Posts Tagged ‘recommended’

squishable.com tiger!
I just discovered Squishables, big squeezy armfuls of plushy critter goodness. They has tigers! They has monkeys! Even sheepses! Squeeeee!

squishable sheep! I predict sheep raids in the SCA will come back into fashion!

Cough. Ahem. I mean, they have a wide veriety of popular creatures, depicted as fat, fuzzy, balls of squee, err, um, as neotenous symbolic representations that invite tactile contact for primate reassurance. Huggable! Did we mention huggable!

squishable.com code monkey, err monkey!

I almost forgot the best part:

Pix 4 charity! For every picture of you smiling with your Squishable that we receive in the month of November, we’ll donate a dollar to Operation Smile. [a charity that helps children born with facial deformities receive corrective surgery– SRC] The more smiling faces, the more cash, up to $500.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get your Squishable, and take a picture of you and your new buddy! Buy one for the helpdesk at your company– they need a mascot, preferably one that’s huggable, after dealing with you lot all day, every week!

Let the squishing begin!

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Squishables right now but I am planning to become a customer as soon as I start my holiday shopping! I know a Code Monkey or two who could use more hugs, for instance.


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Frank Warren (Post Secrets) is doing a signing at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Tuesday night (Oct 16th) at 7:30pm. I would totally love to go, but I won't, because I try never to be all fangrrl at anybody. (heartpang) And I scheduled a garden meeting that lasts until 6pm, so getting out there would be hellish. (sigh)

The things in those books. Strong drink and a cold breeze from a reaching singularity. I have designed my own postcards and not-mailed them. Some would make people happy. Others, well… others. I also won't go because when I read the books, sometimes I'm crying (happy or sad crying, sometimes both), and everything about crying in public sucks, for me at least.

Oh, he's at Diesel in Oakland and Booksmith in SF on Weds, and at Elliott Bay in Seattle on Thurs. And lots of other places on tour in October. If you’ve somehow never heard of Post Secret, you’re in for a wild ride!

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There has been a list going around lately of the most-unread books in folks’ del.icio.us libraries. I have very few of these books, but have read a number of them. Most of these books are ones I have Not Read because I have zero desire to read them. I'm going to simply omit the ones that I don't care about. Sure, they may be great works of literature. No rules out there saying I gotta read 'em if they're not my cuppa tea.

So instead, I have 'read', 'want to read someday', 'tried and went bleah'. The numbers in parens are preserved from the original listing, and represent the number of libraries in which these were not-read.

Read these:

  • Ulysses (84)
  • The Odyssey (83)
  • Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance : an inquiry into values (45)
  • Watership Down (44)
  • The Hobbit (44)
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies (79)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (66)
  • Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West [I loved this! I need to remember to check the sequels out of the library.]
  • Brave new world (61) [How can they NOT have read this?! Oh, man. A *must read* for today.]
  • Frankenstein (59) [I know I read this for Fantasy Fiction class in college, but I don't remember it! I just remember finding a paper I wrote on it while cleaning out some old papers!]
  • 1984 (57)
  • The inferno (56) [Dante's, I presume? Not Stig's? 😉 ]
  • Gulliver's travels (53)
  • Dune
  • The scarlet letter (48) [In high school; blech; hated it.]
  • The catcher in the rye (46) [High school; didn't really 'get it'.]
  • Treasure Island

Haven't read these, but may read them 'someday':

  • One hundred years of solitude
  • Don Quixote (skimmed in high school)
  • Canterbury Tales (want to read a translation)
  • Dracula (59) [Some folks published this as a BLOG a year or three ago, and it was GREAT, I got very hooked on it but then forgot to keep up with it. It turns out to be a very natural style because of the first-person style of the book and the extensive use of letters to other people. Oh, and it's *actually creepy*, which was cool! Just in time for Halloween, Dracula, by Bram Stoker, as blog]
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (48)
  • Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything (45)
  • The Three Musketeers [There was a really well-done DC Comics adaptation of this back in the 1970's, with really good art. I know, I know. Some stories are just BETTER as manga.]

