Sunday, June 19, 2005

Look who the cats dragged in

Today was another good visit with The Baker. I saw Mark when he came through with a long layover Thursday morning and I took him out to breakfast before I went in to work. Today I brought him back to the house when he got in a while before one. First though I took him to the museum center so he could see that and so he'd have been to Ohio, his 22nd state (counting airports). When we came by the house Chris surprised him, coming up behind him and giving him a one-armed bear hug. They'd seen pictures, and talked on-line, but never actually met. Of course before he left I had to take Mark by the library. He pronounced it good after finding Trixie Beldon books in the kids section. Oh, and he gave me a Trixie book! Now that I've finished watching all of Babylon 5 (except for three of the TV movies and Crusade) he is determined to get me hooked on another one of his obsessions. ;-) I'd be mad, but he has such good taste in fiction! *sigh*

Calling in Sick

Onesome: I can't come in--Have you ever locked yourself out of the house or the car? How'd it happen, and how did you get back in? Once while still living with my parents I did lock myself out of my car at the library. I think that was before I carried my keys on a carabiner. The library is only a short distance from the house so my dad was able to come and get me in, after I called him.

Twosome: to work today-- What is your dream job and why? Ohh, tough one. Probably one that let me read all day and get paid for it, ;-). But honestly, at this point I think what I'd really like to do is be a librarian--a school librarian. I'd be able to work with kids and be around books all the time. Plus I'd get summers off. :)

Threesome: because I...-- What's the worst excuse you've ever given or heard of for not going into work/ school? Why did you really call in? The only excuse I've ever given was being sick, when I really was. I actually don't think I've ever actually heard any insane ones. Sorry. :)


Monday, June 13, 2005

Words that come together

Thanks to Mark and LunaNiƱa for this.

  1. Wally:: Park
  2. Phantom:: of the Opera
  3. Slippery:: soap
  4. Fungus:: mushrooms
  5. Slot:: machine
  6. Type:: writer
  7. Discharge:: papers
  8. "We need to talk”:: trouble
  9. On the spot:: light
  10. Liquid:: soap

Yeah, I'm feeling rather poorly today--sick am I. I thought I was getting over a cold until I woke up yesterday morning with a throat sore enough that it hurt to swallow and a cough. *sigh* It was at its worst this morning when I woke up before seven after a restless night--but it is better now. There is still discomfort when I swallow, but it isn't as bad.


Thursday, June 09, 2005


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Oh, this is great. Not only can I blog directly from Picasa, but I can also blog directly from my photobucket account. No more copy and paste with the HTML for pictures! :-)

Hmm...though the spacing is a bit crazy. Well I'll just have to play around with it.


PS Unfortunately I can't think of a way to blame this post on Mark. *sigh*

The Thursday Threes

Image hosted by Photobucket.comYes, I like to be different, why do you ask? :-) Blame this one on Mark too, though I followed the original link back to The Back Porch to see the Thursday Threesome in its first home.

Onesome: I could really-- get into what or who musically this week? Have you run across anything or anyone new to share with the gang?

Oh, right now I'm listening to the tracks from the Rebecca St. James CD that I just bought off Amazon. I've enjoyed her music ever since I borrowed Pray (the one I have now) and God (which should be coming soon) from a friend last year.

Twosome: Use-- Hey, what do you use for most of your cooking? The microwave? ...or the toaster oven? Regular oven? Weber grill? (...and Mark, opening the bag of chips doesn't count!)

Oh, cool, Mark gets a mention for lack of cooking--am I surprised? Hmm...I don't do that much cooking on my own, it not being a necessity while living with family. :-D But I use the oven most often when cooking--either that or the stove.

Threesome: A shower-- ...and the softball of the week: shower or bath? What's your preference. Okay, pool or hot tub (if you had one or both )?

Oh, this one is really tough. I really enjoy a good bath but have yet to find a big enough tub that also keeps the water hot for as long as I want to lay there. I love to lay back and relax with a good book. :-) Unfortunately I usually just have time for a shower. Now I think that I'd rather have a pool since I especially enjoy swimming while hot tubs are just glorified bath tubs.


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

In Which Mark Takes the Fall (again)

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Okay, thanks to Mark I'll join him in his answering. First we'll start off with word association in which I'll try to forget the couple of Mark's answers that I saw. :-) Thanks to LunaNiƱa for the original list.

