faboo mama

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Archive for the ‘Books’

I just read Anathem

Anathem Anathem by Neal Stephenson

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
Well, I finally finished reading this book. Meh. I think Neal Stephenson should stick to Earth. The book just read as a contract filler. We’ve read other books, better written with the hapless main character caught up in events. Not his best.

View all my reviews.


When we moved to California, I attended school in the Rowland Heights School District.  This was back in the 80s, so things were a little more lax back then.  On Halloween, the students would dress up and in elementary school, there’d be a parade.  The kindergarteners would start it walking through and picking up the first graders, then on to second grade, etc.  I didn’t think much about it until I moved to Hollywood.  I noticed that the kids at Fairfax High didn’t dress up for Halloween.  It was strange to me, but became normal in my 8 years living of Melrose Ave.  When we moved to El Sereno, I expected to see the students celebrate Halloween, but noted that last year, they did not.

At this point, I had just assumed that the LAUSD does not encourage dressing up.  I can’t say I blame them.  With all the ridiculously inappropriate and racially offensive costumes out there, it would probably be best for the kids to focus on their education.  So it was with great interest I read the paper that came home with my kindergartener the other day.

In lieu of a Halloween parade, her school is having a Literacy Parade.  The students are encourage to dress as a character from a book.  Horror characters are not allowed.  To make this all homework-y, the students also have to create a poster or bookcover of the book to carry with them during the parade.  Somehow, we parents of kindergarteners are off the hook for finding a character, they’re doing 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.  The kids will all wear little monkey ears and tails.  My daughter tells me they’re going to recite the story in English and Spanish.

I can’t wait to take pictures.

I won!

That’s right, I won the Easy Green Living book by Renée Loux that was being given away on Seesmic. Want to watch the whole thing? Below is the video of the when Ms. Loux took our questions on what we viewed as important in living “green”:

Yes, that’s not Renée, but if you click on it, you’ll see here (yes, I’m laughing at a pretty frantic email I received).

About a week and some days later, the winner was announced:

I laughed. I cried. I want to thank the Academy…

Then today…the book arrived:

I’m kinda busy with work, but I’ve had a chance to flip through the book and it’s pretty interesting. There are a lot of items in the book that I already own/buy not because of any greenness on my part, but because of price, locality and prettiness/smells. The book is more a shopping guide than a lifestyle guide, IMO, but even flipping through it, it was struck by how many items in the book are things you don’t really need in life. Or the lack of actual greenness of them, i.e. paper towels/napkins. It’s much more green to use cloth towels, and thankfully, the author does point that out. Which brings me to the second cool thing about the book.

Everything is pretty accessible to anyone who can read and shows that you don’t have to drop big $$$ to be green which is stunning to me considering Loux hosts a show on Fine Living. The best part is that Loux does explain why certain things are better than others. Unlike other “green” books, there doesn’t seem to be those not-so-unsubtle judgment calls on your purchases. Take the section on cookware. It’s extremely detailed explaining why Teflon or non-stick cookware isn’t in your best interest vs. stainless steel or cast iron cookware.

Check out the book at your local library or you can find at Powell’s.

Noisy Kid Toys

One thing I failed to mention in the video was that most of the toys that drive me crazy were actually gifts. If I bother to buy my kids toys that make noise, they’re always educational…okay, except for the Uniqua doll, that one’s just cool. Other than that, the noisy toys we have were gifts. Gifts from childless friends or grandma; people who won’t be living with that noise any time soon. I’ve asked people to give me books or clothes (or gift cards for books or clothes if they don’t want to think about the gift), but you know the excuse they always give, “I just can’t help it!”.

The 9/11 Truther and Me

Or 5 Minutes With a Wacktivist…

Dear Peter of the 9/11 Truthers…remember me? I sat next to you at the panel featuring Amy Goodman, Howard Fineman, Tom Hayden and (shudder) Hugh Hewitt. I’m the one who told you your actions do more harm than good, that you’re useless like Code Pink and World Can’t Wait. See one of the reasons I said that was obvious, but you were too busy being a self-important asshat to notice what was going on around you.

While you were shouting to your friend that 10 people in the audience had signs and that CSPAN may be covering live, you were too dimwitted to notice the producer standing right behind you, too dumb to notice the cameraman standing 6 feet away staring at you and repeating everything you said into the walkie-talkie. It was you and your loud mouth that got the Q&A canceled. It was you and your 10 friends lining up to the mic holding identical pieces of paper, that got that Q&A canceled.