Books I started, but which convinced me on their own that I didn't want to bother reading them:

  • Anna Karenina (132)
  • The Silmarillion (104)
  • The name of the rose (91) [loved the movie!]
  • Moby Dick (86)
  • American gods (68) [I had such high hopes for this based on the little Foglio 2-pager, but no, it's just too full of itself and its own smugness. Cut a lot of the excess floweriness out, or have the Foglios do a graphic novel, and I'd surely read it.]
  • Atlas shrugged (67)
  • Foucault's pendulum (61)
  • One flew over the cuckoo's nest (54)
  • Oliver Twist (54)
  • Cryptonomicon (50)
  • The mists of Avalon (47)
  • Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed (47) [This one had me for a chapter or two, but as a serious student of world agronomy, indigenous crops, and alternative methods of agriculture, I soon hit too many fallacies to consider the remainder of the book worth reading. GIGO.]
  • Gravity's rainbow (44)

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Some sci-fi novel series I'm fond of started with one really popular book, and then were expanded. The author ended up writing novels which were technically prequels to the series, but since they were written as a more mature, seasoned writer, they were actually better books (imho) than the ones that introduced everyone to that universe. I don't think I would have understood or enjoyed the published-first novels as much if I'd read them first.

Instead I stumbled upon a later novel, then looked up the in-universe chronological order of the stories and read the books in that order. The two examples that come immediately to mind are Catherine Asaro's Skolian series and Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series. I think that Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series worked the same way for me.

Anybody got other series that fit this profile? I love finding new works where there are several books!

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Just discovered the Apartment Therapy website, and the book. They do regular 8-week challenges, a la the Flylady folks, where you follow along in the book and wreak (chaotic good) havoc in your dwelling.

Starting tomorrow (Sept 5th): The Fall Cure.

I'm SO freakin' there. Who else is along for the ride? Woo!

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Worked up a rather long reply to a friend who has a parent with some issues, and thought others might appreciate the info. Getting a parent to actually TAKE vitamins or admit anything is wrong might be, well, some kind of karmic irony in action. But maybe you can use the info to get their doctor to evaluate and propose some supplemental nutrition.

  • The excellent Alzheimer’s pages at Healing with Nutrition mention that “Two of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the elderly are folic acid and vitamin B12. These deficiencies lead to motor skill disturbances, confusion, delusion, fatigue, memory loss, numbness, and ringing in the ears. Sounds like dementia, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue, and multiple sclerosis all rolled up into one. The important thing to realize is that there are often no differences between the subtle signs of nutrition deficiency and what we interpret as “old age.””
  • Some doctors’ papers available at an Australian site offer a lot of hope:
    “Not a single one of the scores of middle-aged-to-elderly people who have consulted me since 1981 for memory-loss or early Alzheimer’s dementia – and who stayed on my program – has ever gone on to develop the full-blown Alzheimer’s Disease.”
  • This research paper indicates that “cholinesterase inhibitors, FDA-approved drugs that slow the breakdown of acetylcholine in Alzheimer’s patients, help alleviate dementia symptoms.”
  • Try increasing available acetylcholine via nutritional supplements.
  • Look at other medications the folks are on to find any anticholinergic drugs that may be bringing on dementia-like symptoms; also check the listed side effects and interactions to see if ‘cognitive impairment’ is listed.
  • Consider applying several of the suggested therapies from CERI’s table of anti-Alzheimer’s recommendations, especially DMAE, glutathione, and lots and lots of lethicin and B’s. Note that we forwarded info from CERI’s programs on dealing with Downs Syndrome via nutritional therapy to Mike’s brother when our little niece was born with it. She is mainstreamed and does really well, though she may top out at some point (is only 11 now). Mike’s mom thinks that it’s because little A “only had a mild case”– um, yeah. Trisomy-21, you have it or you don’t, eh? Dunno if their Alzheimer’s stuff is as good, but give it a shot.
  • This MIT research “suggests that a cocktail treatment of omega-3 fatty acids and two other compounds normally present in the blood, could delay the cognitive decline seen in Alzheimer’s disease” (omega-3’s, uridine, and choline)
  • Wild-caught Alaskan salmon oil, or deep-sea norweigan fish oil, are both the best omega-3/omega-6 good-ratio supplements out there. Flaxseed oil requires the body to do more conversion (a conversion which cats can’t do, found out about it on a make your own petfood site). Pasture-raised eggs, specifically the yolks, are an excellent source of omega-3; current indoor, factory-farmed eggs and meats are quite lacking in them compared to historical values. Most modern grain-heavy diets provide a ton of omega-6 but without omega-3 in the right ratios you run into trouble. Yes, that’s a very vague statement; go look these up yourself, I’m tired now.
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    A framework for understanding poverty, by Ruby K. Payne

