1 X 4 X 9

1 by 4 by 9, the dimensions of the monolith.

The first time I watched the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” it confused me. It didn’t help that it was a drive-in and I was stoned. After a clearheaded second viewing I still wasn’t sure on the point of the story behind the monolith.

By a stroke of luck I came across a copy of the book. My mind was blown. The beautifully artful piece of cinema was compelling, but it didn’t go through the details of the book enough to deliver the powerful punch the book landed.

Years later I was listening to the broadcast of our local public radio which, for a time, had narration of select books. The book I listened to was “2010: Odyssey Two” and it captivated me. After listening to it, I went out and found the book for my library. I read it several more times, before I heard it was being made into a movie. Interesting.

As with 2001, the film version of 2010 was a bit different from the book, some parts left out, but for the most part the storyline it delivered was enough information to uncover everything. I was curious how two aspects would be presented on film-the discoveries on Europa and the supernova of Jupiter. The first had the suspense of the book, but for the second the book description dealt the shock and intensity more fully than the film.

Still…these two books and movies are repeat go to’s for me.

I also completed my hardback “Odyssey” collection of four books in my library.

It always improves the experience, I feel, to absorb the book before, during, or after enjoying the film version.

Cheers!

-N

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My sage advice is this…listen to your instincts!

I learned a lesson, the hard way.

My daughter and grandson had just moved to Phoenix from LA last Saturday with the help of her dad. I had hoped to meet them Saturday to help unload, kiss my little fella and welcome my daughter back to her home state after twenty years in California. They got a late start and didn’t get into town until the evening. So a trip up wasn’t going to happen. We had made previous plans to meet up with our Phoenix family on Wednesday to kick back, watch fireworks and be together, but I wanted to see them, so…against my instincts to wait until July 4th, I decided instead drive up yesterday, drop off my mom at my sister’s house and go to my daughter’s new place to help her get things put together. I figured I could help her best by keeping Bubba busy while she got some stuff knocked out and settled in.

Wrong!!

Mom and I left after church, stopped for a burger and drink, and headed out on the two hour drive to my sister’s place. She lives in Glendale which is northwest Phoenix. Things were going okay until after I turned off Hwy 79 onto Hwy 60. Now remember this is mid day, summer, central Arizona. I was about two miles down the road after my turn when I heard a loud knock on the bottom of my car, drove a bit more and there was another one, then a couple more. I was getting concerned since I hadn’t noticed stuff in the road. This red car came up beside me and the woman was vigorously pointing at my front tire. Damn!

I pulled over, got out and saw I had a flat tire that was shedding chucks of tread. The couple in the red car pulled off in front and she hurried over asking if I needed anything and if they could help with changing the tire. She was dressed beautifully so I reassured her I had AAA and I didn’t want them out there on the hot asphalt changing a tire. After a few moments of convincing her I was okay they left. Called AAA, and they responded quickly and efficiently telling me I was a priority since I was on the side of the road, and informed me a truck was on its way ETA 2:41pm.

My radio clock said 1:56pm! Nearly an hour at 102° outside.

So with about fifty minutes to wait, I put up the sun screen in the wind shield, rolled down the windows, turned off the a/c and the car, and proceeded to wait. I had a bottle of water that I wet napkins for mom and I to keep cool. There was a breeze so we had good old fashioned evaporative cooling. It wasn’t cool but was survivable. We also had ice cold drinks. My mother is 88, and not in the best of health.

I was stressed.

I spent the time, letting family know the situation, where we were, and the status while I watched the progress of the Phoenix Metro Towing truck heading my way on the app provided by AAA. Just want to say, they were great and kept calling to check on  us. Anyway about 2:20pm I looked in my rear view mirror to see an Arizona State Trooper pull up behind me. Suffice to say I was relieved and knew no matter what it would be okay. He got out and came over to mom’s side and asked how we were. I said the tow truck was coming in about twenty minutes. He looked at mom and asked me if I had plenty of gas and a good a/c. I replied I did and he said to start the car, pull farther off the road, set the brake, and turn on the a/c for mom and let’s start to change the tire. I was so on this and that’s just what I did. Mom was doing okay and I was being proactive.

I discovered I had no jack!

