Oct 31, 2011

Malvaceous Monday

malvaceous ~ of, like or pertaining to the mallow family of plants

I have been sadly neglectful of my blog friends these last few days, weeks, months, for which I apologize profusely, but I’m here to tell you that it’s probably not going to change any time soon. At least not until December. And why won’t it be changing any time soon? Because I’ve decided to throw my hat into the ole NaNo ring.

Am I crazy? Probably. Am I expecting to reach my 50,000 word goal by the end of November? Not really. So why am I doing this? I’ll tell you in tomorrow’s post. :-p

Let’s see . . . what did I do last week, aside from massive amounts of editing, that is. Maybe I’ll start with what I didn’t do :
I didn’t get my websites started
I didn’t get my cell phone situation straightened out
I didn’t even get my grammar post up on Saturday over on Random Writings.

I did make it to my poetry group; we had a huge turn out for a change.
I did get my submission written and sent to Rattles Flash Fiction.
I did have lunch with a friend
I did remember to go to my doctor’s appointment
I did get crap loads of editing done for myself and others.

I went with a friend to the dump last week, which might not seem real exciting, but as we were on our way home she asked, “Where does this road come out?” I replied, “I don’t know, it should hit the highway eventually.” So of course we decided to take it. It was a nice, scenic (if not long), drive, and yes, we did eventually reach the highway, way north of where I expected to.

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: Since the Natural Wonders of the World wrapped up last week, I think I’m going to use this space for my NaNo updates for the month of November which, coincidentally, starts on Tuesday. :-) The first post will be why I decided to do NaNo even though I have no expectation of succeeding.

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Friday: Chapter 46 of Fire. I guess Pyre’s control isn’t so perfect after all. Think Rayne will get out in time?

Random Thoughts

Monday: I’m moving Grappling With Grammar to this day and given it a new name, just because I can. :-)

Wednesday: Chapter 25 of Shades of Errol Flynn. Looks like Jessica isn’t as much in control as she hoped. I wonder what trouble she’ll get into next?

Friday: A scene from my as yet undecided NaNo novel. Hopefully I’ll decide on my idea by midnight tonight. :-)

Also this week:

There’s still time to get your story in to Rattles Flash Fiction. You have until midnight, mountain time. This month’s theme is At the Water’s Edge. And while you’re at it, check out the first edition of the Rattles monthly anthology, In A Dark Place. You can find it at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Despite the onset of NaNo, this week I’ll finally be getting to work on my websites – my business website and my author’s website. The cell phone situation will just have to wait for now.

No meetings this week. Technically the Scribes should have been meeting tonight, but it’s Halloween and most of the scribes preferred to stay home. Go figure. ;-)

Barring the unexpected, which I’ve learned now to always expect, that’s my week ahead. What are you going to be up to this week? Are you going to give NaNo a try?

Oct 25, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Natural World - Part Seven

Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular sights of awe-inspiring beauty in the world. Known by the local tribes as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – the Smoke that Thunders – it’s 1,708 metres (5,604 feet) wide and drops between 90 metres (295 feet) and 107 metres (351 feet) into the Zambezi Gorge and is considered to be the largest curtain of water in the world.

Located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe, it’s believed to have been first sighted by Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingston. He named the falls after Queen Victoria.

The Zambezi’s course is broken up by numerous islands, increasing in number the closer to the falls the river gets. Upstream the river flows over a level sheet of basalt; there are no mountains or valleys, only a flat plateau extending for miles in all directions. The falls are formed as the full width of the river plummets in a single vertical drop into a crosswise chasm carved by its waters along a fracture zone in the basalt plateau.

The spray from the falls typically rises to a height of over 400 metres (1,300 feet), and sometimes even twice as high, and is visible from up to 50 kilometres (31 miles) away. During the full moon, a "moonbow" can be seen in the mist, much like the rainbow that is seen during the day.

