Friday, January 30, 2009

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A Princess of Mars

I decided to read A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (of Tarzan fame) for Carl's Sci-Fi Challenge. And boy was this a great pick. It's so classic Sci-Fi it's great. It was written in 1911. Wow. That was a while back, huh? It's the first in a series which I might have to pick up.

So the premise is this:

John Carter is a vet of the Civil War. With only a handful of useless Confederacy currency in his pocket, he decides to go prospecting for gold in Arizona. He and his buddy strike it rich but someone has to go and get supplies and more men for the dig. On the way they run into trouble with some Indians. While hiding out in a cave, he somehow gets transported to Mars.

While on Mars he comes across a couple of different Martian races. The first group are large, war-like, and green. Think of the sterio-typical green martian and this is where it comes from.

They are at war with another group who look more like humans...except they are skin is bright red. And the green Martians have just captured a beautiful red Martian lady...the princess of a tribe of red Martians.

So of course there's the trouble John Carter gets into and out of, the little love story between the princess and John Carter, and of course a battle or two. It's definitely something a young adult could enjoy.

It was a quick and easy read and thoroughly enjoyable. I read through the library's e-book section but I found a ton of fun covers online.
These first two look more ancient Egyptian/Roman or something:


And I love the depictions of the green Martians in these:


Dystopian Novel Challange

I'm currently reading Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and am definitely loving it. It's sort of for Carl's Sci-Fi Challenge even though it's not full Sci-Fi. Which brings me to the difference between Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and dystopian novels. Do you think dystopian novels count as Sci-Fi books? Hmmm..

Anyway, I mentioned to my husband that he should read it but he said he's never read a dystopian novel...not 1984, A Brave New World...nothing! So I got to thinking and I came up with:

The Dystopian Novel Challenge

1. Oryx and Crake - Margaret Atwood (Finished January 30, 2009)

2. 1984 - George Orwell (Finished April 15, 2009)

3. A Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

4. The Road - Cormac McCarthy

5. Neuromancer - William Gibson

6. We - Yevgeny Zamyatin

7. Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut (Finished February 06, 2009)

8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - Philip K. Dick

9. Life as We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer (Finished February 5, 2009)

10. World War Z - Max Brooks (Finished February 18, 2009)

11. The Unit - Ninni Holmqvist (Finished July 6, 2009)

12. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (Finished October 24, 2009)

Already reviewed:

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood


Do you have any suggestions or must-reads for the list? I'm re-reading A Brave New World and finally reading all of 1984. I've already read Fahernheit 451 and probably won't re-read that one.

Blogger's Favorites -- L.A. in Bloom

This week's list belongs to Heather Beth Taylor of the excellent blog L.A. in Bloom, and she is (in my humble opinion, although I think few would disagree…) an insanely cool gal.

Heather’s a self-described Los Angeles lover, fashion enthusiast, art world business woman, passionate consumer of food (love that one especially)…

PLUS:

I fully intend to one day pop into Heather’s gallery whilst on a visit to L.A. and force her to go to lunch with me at the Ivy

Herewith Heather’s favorites…Happy Friday.



1. COOKING - Hands down, my favorite activity. Sometimes I pretend I'm Nigella Lawson.



2. LOUNGING POOLSIDE - Hands down, my second favorite activity. My sun-loving friend, Linlee and I partake nearly year-round.



3. MY POET SISTER - I've been pretty transfixed by my little sis since she was born when I was three. Nobody makes me laugh harder.



4. SUCCULENTS - Living in LA, succulents make the most sense for beautiful, sustainable landscaping. My boyfriend, Alex and I hike around Amir's Garden, a 5-acre succulent garden, to get ideas for our garden.



5. THE PARKER PALM SPRINGS - This hotel in the middle of the desert is my favorite oasis.



6. FRIDA KAHLO - One of my favorite artists and style icons.



7. PRADA - Miuccia can do very little wrong in my book.



8. VINTAGE DRESSES - I love vintage frocks and was recently very inspired by the YSL exhibit at the de Young museum in San Francisco. The Way We Wore is my favorite place to browse through the archives of fashion history here in LA.



