Sunday, June 20, 2010

15 Book meme

List 15 books you’ve read that will always stick with you. The first 15 you can think of in 15 minutes. I saw this meme last year on Billy the Atheist. Since it took me well over 6 months, I don't think I followed the instructions very well...

The Tolkien Trilogy - I liked The Hobbit, so I went on to read the trilogy when I was nine. I’ve since read the trilogy about 4 more times. So far.

The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins – it blew my mind when I read it in about 1986.

The Ancestor’s Tale, Richard Dawkins - How we are all related to every other living thing on the planet. It was fascinating.

The Fire Cat, Esther Averill – I read it over and over to kids I babysat, and then to my son.

Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss – I read it to my son so often that at one time, I could recite almost the entire book from memory.

Black Beauty, Anna Sewell – Anna Sewell was a Victorian era animal welfare activist who, with this book, single-handedly managed to get "check-reining" abolished. Check-reining kept a horse's head fashionably, but painfully, and sometimes cripplingly high. Anna did not live to see this occur.

Watchers, Lightning, Midnight - For a while, every Dean Koontz book I could get my hands on. I had to stop reading them, though. I couldn’t take it anymore. His writing is so descriptive, it felt too real.

The Robot Series, and Foundation Series, Isaac Asimov - That R. Daneel Olivaw sure got around.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Treasury, Arthur Conan Doyle

The Dragonriders of Pern Series, Ann McCaffrey – I’m pretty sure Avatar poached the “telepathic link to your dragon” idea from this series.

The Hornblower series, C.S. Forester - Only the best Naval series ever written...

The Hunt for Red October – started me off on two tangents. One – reading every Tom Clancy book I could get my hands on, and two – finding every book I could on submarines.

Into Thin Air, John Krakauer - I had to read this for a class in business school, and I found it gripping.

The Last Herald-Mage series - Telepathic "horses" and magic. Need I say more?

The Incredible Journey, Sheila Burnford - One of the best animal stories ever written. It even says so on the cover!

James and the Giant Peach. Roald Dahl is just very odd. Apparently C.S. Forester encouraged him to start writing...

Lad: A Dog, Albert Payson Terhune - The reason I got a collie as soon as I moved out on my own, as I explained in this post.

The Railway Children, Edith Nesbit - Just a wonderful story.

The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas - I could include The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask here.

Island of the Blue Dolphins, Scott O'Dell - Inspired by a true story of a woman stranded alone from 1835 to 1853 on San Nicolas Island off the coast of Southern California. I read it over and over.

Swallows and Amazons, Arthur Ransom – A tale of children, sailboats and adventure on the high seas. Well, the Lake District, anyway. BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS IF NOT DUFFERS WONT DROWN.

Traveller, Richard Adams – The Civil War told from the point of view of General Lee's horse. You didn't think I would only have one horse book on the list, did you?

The Golden Treasury of Poetry – my favorite – The Tale of Custard the Dragon.

Belinda lived in a little white house
With a little black kitten and a little grey mouse
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon
And a realio trulio little pet dragon.

A Lion Called Christian – after reading Born Free, Living Free, and Forever Free, I combed the library for other books about lions and found A Lion Called Christian. It’s an amazing story about two guys who lived above a trendy furniture shop in London back in the '60s who saw a lion cub at Harrods and bought him on the spur of the moment (yes, you could buy absolutely anything there, at least back then). The lion lived in their shop, and eventually got so large, they didn’t know what to do with him. One day, amazingly enough, the two actors who played Joy and George Adamson from the film Born Free, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, walked in (the book said it was coincidental, but I’m sure someone told them, “Hey, you should go to this furniture shop! They have a lion there!). The two guys ended up taking Christian to George Adamson in Africa and introducing a 4th generation captive-born lion to the wild. This is what happened when they went back to Africa a year later:

I only just recently found that video and am in floods of tears every time I watch it…

I think that's a few more than 15 books... I looked at my bookshelf. I could have listed 50 more.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Scenes from Truckee

Not much of a post. Just a series of photos from the Truckee area.

The Truckee River is the only outlet to Lake Tahoe. Although Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States, the dam at the lake outlet can raise the lake elevation six feet. This may not sound like a lot, but as the lake has a surface area of 191 square miles, this adds up to quite a bit of water. Here is a view from the dam looking toward the lake:

And of the dam itself:The Truckee River a little further downstream. A little later on in the season, this tranquil scene is completely obliterated by bank-to-bank large blue rafts:Here are the rafts piled up and waiting to go: Whitewater is somewhat of a misnomer in the section of the Truckee that they go down.

