Archive for June, 2009

The Heist of the Hoard

dragonetsThese two dragons have nothing to do with the content of this post; I just found them cute, so there.

I fully admit to a level of paranoia. My hoard (perhaps that’s my link with dragons, after all?) is knowledge, and I have lost, due to vagaries of cybertechnology, almost as much as I have gained out of it. So excuse the twitchiness. I can’t possibly back up my material too much.

After LJ downsized from a staff of 28 to 8, I started the arduous procedure of moving my personal blog here, plus acquiring a separate blog for my translations and original fiction. Now Multiply seems shaky, and although I don’t actually write there, I have collected so much interesting and useful material on my site that I can’t possibly allow a blip to vanish it for good. Not to mention that I have settled very nicely here and I’d love that material to have the exposure it deserves.

So, from tomorrow onwards and for as long as it takes, I will be reposting material written by others (properly credited) and originally posted on my Multiply site, alternating with original posts like those I’ve been (mostly) doing these last few months. Stay tuned!


Knowledge and Closure

f-h3When I packed up and relocated to the UK, just over two years ago, I predicted I would miss a lot of things, not least the language. So I arranged subscriptions to two of the magazines I consistently bought back there. At least a monthly or bimonthly dose of Greek would make up for not having my entire Greek library with me.

At the beginning of June I got an email from the publisher informing me that one of the magazines was folding. Granted, it was a niche publication, a bimonthly review dealing with obscure aspects of history (Nightbird would have loved it), and it was close to miraculous that it managed to run for 15 issues. Anyway, the party is over, and now I have the complete set of material to start translating for that writing project of mine on WordPress, that has been lying dormant for far too long…

To the publisher’s credit, they informed me that they owed me back €46, the whole of my prepaid subscription, and invited me to choose something else from their catalogue to cover it, since they could not refund the actual sum. So I plumbed for a few special editions that the same magazine had been bringing out – quarterly collections of papers on even more obscure topics. They arrived in the post today. I love 96-page magazines that can genuinely freak out anyone curious enough to read over my shoulder on the bus (which has happened more than once, back in Athens *snickers*). And I love doing business with people into good accounts.

The 50 Book Challenge

pileFrom the Shelfari group:

Steve Jobs said: “The fact is that people don’t read anymore…”

Shelfari’s 50 Book Challenge said: “Fie! Steve Jobs,” (We say Fie because we read a lot and we know a lot of words.) “Fie! Steve Jobs! We read 16,892 books in 2008.”

To elaborate: When asked about the new Amazon Kindle product, Steve Jobs CEO of Apple computer had this to say:

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

Welcome to the the 50 Book Challenge, where we fly in the face of Steve Jobs.

Basically …. the challenge is to read 50 books in one year. OR … establish a goal for yourself more or less, it’s up to you, just because we say 50 books doesn’t mean that has to be your goal too.

Start a thread, WITH YOUR NAME IN THE SUBJECT OF YOUR ORIGINAL POST, and log your books. It is a very good idea to bookmark (when in your post, add it to your internet browser’s favorites) your post for easy location for future updates. Things move quickly around here.

If you haven’t been keeping track of the books you’ve read, start when you join.

Thanks for being here and have fun.

I joined the challenge on June 26, 2008, the day my son was born. I wanted to see how much I could bring myself to keep using my mind to understand adult things, through the haze of sleepless nights, emotional upheavals, and the all-consuming, 24/7 on-call job that is motherhood.

Naturally, I didn’t manage to read 50 books through this year, and most of those I did read were in fact tiny things between 60-90 pages. But that doesn’t really matter. What matters is – I kept reading. I’ve had people comment on my log thread that they hadn’t picked up reading again until the child was in preschool. Now, that’s sad.

I’m just giving myself a pat on the back before I start on this second year of challenge (and I’d be glad to see some of you over on Shelfari as well).