  1. Exhibit:: Monkey King
  2. Evolution:: Theory
  3. Loser:: Winner
  4. Hypnotic:: Watch
  5. Unlikely:: Event
  6. Interrupt:: -ing cow
  7. Ambivalent:: Whatever
  8. Rise and fall:: of the Roman Empire
  9. Indian:: Sioux
  10. Prophecy:: Book of Daniel

Okay, now to the odious book questions that Mark has forced me to answer.

How Many Books Do You Own?
Well the grand total is probably up to 1,300 to 1,400 by now, considering all of the books I've bought used since I moved to Kentucky. I know that my "adult" (no not by rating but by virtue of not being written for children) collection numbers at least 1,000 and I have a couple hundred kids books. Except for my Hardy Boys collection all of my kids books are still at my parent's house while all of my other books (except for a few I have out to read) are in my storage unit. And yes, moving books is HARD work, ;-). I've lugged boxes back and forth to college for years.

What is the Last Book You Bought?
Well I believe that would be my pre-order of the third book in the latest trilogy from Terry Brooks (yes I deliberately worded that to avoid using a possessive on an s word, :-)): Straken (High Druid of Shannara, Book 3). The last one I've actually recieved is my order of the first of that series from one of Amazon's fine used retailers is the first book in that trilogy: Jarka Ruus. I've read the first two, but if I'm preordering the third I have to have the first two in hardcover to go with it, right? :-) But they were both cheap.

What is the Last Book You Read?
Well I'm currently in the middle of more books than I can shake a stick at, but I do know what one I finished last. I think. No, I do know. :-) Conquerors' Heritage is the second in a wonderful trilogy by Timothy Zahn. If you enjoy good sci-fi you must check out Timothy Zahn. I especially reccomend The Icarus Hunt (*whispers* You mystery nuts should enjoy it too. There isn't any bad technobabble, just a good sci-fi mystery).

Name five books that mean a lot to you.
Like Mark the Bible would have to be on that list, so I'll copy him and not include it, ;-).

The Hunt for Red October was the first Tom Clancy novel that I read (I watched the movie first) and the book that really got me started on modern thriller novels and other similar books (like Grisham's novels). Oh yeah, and the movie soundtrack is awesome! Oh yeah, and the book is a good Jack Ryan novel and a fun book all around.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer - Oh, this one is wonderful! Though if you love World War II history buy a good hardcover edition, perhaps a library bound one if you can find it. I've had to purchase a second copy as the cover on my first one isn't doing so hot. One summer I was in an antique store with my parents (in Michigan I believe) when I saw the tome on sale for $10.00 (sure by my later standards that was a lot, but what did I know then). I purchased the book and put down everything else I was reading to devour it from cover to cover. It was wonderfully researched and the author had lived through many of the events he described as an American radio correspondent in Berlin. I really cannot recomend this book highly enough to anyone who appreciates history.

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien - If I didn't have this on my list I wouldn't be me. Sci-fi and fantasy are my two favourite fiction loves, and this is the first fantasy I really read (after the Hobbit and perhaps Narnia) and still my favourite.

Hammond's Atlas of the [Various] - Okay, this isn't just one book--but my first Hammond Atlas was the start of a beautiful tradition. These are the most enjoyable atlases that I've found, and I have at least seven to ten of them, including a 1939 beauty that still shows the pre-war Japanese empire with the "independent" nation of Manchouko.

Foundation by Isaac Asimov - Ah yes, what Lord of the Rings did for me with fantasy this trilogy did for me with Sci-fi. Sure it isn't the same quality as LotR, but it is great nonetheless. And it was my first marvelous introduction into the Asmovian universe. I took off running through Asimov and on to Bradbury, Clarke, and others--though often taking another look at the author I consider my favourite Grandmaster of Science Fiction.

Okay, was that enough Mark? ;-)


Kings Island

Yesterday my nephew Ryan and I used our season passes to take a trip to Paramount's Kings Island. It was the first time that I'd been there, and I enjoyed most of the day. As a kid I was never one for roller coasters, but I tried several for the first time yesterday. I even went on the one that drops you down from several stories up. To my surprise I enjoyed them all.