9. WOODY ALLEN - I've seen every Woody Allen movie. Annie Hall is my all-time favorite.



10. SWEETS - It's hard for me to pass up delectable little pastries or cookies. My ideal afternoon snack is a coffee and something sweet from Joan's on Third.

If I lived in Brooklyn…



I’d want some ├╝ber romantic flowers from Saipua for Valentine’s Day.

Love. Them.

+ I love their soaps, and candles, and her blog, and especially her new column on d*s -- it’s witty and pretty and cool…




images via d*s and saipua
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Through Bins



The last time I was at work I was fiddling around with photographing Dark-eyed Juncos through my Swarovski 8x32 EL and Nikon Coolpix 8400. This probably would have been a lot easier with the Swarovski Snapshot Adapter, but the lens barrel of the 8400 is too large in diameter to fit. So, I struggled with hand-holding the camera to the binocular eyepiece to get these shots.



It turns out I may be allergic to something in my apartment, so I'm presently living somewhere else until I get the matter sorted out. I'm going to hire an air quality inspector and see if any confirmatory findings can help assist in breaking my apartment lease. (I discovered mold and lots of pet hair). In 2003, I had a retention cyst removed from my right maxillary sinus. This is the first time I've had serious complications with the same area – the pain is like having a knitting needle jabbed into my cheekbone.

A few weeks ago I experienced my first acephalgic migraine and was given a CT-Scan at the UW Hospital. (Hopefully, this was a one-time experience because losing my vision for 15 minutes was pretty alarming and scary.) Anyway, according to the accompanying technician's report, my retention cyst may have returned, so I'll need to have a specific sinus CT-Scan in a week to determine what exactly going on inside there. I really don't want to have to go through that surgery again. I've already been away from my apartment since Monday night and my sinuses already feel much improved, so hopefully they were just chronically irritated and my sinuses are free of cysts.

There's a whole lot more to this story, including a brief hospital stay, but this is all I will share for now. Rest assured that I'm doing everything I can with an extremely challenging situation. Please be patient if I don't get to your email in a timely manner. Though it may seem like a mere reflection off the snow that's creating a bright side, and spring migration still seems far off, Sandhill Cranes will be returning near end of February, so it's just around the corner. I look forward to seeing some of you in the field in March to welcome home some of the first returning songbirds.

© 2009 Mike McDowell

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Little Homage




Like you, I am completely bummed about the demise of Domino... It was by far one of my favorite mags. My mourning process has been to start lovingly leafing through old copies to ogle my favorite spreads... My all-time favorite "home tour" is Ione Skye's from the first Domino (she's also one of my major girl crushes.) I love her groovy hanging wicker chair, her record collection, her fireplace.... But architect Will Meyer's house in upstate NY is a very close second.

What was your favorite?



I Can't Help It...


I like paper doilies. I do. A lot.

So it goes without saying that I like this valentine from pretty. pretty. paper (great name, no?)

A. Lot.

p.s. she has a great blog too...

Snake Wine

Snake wine and Scorpion wine are asian beverages that can be found in some Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Laos Cambodia, but also in Korea, and Japan.

To prepare this incredible beverage a cobra snake or some scorpions are put into a bottle fulfilled with transparent rice wine liquor and some herbs are added before the drink is left to ferment for months. The venomous cobra snake used to make Snake wine is preserved to have the snake poison dissolved in the rice wine, but because snake venoms are protein-based they are inactivated by the denaturing effects of ethanol, and no more dangerous, but this makes a healthy liquor with many health benefits.

Many types of snake drinks can be found all across Asia, but the most famous one and the only original one is the one found in Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos, the famous Snake wine that you can only find online on our website.

You can order online a Snake wine or Scorpion wine bottle by clicking here.