Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My new name

I am thinking of using a pseudonym for THE COVER ONLY (and title page) of my children's books so that when I publish poetry and adult fiction, kids won't be tempted to read it.

After trying all kinds of dreamed up names and combinations and spellings, here is the name I'm thinking of using:

Merri Marigold. 

I hope no one takes it before I publish.  AK!  (Maybe I shouldn't post it.)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quintessential fall

We went to Seven Lakes State Park and saw these asters against a blaze
of sugarmaple leaves.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tyrannosaur Canyon, by Douglas Preston

Tyrannosaur Canyon Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I just finished Tyrannosaur Canyon, by Douglas Preston, clearly my favorite book of his so far. I think. I am always excited when I am reading a good book, but I think this was the best yet. My reasons are partially negative ones. There were no gory, gruesome murders in this one, and fewer killings than in the others I've read. However, I think he still describes dying in a lot more detail than is necessary.

The story begins with a murder--just not a terribly gruesome one. Bad enough, of course, but not like in Brimstone and Still Life with Crow. The man who is murdered is a "treasure hunter," secretly looking for the big dinosaur. He is skilled at what he does, and finally, after a lifetime of searching, he has found it, only to be mowed down by someone else who wants the credit of the discovery.

Unlike in previous books, we know who the villains are immediately. But there is no paucity of action and suspense. It, like all of Preston's books, is another page turner.

I like the scientific aspect of it. I like learning about the dinosaurs and geologic history. I take it all with a grain of salt, of course, but I've read enough to have some idea what might be true. I recommend this book to almost anyone, it's the least horrible of all of them so far and very interesting and exciting.

I really like the characters of Tom Broadbent and Wyman Ford. All the characters seem very well rendered to me.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Very good or very lucky!

I'm either very good or very lucky lately, knock on wood, about my cooking, I almost never use a recipe. I used a method my mother would call "by guess and by gosh." I've made a series of incredibly good meals without consulting a cookbook at all, even though I had no idea what I was doing. They included, for example, shrimp ratatouille, scallop and cod coconut curry, and last night, I made:

almond encrusted tilapia (from scratch, no recipe) over a bed of wild rice
served with a side of scallop and andouille gumbo
and golden fried garlic polenta.

And, not to brag or anything, it came out GREAT!!! Better than restaurant food, cheaper, and healthier.

Celebrate, celebrate!

This celebratory fractal is from Fractalworks, a free download for Macs. I made it on Fractalworks, altered the colors on Fractalworks, and then played with it on Photoshop CS4.

Here is a picture of the cod and scallop curry. The light was bad. I neglected to get one of last night's dinner. (If you click on it, you can see a larger image, though why you'd want to I'm not sure.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Mandlebrot Buddha

I made this image for my brother using Fractal Works (a free download
for Macs). It reminds me of a meditating Buddha. All that energy
crackling around him.

Insomniac Fractals

I can't sleep, so I am making fractals.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Secret Water

Secret Water (Swallows and Amazons, #8) Secret Water by Arthur Ransome

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is not quite as adventurous as some of the other Swallow and Amazon books, but it is very good. There is excitement and danger and no adults nearby. Lots of friendship and warring and good fun. The Swallows are marooned on a "desert island" where there are savages ("the eels") and friends (the Amazons) and given a mission--to map the secret water. It looks like they might not succeed. The ship's baby, Brigitte, volunteers to be a human sacrifice. A good read.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Blasphemy, by Douglas Preston

Blasphemy Blasphemy by Douglas Preston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Of all of the Preston books I've read so far, this one is my favorite. I love both science and religion, and the clash between them fascinates me. In most of the book, there is not the kind of gruesome ghastly murders in some of the recent Preston books I've read. However, it does get pretty gruesome and ghastly at the end. Like all the Preston and Preston and Child books, it hold the reader's attention from the very first. There are NO boring first chapters or first half the book. The reader is sucked in as into a black hole. I found it both highly interesting and highly entertaining.