    Whether you have grown up in poverty or in wealth, this book will teach you things you never knew about yourself and your culture, and how it differs from others. Worth buying or reading just for the “class assumptions” quiz, one each for poor, middle class, and wealthy. The questions alone will be a real eye-opener.

    I got the book through the library LINK+ system, thinking it was a socioeconomic text. It turns out to be a guidebook for folks in public service, such as teachers, program administrators, and health workers. The book very clearly and candidly tackles the differences in values between classes. It can get a bit heavy-handed at times, but that’s almost a requirement to hammer home the point that people in poverty (and they differentiate between generational and situational poverty) have different values from the middle class. The generationally wealthy have different values from the middle class, too, but the middle class doesn’t spend nearly as much time bashing them as individuals because of those values.

    Which, in my opinion, is why all 3 classes are included, as the message is that time and again one sees middle class “helpers” designing programs and individual approaches that are almost guaranteed to fail when dealing with people in generational poverty, because they go directly against the values of those people. Points are also raised about how the differing value sets work against people who are trying to reset their class affiliations, either from poverty to middle class, or from middle class to wealthy.

    In my specific case, I am made aware of certain values– and expectations! — of mine which are directly working against my success in some career goals and my satisfaction level in some friendships. That’s incredibly valuable to me. It’s also more than slightly upsetting, seeing more clearly the extent to which I’ve self-sabotaged various things over the years, and also how I’ve unwittingly sometimes ridden various assumptions to the top. Well, I’ll raise a glass to more conscious choices, and continue the learning curve.

    I mentioned in an earlier, friends-locked post that I had been feeling keenly disappointed in what I perceived as a lack of reciprocity among some people that I helped through difficult times. Well, there’s a direct-pattern value from generational poverty that says that one is required to share one’s good fortune with one’s community, and that the community will share back. People help each other through difficult times. The middle class community, on the other hand, values self-sufficiency, especially financial self sufficiency, above personal relationships on that level. If you get a bonus, you’re not even obligated to take all your friends out to dinner or buy a round at the neighborhood bar– those are poor to working class values, not middle class.

    A specific example– over the years, especially the ‘bad valley years’, I’ve cheerfully picked up the tab for lunches and dinners for friends who weren’t working. Fast-forward to now, when I’ve had some business disappointments (employee nightmare costing me a full quarter’s revenue, and the fiscal year’s profit; me taking some time off to finish a book project). The same friends are going strictly dutch when we go out, down to line items like who had a soda and who didn’t. Nice. Guess who feels like a dork? Not them! [PS- These lunch/dinner folks are not on LJ, afaIk, so if you’re reading this and feel guilty, it’s all in your head.]

    So I will chalk up several of those disappointments to class values. There are still one or two cases where I feel like folks personally took advantage of me, either because we were involved or because they perceived me as ‘rich’ compared to them, or both. But going forward, knowing the differences frees me from having to pick up the tab so much, from giving things away because I feel obligated to do so, and generally acting like I’m still stuck in rural NH/Maine during the 1970’s recession/depression.

    I also will work on confronting my feelings about how to integrate my love of dressing in unusual ways, and my hatred of brand brandishment with the undeniable FACT that brand conformity (in clothing) is perceived as reliability and stability by the class of folks who hire and fire at the levels I work, and who network socially while clad in those brands. Ugh.

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