Monday, September 29, 2008

Sweltzer Creek Clean Up

Part of my work as an environmental consultant sometimes includes organizing fun and fulfilling events that help the environment and bring a community together in stewardship. Last Sunday I participated in a stream clean up as part of a larger project to improve a watershed used by a unique fish population.

Sweltzer Creek, which flows out of Cultus Lake in British Columbia and eventually connects to the Pacific Ocean, is a migration corridor for a unique sockeye salmon population.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Le Baiser du Dragon: the Kiss of the Dragon

Speaking of sensual (I was in my previous post on sensual writing)... sometime ago, when a friend of mine told me about this perfume by Cartier, I was intrigued. Mostly by the name: Kiss of the Dragon. I don’t wear perfume that much; my husband is sensitive to most of them, so I usually restrict myself to scented crèmes (I’m partial to Nina by Nina Ricci) and even then must apply them sparingly. But, once in a while, when I’m out of town or my husband is, I indulge. So, when I found this exotic scent for sale at a local perfumery, I snapped up the kiss (the Eau de Parfum, that is; not the EDT), curious what it would do on me. Here’s what I found:

Le Baiser goes on sharp, almost pungent and biting, like a dragon’s playful nip with a breath of musky almond. Then, within moments, as the essence of le Baiser and my own body oils and the fabric I’m wearing marry in an exquisite cocktail, the sharp edge dissolves and oozes away, revealing a lingering floral scent that promises exotic adventure. I feel both wild and at home with the heady scent of le Baiser.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Novelist: Sensual Writing

We have five major senses and several minor ones we aren’t even consciously aware of. The major ones include sight, hearing, smelling, touch, and taste.

In the April 2000 issue of Fiction Writer Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander, tells us that we are biologically and psychologically designed “for intense experience in a richly sensual world. But we find ourselves in a senses-depleted world, a world limited largely to visuals, and ersatz ones at that.” She suggests that our readers are starving for sensual information. “For fiction writers, the senses are not only a window onto external reality, but also the gateway into the inner realms.”

As writers we are in a unique position (at least for now) to describe what the visual media can’t (yet). We can provide our readers with a rich spectrum of sensuality such as what a place smells like, the texture of an object, the taste of a food, as well as the nuances of light and sound. Readers don’t just “watch” a character in a book; they enter the character’s body and “feel”.

So, how do writers satisfy the readers need to experience the senses fully? Description, yes. But how cold is cold? What does snow really smell like? What color is that sunset? How do you describe the taste of wine to a teetotaler?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Intensity of Hurricane Ike Linked to Global Warming?

By the early morning hours of September 4, Hurricane Ike was a Category 4 hurricane, hitting its peak with 145 mph (233 km/h) winds and a pressure of 935 mbar (27.61 inHg) over the open Atlantic Ocean. That made it the most intense storm so far in the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. At one point the diameter of Ike's tropical storm and hurricane force winds were 450 and 190 miles (720 and 305 km), respectively. The world watched in horrible anticipation as Ike was tracked toward landfall on the Gulf Coast.

After its devastation on Haiti, Ike slammed into Galveston, Texas at 2 am Saturday, Sept. 13 at 110 mph, and moved inland across the Galveston-Houston area The angry storm shredded buildings, flooded streets; it knocked out power for millions of people and damaged water and sewer services, leaving almost 30,000 people in emergency shelters, says Bloomberg.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Growing Fuel from Algae

“Remember the BP ads of a couple of years back?” says Dan Sweeny of Juice: Alternate Fuels World. “Something about yellow being the new green, yellow being representative of corn—or maize as the Brits call it. Corn, of course, is the principal feedstock for fuel ethanol production in the U.S, and ethanol, as we all know, has emerged as the consensus answer for overcoming our fossil fuel dependency and ending our reliance on foreign oil. In 2002 it was the Hydrogen Economy, but then in 2006 it was ethanol. And maybe it's still ethanol only now algae derived biodiesel seems poised to displace it as the alternative fuel of the moment.”

In other words, green is soon to become the new yellow. Global Green Solutions who operates a plantation in El Paso, Texas in partnership with Valcent Products, an intellectual property company active in several different fields have a joint venture known as Vertigro.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Are You an Empath?