The depth of the chasm, called the First Gorge, varies from 80 metres (260 ft) at its western end to 108 metres (354 ft) in the centre. The only outlet to the First Gorge is a 110 metres (360 ft) wide gap about two-thirds of the way across the width of the falls from the western end, through which the whole volume of the river pours into the Victoria Falls gorges.

There are two islands on the crest of the falls that are large enough to divide the curtain of water even at full flood: Boaruka Island (or Cataract Island) near the western bank, and Livingstone Island near the middle — the place that David Livingstone first saw the falls from in Zambia. At less than full flood, additional islets divide the curtain of water into separate parallel streams. The main streams are named, in order from Zimbabwe (west) to Zambia (east): Devil's Cataract (called Leaping Water by some), Main Falls, Rainbow Falls (the highest) and the Eastern Cataract. ~ Wikipedia

Over at least 100,000 years, the falls have been receding upstream through the Batoka Gorges, eroding the sandstone-filled cracks to form the gorges.
The river's course in the current vicinity of the falls is north to south, so it opens up the large east-west cracks across its full width, then it cuts back through a short north-south crack to the next east-west one. The river has fallen in different eras into different chasms which now form a series of sharply zig-zagging gorges downstream from the falls. ~ Wikipedia

A famous feature is a naturally formed pool known as the Devil's Pool, near the edge of the falls, accessed via Livingstone Island in Zambia. When the river flow is at a safe level, usually during the months of September to December, people can swim as close as possible to the edge of the falls within the pool without continuing over the edge and falling into the gorge; this is possible due to a natural rock wall just below the water and at the very edge of the falls that stops their progress despite the current. ~ Wikipedia

There are two unique and distinctive views of the falls, one through Livingstone, Zambia, the other through Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The best way to view the falls is to take a helicopter tour, which provides a breathtaking and spectacular aerial view of the falls and surrounding area. Another and almost equally impressive view is from the foot path and foot bridge trail that follows alongside the falls. This unique trail allows visitors to see the falls at eye level, and from only 200 feet (60 metres) away.

Activities that gained popularity in the area include whitewater rafting in the gorges, bungee jumping from the bridge, game fishing, horse riding, kayaking, and flights over the falls.

Oct 24, 2011

Microtome Monday

microtome ~ instrument used to cut very small sections of something

Last week I not only made it to my Scribes meeting, with my 150 words written, but I made it to the poetry reading as well. I was down right sociable last week, which is amazing when you consider how miserable the weather was all week. Yesterday we got a faint hint of sun, and this week it’s supposed to be back to miserable again.

Summer is officially over. I know this because I finally removed the remnants of the bright nail polish from my toenails on the weekend. It made me sad, so I’m thinking about finding another cheerful colour to paint them again. Even if I have to wear socks and shoes this time of year, I can still smile at the thought that under those socks I have colour. :-)

Has anyone noticed the changes I made over on Random Writings? I like that it looks less messy now, but it makes my posts look short because the space is wider. Just no pleasing me I guess. I’m contemplating make some similar changes over here (not the colours, just the format) but it’s still just in the thinking stages.

I wish my weekends could be as productive as my week days. Unfortunately, weekends seem to get filled with errands, and housework, and family obligations . . . and let’s face it, I get struck down by an acute attack of laziness. Weekends are supposed to be for relaxing, right? My body seems to go into full relaxation mode whether I want it to or not.

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: Part seven of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World is Victoria Falls.

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Friday: Chapter 46 of Fire. Think the rescue will go off without a hitch?

Random Thoughts

Wednesday: Chapter 24 of Shades of Errol Flynn. Just how far is Jessica’s magic lesson going to go?

Saturday: I’ll be reviving my Grappling With Grammar series. I had some inspiration last week and some new motivation. :-)

I’ll probably do a little more tweeking to look of the blog, but I think it’s more or less the way I want it now.

This week I’ll also be busy with:

Once again I’d like to remind you that there’s a new prompt up at Rattles Flash Fiction. This month’s theme is At the Water’s Edge. Check it out and submit a story. I’m hoping to get my story finished this week. And if you’d like to check out the first edition of the Rattles monthly anthology, In A Dark Place, you can find it at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

This week I’m finally hoping to get working on my websites – my business website and my author’s website. I might even see if I can do something about my cell phone situation, like take it to Telus and see if I can turn it in for something I can actually use. And if they’re as helpful as they’ve been thus far, I can always give Rogers or Bell a try.

