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text 2018-07-27 13:55
OT: A bus ride and something yummy

Yesterday, my sister and I went shopping in the little town near here. It’s actually quite pretty with low hills and plenty of trees. That’s not just an aesthetic quality. These days it’s also important because of the unnatural heatwave we’re experiencing at the moment. Unfortunately the people of the town aren’t quite as pleasant but enough said about that. My sister found a vegan chocolate spread. It’s extremely delicious, but of course we didn’t taste it until we got back.


Getting back was a different story. I’d heard that there was a bus that only traveled between that little town and our bus stop but I’d never seen it or traveled on it. Yesterday I did. There was something wrong with the back doors that I always have to pass through with the buggy. But eventually we were able to get on the bus. The best part was not having to climb up all the steps that I have to on the express bus. This is an ordinary ’slow’ bus. The driver was nice and polite to us and since my sister, son and I were the only ones on the bus he just asked where we were going and said he’d take us straight there, ignoring any stops on the way. Maybe it was partly because of the road work being done during everyone’s vacation time. He did, however rattle a young moped driver we passed on the relatively narrow road.


Finally, before crossing the road to our side of it, we had to stand by the side of the road and try, only partially successfully, to put up our mailbox. In the relentless heat, very close to the rather intense traffic. So that was quite a little adventure.

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review 2016-10-25 10:14
Life's Grandeur: The Spread of Excellence From Plato to Darwin - Stephen Jay Gould

Life's Grandeur has echoed through my thinking since I originally read it. As an Australian and a cricket fan, I found the baseball chapters wearisome, to the point of giving up the book at one stage.I'm better off for having finished it though.


Gould nails one point in particular: that evolution is radiative not directional, hence, we can not make any distinction of inferior and superior species. I believe many people make the mistake of taking humanity as the 'pinnacle' of evolution. While human social structure is very interesting, and, perhaps, sets us apart from all other extant animals, it wasn't an inevitable outcome of evolution

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text 2015-10-01 19:39
Teal Pumpkin Project '15- Bringing Awareness and Learning about Children w/ food allergies


 Last Year, I learned about my Best Friend's severe food allergy. Since then I come to learn alot about the effect food allergies has on people's everyday lives


   Halloween can be pretty stressful if you have little ones with a food allergies, and not letting them be able to be apart of the fun that is Trick o' Treating can be heartbreaking.


  The Teal Pumpkin Project is raising awareness about children with food allergies again this year and giving helpful advice, ideas, and tips for everyone to have a safe and great Halloween!

  It's real simple : provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters and paint a pumpkin teal to place in front of your home with a free printable sign from FARE, to indicate you have non-food treats on hand.


Teal Pumpkin Project



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review 2014-12-08 18:20
The Twelve Kingdoms, Vol. 3: The Vast Spread of the Seas (book) by Fuyumi Ono, translated by Alexander O. Smith and Elye J. Alexander
The Twelve Kingdoms: The Vast Spread of the Seas - 山田 章博,小野 不由美,Fuyumi Ono,Akihiro Yamada,Alexander O. Smith,Elye J. Alexander

Although I've previously reviewed this, I decided I'm going to write a new review for my reread.

This is my least favorite book in the series, although it was less emotionally draining to read than Sea of Shadow. The fantasy aspects of the world of the Twelve Kingdoms seemed to be less on the forefront here. Instead, the focus was on politics. It had its good moments, but the first half of the book was a slog. Also, unlike Sea of Wind, where I could see how the events of the book would fit into the more present-day history of the Twelve Kingdoms, there was very little here that seemed relevant to Yoko's time.

Book 1 was set in the present day, and Book 2 was set a few years before that. The Vast Spread of the Seas takes place 500 years before Book 1. Readers are introduced to two boys, one living in Japan and one living in the Twelve Kingdoms. Rokuta, the boy in Japan, is only four years old when he's abandoned by his parents so that the rest of his family can hopefully avoid starvation. It turns out that he's a kirin who was born in Japan, just like Taiki. He is found by his lamia and taken back to the Twelve Kingdoms. Koya, the boy in the Twelve Kingdoms, is also abandoned. He is found by a demon beast that, for some reason, chooses to take care of him rather than eat him.

In the book's present, Rokuta/Enki (I'll just call him Rokuta from here on out) is frustrated with Shoryu, his king, who seems too lazy and laid-back. This is why he doesn't make much of a fuss when Atsuyu, the self-proclaimed regent of Gen Province, has him kidnapped – he figures that maybe this will force Shoryu to finally pay more attention to his people. Unfortunately, Rokuta didn't consider that his kidnapping might lead to the thing he hates most, war and bloodshed. Occasional flashbacks show how everyone met and became the people they are in the book's present, 20 or 30 years later.


While I think those new to the series could start with either Book 1 or Book 2, I would strongly advise not starting with this book. Not only are the world rules explained in less detail, but Shoryu probably wouldn't seem worth paying much attention to. In the first half of the book, he seemed like a shoddy ruler, and his court was a mess. The advisers closest to him were excellent, but didn't trust him to do what was best for his kingdom. That included Rokuta, who believed that kingdoms would be better off without kings. Shoryu seemed remarkably unconcerned about the need for levee-building and the possible rebellion brewing in Gen Province, which only fueled his advisers' distrust in him.

I knew that Shoryu was actually a much better, sharper, and more intelligent ruler than he appeared to be, and I enjoyed the moments when he revealed this. All of his odd decisions and slacking off actually had a purpose. One thing that hit me during my reread, however, was how difficult Shoryu made things for himself by not cultivating his advisers' trust in him. I could understand why he'd want his enemies and the officials appointed by the former king to think him lazy and stupid – it meant they underestimated him. However, why not allow Shuko, Itan, and Rokuta to see more of what was really going on underneath the surface? After all, he let Ribi see that much, and as a result she was his most fiercely loyal supporter. Had Rokuta trusted him even half as much, he'd never have quietly allowed himself to be taken prisoner.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book: Shoryu's belief that rulers are nothing without their people, the deconstruction of the seemingly perfect and kind Atsuyu, Koya somehow managing to be a sympathetic character despite the things he did, and Rokuta learning to trust Shoryu more. Unfortunately, a lot of that didn't come together until the very end, so I mostly found this to be too dry and boring. I had a hard time staying interested in all the talk of levees, army sizes, and government officials.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2014-12-06 00:50
Reading progress update: I've read 294 out of 294 pages.
The Twelve Kingdoms: The Vast Spread of the Seas - 山田 章博,小野 不由美,Fuyumi Ono,Akihiro Yamada,Alexander O. Smith,Elye J. Alexander

The Vast Spread of the Seas is the only book in this series that I've liked somewhat less upon rereading it. It did have some good moments, though. I loved the bit where Rokuta/Enki made Shoryu carry him when they were reunited. I just wish less of the book had been a slog.


Next up: Skies of Dawn, the last book in the series to be translated into English, and the only one I've never read, although I've seen the anime and therefore have some idea of what's going to happen. Yoko gets to be awesome!

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