Unfortunately though some part of the day didn't agree with me. I'm hoping that part of it was the fact that I have a cold--but I think some of it had to do with balance. As I've gotten older I can't handle being dizzy like I could as a kid. I just went on one too many rides yesterday and was feeling nausous. I did throw up once, but after laying on some benches for a while (while Ryan went off to do some other rides) I was feeling much better and ready to drive home. Next time I'm planning to take some Advil and Dramamine (sp?) before I go to head off any similar problems. I'll post some more pictures later today.


Sunday, June 05, 2005

California Crazy

I was looking back through my folders of pictures that I took on my trip out to Kentucky when I found this one. I don't think that I ever blogged about it.

I think you can see it clearly. It is a handicapped semi parking space. I have no idea why it was in this rest area. Perhaps for an RV? I'm not sure... I doubt that any semi-truck drivers would need it. I don't mean to be insensensitive or anything but I know it is a physically demanding job.


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Monkey King 01 Entrance

Here is the entrance to Monkey King: A Journey to China. Monkey King is a very popular figure from Chinese folktales, being quite magical and mischevious. He was born from a stone and after becoming king of the monkeys of Flower-Fruit Mountain went off to learn magic. He learned to fly on a cloud, turn himself into seventy-two different things, and to perform many other feats. However he was always getting into trouble. The exhibit contains the stories of many of his exploits and is highly interactive, designed to get kids directly involved in the story.


Monkey King 02 Peaches

The peach tree is quite popular with the kids, especially the younger ones. Monkey King was supposed to be guarding the Jade Emperor's peaches--as it was thought that if he had a job he would be too busy to get into trouble. Unfortunately this was not to be and Monkey King decided to eat all of the magic peaches of long life (eating them granted immortality) instead of saving them for the Jade Emperor's special Peach Banquet. Each peach had taken 9,000 years to ripen. Kids can touch lit "peaches" and hear Chinese musical tones and after each eleven a cutout of the Jade Emperor pops up and says something to them.


Monkey King 03 Banquet

Even though, or perhaps because, he wasn't invited Monkey King went to the Jade Emperor's banquet and messed everything up, eating the food and drinking everything. Here the kids can go underneath the table and manipulate almost everything on the table above with levers and knobs.


Monkey King 04 Toys I

The first of three similar displays featuring pictures and toys from China demonstrating the wide popularity of Monkey King.


Monkey King 05 Toys II

This middle picture/toy display features a comic book, computer game, and action figures. We have our own copies of the action figures for kids to play with, but I've had to glue them back together using way too much super glue!!


Monkey King 06 Toys III

This is the third display featuring toys and pictures from China. We actually have our own copies of the masks for kids to play with.


Monkey King 07 Jamie Guan

Here we have a basket of costumes that kids can don to look like Monkey King, or more specifically like Jamie Guan, than man in the video. Jamie is an expert Peking Opera performer who demonstrates some of the ins and outs of performing as Monkey King in a short video. He actually visited the museum during our Asian Culture Fest in late April and put on several performances providing a longer demonstration of playing Monkey King in Chinese Opera.

Click here for his website if you'd like to find out more about him.


Monkey King 08 Puppets I

At the shadow puppet mini-theater kids can act out scenes between the Jade Emperor and Monkey King. Shadow puppets are a popular traditional way to tell the story of Monkey King.


Monkey King 09 Puppets II

Here you can see the inside of the shadow puppet mini-theater.


Monkey King 10 Buddha

After the Jade Emperor fails to control Monkey King he calls in Buddha. Buddha holds Monkey in his hand and promises to give him control of the celestial empire if he can jump out of his hand. Knowing that he can go several thousand miles in one somersault Monkey quickly agrees and jumps. He thinks he has reached the end of the earth and writes his name on one of the five pillars he sees. After jumping back though Buddha shows him his finger to demonstrate that Monkey wrote on Buddha's finger, never having left the hand. Buddha then swiftly turns his hand over and it becomes a mountain which traps Monkey.


Monkey King 11 Buddha's Hand

Here is our large "statue" of Buddha's Hand that the kids can climb and sit in. It is a very popular picture spot. You can see "Monkey Was Here" written on the middle finger.