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy--Shakespeare
In response to my sharing about the “journey” I was taking through the United States, two people including my very talented and dear friend, Teresa, recently suggested that I was an empath. I was startled by her announcement and what it meant. Actually, I really wasn’t sure what it meant. I had never thought of such a thing. So, in my curiosity about what empathy and empathic is, I searched my favorite place: google. Among some gems of information, I stumbled upon this really neat quiz, What Kind of Empath Are You? on Quizfarm, a quiz site by pangelic.

Naturally, I took it and here are the results (cool, eh?):

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Singing Sands—Nature’s Boom Boxes

[Singing sands] at times fill the air with the sounds of all kinds of musical instruments, and also of drums and the clash of arms—Marco Polo, 13th Century Explorer

Certain sand dunes, particularly when disturbed, will occasionally emit a loud, low-pitch rumble that lasts up to 15 minutes and can be heard up to 6 miles (10 kilometers) away. Some dunes are known to do it regularly, even daily. The sounds have been variously described as roaring or booming, singing and musical (e.g., kettle drum, zither, tambourine, bass violin, and a trumpet). They have also been compared with the sound of a foghorn or low-flying propeller-driven aircraft . You can listen to them here, or here.

This phenomenon was reported from the Middle East for more than 1500 years and appears in Chinese literature from as early as the ninth century. Marco Polo was convinced that evil spirits caused them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Excellent Blog Award

Bobby, at My Muse and Me, awarded my blog this incredible award of excellence. I accept it with pride and humbleness. There are so many great blogs out there, starting with Bobby's own site, a thoughtful and entertaining site on writing and musings. Says Bobby: "I started My Muse and Me as a writing exercise, but it is turning into much more than that. I love getting feedback from other bloggers!"

Well, part of the condition of accepting is to, in turn, bestow this award of blog excellence to TEN other deserving blogs and bloggers, so I get a chance to showcase some of you who I've had the privilege to read and get to know. Here are my choices:

Modern Matriarch: Tricia Ares continues to provide bracing articles on writing, literature and art. Her distaff reflections, interviews and in-depth book reviews wonderfully augment her insightful articles on all aspects of writing from how to write a synopsis to women networking. Check out her great blogroll of resources. Woohoo, woman!

Somerset Bob's Place: Bob Kingsley is a hero and his blog does heroic things. Bob has embraced the issue of climate change with numerous articles that both instruct and inspire. A radio presenter and voice-over artist (with a truly sexy voice!), Bob is also an impeccable writer and blogger. You can find lots of instructive stuff on blogging, Web 2 and web publishing. Go, man! Go!

Nameless Grace and Darwin's Paradox: published by the graceful Karen Mason (SEO), both sites are devoted to excellent literature, the first primarily to short stories and the latter to my book, Darwin's Paradox. Karen created sites that are as graceful as they are useful, as elegant as they are erudite and as stylish as they are surprising. Brava, girl!

The Soulless Machine: Aaron Wilson's cool review site deserves particular mention because I think reviews of the short story are a worthwhile pursuit and there are very few reviewers out there who devote themselves to this form. Aaron reviews long form too, but pretty well devotes mostly to the short form. Brouse his site and discover a wonderful new medium: the short story!
Climate of Our Future: this worthwhile and attractive site is maintained impeccably by Deborah and Francis, who have tirelessly provided us with current and important news, issues and articles that feature environmental solutions and noteworthy events on the subject of climate change. Go, guys, go!

Women in Science: Peggy Kolm provides great science articles, current events, and wildly interesting stories on women in science. Well written with authority, her articles both inspire and entertain. She should meet Tricia!

Monday Morning Power: That Mel turns those Monday blahs into powerful inspirations for the coming week. This is a great site to learn how attitude can make a difference, through inspirational quotes, poems, articles and essays. Mel is as knowledgeable as he is crazy, as insightful as he is weird... okay, I see where I'm going with this and will stop now. Mel, you're a sweetheart!

Captain Picard's Journal: Jean-luc gets my vote not just because he is one sexy guy, but because his journal entertains and makes me laugh. Not just for Star Trek fans, this compendium of oft mis-adventures of a "harrassed" Starfleet captain is a wonderful read.