There’s a meeting with my poetry group on Tuesday night, and I even have my ‘poemwork’ done already. I don’t have any new poems to read, but that happens some times.

Barring the unexpected, which I’ve learned now to always expect, that’s what will be filling up my week, along with the usual editing and writing. What are you going to be up to this week?

Oct 19, 2011

Hump Day Hunk

This one's for Jamie. Don't forget to get a little rest on your holidays. ;-)

Oct 18, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Natural World - Part Six


Although it’s not surprising to find a volcano listed under the Wonders of the Natural World, I had to do a little digging to find out why this particular volcano was listed:

The eruption of the Paricutin scoria cone from 1943 to 1952 marks the first time scientists were able to observe the complete life cycle of a volcano, from birth to extinction. Geologists from many parts of the world came to study this extraordinary volcanic event. The knowledge gained by these scientists greatly expanded our understanding of volcanism in general, and of scoria-cone formation in particular. ~ How Volcanoes Work

Paricutin is situated about 200 miles west of Mexico City, in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. It’s a cone volcano that grew out of a corn field. The type of eruption which happened at Paricutin is called a Strombolian eruption, which means it gushed basaltic lava, and exploded from a single vent. The worst of Paricutin's volcanic activity, took place in 1943, with its lava rising to about 50 feet below the crater's rim. Nearly 1000 people died following one of its last major eruptions in 1949.

“Strombolian pyroclastic activity began at the fissure on the day it was discovered by Dionisio Pulido. Within 24 hours the eruption had generated a 50-m-high scoria cone. Within a week, it had grown to a height of 100 m from the accumulation of bombs and lapilli, and finer fragments of ash were raining down on the village of Paricutin. The eruption became more powerful in March, generating eruptive columns several kilometers high. Occassionally, the volcano would exhibit vulcanian-type activity, with large canon-like explosions separated by short periods of silence. On June 12, a lobe of lava began to advance toward Paricutin village and people began to evacuate the village the following day. The larger village of San Juan Parangaricutiro was evacuated a few months later. By August 1944, most of the villages of Paricutin and San Juan were covered in lava and ash. All that remained of San Juan were two church towers that stood above a sea of rugged lava.

The Paricutin eruption was unusually long for a strombolian eruption, with several eruptive phases occurring over a 9-year period. After about two years of mostly pyroclastic activity the pyroclastic phase began to wane, and the outpouring of lava from the base of the cone became the dominant mode of eruption over the next 7 years. Although no people died directly from the eruption, three people died after being struck by lightning generated by the pyroclastic eruptions. The eruption ceased in 1952. The final height of the scoria cone was 424 m.” ~ From: How Volcanoes Work

Today the volcano stands 1,345 feet high, which is 9,210 feet above sea level. You can see Paricutin by taking the 12 mile round trip journey to the top of the volcano. Most people make the journey by hiking or on horseback. Along the way you will see the lava fields, buried homes, and the remains of the church of San Juan.

Oct 17, 2011

Meconomancy Monday

meconomancy ~ divination using sleep

Last week started out with the perfect fall weather, then quickly segued into Winnie the Pooh’s Blustery Day. Only our blustery day lasted three days. I actually like the wind. I love the sound of it when I’m warm and safe inside, I love falling asleep to the sound of it, and I even love being out in it – at least at this time of year. In another month it’ll be a whole different story. ;-)

After a slow start last week, things started to pick up speed rather quickly. And of course as I get busy with other things I tend not to spend so much time on the internet. Which in turn means I didn’t get to visit or comment on any blogs, I barely kept abreast of my email, and I flitted in and out of Facebook like a drunken butterfly. This week does not bode to be any better.