Monkey King 12 Television

We have a TV between Buddha's Hand and the next display where kids can watch an version of the Monkey King. The movie is taken from a Chinese cartoon series and is dubbed in English. However it only goes up to the point where Monkey is trapped under the mountain. This is also the area where we'll do storytime, reading to the kids from one of the exhibit's story books. During this time we turn the TV off, figuring that getting some reading in with less TV shouldn't hurt them at all, ;-).


Monkey King 13 The Monk's Party

After being trapped under the mountain for 500 years Monkey King is released under the condiditon that he journey with the Monk to the Western Paradise to retrieve Buddhist sutras and bring them back to China. Also along for the trip are Pigsy and Sandy, both magical like Monkey King, and like Monkey King performing a sort of pennance for their many misdeeds.


Monkey King 14 The Monk's Party (details)

Here is a description of each of the characters in Monkey King's party, including the Goddess Guan Yin, sort of like their guardian angel who helps them out when they really need it.


Monkey King 15 Crossing Qijue Mountain

In order to cross Qijue Mountain the party has to fight a demon and then make Pigsy incredibly large so he can plow through a ditch full of rotton persimmions. Here you can set up tiles with characters and settings on them and reading the story printed on the display act out the adventure.


Monkey King 16 Borrowing the Leaf Fan

Borrowing the Leaf Fan is the second adventure you can act out with tiles. Monkey King had to get the Leaf Fan fron the Iron Fan Princess to put out the flames on the mountain that the party needed to cross.


Monkey King 17 Western Paradise

Here is one of the three "Chinese Voices" TVs that features people talking about Monkey King and their memories of the story.


Monkey King 18 Cloud Soaring

Cloud Soaring is quite fun. You stand on the platform (behind the railing) and as video of flying over China and through clouds plays on the screen you feel air blowing up at you as if you really were on a cloud, feeling the wind in your face.


Monkey King 19 Magnet Board

Here is the magnet board (on the left in this dim picture, sorry about that) where kids can move magnets around and learn about the importance of various plants and animals in China as they recreate the arrival of the Monk's party at Buddha's Western Paradise.


Monkey King 20 Battle of Wits

The Battle of Wits is an especially popular area for the kids to cluster around, especially when they're with school groups or a large family. One player (left) is Monkey King, choosing which animal to turn into to battle Bull Demon (on the right) also turning into another animal. Each possible change has strengths and weaknesses listed that show up when the results of the battle are played out on the screen resulting in an exuberant "Monkey King Wins!" or "Bull Demon Wins!" Unfortunately the monitor went out a bit ago and so the piece isn't working now.


Monkey King 21 Zoetrope

Here is the exhibit's zoetrope, showing Monkey King's escape from under the mountain. Though no electronics are involved this feature brings more oohs and ahhs from kids than anything else. Click here if you're not sure what a zoetrope is and want to read a bit more.


Monkey King 22 Working Together

As you can see this is the "Working Together" area where kids play a couple games encouraging them to learn teamwork. This is an important value in China and one that the story of Monkey King emphasizes as on of the lessons he learned.


Monkey King 23 Maze

Here the kids need to work together (one on each lever--though many use one hand on each before we tell them to work with another ;-)) to tilt the maze and get the ball through. When they succeed they are rewarded by a tiny Pigsy pushing his way through the persimmions.


Monkey King 24 Up the Mountain

Again kids need to work together, here they maneuver levers one at a time to move a ball up the incline signifying the final journey of the Monk's part to Buddha's Western Paradise.


Monkey King 25 The Real Story

Here you see that Monkey King's Journey has a basis in fact. In the 600s a monk did travel from China to India to bring back Buddhist sutras (scriptures). Over the years this tale was retold over and over until the character of Monkey King was eventually added.


Monkey King 26 Buddha's Story

The exhibit does include this explanation of Buddhism, but to my eyes it appears quite factual and not trying to garner converts, ;-). At the bottom a caption mentions that Christianity is one of the religions you'll find practiced in China.


Monkey King 27 Behind the Story

This is the final part of the exhibit, the "Behind the story" area where you can read the history behind the legend of Monkey King. You can see Monkey King's distinguishing characteristics (his staff, kerchief, and tiger skin), learn about the importance of peaches in China (they represent long life), and read several picture books.


Monkey King 28 Mask and Toys

At the end of the journey there are masks and action figures that the kids can play with right next to the exhibit books.