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picture books

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Saturday, April 30, 2011
Here are some tiny write-ups for graphic novels I've enjoyed in the mostly recent past. The links all go to goodreads, where I figure you can Read All About It if you're so inclined. I'm trying to get my stack of checked out library books down to a reasonable (under 60) number, so there may be a few more of these in the days to come so I can take them back. 

AYA by Marguerite Abouet & Clement Oubrerie: I loved reading this graphic novel set in 1970s Ivory Coast. Here’s a blurb from the back that is very successful as a blurb as it made me nod my head a lot:
“AYA is an irresistible comedy; a couple of love stories and a tale for becoming African. This isn’t a guided tour for backseat travelers: as you read, you’re a Yopougon local. It’s also a book about what goes on in the mind of teenage girls. It’s essential reading. Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie bring back to life an Africa that’s not asking for favors and that can stand on its own feet. Despite the lighthearted tone, AYA is a very political book. And I think it’s an excellent time to invite readers to pull up a chair at an African table.” - Joann Sfar, cartoonist of THE RABBI’S CAT. 

I was gratified to see his comment on the back, because as I was reading Aya I kept thinking that it reminded me of things I loved about The Rabbi’s Cat - namely highly relatable characters from a culture very different from my own. (They also share a certain visual similarity.)   Books like this one make the world a larger and more interesting place. And there are two sequels! FOUR STARS, but more like 4 1/2. Read it! (Read in Sept. 2010) 

AIR: Pure Land by G. Willow Wilson & M.K. Perker. Book 3 in the series. SUPER TRIPPY! Featuring air travel, time travel, bloody nose headaches, danger, adventure, romance, terrorists, and so on. It reminds me of Lost, and I don’t think it’s just because of the airplanes and strange happenings. (I mean the Lost comparison in a good way - I never know what's going to happen!)  I also like Our Heroine Blythe quite a lot - she’s tough, smart, and brave, but also is vulnerable to wrong assumptions and stupid mistakes like the rest of us. Like Lost, the narrative jumps around and I have no idea if it will all hang together in the end, but I’m happy to go along for the ride. Bonus: Amelia Earhart!  (Read in April 2011) 

Irredeemable, Volume 1 by Mark Waid & Peter Krause: What happens if the most powerful superhero goes bad and none of his superfriends, let alone the general public he’s terrorizing, knows why? How do you stop him? Can he be saved? Can he be killed? Why so angry and murderous, super dude? This book was recommended to me by a co-worker when I asked the usual “have you read anything good lately?” question. (I specified “no zombies, no post-apocolypse.”) I liked it and will certainly read more. FOUR STARS. (Read March 2011)

Maira Kalman by Ingrid Schaffner - I love Maira Kalman’s brightly colored, playful, witty paintings. This book is a retrospective (to accompany an exhibit) and I would recommend it to anyone who likes her work, although if you’re just starting to explore I would probably start with the Principles of Uncertainty or any and all of the Max books. FOUR STARS (read in January 2011) 

will the waterfall excitement never end?

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011
mossy trees


Mossy trees were waterfall adjacent, at the top of the (paved) trail that seemed pleasantly, even gently  downhill until we got to bottom and started climbing back up - then it seemed like some kind of mean trick. How did it get so steep?! What kind of evil state park wizard put a curse on this path? (HINT: The evil kind! it's right there in the name. I can see them now, all these robed state park wizards - some good, some bad - deciding which paths fall into the water and which ones remain surprisingly level. They study at the state school equivalent of Hogwarts, major in public service and wear practical, washable camouflage robes.)

silver falls
The Silver Falls are really beautiful. There's a bunch of them, but I think this one is the tallest in the park. You can kind of see people to the left of the waterfall to help give you a sense of scale - they look really tiny and are about to walk behind it. I also walked behind it! But I haven't uploaded those pictures yet.

Work this week is crazybananas. I still like the job for all its faults - even though today felt like it had an extra 3 o'clock in it. I don't quite know how to describe why I like it - it's not just the books, although that's certainly part.  People in this town really like the library; it's nice to be able to nurture that affection, I guess.  I have to go to sleep. But I think maybe one more waterfall picture, since I'm here.

behind the falls

this isn't that great as photographs go, but I love those bright rain coats! It makes me want one for sure. Mine's navy blue. (boring.)

waterfall wednesday

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

eight seconds of waterfall!

details to follow.

LDN and sogfest

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

This song has been playing over and over in my head for 1+ weeks. I include the video so you can hear the song and also see some springy blooming trees, daffodils, and Ms. Allen's yellow muppet-skin coat. All of this video hunting led to me listening to more Lily Allen, which is no chore. I like her sweet/sour point of view.

I worked today (Easter) and it was S L O W, but that was fine. I found that there are still baskets of poems around for all of poetry month. I picked up a Mary Oliver and the famous William Carlos Williams plum poem. (the plum clipart was so round and so purple.) I found a million more things I want to read, but that's the nature of the business.

