Friday, August 08, 2008

It may be hot outside, but it is chilly in my office with the air on so I am drinking hot coffee, thanks to the new flavored beans I found next to my pot when I got up this morning. I was barely keeping my eyes open until Steve got home last night. I crashed night right after so I didn't even see the groceries he unpacked or the first pre-season football game. I can't believe Brett Farve, the "old guy" from Green Bay, is with the Jets. Guess he just couldn't do without the "glory". Should be an interesting year of football. I am still a Texans fan at heart.

I had to stay awake because Sophie was still very shaky on her back legs, which kept slipping out from under her on the tile and hardwood floors after I picked her up from the vet. If she didn't look so befuddled over why her hind end wouldn't work it might have been funny. Sore gums or not from having her teeth cleaned she chowed down as soon as she got home, even if it was from a lying down position. She is doing great today and not even embarrassed by her bald spots where mats were shaved out on her back. She's outside surveying the world from the deck. Just wait until we have a new home with a larger yard - if we end up in Boones Trace there will be deer in the yard. Will feel like back home in Upper Michigan with critters around again. Not many here in Hamburg, but a few bunnies and one possum when we first moved in.

I have been cleaning off my desk and came across the NY Times article I saved - "Electronic Papyrus: The Digital Book Unfurled" - about the pocket-sized Readius made by Polymer Vision. You can actually roll it up - the screen is so flexible you can wrap it around your finger. Now, this is an ebook reader I might be willing to buy. It uses the same ELink technology that the Kindle does. We won't see this baby in the U.S. until the beginning of 2009. No price set yet but they anticipate it to be more expensive than the Kindle at $359. Hmmm. Guess I will have to wait for it to go down in price. Want to know more? Go to: I may register in case they are going to give a few away in the U.S. market. :-)

I guess I am on a NF kick for the moment, but my YA book for today is a Watson-Guptill publication that came out last month - Kyle Baker's How to Draw Stupid and Other Essentials of Cartooning. Anyone who knows me knows I cannot draw at all. When I taught First grade my kiddos would come up and draw things for me as they couldn't tell what mine were when I drew them. Pretty bad when a 6-year-old can draw better than you can, but that's life. So, because I can't draw, I am totally impressed by folks who can. And Baker can draw, and draw stupid as he states it - so stupid that his cartoons make you snort laugh. We have a lot of teens out there who are budding artists/cartoonists and this is the book for them. Heck, Baker dedicates it "to the future cartoonists of the universe." My favorite chapter is Chapter 8: Use Reference Material. He writes about needing to know how an x-ray machine is set up in a dentist's office for a cartoon - he went to the Internet for photographs to work from. Great advice: "Don't try to fake stuff, or try to guess what something looks like, or work from memory. That's not only lazy, but lots of people looking at your drawing won't know what it's supposed to be." The chapters are short and filled with cartoons, some of them full page. This book is a browser's delight and then you can settle down and enjoy his enlightening and very humorous text on how to become a great cartoonist. Baker should know - he's won 8 Eisner Awards and 5 Harvey Awards Although I would still prefer to curl up with a narrative style novel, I am getting more and more into graphic novels and cartoon books. But, when I think about it - that's no surprise as Mic was collecting Garfield books long before they were referred to as graphic novels. :-) He was watching Japanese anime back in the 1980s too - I had no idea it would become so popular, but liked the big eyed characters too. Wish I could remember the one he rented over and over again - even I could recite the dialogue!

My children's book for the day is a Barefoot Books title that was originally published in Britain, Motherbridge of Love illustrated by Josee Masse, but will have as wide of an audience in the U.S. Although a 2007 title, I have an ARC of it - loose pages - and I started to read it because of the beautiful cover - a little girl doing a handstand in the heart shaped opening made by two hands touching at thumb and fingers. Immediately a page fell out and as I picked it up I realized it was in Chinese. Though I cannot read it, I recognized it from things I have around my own home purchased in China when I visited as a leader of a People to People Ambassador Program visit of librarians. The text of this book - a poem written by an adoptive mother and sent in to the charity Mother Bridge of Love - will fill every mother, adoptive or not, with warmth. To hear this poem beautifully read visit: Do not skip the intro - this is the poem. Don't stop there - this organization is of interest to more than parents who adopted children from China. It does any mother's heart good to visit. I write this with a lump in my throat.

As much as I would like to spend more time talking about books and web sites I love, it is time to do some more packing and working on Fall semester courses.