01. Jim Butcher – Small Favour
02. MFW Curran – The Secret War
03. Yasmine Galenorn – Witchling
04. Yasmine Galenorn – Changeling
05. Yasmine Galenorn – Darkling
06. David Gemmell – Waylander II
07. DCI Gene Hunt – The Future of Modern Policing
08. Andrew Lang – A Collection of Ballads
09. Kate Mosse – The Cave
10. Liza Palmer – Conversations With the Fat Girl
11. Adele Parks – Playing Away
12. Lynda La Plante – The Red Dahlia
13. Terry Pratchett – Sourcery
14. Terry Pratchett – Wyrd Sisters
15. Alexander Pushkin – Boris Godunov
16. John Shirley – Subterranean
17. V/A – Mystery Tales
18. V/A – Supernatural Tales

19. Adam Blade: Beast Quest: Sethir the Storm Monster
20. Terry Deary & Martin Brown – Groovy Greeks
21. Joseph Delaney – The Spook’s Tale
22. Neil Gaiman – Odd and the Frost Giants
23. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades
24. Andy Stanton – Mr Gum in The Hound of Lamonic Bibber
25. Mark Walden – Interception Point
26. V/A – The Compendium of Vampyres and Other Perilous Creatures

27. Pamela J. Ball – Natural Magic
28. Clarissa Pinkola Estés – Women Who Run With the Wolves
29. Danu Forest – Nature Spirits: Wyrd Lore and Wild Fey Magic
30. Liz Fraser – The Yummy Mummy’s Survival Guide
31. Annabel Karmel – The New Baby and Toddler Meal Planner
32. Amy Sophia Marashinsky – Mermaid Magic
33. Mother Mary & Archmandrite Kallistos Ware – Psalter According to the Septuagint
34. Fr. Andrew Phillips – Orthodox Christianity and the Old English Church
35. Fr. Andrew Phillips – A Practical Guide to the Worship of the Orthodox Church
36. Steven Saunders – Mind Tricks Ancient and Modern
37. Tara Ward – The Healing Handbook
38. Trinny Woodall & Susannah Constantine – The Survival Guide
39. Trinny Woodall & Susannah Constantine – Who Do You Want to Be Today?
40. V/A – Birth to Five


charityA big thumbs-up and high-five to WordPress for teaming up with SocialVibe to raise money for charity, and a big thank-you to Seshat for drawing my attention to it. (I admit, I don’t read the ‘news’ here. I find out about new stuff after I see them on other people’s pages.)

I get such a sense of satisfaction by contributing to causes I feel strongly about that, if the situation at home were different, I’d be out doing volunteer work full-time. As things are, I revel in aiding through such initiatives. I maintain my account on myYearbook mainly in order to raise ‘lunch money’ to donate to their causes. And now, naturally, the question was not if I would put on the SocialVibe widget but which cause I’d choose. Decisions, decisions…

Please, casual reader, if you’ve just stumbled upon this page, take a moment before you leave it to click on the badge (halfway down the sidebar) and help. Thank you.


stigUnderstand, I have zero interest in cars, so any interest I might have in motoring shows must be sub-zero. But Top Gear is a favourite at home, so I can’t help hearing and seeing – and occasionally listening and watching, when Clarkson & Co. do something particularly daft, like attempting to drive to the North Pole, outrace a plane/train/helicopter, race a lap around the track while being fired at by Special Forces snipers (WTF?) or cross the southern US with ‘Hillary for President’ or ‘Man Love Rules OK’ written on their trucks and without getting shot.

Some of the biggest stunts there are performed by a mystery race driver known only as The Stig. Attempting to identify the figure in the white overalls and helmet has been a favourite pastime of the show’s viewers for years. Well, yesterday, in the opening episode of the season, the helmet came off to reveal the goofy half-smile of none other than Michael Schumacher. Makes me wonder if that’s what he’s been doing since he retired from competition…

Probably not. Probably there’s more than one Stig, especially since a clause in the contract stipulates that, if the driver’s identity is revealed, s/he will be fired. I guess what we saw was a guest Stig, and there’s no knowing if Schumacher did it just this once or several times before, perhaps relishing the anonymity. I’m pretty sure we’ll all go back to guessing the Stig’s identity pretty soon. Or rather, you compulsive viewers will.

Month at a Glance

June 2009
« May   Jul »


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