August 31, 2012

Recent Reads

92. How the Irish Saved Civilization
Am about half way through this book and it has not grabbed me yet. There are informative funny bits, but the rest is simply too pedantic for my tastes. Would maybe have worked better as a long essay. Moved it to my DNF pile. Rating: 1 star.

93. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative 
This is a fast and thought provoking read. Some of the material covered are things you already know. But it never hurts to be reminded. Other wonderful ideas were new to me - like the one about creating your own creative ancestors family tree. A book that I will be dipping into again for sure.  Rating: 4 stars.

94. The Expats
Maybe my expectations were set too high. Maybe I was suckered by all the glowing reviews. This is a debut novel after all.
I listened to this on audio, and alternated between being bored and annoyed. All that chatter in Kate's head! Was I the only one who wanted to hit her on the head with a saucepan? Honestly, the only reason I finished the book, and rated it 2 stars instead of 1, is because it was wonderfully narrated by Mozhan Marno. Rating: 2 stars.

August 30, 2012

Journal page

Feels like Fall in these parts. Where the heck did the summer go? Well, time for fall sailing I guess.
(Click on image to enlarge).
I was thinking about maps and charts while creating this page. Places known and unknown. Adventure and surprises around the corner. When a land lubber becomes a mermaid.  Pen and watercolors. 

August 29, 2012

Rob Legato: The art of creating awe

Rob Legato creates movie effects so good they (sometimes) trump the real thing. In this warm and funny talk, he shares his vision for enhancing reality on-screen in movies like Apollo 13, Titanic and Hugo.

Click here to view his TED talk.

August 28, 2012

Reading right now

I've got several books going at the moment. The Art of Fielding in print, The Expats on audio, and Incognito and A Passion for Books on my nook.
 What are you reading right now?

August 27, 2012

Unplug and smell the person next to you

Remember that old saying, stop and smell the roses? How quaint and old-fashioned no? How about smelling the real, live, carbon-based person next to you instead?

I read this interesting article, and was reminded of a birthday party where the birthday girl spent her time at the party updating her Facebook status. The entire time we were there. Why invite us to a party? We could have all gotten onto to Skype, or Google Play and celebrated the party just as well no?

There is a fire hose of data we have access to today. Via Facebook, and blogs, and tweets, and news outlets, etc, etc, etc. It is easy to get addicted to spending time with strangers online. These are after all much easier relationships to manage than the ones with the real people in our lives.

Recently I decided to take a hard look at all the input coming my way. I've created additional filters, and simply deleted input that is no longer relevant to me. That does not add value to my life in some way. These are not bad people, simply not important enough to clutter up my precious time. It has been exhilarating. Remember my recent post about quality versus quantity? Well that applies to people and relationships as well.

So, turn off those devices and screens, and be present. Smell the person next to you. What do you discover?

August 26, 2012

Recent Reads

90. Shantaram
I have been lost in this world for several days. And have been monogamous the entire time. That is unusual for me, as I usually have several books going at once. This book would not tolerate unfaithfulness. Stayed up late and finished this wonderful read last night. At 933 pages this door stop of a book is a really fast read. It is a travelogue and adventure story. A love story and a crime novel. A war story and philosophical meditations. It is about life and love, dignity and fate, choices and redemption. And just like India, the country, you will either love the book or hate it. There is no middle ground here. Rating: 5 stars.

91. The Fallen Angel
This is book #12 in the series. I worry about Gabriel Allon. He never has time for a vacation. Just as he settles into retirement (from his assassin job), and starts to restore a Caravaggio at the Vatican, he gets pulled in to investigate a murder. This slippery slope of a path leads to a reunion of his team - the wonderful members of Barak, and we are off on another fun ride that includes murder, kidnapping, terrorist plots, and pithy lines. I am a huge Allon fan, but this one does not live up the standard of the other books in this series. Rating: 3 stars.

On an unrelated note, I mistakenly requested a large print version from my library, and I might never go back!

August 25, 2012

LEAKED Official Apple iPhone 5 Promo Video

I am loving this trend towards "honest" marketing. This is hilarious.
Check it out here.

August 24, 2012

Books on the nightstand

Here are the current books on my nightstand. And these are just my library books. Does not include my shelves of unread books, or my stash of ebooks on my nook. So many books, so little time. A good problem to have. Which one to read next?

Legitimate Rape??!!

I simply could not believe it when I heard what Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, had to say about rape:

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

Well, if "doctors" said so, then golly it must be true!

I could not agree more with the Renegade Raging Grannies response. Click here to check them out.

August 23, 2012

Journal Page

I've been thinking about the idea of quantity versus quality lately. Mass produced goods cheaply available are not necessarily a bad thing. But I for one really miss the quality of artisan products. You hold an item in your hand, and you just know.
(Click on image to enlarge).
Pen and watercolors.