SOGFEST: remember last week when I said Portland would be having a week of not-rain and how happy everyone was about it? Well, that was last week. It actually shook out to be a generally overcast week of not much rain + one glorious day (Saturday). Today started the serious rain; according to the evening news, the meteorological term for what is to come this week is SOGFEST. In a sogfest the good days are the ones where the rain isn't blowing sideways! But coming this next weekend is the promise of another sunny day.  I'm freshly outraged every year when this happens. You'd think the sogfest would no longer be a surprise, but I think for sanity's sake we drive it out of our collective memories. 

middle of the week

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A photo of some books that were on my desk last week: Proust was a Neuroscientist, which I was supposed to read for non-fiction book group, but I didn't get it done so I took a job that day instead. I still haven't finished it, although I intend to - some sections work a lot better than others, which makes it tough to just power through. The other book is the Golden Nature Guide to Non-Flowering Plants, and it is thoroughly awesome as you might expect. I did find a couple more of the Golden guides at the book sale on Saturday: Weeds, and Gamebirds. The bird one is from 1961 and has the wonderful painted cover; the weed one was published in 1972, but I'm pretty sure the edition I have is from the 80s. Not as fabulous, but until a fabulous one is found it will hold the spot in my collection. For .50, I couldn't say no. 

The moon is still pretty full - tonight it's hazy and low and gold, but not spooky at all. 

NEON! at Cinema 21. This was taken in late March when we went to sing-a-long Grease for Martina's birthday. See that sky? It's pretty much what it looks like all winter/spring long - although today was beautiful blue skies with fluffy white clouds. I took some photos of the sun and whatnot, which I will probably end up posting on some day of opposite weather. That's just how it is sometimes! I ran these photos through Poladroid, which is fun to do from time to time. I don't have an iphone, but if i did I'm sure I'd be taking an obnoxious number of hipstamatic/instagram photos, so it's probably just as well I don't.  

oops! I am doing a poor job of getting to bed earlier. I should go do that now. 

an unlucrative business

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Monday, April 18, 2011




All your worry

Has proved such an





Find a better


 April is National Poetry Month - I was at work on Sunday sitting in the break room when one of the Library Assistants came in carrying The Gift by Hafiz. I recognized it right away because I have a copy checked out myself. She opened up the book and it went right to this poem and we all had a laugh about the title. I said something "blah blah Hafiz so awesome blah blah" and she said that she'd never read him before, but on the 14th they'd done a  poem in your pocket thing, printing out various poems and leaving them in baskets all around the library so anyone could participate if they wanted to. (I think this is an excellent idea!) Anyway - she'd seen a Hafiz poem and really liked it, so she checked out the book. Another (awesome) coworker was at the table and mentioned that she'd gone through a major Rumi phase at one point. I said that I thought Hafiz was kind of like Rumi's rowdy younger brother - a little drunker, a little funnier, a little quicker to anger or to song or to sneaking into other people's tents in the middle of the night. (I just said rowdy younger brother, but I meant all that other stuff. If for some reason Hollywood decides to make a major motion picture about Sufi poets - I'm sure there's a high priority Poet Movie list somewhere - I think Zach Galifianakis would make a good Hafiz.) 

ANYWAY. After I put in my two cents I got all worried that I was being a terrible conversation hijacker and and all around droning bore  - then I got home and actually read the poem. I may in fact be a terrible conversational hijacker and all around droning bore, but Hafiz let me off the worry hook.  He's good like that. 

sunday supermoon list

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Sunday, April 17, 2011
Vicki Finds The Answer

1) Another supermoon - and it's finally clear enough here in Portland to see it! We're supposed to have a whole week of not-rain. The entire city is very excited, I assure you.

2) I bring up the moon because it's shining right in my window again like it does when it's able. It does seem bigger than usual, although maybe I'm just suggestible. ("Supermoon? Hot damn!")

3) I'm trying this LIFE EXPERIMENT where I go to bed earlier and get up earlier. It goes against just about every impulse, but the results are worth it. I'm less tired and I get more done! We'll see how long it lasts. This morning the sunrise was pink and gold and beautiful. (I was still in bed, but I could see out the window.) Of course now it's almost midnight and here I am, staring at the supermoon from my desk. It is hypnotizing me!

4) Vicki Finds the Answer of where to buy contacts that match her uniform EXACTLY. Or maybe she finds the answer of where to find industrial strength pilot whapping clipboards. Make your best guess in the comments, or you could just check here and see what the what is with Ms. Vicki Barr, Stewardess and Girl Detective. (I read a bunch of these back in the Florida day. Our library had a ton of old girl detective novels, and I read them all.) (hah! Now I'm thinking of Old Girl Detective novels as a genre, which would certainly include Miss Marple (pre-Jennifer Garner getting Marpleized). Maybe the Golden Girls could be rebooted to SOLVE CRIME.  Caftans! Rattan! Crime! it just goes together.)