The only thing I had was the tool to lower the spare and pump the jack. “Shit!” yep yelled that out loud to all the desert creatures and the trooper. He went around and got his jack, but it was too big to fit under the low front of the PT Cruiser with a flat. Please God!?!? But then who should drive up, Mike with Phoenix Metro Towing. The trooper told him the deal with the jack, he went and got one that worked like a charm. Mike was my new best friend! He got the flat off, and pointed out I was missing a lug nut and the lug looked like it was broken. Okay, but can the tire stay on? Yep.

Right on!

Since it was a Sunday Discount Tire and Big O Tire are closed. The closest place I could go to get two new tires was the Walmart on Apache Trail in Apache Junction. This put me about 50 miles from my sister in Glendale. Amazing Mike, after giving me directions, followed me to said Walmart and then departed for parts unknown. I pulled in and as luck would have it no waiting! But…when the attendant was checking me in and saw the lug nut/lug situation he said Walmart can’t touch it. What?!?!? Nope, the liability, but he filled the donut spare with the proper air pressure and wished me luck.

In the meantime, unknown to me, hubby had called sister to ask her to find a place that was open that could get tires. I got back on Hwy 60, headed west. I had gone about three miles when I saw a highway patrol car behind me with flashing lights pulling ME over. What now?!?! The lovely woman officer came smiling up to my car to inform me when she first ran the plates it came back as a different vehicle, but a second time it came back as my car and I was free to go. I mentioned the flat/spare situation and she said that she thought the Discount Tire on Power Road was open on Sunday so I thanked her, and once again headed out. Turned off on to Power Rd, and found the tire store right away. Nope – closed. My sister called at that point to say her hubby had found a Pep Boys on Peoria and 67th that would do the work, was waiting for me and they closed a 6pm. It was 3:25 and 107°. I asked her to ask him if he thought I was good on the spare for the forty miles and I heard him say “Yes!” so back on the 60 we go.

I know there were plenty of drivers yesterday who were cussing the lady driving the purple PT Cruiser down the highway at 60mph but screw ’em, I had no options if that donut failed!

Twenty minutes later I pulled into the Pep Boys parking lot. I went inside and told the guy at the counter I was the lady with the Cruiser. He looked at me like I was speaking Klingon. He told me  that when the guy called he told them he couldn’t do it. This isn’t happening. I had to have something work out. My brother-in-law showed up and when he talked to the guy he realized it was the Pep Boys on Peoria and 75th, so off we went. We walked inside, and up to the service counter.  Manuel at the counter turned to another guy and asked if he talked to a man about tires for a PT Cruiser. He said, “Not me, that was Devin. Hey Devin, the guy with the cruiser is here.” I let out a huge breath, handed over the keys, got in my brother-in-law’s car and mom and I went to my sisters house.

My brain in a fog, my head aching and my mom very quiet, I ate, played with my grandson and hugged my daughter who were waiting there for us.

An hour later I had the car back, with two new front tires – mom and I would make it home. The Cruiser has an appointment this Friday to get the lug fixed, two new back tires and an oil change.

If I had followed my initial instinct to wait until Wednesday, my husband would have been with us, there is a good chance the tire would have been flat and replaced before we left, and I would have had a fun time with my family celebrating our great nation’s birthday.

Wednesday is off the schedule now since the Cruiser is going to the car doctor. The family had planned a get together here in Catalina on the 14th so I will still have family time.

Listen to your instincts.

Cheers!

-N

My Publishing Journey: An Update – More to do than done! — GJ Stevens

I’m about to embark into the unknown world of self-publishing my first book, In The End. Here I document my honest journey so far and the steps I think I’ll need to take. I’ll repost each time I have any major update or when I learn something new or if anyone comments with some useful or […]

via My Publishing Journey: An Update – More to do than done! — GJ Stevens

June-here, hot and busy

After a call this morning from my niece about her visit this month, I looked at my calendar for June and found several things going on. I better take my vitamins.

First, the 100’s will hit Catalina AZ tomorrow! Damn, I’m not ready but at least they held off until now, so I only have to make it through one month and then monsoon season will show up to help my water bill. I can do that, yep I can. The spa is not heated so I can dunk myself, fully clothed, a couple of times a day to stay cool.

