Friday, September 10, 2010

Fun Stats

I know why Austria and Finland are on this list but it looks like there are a lot of other people in other countries who aren't leaving comments or I'd know you're there. So HELLOOOOOO!!! Don't be shy. Introduce yourself. Share a smile and a cup of tea with me.

Pageviews by Countries
United States
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Friday Randomness--Paper Embroidery

As many of you know, I am intrigued by this whole "zentangle" think (and anyone who wants to buy me a kit is more than welcome to do so) which is how I came across this person's paper and thread creation.

Zentangle: Paradox in Thread

Naturally, this led to my looking around online for more paper and thread embroidery examples and now I am sharing them with you!

Embroidery on Paper: Making Greeting Cards

Tarot Series: Hanged Man
Embroidery on paper covered with contact paper
About 8 x 10

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Banned Books

I found out about this blogger's challenge (or invitation, if you will) to have other bloggers read one of the books on the list and share their thoughts on what we would lose if those who were challenging the book succeeded in having it banned altogether.  Because the author of the blog is also reading her way through the young adult books of her own adolescence, it seems an obvious choice for me to do the same.  I've highlighted all of the books I have read in the list but, to be honest, not all of these were read when I was a teenager.  For one thing, some hadn't even been written yet.  But I like the idea enough to commit to doing this.

Unfortunately, my computer detected malware on the person's blogsite so I can't read her posts about this or the books she's reading.

I wonder if people have that problem with my blog.  Hmmmmm . . .

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling 
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 
3 The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier 
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell 
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck 
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou 
7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz 
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman 
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren 
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky 
11 Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers 
12 It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris 
13 Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey 
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain 
15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison 
16 Forever, by Judy Blume 
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 
18 Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous 
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger 
20 King and King, by Linda de Haan 
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 
22 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar 
23 The Giver, by Lois Lowry 
24 In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak 
25 Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan 
26 Beloved, by Toni Morrison 
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier 
28 Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson 
29 The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney 
30 We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier 
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones 
32 Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya 
33 Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson 
34 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler 
35 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison 
36 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley 
37 It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris 
38 Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles 
39 Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane 
40 Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank 
41 Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher 
42 The Fighting Ground, by Avi 
43 Blubber, by Judy Blume 
44 Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher 
45 Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly 
46 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut 
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard 
48 Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez 
49 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey 
50 The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini 
51 Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan 
52 The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson 
53 You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco 
54 The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole 
55 Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green 
56 When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester 
57 Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause 
58 Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going 
59 Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes 
60 Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson 
61 Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle 
62 The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard 
63 The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney 
64 Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park 
65 The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien 
66 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor 
67 A Time to Kill, by John Grisham 
68 Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez 
69 Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury 
70 Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen 
71 Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park 
72 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison 
73 What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras 
74 The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold 
75 Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry 
76 A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving 
77 Crazy:  A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert 
78 The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein 
79 The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss 
80 A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck 
81 Black Boy, by Richard Wright 
82 Deal With It!, by Esther Drill 
83 Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds 
84 So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins 
85 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher 
86 Cut, by Patricia McCormick 
87 Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume 
88 The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood 
89 Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger 
90 A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle 
91 Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Graighead George 
92 The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar 
93 Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard 
94 Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine 
95 Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix 
96 Grendel, by John Gardner 
97 The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende 
98 I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte 
99 Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume 
100 America: A Novel, by Frank, E.R.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Quote of the Day

Me (to Rob)

I hate it when they fuck with my lesbian subtext.

US church to go ahead with Sept. 11 Quran burning | General Headlines |

US church to go ahead with Sept. 11 Quran burning | General Headlines |
This so-called Christian minister says he is still praying about whether or not he will go through with this.
We should all pray that this simply doesn't happen.
"GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A Christian minister said Tuesday that he will go ahead with plans to burn copies of the Quran to protest the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks despite warnings from the top U.S. general in Afghanistan and the White House that doing so would endanger U.S. troops."

Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batcholor

Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist by Stephen Batcholor is not merely a spiritual memoir, although the author does share his personal journey from disaffected youth to secular Buddhist.  Rather, the book also explores the roots of Buddhism, with an emphasis on the Pali Canon’s description of the Buddha’s teachings and life.

For those who romanticize Buddhism, this book is not going to come as a welcome addition to one’s library.  Batchelor pulls no punches in stripping away the myth, gradually presenting a more down-to-earth version of Siddhattha Gotama’s life.  No longer the sheltered prince of a mighty king, the man who would become the Buddha was a man who came from an ordinary family in extraordinary times.  If there is a need to believe that there are no politics in contemporary Buddhism and no schism even within one school of Buddhism, then this book will rip the veil away and expose the truth.