Wyman Ford, ex-CIA operative and ex-monk gone PI is hired to investigate the Isabella project, a giant particle accelerator in the Arizona desert. The 12 scientists are exploring the big bang and some religious fanatics take issue with the government spending 40 billion dollars to attempt to disprove genesis. An old love interest of Wyman Ford's is one of the scientists involved. I hate reviews that give away the plot, so that's where I'll stop. I thought the entire thing was excellent including the ending MINUS the violence.

View all my reviews >>

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shrimp Ratatouille

I made the BEST lunch! Shrimp Ratatouille! Everything but the shrimp
and spices were from the garden--our garden at the Rolandale Silk
Creek Retreat Center. Yesterday we picked several POUNDS of
vegetables from the garden and I transformed them, with BB's help
peeling and chopping, into a big pot of shrimp ratatouille! I don't
want to brag, but it came out FABULOUS! We had it for lunch today.
It was so good!

En Pleine Aire

I hate pictures of myself these days. But here I am at the "Paint
Out" Art Retreat. The picture isn't finished--the mosquitoes got too

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Friday Fractal Thursday night

I've got a bad cold, but if I can sleep and don't feel too miserable,
I'm going to a "paint out" ("En Pleine Aire") tomorrow and will be
gone all day so I'm posting my fractals now. Andree, did you find a
PC mandelbrot?

When the last living thing has died o...

When the last living thing has died on account of us, how poetic it would be if Earth could say, in a voice floating up perhaps from the floor of the Grand Canyon:

"It is done. People did not like it here."


~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.~

I'm reading
Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorite authors, and it makes cry to revisit how we are choosing to ruin the earth and kill our fellow humans.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Brimstone by Douglas Preston

Brimstone (Pendergast, #5/Diogenes, #1) Brimstone by Douglas Preston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My latest read and I've started another book by Douglas Preston, Brimstone--one thing I have to say, they start quickly. No waiting for the book to get good, no wading through page after page of dull introductory stuff--these are good within the first few words--if you happen to like gruesome murders. I don't. I do like the writing and the sense of not truth of the fact that these guys know a lot or manage to make it seem like they do. I like Pendergast because he's cool and nice and not a jerk like so many cops seem to be, male and female, in crime novels. I'm not intentionally on a crime novel kick, it's not my favorite genre, but these are good ones. Engaging, fast, puzzling, thought=-provoking, highly interesting. In Brimstone, one man, and then another, and then--well you get the drift, are found dead, burned from the inside out. Ghastly. How was it done--and why?

View all my reviews >>

Friday, September 04, 2009

Finished two new books today

Last Known Address Last Known Address by Theresa Schwegel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Serial Rape. Detective Sloane Pearson investigates a series of rapes in Chicago against overwhelming odds, Everything that could go wrong does, in her work and personal life. At first, no one is killed. Then, a murder. Might she be the next victim? This is a page turner, but the main character is not very likable. By the time the book ends, you see why she is the way she is--but--that doesn't make you like her much more. Still was a reasonably good read. Npt my favorite kind of book.

The Sterkarm Handshake The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Whenever I go to the Library, in addition to taking out four books to read, I also look at the books that have been released from circulation. Hardcover books re one dollar. Not bad, if they are something I might enjoy. I bought this one becasue of the title, cover and description. It sounded intriguing, and I liked it very much. It got off to a bit of a slow start but soon turned into a page -turner and was very tense. There were impossible dilemmas. Andrea, an anthropologist, has gone through a time tube and is living with 16th century raiders in the mountains between England and Scotland. When he 16th century lover is mortally wounded, he takes him back to the 20th century to be healed and the trouble that results is terrifying. There is a reasonable resolution, but it is not for the faint of heart. Excellent reading.

View all my reviews >>

testing pens

PB threw away over 100 pens, pencils, colored pencils, and markers
which I was testing--98% of them still work fine.

Friday Fractal

I made these fractals last night "for Andrea" using Fractal works, a
free Mac download, after a brief discussion with her about fractals.
I learn a little more about it every time I play with it, but I still
have a long way to go.