You like to pretend that you’re so high-minded and everyone else “just doesn’t want to know the truth”. It’s not that we’re uninterested in Truth, it’s just that you guys and people like you (your friends on Conspiracy Theory Row for example) ruin it for the rest of us. You’re loud, obnoxious and have very little facts on your side. Any sane argument does not ever include “That’s what they want you to think!”

Even the judicial use of logic should make you think about your actions. You said that Amy Goodman was the most powerful and influential voice in the media. You said that you were going to ask her to cover this. We normal and sane people, write letters to the “journalist” and the news agency. We put pressure on them that way. Disrupting a panel on current interests with off-topic subjects does not make anyone want to listen to you. Your tactics also presume that Amy Goodman somehow managed not to notice 9/11 and look into the back story, that she’s never heard of your conspiracy theories. Tell me, when has “the most powerful and influential voice in media” ever shrunk away from reporting a story, especially the uncomfortable ones?

LA Time Festival of Books

I’m more than a little excited about attending the Festival of Books this year.  See the last time we went to the Festival of Books was in 2002.  We had big plans on going in 2003, but Ilia was born the first day of the event and I spent the weekend in the hospital.  Every year after that, it was either not looking forward to pushing a stroller on the grass, morning sickness or just too damn hot.  Ilia is tickled that the festival starts on her birthday and she’s excited about seeing Julie Andrews, though we’re not going that day.

Contrary to popular belief, Los Angeles is home to a lot of readers.  Attendance is always high and it’s so much fun meeting people who can give you new tips on authors or books to check out.  Many of the booths have authors there signing their books and you can chat with them if the line’s not too long.  Sadly, this past year has seen the passing of several LA bookstores.  Their presence at the Festival will be missed.  It will be odd not to see their booths at the Festival.

There are several panels and speakers this year, but not that many or appealing to me so I’m only attending one this year (got my ticket!).  Check the link above for panels that will interest you.  You can also see what exhibitors will be there and which authors will be signing their books.

Hope to see you there!

The Big Read

On Saturday, Los Angeles County Public Library chose Rudolfo Anaya’s book Bless Me, Ultima for their The Big Read book. Saturday was the big kickoff day for the book.

For those unaware, The Big Read in basically a nation-wide book club put on by the National Endowments for the Arts in conjunction with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with Arts Midwest. This is the 3rd year (I think it started in ‘06) for The Big Read and it seems to be catching on. I looked at the map of communities participating and there are a lot more than last year. I’ll definitely have to get the book since I’ve never read this one.

There’s quite a few books on the list, but LA picked Anaya’s book. That’s works for me, since I’ve read all the other books on the list save this one and The Shawl, which I’ve never even heard of before. At any rate, for Los Angeles, there are several events happening at Cal State LA tied into this book:

CSULA Display of Anaya Materials
A collection of author Rudolfo Anaya’s materials, including books and photographs, will be displayed. (Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations centered on Anaya’s classic novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.”)
Kick-off event at East Los Angeles Library: (Sat., Mar. 15, 1-5 p.m.) Roberto Cantu to discuss “La Santa Tierra: Land, History, and The Sacred in Bless Me, Ultima by Rodulfo A. Anaya.”
JFK Memorial Library
Call JFK Memorial Library at (323) 343-3950 for more information.
Saturday, March 15, 2008 - Saturday, April 19, 2008 - Exhibit opens during Library hours

Theatrical Adaptation of “Bless Me, Ultima”
Adapted and directed by Professor Theresa Larkin with Alejandra Flores playing the role of Ultima. (Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations centered on Rudolfo Anaya’s classic novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.”)
Music Hall
Call the Cal State L.A. Box Office at (323) 343-4118 for more information.
Thursday, April 10, 2008 7:00PM

Book Discussion Group
Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations centered on Rudolfo Anaya’s classic novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.”
Library North B530
Call JFK Memorial Library at (323) 343-3950 for more information.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008 12:00PM - 1:00PM

The Big Read Finale Lecture
Roberto Cantu, professor of English and Chicano Studies at Cal State L.A., will present a lecture, “Narrative Cycles in Rudolfo A. Anaya’s novels, from Bless Me, Ultima (1972), to The Curse of the ChupaCabra (2006).” (Part of The Big Read outreach program with the L.A. County Public Library to coordinate community-wide reading celebrations.)
King Hall Lecture Hall 2
Call the JFK Memorial Library at (323) 343-3950 for more information.
Thursday, April 17, 2008 6:00PM - 8:00PM

Yeah, I know the hours and they’re not very worker bee-friendly. I hope there are some night-time book discussion events also happening.