Batchelor shares his own spiritual growth, taking vows to be a Buddhist monk, exploring different schools of Buddhism, and eventually choosing to leave his vows behind to become a married layman.  His experiences as a scholar, encounters with the Dalai Lama before His Holiness had won the Nobel Peace Prize and become iconic to the rest of the world, and long before Buddhism was familiar in the west are presented first, laying a foundation for his later suppositions about the Buddha.

No doubt, some people will be offended.  I can’t imagine why anyone who doesn’t want to hear something other than the conservative or traditional view would bother reading a book the title of which clearly declares that this is not going to be a believer’s look at Buddhism.  The quality of this memoir should not be judged on the basis of how fundamental Batchelor is not–he isn’t and he makes no apologies for it.  But his journey across India, scholarly and spiritual, is fascinating.  I found it all quite enlightening and my faith, for what it is, has not been compromised for having read Batchelor’s proclamation of doubt.  I appreciate his candor and even vulnerability in contextualizing his very personal experience in a way that is both honest and even familiar.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

What book to read next?

The dilemma in choosing a book as the year comes to a close becomes more significant.  My goal for 2011 is to read only books written by women.  As a result, I need to choose a book for my morning reading that will easily be finished by the end of the year.  (Or I could compromise my commitment by finishing whatever book I started.)

There is no ideal answer to this, as you will soon see.  Here are the books that are currently on the table for choosing.  There is a poll at the bottom of this blog page (scroll all the way down) and the poll ends on Wednesday because that's the day I finish reading the book I am currently reading.

This one is an obvious choice but it is not long enough to carry me through the rest of the year.  In fact, I'll probably finish it before October ends which would leave me having to choose yet another morning book to read.  I try to keep the books I read in the morning somewhat on the spiritual side.  Of course, I translate this rather loosely.  A "spiritual" text can include a book on atheism as much as it could a sacred text and I have read spiritual memoirs and philosophy books as part of my morning meditative reading.  So there are no hard and fast rules about this.

From the amazon website:
While Buddhism has no central text comparable to the Bible or Koran, there is a powerful body of scripture from across Asia that encompasses the dharma, or the teachings of the Buddha. In this rich anthology, eminent scholar Donald S. Lopez, Jr., brings together works from a broad historical and geographical range, and from such languages as Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, and Japanese. There are tales of the Buddha’s past lives, a discussion of qualities and qualifications for a monk, and an exploration of the many meanings of enlightenment. Together they provide a vivid picture of the Buddha and of the vast and profound nature of the Buddhist tradition.

This is a surprise addition to the list because it is probably more about "making a living" than it is about Zen Buddhism.  Nevertheless, I have been wanting to read this book for a while and I have a feeling that now is as good a time as any.  The book is rather thick and could carry me through to the end of the year, depending upon how dense the text itself is.  (Just because a book has a lot of pages doesn't mean that the content will keep me from reading through it quickly.)

Obviously, this is also a good example of a book that is "loosely" spiritual but it may be the perfect text for me to read at the end of another unemployed year.

From the amazon website:

With today's economic uncertainties, millions of Americans realize they must seize control over their own career paths. They want work that not only pays the bills but also allows them to pursue their real passions. In this revised edition, Laurence Boldt updates and revises his revolutionary guide to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century workplace. The first part of this book helps readers to identify the work that they really want to do, while the second provides practical, active steps to finding or creating that work. Zen and the Art of Making a Living goes beyond inspiration, providing a proven formula for bringing creativity, dignity, and meaning to every aspect of the work experience.

And last but certainly not least is Osho's book that merges various schools of spirituality, including yoga and Buddhism, into a practical guide.  I started reading this once before and stopped for various reasons.  The text is dense.  No doubt it will carry me through to the end of the year.  It includes meditation practices, including pranayama (breath work).

This is the only one that has 5 stars on amazon . . . out of 80 reviews, 72 are 5 stars.  The rest are 3-4 stars, 1-3 stars, 1-3 stars, and 3-1 star.  (One of the 1 star reviews says this is a book of Satan which would almost commend the book to me at this point.  Albeit, the review this same person wrote is barely comprehensible so perhaps he/she is not literate enough to assess the demonic.)

From the amazon website:

In this comprehensive and practical guide, the secrets of the ancient science of Tantra become available to a contemporary audience for the first time. Confined to small, hidden mystery schools for centuries, and often misunderstood and misinterpreted today, Tantra is not just a collection of techniques to enhance sexual experience. As Osho shows in these pages, it is a complete science of self-realization, based on the cumulative wisdom of centuries of exploration into the meaning of life and consciousness. Tantra-the very word means "technique"-is a set of powerful, transformative tools that can be used to bring new meaning andjoy to every aspect of our daily lives.