with best beloved who has caught what I had the last two days which kept me from visiting Dad at OHSU. 
Our autistic friend is in the hospital, possibly with pancreatitis, possibly with an ulcer. We haven't been able to visit him either, and the woman who keeps track of him hasn't answered the phone lately so we don't know what is going on. I believe I'm well enough to check on him. I don't have enough time before work though. Juggling time.

Monday, November 8, 2010


As I look over my posts, I realize I am writing them stream of consciousness style and that some of them are confusing. I need to get more organized........


I look around the office. I know what the kitchen looks like. My yard.  My life.  Right.

Ah well.

More on Dad's broken vertabra

Ok, Dad is looking better and complaining about the hospital food.  I woke up at 2am with some sinus problems, so I don't know if I will be able to see him or not today. He should be more comfortable with fewer things attached to him. He shares a room. A couple days, and then where?

Yesterday I believe I finished everything on Shatterworld except the cover for it to be ready for publishing as an ebook. Oh, not so. I still need to insert the blurbs....

Friday, November 5, 2010

Broken neck

In a moment everything can change.
My dad fell and cracked a vertabra in his neck. Later today, we (children and neighbors) will go to OHSU to hear what a spinal specialist has to say about Dad's prognosis and treatment plan. He is not paralyzed, but is immobilized by a number of gadgets while scans and tests are run.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Storm Drains

Today I cleaned up several of the neighborhood storm drains and put the resulting leaves and muck on my garden. It's nice when civic duty and self interest coincide.