August 22, 2012

Sailing in the Boston Harbor Islands

Another wonderful day spent playing in the islands. Seagulls and Cormorants are good company. Loving being out on the water for several nights. The gentle rocking at the mooring makes for great sleeping. Only problem is that I'm out of chocolate, so heading back to land tomorrow for reprovisioning.

August 21, 2012

Boston Harbor Sunset

A lovely day to be splashing about on the islands. Jumped in with my wetsuit and am happy to report no shark attacks.

"Honest" Trailer of The Hunger Games

I loved The Hunger Games trilogy. The books that is. Technically, I loved the first and second books, and thought the third one was okay. But that first book. Loved it.

So, decided to go watch the movie in the theater. You know on the big screen with all the sounds effects, etc. Now to be fair, I did not expect to love the movie like I did the book. But I was dissapointed to an extent that surprised even my skeptical self. Now if only I had seen this "honest" trailer, my expectations would have been set correctly.

Click here to see this hilarious and "honest" trailer. Wish I had made it!

August 20, 2012

Lisa Kristine: Photos that bear witness to modern slavery

For the past two years, photographer Lisa Kristine has traveled the world, documenting the unbearably harsh realities of modern-day slavery. She shares hauntingly beautiful images -- miners in the Congo, brick layers in Nepal -- illuminating the plight of the 27 million souls enslaved worldwide

Click here to see her TED talk.

August 19, 2012

Underground Readers

As part of an ongoing series, here is a reader on the Boston T. You can read more about this series here. I cannot tell what she is reading, and did not want to disturb her.
I'm often envious of people who can read on the T, or in a car. I cannot. I get nauseous. So I tend to listen to audio books, music or podcasts while traveling by those means. Thankfully, this is not a problem when I fly.

August 18, 2012

Recent Reads

87. The Age of Wonder
I'm throwing in the towel on this one after getting to hour 9 of 22 on the audio book. I quite enjoyed the audio narration (by Gildhart Jackson) of the sections with Banks and Herschel, but then the book starts to meander. I guess I was expecting something different based on the jacket description. Rating: 2 stars.

88. Girl Reading
This book has a wonderful premise - short stories based on paintings that have women with a book in their hands. The stories I read are wonderful. Am moving it to my DNF list fully expecting to come back and finish this at some point, as the writing is gorgeous. This is the problem I have with short story collections - there is no motivation to read all the way through. Then I am sucked in by another great read, and never quite get back to the story collection. Rating: 3 stars.

89. The Deep Zone
I did not find this book to be a thriller. The opposite in fact. If not for the science, and the caving details I would not have finished it. Lacks plot and the characters are so one-dimensional as to be ridiculous. Rating: 2 stars.

After what feels like a dry patch, I finally hit the jackpot with this one:
 Loving everything about it. And at 944 pages, I can wallow in this great read for a bit. Love that.

August 17, 2012

Everything You'll Ever Need To Know About Napping

I love naps. Always have. I still fondly recall group nap time in pre-KG. A snooze after a tasty snack. What could be better? I am still traumatized about nap time being taken away, because I was a "big girl now". And though I am a frequent napper, I do miss those group naps.

After reading this article, I feel so vindicated. Nap on people. Nap on.

August 16, 2012

I'm a tri-reader. Are you?

I used to think of myself as a bi-reader. Then realized that is not true. I'm actually a tri-reader. What the heck am I talking about?

I read books three ways:
  1. I read them the old fashioned way. By that I mean print books, aka Dead Tree Books (DTBs). You the know, the ones you hold in your hands, and manually turn the pages. The books that you stick your nose into so as to inhale that heavenly scent of pulp and ink. C'mon admit it. You are among friends here.
  2. I also read ebooks on my NOOK STR. These are the books that are really a just bunch of ones and zeroes. They take up no room on your shelves, and are whisper light on your hard drive as well. They have no deckled edges, and alas no smell - though you could use this as a substitute
  3. And I also listen to audio books on my iPod. The trick here is to find the combination of the right book and the right narrator. A good narrator can carry a so-so book, while a lousy one can make you turn off a fabulous read.
So, there you have it. My definition of a tri-reader. Are you a tri-reader as well? And don't you wonder when it will be added as an Olympic event? After all we do train year in and year out. Often starting as young as three. And we could be in either the winter or summer games. How many sports can you say that about?

August 15, 2012

Julia Child and me. The birthday girls.

I am celebrating completing another revolution around the sun. It puts life in perspective to think about it that way does it not?

I am well. And content. And loved. And grateful. I have everything I need, and most of what I want. Seems like a good place to be. And like Julia Child, with whom I share this birthday, I am delighted by tasty meals. Though not enough to learn to cook them. Maybe that is a goal for the years ahead.