Squaw Valley:
Right now it's a big wet meadow.

Spot the mergansers:
When he noticed me taking the photos, the male merganser swam and hid behind the log. Typical.

The Donner Pass Bridge:
Sometimes called Rainbow Bridge. Even though it's grey.

Not very good camoflage. Unless they're really Porsches:

As I rode by, I noticed these guys had two bags full of wooden stakes. They must be really worried about vampires!

It was really WINDY!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Guest post from Brother Phil. Sort of.

Hmm. It's been so long since I posted, my brother, Phil, is apparently getting sick and tired of waiting and is now sending me blog post material. But then, he also sent it to Click and Clack, so I guess I'm not that special. This is his contribution (unedited by me)(I take no responsibility for this post)(except for the fact that I'm posting it)(well, it is my blog, so I suppose I have to take some responsibility)(but no credit):

Brother Phil’s Fake Movie Names

Guy movie titles make sense and involve violent action. Chick flick titles either make no sense or involve chocolate. Sometimes both.
Find the chick flick:

Metal Death
Kill the Undead
Deader Than That
Even More Dead
Mostly Dead
How Much More Dead Can You Get?
Chase Until You Kill
The Ultimate Death Machine
Car Killer Chase Sport
Steal, Cheat, Lie, Kill
Robot Sport
Ultimate Blood Sport
Spy on the Dead
Confessions of a Mafia Spy
Spy Killer
Dead Metal Action Hero
Action Killer
Killer Hero
Hero Killer
Action Hero
Cooking the Flying Rose Society
Dead Hero
Metal Hero
Ultimate Car Chase
Two Drunk Idiots Steal Cars
Gun Killer
Gun Sport
Gun Hero
Gun Metal
Metal Gun Sport
Spring Break of Death
Beach of Death
Death Robot
Electric Death Monkey

Spot the guy flick:
A Lady and a Ruffian
The Chocolate Way
You Walk Into Gabardine
She's Pregnant
With Honesty
Monday, My Mother
A Credenza With Legs
Extreme Violence
Contrary Flowers
The Sisters of The Chocolate Icing
I Met My Mother
Cause and Chocolate
A Confluence of Blouses
The Wardrobe
Fried Chocolate
A Chance Encounter of Chocolate Flowers
Socks in a Dresser Drawer
Vanilla Isn't Plain
Like Hanna, For Instance
Hats, Blue and Red
Earnest Chocolate In Summer
Rain In Love
The Chartreuse Wardrobe Society of Flying Slingbacks
The Guy Falls For The Broken Wing (A Box of Chocolates)

Movies that flopped because they tried too hard to appeal to both women and men:
Chocolate Metal
The Chocolate Chase
The Zombie Sister Society
Red Zombie Blue Zombie
Action Chocolate Zombie Racer
Quarts of Blood, Gallons of Chocolate
Killer Hero's Baby
My Zombie, My Love
Chasing, Cheating, Chocolate
A Credenza With Legs, A Dresser Full Of Heads and a Closet Full Of Zombie Torsos
The Ultimate Death Machine of the Flying Electric Monkey Sister Society
A Stroll in the Park OF DEATH
She's Having a Zombie Baby
A Mother's Heart, A Sister's Legs, A Daughter's Head and Miscellaneous Parts Make A Zombie
Robots Have Chocolate Blood
The Red Shoe of Death
A Death Monkey Diary
Zombie Wedding
Action Killer Wedding Hero
An Hour to Wed, A Day to Die
Guns in a Dresser
The Wedding Singer Killer
Perfect Heart, Rotting Soul
The Smell of Death in Springtime

Adult movies make plays on words. Children's movies appeal to a sense of family, involve animals or have the word "adventure" in the title.

Spot the adult movies:
Captain Rabbit's Secret Adventures
Robbie the Robot Rabbit
The Adventures of Abe, the Talking Donkie
Swiss Family Rabbitson
Debbie Does Donkies
Adventures in Rabbits
Nick Danger's Great Escape Adventure
Adventure Animal Family
Love Animal Style
Big Bear and the Bunny Rangers
A Bunny Family Christmas
A Playboy Bunny Christmas
Spy Family Adventure

Note from Laurie: Donkie is apparently not misspelled. If you don't know what it is, you'll have to look it up on Urban Dictionary yourself.