Showing posts from August, 2013

... and one game.

I'm not a gamer, and most of the games I could play on my iPhone would hurt my hands and arms. So I'm very happy to have discovered Flutter , which is technically a game but doesn't feel like one. It feels like I have my own butterfly sanctuary where hardly anything ever happens, pretty butterflies flutter around, maybe occasionally I catch a falling flower petal, maybe occasionally I feed a treat to the frog, now and then I hatch a new species of butterfly, then I go away for a few hours and when I come back not a whole lot has changed. FLUTTER IS SO SOOTHING. (It's also free! There are ways to make it fancier and faster if you feel like spending money, but I don't.) ( Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 6.1 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.) My butterfly sanctuary. This caterpillar is sleeping. This caterpillar is plaintively waiting for me to feed it that leaf. This chrysalis will hatch soon.

"The Nantucketer, he alone resides and rests on the sea."

For years he knows not the land; so that when he comes to it at last, it smells like another world, more strangely than the moon would to an Earthsman. With the landless gull, that at sunset folds her wings and is rocked to sleep between billows; so at nightfall, the Nantucketer, out of sight of land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while under his very pillow rush herds of walruses and whales. I'm listening to and loving Recorded Books' production of Moby-Dick , narrated by Frank Muller. It's over 21 hours long! I tune in and out as I'm listening, perhaps starting back to attention to find that it's been fifteen minutes and Ishmael is STILL listing white things (!!!) (see "Chapter 42: The Whiteness of the Whale"), tuning out again, then sitting straight upright as Melville says something so beautiful I could die. I read this book in college, I wrote a paper about it. What a pleasure to enjoy it for itself and be allowed to space out when I

Cabin Pressure

*intercom dings* First Officer Douglas Richardson (voiced by Roger Allam): Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We're now about halfway through our flight from Hong Kong to Limerick, and I just thought I'd let you know that I... am... BORED. Bored, bored. Bored. Bored...... BOOOOOORED. We are, unbelievably, still flying over Russia, which continues to be STUPIDLY BIG. Really enormous. Far bigger than necessary. We've been in the air now for about a week and it doesn't look like we'll be landing until the last syllable of recorded time. So, if anyone on board knows any card tricks, ghost stories, or would like to have some sex , please do make your way to the flight deck. Thank you. *intercom dings* Captain Martin Crieff (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch): Ahhh, ladies and gentlemen, I do – I do profoundly apologize for my first officer and his badly misjudged attempt at humor. I do hope you weren't distressed by his outburst and – and let me just say in

Writing Homework

Greetings from the back of beyond, dear readers. I love Deborah Kaplan 's recent post called "Writing Homework for You, My Loyal Readers." Last fall, Deborah and Amy Stern co-taught the fantasy course at Simmons College's Center for the Study of Children's Literature. After they'd started the semester, they realized what the opening assignment should have been. Now that they're no longer teaching the course, they're sharing that assignment with us, and it's a great one. It involves learning to better appreciate the differences between all the many ways we can write about books. From the post: Current students are so incredibly proficient at writing about reading, because what with blogs etc., they do so much of it. And yet at the same time, they are proficient in some very specific kinds of writing about reading (primarily personal blogs and Goodreads-style reviews, with some amount of professional blogs), and the process of showing peopl

A Book, Plus, Some Resources on How to Talk about Things When You Know You'll Never Agree

It's birthday month on the blog, but life this summer has been so jam-packed (in all the best ways) that I haven't given much time to blogging. So. Um. Happy birthday, everyone, including me. :o) In my limited time today, I want to point out one online resource for learning to talk about abortion, then mention one really interesting book about women and eating problems. First: a decade ago, my mother brought an article at the Public Conversations Project to my attention. It's about a secret, six-year-long dialogue between leaders on both sides of the abortion debate, a dialogue which took place in the wake of John Salvi's December 30, 1994 shootings at the Brookline Planned Parenthood and Preterm Health Services that killed two people and wounded five. The participants in this dialogue held passionate and opposing views on the abortion issue, but didn't come together hoping to change each other's minds. From the article: "Our talks would not aim for c

A Musical Quiz for You

Recently, I organized some tickets for an upcoming concert. A friend sent a check in the mail to pay for her ticket. Above is her accompanying note. Can you guess what we're going to see/hear? Now I'll talk about something else for a minute so there's some space between the question and the answer. Um. Hi. I don't have a lot to say right now. Except that today I find myself wondering how the drive is between Ísafjörður and Akureyri (Iceland). Based on this Google maps image, it looks delightfully fjordy. View Larger Map Oh! I could also tell you about one other exciting upcoming concert for those in my neck of the woods. Recently I have blogged ( more than once ) about the Slovenian/Croatian duo of Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser known as 2Cellos . These two very talented classically-trained cellists perform classical crossover covers of various pop, rock, and metal songs, and their music is completely infectious. And – they're doing a USA tour in October/N