Got the first five transcripts for the Living History project spiffed up and sent to the archives. It would really help if I had Word 2007 to work with, but I’m having to make due with 2003. *sigh* Of course I could buy an upgrade, but the only one available now is Word 2010, which is a pain in the butt (not the program, the fact that I can’t get 2007).

Although I didn’t miss the struggle to get an example written, I did sort of miss doing the poetry post on Thursday. I’m toying with the idea of having guest poets fill in until I’m ready to resume my forms . . . what do you think? Maybe I’ll set up a poll since people seem to be too shy to actually comment. :-)

One thing about the overcast/windy/stormy weather – it may not be conducive to writing, but it’s great for editing. Got a major amount of editing done near the end of the week. Of course my weekend wasn’t nearly as productive as I would have liked, but then they seldom are.

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: Part six of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World is the Parícutin Volcano (Volcán de Parícutin).

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Friday: Chapter 45 of Fire. Looks like everyone’s in place – time for some action.

Random Thoughts

The only thing I can say for sure that will be going on over here this week is Chapter 23 of Shades of Errol Flynn.

I’m going to be making some changes – maybe a new template, maybe a couple of new features. A lot will depend on how much time I have to spend on it.

This week I’ll also be busy with:

Once again I’d like to remind you that there’s a new prompt up at Rattles Flash Fiction. This month’s theme is At the Water’s Edge. Check it out and submit a story. I’m hoping to get my story finished this week. And if you’d like to check out the first edition of the Rattles monthly anthology, In A Dark Place, you can find it at Brazen Snake Books, Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. It's a real bargain - six stories for only 99 cents!

This week bodes to be insanely busy for me. I’m hoping to finish the edits on the book I’m currently editing (for someone else) today so I can sink my teeth into the edits for a really big book I’ve been waiting (and waiting, and WAITING) for. ;-)

I’ve got the changes I’d like to make to Random Writings, and maybe a change or two over here. I’m also going to get my business website up and running and apparently, because I’m an author now, it has been suggested I need an author’s site as well.

I also have a Scribe’s meeting tonight, and there’s a poetry reading Thursday night.

And let’s not forget I still have lots of transcribing to do for the Living History project.

As the saying goes, there’s no rest for the wicked. I must be very wicked indeed! ;-)

So, what have you got in store for yourself this week? Busy week? Slow week? Inquiring minds want to know!

Oct 11, 2011

Seven Wonders of the Natural World - Part Five

Aurora Borealis

The aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, are naturally occurring lights that create spectacular displays in the night sky. Often it is nothing more than a diffused glow on the horizon, but it is truly amazing when it appears as waves across the sky. Though most frequently seen in the northern hemisphere, they have been known to appear in the south as well. The best chance to see the northern lights is between the months of March to April and September to October.

I have been lucky enough to have seen the aurora borealis twice in my life. Once when I was a teenager taking a night time walk on the beach I saw streaks of green in the sky over Lake Ontario. The second time I saw them from my backyard. It was such an impressive sight I even woke my daughter up to watch them with me.

But what exactly are the northern lights?
They’re much more than just a pretty light display in the sky. They’re actually caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun entering the earth’s atmosphere. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding; the rare, all-red aurora is caused by high-altitude oxygen. The displays may appear in many colours, although usually they’re green or pink.

More interesting (to me, anyway) are the many myths and legends surrounding the Northern Lights:
An aurora was thought to be a sign of good will from Nanahboozho by the Ottawas of Manitoulin Island (in Lake Huron).
Many native tries believed the northern lights to be dancing spirits.
In Siberia, the Chuvash believed it was their heaven god helping women in childbirth
The Inuits of Greenland, however, believed the lights to be the spirits of children who died at birth.
The Lakota Sioux believe just the opposite – that the lights were spirits waiting to be born.
The Fox Indians also believed the lights were spirits, however in this case it was the spirits of their slain enemies who wished revenge.
Many Eskimo groups believe the northern lights to be spirits playing ball with a walrus head or skull.
The Vikings believed the lights to be reflections from the shields of the Valkyrie as they left the battlefields, leading the honoured dead to Valhalla.
In China it was believed that the lights were made of the fiery breath of a dragon.
The Makah Indians believed the lights were the fires of a tribe of dwarfs in the far north.
In Scotland the lights are called “merry dancers”. It’s believed if the dancers moved slowly and gracefully you’d be in for good weather.

