On alternating Wednesdays, I drive up the Peninsula to teach a class at a middle school in Brisbane CA. Brisbane is a small town, pronounced Briz-bane (not “BRIZ-bin” like its namesake) just south of SFO airport. In spite of my having gone to graduate school at Stanford in the 1990s, I had never heard of it until I started teaching there this time around.
Monthly Archives: March 2017
Mundane Monday: Tulips Against the Odds
I took some time off from blogging last week. I had a lot of music to play and my husband was out of town. I’m also still teaching my daughter to drive, which is more fun than I expected. But I am getting back into blogging now, moving into a month of more intense writing in April, when I’m planning to do Camp NaNoWriMo.
Book Review: The Moon by Whale Light, by Diane Ackerman
The Moon by Whale Light and Other Adventures Among Bats, Penguins, Crocodilians and Whales by Diane Ackerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is an appealing, attractively packaged collection of four essays on animal behavior, all of which originally appeared in the New Yorker. While the subject matter is interesting and entertaining, reading this book can be even more educational if attention is paid to what it reveals about current perceptions of scientists and issues of “animal rights” in the general media.
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Book Review: A Gleam of Light by TJ and ML Wolf
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A Gleam of Light has many of the elements of a first-rate thriller: a sympathetic protagonist, mystery, conflict, and a fascinating backdrop. It’s clear that a great deal of thought and research has gone into this book. These elements, however, need to be put together differently to keep the reader really turning its pages.
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Thursday Doors: Sunnyvale Fish
My 17-year-old daughter got her learner’s permit a few weeks ago. I had avoided thinking about it until absolutely necessary, but there’s quite a bit of parental teaching expected in CA: 50 hours of driving experience before she can take the drivers’ license test. This phase of my own teenage life was hard on my parents (and on their car repair budget), so I need to take it seriously now.
Muddy Mundane Monday: Heartbreak Hill
My husband and I have gone geocaching together often enough that a theme is emerging. Usually the theme has to do with him suggesting something that I consider a little crazy, and after some negotiation, my going along with it in modified form and taking a lot of pictures. It was true for the events described in my published geocaching stories, “Bobbing for Bob,” and “Gentle Icelandic Sheep.” And it was true this past weekend in Yuba City.
Book Review: Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey
Author’s Note: Anne McCaffrey was one of my favorite authors as a teen. A high school friend gave me a copy of Dragonflight and I was hooked. But as time went on and I read more of the series I started to see its flaws. I wrote this review in college, when I was closer to both my love of and irritation with the books. Years later, I read the Harper Hall trilogy to my daughter, who enjoyed it but who never showed any inclination to pick up McCaffrey’s work on her own. The Harper Hall trilogy probably remains my favorite of all of McCaffrey’s work.
Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you enjoyed Anne McCaffrey’s previous six Pern books, you’ll probably enjoy this one. If you were getting tired of meeting the same characters with different names or beginning to get frustrated by the discrepancy between the books’ potential and what they actually delivered, Moreta will be more of the same.
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Thursday Doors: A Parking Lot in Rio Vista
One of our geocaches last weekend took us to the loading area of a small ferry in Rio Vista. We missed the ferry and didn’t get to take a picture of its door. But the parking lot had a couple of interesting ones. Continue reading Thursday Doors: A Parking Lot in Rio Vista
Mundane Monday: Stained Glass Windows
Almost every Sunday morning I sit in church in one particular pew and look out of a stained glass window at a makeshift stone labyrinth onto a parking lot beyond. The church building houses two congregations: the UU Fellowship of Sunnyvale, which I attend, and the Congregational Community Church of Sunnyvale, whose services immediately follow ours. The building is architecturally interesting, and modern. Low to the ground, it’s easy to miss when driving by. It’s all triangles and peaks, not like the gothic cathedrals of old with their famous rose windows and gargoyles.
Book Review: Tales From Alternate Earths
Tales From Alternate Earths by Daniel M. Bensen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I liked this idea for an anthology and even though the premise is popular and often tried, I was intrigued to pick it up and explore the stories. My favorites were “Twilight of the Mesozoic Moon,” which also had the best title and the most imaginative characters, and “The Secret War,” which provided a unique twist to a story I already thought I knew something about.