5) I had a poem thing, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow. Its tough to follow Supermoons and overachieving Stewardess Detectives.

crocus power

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Monday, April 11, 2011
spring crocus
these were taken exactly a month ago on March 11.

spring crocus
I just uploaded them today.

spring crocus
They cheer me right up.

the return

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Sunday, April 10, 2011
toucan tango

I'm back! I got home around 9:30 PM on Thursday. It snowed ALL DAY LONG for the 8000000 miles (aprox) that we drove. Mostly it wasn't sticking to the road, but it still led to some white knuckle moments as we went over mountains, through high desert, and around massive lake beds. LESSON LEARNED: Western states are really big. I mean, I knew it before, but it's been a while since I tested so thoroughly.

Thursday Wildlife Roundup: deer (looking like a Christmas card as they dined through snow on the side of the road); jackrabbit, safely jackrabbiting his way across the interstate; bald eagles! one in flight, one on the ground with a big but still immature Eagle Youth.

Friday I spent the day standing up as a reward for sitting in the car for a week. Saturday I burned brain cells trying to figure out what my post-roadtrip plan is. (I've yet to reach a conclusion.) I also watched Princess Mononoke and Ponyo. When I grow up I would like to be a forest spirit or a sea wizard - is that so much to ask? Is there like a sea wizard Hogwarts I could apply to and be their oldest student?

Photos, etc. soon!

(photo note: This photo is of a sign at Schreiner's Gardens from last May. I didn't see any toucans, let alone tangoing toucans on my road trip. The sign makes me laugh - I picture exotic bird taxi dancers, lounging around the edge of the dance floor waiting for some lonely depression-era bird with $20 bills in his pocket who wants to dance. Not many birds can tango though, so the Toucan doesn't really get many opportunities to shake her tail feathers - but when she does, look out!)

let me wander over yonder

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Thursday, April 07, 2011
Fallon, NV. I should be ASLEEP since we have to get up early early in the morning - there is a lot of driving yet to do.  But I kind of like these little as they happen updates.


1) I saw the Hoover Dam (impressive, but so crowded and etc.) (more on the impressive part when I get my 100001 photos uploaded.)

2) Saw a big horned sheep! Spotted him from the pedestrian walkway on the new Hoover Dam bridge. So fun - everyone went bananas once he was seen -  like the dam wasn't even there.

3) TUMBLEWEED - for real you guys! Tumbling, even.

4) I saw some beautiful desert wildflowers - including the one that's on the cover of every "Desert Wildflower" guide. Of course I didn't get a picture because they were kind of far apart and I assumed I'd see more.

5) spent today driving in Nevada. All day long my thoughts were ding donging back and forth between "this (awesomely) looks like every western ever filmed. Ever!" and  unquotable (due to coherence issues) conspiracy theories about the vast military Nevada Test Site, parts of which run right by the freeway.

6) We have so much driving to do tomorrow and there's going to be snow no matter which pass we take.  I was kind of hoping I wouldn't have to use all three jackets.

More soon - I have diner recommendations and motorcycle gossip.

greetings from Boulder City

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011
This morning was time to depart the central San Joaquin Valley, tonight we are in Boulder City, Nevada! I was all rested up after a lovely weekend stopover in Fresno (more on that to come when I get my photos uploaded), but 8+ hours in the car today on the way to the Hoover Dam made me stupid tired.  HOWEVER, the place we're in tonight is an old school motel - the neon is awesome. It's like vitamin Awesome Neon, which makes everything better. The room is good - a holdover from the days when they left some room to walk around. (In my case it's staggering around because I am, as I mentioned, stupid tired.)

Tomorrow AM is the Dam and then we start working our way back to Oregon. My sister informs me that it's cold and rainy beyond my current sunny weather comprehension. Noooooo! A little more sun, please.

highlights of today:

1) went to the big Borox mine visitor center! Admit it, you're jealous... (it was really cool.)

2) Mojave desert - amazingly beautiful. AMAZING!  Why isn't everyone talking about it all the time?

3) went to a breakfast place this morning that had a framed poster of a white Fancy-Feast style persian cat surrounded by blue hydrangeas in the ladies room. (I've got a meeting in the ladies room.)  This was in perfect keeping with the rest of the decorations, which included lots of fake flowers, still life photos of fake flowers, lavender vinyl and trellises between every booth.  Even though it isn't my taste, I loved that it was so full-tilt COMMITTED.

4) THE SUN! My big goal was to get through the mountains and to Boulder City before dark. (it's tough enough driving through a big city (Las Vegas) while really tired, but really tired in the dark is double no-fun.) We made it! the sun was just starting to go down as we came into Nevada - the light was so orange and beautiful bouncing off the still-green hills.

5) THE MOON!  Tonight the crescent moon -  tipped with the horns up, like Artemis' crown - was a bright white mark in the darkening turquoise sky. So lovely.