August 14, 2012

Self portrait journal page

Self portraits are interesting. You could capture how you see yourself in various ways. Here are several of the top of my head:
  • photo of face, full body or body part
  • photo of stuff you love or use
  • sketch/painting/collage of all of the above
  • written sketches
  • video
(Click on image to enlarge).
Here is a recent one I did. A sketch in my journal. Pen and watercolors. It does not look like me - you would not be able to identify me if this was the wanted poster used for America's Most Wanted - but it captures some of the essence of what makes me me. And I always learn something about myself in the process.

When was the last time you created a self portrait? Do it now. Are you surprised at what looks back at you?

August 13, 2012

Olympics coverage by NBC

The London Olympics are behind us, and I have a bitter aftertaste left by NBC. Was I the only one tired of the seemingly endless water polo coverage?

For the Beijing Games, four years ago, I was able to watch whatever event I wanted online. It is how I watched most of the games. And yet with all the technology advances, NBC took me back in time, to a place where I could only watch what they were broadcasting on TV.

Oh sure, if you had cable, you could log in and watch, but we are not a cable house, so I had no login info to gain access. I would have happily paid a fee to be able to stream what I wanted, when I wanted. It's not like the NFL has not already plowed this road. But that was not an available option. In this day and age? Really? The days of people sitting in front of their large screen TVs hooked up to cable has passed its heyday. Common on NBC. Wake up and smell the dollars you would make from the markets you do not serve.

August 12, 2012


I've got a new twitter account. You can follow me by clicking the birdie under my profile on the right.

Journal page

I often listen to audiobooks or podcasts while sketching. Recently listened to a BBC World Book Club interview with Jeanette Winterson. She has interesting things to say, and I jotted down this quote: "Unhappy families are conspiracies of silence. And the one who breaks the silence is never forgiven". Lots to think about no?
(Click on image to enlarge).
Bill, the dolphin, has moved to the boat for the season. Pen and watercolors.

August 11, 2012

Shark Attack

You might have read about the shark attack that occurred a week or so ago on Cape Cod. Ballston Beach in Truro to be exact. Last attack in these parts was in 1936. It reminded me of the first time I ever saw the movie Jaws.
Remember the very first time you saw it? I was a wee one and was terrified. It took weeks before I felt comfortable swimming in the pool, let alone the ocean. Well, the recent attack prompted a screening of the movie at home last night. Released in 1975, I am impressed with how well it holds up after all this time. That is great story telling.

So the next time I jump in from the boat in my wetsuit, I'm gonna be thinking how much I look like a seal. Shark bait. That should keep me warm in these chilly waters.

August 10, 2012

Underground Readers

You can read more about my fun project here.
Looks to me like she is reading Catch Me by Lisa Gardner.

August 9, 2012

YA Books

I find it interesting how popular YA books are, and not just with YA, but with so many adults. Don't get me wrong, there is much I love about the YA genre, but I sprinkle it in with books written for adults.

You can see a recent Best Young Adult Novel list here. I've got more books to add to my TBR pile.

August 8, 2012


The cannon is going off earlier every day now. It was at 7:50pm this evening. The sea breeze has died down, but the land breeze out of the SW is wonderfully cool. Do not really understand that, as it was really hot on land today. But am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, and simply enjoy it.

Here is a pic looking towards the Garden and the Zakim bridge to the west.

August 6, 2012

Underground Readers

Readers are my peeps. One thing I do miss with all the ereaders is that it is impossible to see what people are reading without asking them. And who wants to interrupt a reader who is clearly lost in a different world? Inspired by the Underground New York Public Library, I'm capturing readers on the Boston T.
She is engrossed in Matched by Ally Condie.

August 5, 2012

Summer heat

Crimson berry iced tea and a good book are sure ways to beat the heat.

August 3, 2012

Journal page

I've often talked about how I arrive early to events. Since I have my journal, I do not mind waiting for the event to start. Deciding to have an ice-cream while I wait ... delish.
Acrylic background. Pen and marker.

August 2, 2012

Journal Page

We've had a break in the heat wave these past week or so, and for that I am grateful. A chance to cool down and recharge batts. Looks like the muggy hot days are on tap again. So unusual for us.
Collage, acrylics, pen and watercolors.

August 1, 2012


I've been on a Terminator kick lately. Have watched the three movies again, and got immersed in the Sarah Connor Chronicles. This has got me thinking about good story telling. The first two movies by Cameron are really good stories. It is unusual to like a second movie in a series as much as the first. The third one is handed off to a different story teller. You can tell. While the special effects are cool, the story lacks something.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series only lasted two seasons, and I can understand why. Wonderful premise, but not great story telling. And is it just me, but was anyone else uncomfortable while how skinny she was? Ugh.

So I've been seeing terminators in my dreams, and trying to wrap my mind about all that time travel stuff.