The best places to watch for the northern lights are areas that are not subject to 'light pollution'. Smaller communities in the north tend to be best. The display peaks almost every eleven years; the next peak should occur in 2013.

If you want to see more of this natural wonder, try the Aurora Webcam.

Oct 10, 2011

Macerator Monday

macerator ~ a person who fasts and becomes emaciated

So Macerator is definitely the opposite of what I am right now. This is the Canadian Thanksgiving, and like a lot of people we did the big family dinner yesterday. My husband comes from a large family and it’s been expanding so fast that my in-laws have found it easier to rent a small hall rather than try and fit everyone into someone’s house. It works out pretty good – the kitchen’s huge with lots of work space and a double-sized fridge, there’s plenty of room for the kids to run around, and there’s lots of washrooms so no standing in line. ;-) And as far as the food went . . . all I can say is there’s too many good cooks in the family!

Did everyone get out to enjoy the weather last week? I don’t know about where you are, but here in Southern Ontario it was just fabulous! The perfect fall weather – crisp and clear and sunny during the day, temperatures low enough at night to need a quilt on the bed. I wish it could be like this all year round.

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: Part five of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World is the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights.

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Friday: Chapter 44 of Fire. Just what does Chaney have in mind, and will it work?

Random Thoughts

Today is the annual NaNoWriMo debate. You don’t want to miss it. ;-)

Wednesday: Chapter 22 of Shades of Errol Flynn. I promise it will be better than last week’s chapter. Really!

This week I’ll also be busy with:

Once again I’d like to remind you that there’s a new prompt up at Rattles Flash Fiction. This month’s theme is At the Water’s Edge. Check it out and submit a story.

I’m checking my calendar and I believe there is a poetry reading on Tuesday night which hopefully I will have the chance to attend. Even though I’m taking a hiatus from my poetry posts, that doesn’t mean I’ve forsaken all things poetical. :-)

I didn’t get around to making any changes to my blogs last week, but hopefully I will this week. I notice on Random Writings I have some progress bars that need updating and I definitely need to add a link to my book.

It seems like a kind of short week, but I’ve got lots to do besides working on my blogs. I have editing and writing, and there’s still lots to do on the Living History project. Plus, if it’s as nice out this week as it was last week, I’ll be trying to spend a little more time outside.

So how about you? What are you doing this week?

Oct 6, 2011

Passion For Poetry

When I started this series on poetry forms, it was in the aftermath of completing the PAD challenge (Poem A Day) offered by Poetic Asides in April, 2009. I was high on the energy of all that poetry and had a new-found interest in poetry forms which I thought would be fun to share on my blog.

My goal wasn’t just to write poems in these forms, it was to share these forms in such a way that it would encourage other poetry lovers to give them a try as well. I used a variety of sources for the research of these forms and tried to distil the explanation each week into something even beginners could follow. Sometimes it was like pulling teeth to find enough information about a form, but as long as I found enough information that someone else could give the form a try, I was happy with it.

It was not my habit to cite my sources. I spent a great deal of time, probably more than I should have, researching these forms and no, I didn’t always think to keep track of where I was getting my information from. For me, it wasn’t the research or the source of the research that was important, it was the poetry itself, which is why I always cited the source of an example if it was not my own.

There are a few people out there with a love of research as large as my love of poetry who believe that credit should be given where credit is due and in retrospect I can’t disagree with them. When using exact information from another site it probably should have been in quotations. In some cases it was, but unfortunately sometimes I was in a hurry to get the post finished and I got careless. My bad.

I would like to point out that this poetry series a just a very small part of one person’s blog. It was for entertainment purposes only. I got nothing out of this except the joy of sharing poetry with anyone who wished to visit this site on Thursdays. Unfortunately, recent events have sucked that joy right out of poetry for me. So until further notice, my poetry series on forms will be on hiatus.

Oct 4, 2011

7 Wonders of the Natural World - Part Four

Mount Everest

The tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest lies in the Himalayan mountain range along the border of Nepal and Tibet. It was first named Peak XV by Sir George Everest, who was the first to record its location in 1841. After his dead, in 1865, it was renamed Everest in his honour. In Tibet the mountain is called Chomolungma (mother goddess of the universe) and in Nepal it’s called Sagarmatha (goddess of the sky).

While doing my research for this wonder, I came across many interesting facts:
The height of Everest is 29,029 feet (8,848 metres)
Shifting tectonic plates continue to push Everest upward at 1.6 to 3.9 inches (4 to 10 centimeters) per year.
The first people to successfully climb Everest were Edmund Hillary of New Zealand, and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal in May of 1953.
The first woman to climb Everest was Junko Tabei of Japan.
The temperature of Everest at the summit is typically 100°F below zero.
If you want to climb Everest, you must pay the Nepalese government $25,000 for a climbing permit.
As of 2009, more than 4,000 ascents to the summit have been made by over 3,000 people.
A typical expedition will last about two months with the first month being a gradual acclimatization to the cold and thinner air.
There are a total of 18 different routes up Mount Everest but the most popular is the Southeast Ridge.

Click for a bigger image.

And if you'd like to see what it's like to stand on the summit of Mount Everest without having to climb it first, check out this panoramic view

Oct 3, 2011

Millionocracy Monday

millionocracy ~ government by millionaires

After spending the better part of the weekend spiffing up the house for the property assessor (sent by the bank regarding our mortgage), I’m ready to sit down and get some writing done this week. And editing. Lots of editing.

One of the things we did, or I’d better say the hubby did, was to finally put doors on the large closet in the upstairs hallway. It’s a double wide closet and we’ve been using it for storage but there hasn’t been any doors on it. Now there is. And not just any door, but a sliding door that goes from one side to the other and is covered with a mirror. :-)

The weather was really up and down last week, which of course meant my moods were really up and down. You’d think with all the advances in medicine they could come up with something to help with this. And the migraines that go along with it. Friday was the worst, so needless to say I didn’t get much done, which is also why there was no serial chapter.

My book launch was a little anti-climatic because people were already buying it before it was officially out, but you won’t find me complaining! It’s still a thrill to have a book out there. I’ll need to shift things around on the blog a bit to include the cover and a link to where you can buy the book.

What’s On For This Week:

Tuesday: Part four of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World is Mount Everest.

Wednesday: Another hump day hunk for your viewing pleasure. ;-)

Thursday: This week’s poetry form is the Sevenling.

Friday: Chapter 43 of Fire. For real this time, I promise!

Random Thoughts

No rant today ‘cause I did a semi-ranty post on Saturday and I just can’t think of anything rant-worthy right now. Of course as soon as this post is up I’m sure I’ll get all kinds of ideas, but just not right now.

Wednesday: Chapter 21 of my on-line serial Shades of Errol Flynn. So . . . I wonder what kind of “lessons” Alexander is going to give Jessica.

This week I’ll also be busy with:

I’ve run out of things to edit again. Jamie? Heidi? I’m talking to you two! Don’t make me have to edit my own work again!

And speaking of Jamie and Heidi, they have a new prompt up at Rattles Flash Fiction. This month’s theme is At the Water’s Edge. Check it out and submit a story.

I have a Scribe’s meeting tonight, which is always a good time. I think I missed one some where along the line . . . *shrugs* Oh, well. I’ve got my 150 words all ready to go for tonight.

It’s that time of year where I’m contemplating changes to my blogs. They’re starting to feel a little cluttered and I’m considering changing to a two column format instead of three. I’ll probably play around with Random Writings first, just to see how much of a pain it will be, so this one is safe for now. But you never know what the future may bring. ;-)

And that’s pretty much my week ahead. How about you? What are you up to these days?