Second, my 88 year old mother will have a diagnostic procedure and followup appointments this month. It is part of a recent discovery made about her medical condition that will need monitoring. Yeah, that’s about all I can say on that one.

Third, my daughter and my grandson will make two trips out to Arizona from California this month. The first time will be mid month to do some logistics setting up the second visit. That one is her permanent move to Arizona for a new job in Phoenix!! Okay color this human ecstatically happy! Charlie will only be two hours from me-his Nannie. Melissa is having some strong emotions about this move since she has been in LA since 1997. She will leave lots of very close friends that make up the village who have been there for her while she fostered and adopted Charlie. They are family. But hopefully not too far away for visits.

Fourth, my great niece Kali will be coming down from Phoenix to stay with us for several days, and we will begin her Tucson indoctrination – haha. Phoenix and Tucson are so very different. Phoenix is the big metropolis with freeways, concrete and asphalt, tall glass towers, and very oppressive heat. As is typical of a city like Phoenix there is a lot of things to do. Tucson is also a big city, but because of a our surrounding mountains ranges our weather is not quite as hot. Don’t get me wrong it is hot here but rarely will Tucson have temps over 115. Phoenix does.

Anyone who visits needs to drive up to Mount Lemmon, and we plan to bring Kali up there for yummy cookies, homemade fudge, and a visit to the Living Rainbow gift shop. Also a ride on the ski lift to the top of the mountain (over 9000′) and a trip to Sabino Canyon to play in the creek and have a picnic. Tucson has avoided expanses of freeways; some of us regret that, others are glad for it. Our mountains may not be Colorado mountains but they get enough snow for skiing in the winter and a right out my front door.

So we plan to introduce Tucson to Kali in all of its laid back coolness.

So this month will be hot and busy. But that is life.

Cheers!

-N

Noelle’s blog

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com Noelle has been reading Bad Blood Will Out by William Savage This review is for Rosie’s Book Review Team. The book was purchased by the reviewer. Bad Blood Will Out is the fourth in the Ashmole Fox series of mysteries set in Georgian England. The protagonist […]

via Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Mystery Bad Blood Will Out by William Savage @penandpension — Rosie Amber

Snaps and whistles

I was remembering when I learned to whistle and snap. These actions seemed to cross us over a special boundary of human muscle control. Children are captivated by someone snapping or whistling.

Have you watched a child try to snap? They imitate the action but the sound isn’t there, frustrating them in their efforts. They watch your fingers, then they watch their own but something isn’t working and they know it. I adore observing this process of physical learning. What is it that happens in their brain that figures out the dynamic of friction necessary to make that cool sound?

And a whistle? There are a few grown ups who still cannot whistle – astounding as that may seem to us natural whistlers. I can whistle the regular way. I also have my football game whistle, two fingers together and it makes everyone around me cover their ears.

Lauren Bacall said it best “just put your lips together and blow” and that made Humphrey Bogart her slave!! Just awesome the power of a whistle.

After potty training, learning to snap and whistle are huge steps in growing up – right up there with learning to read and write.

Can you whistle? Do you remember learning to snap?

Cheers!

-N

Media for creativity

I have music on my old fashioned stereo which will play the radio, CD’s and believe it or not cassettes tapes, and there are iTunes on my laptop. I don’t have iTunes on my phone because it is an android-yuck. You see I have to have music, especially to be creative. Another thing I do when I am sewing is to chromecast from my laptop to a TV in my work room. I can watch a netflix movie and know how much time I’ve spent on a project, or turn it to YouTube and autoplay one of the channels I follow.

I’ve always had a soundtrack for my life. Inspiration, motivation, interpretation, recall, prompting, all of those words I get from the sound of music I love, or stories I like to watch. It colors the thought process, and the feeling of my creative surroundings.

Today the wind is blowing, the air is cool, the sky changes from clear blue with wispy clouds to a spreading overcast that changes the color of the mountains. It is a classical music day. Hayden I think, maybe Debussy later. I am glad for the solitary time I have at this moment to do some important research for my historical work. I’m looking for books or text written during 1868-1870 to get a feel for language and customs that dominated interpersonal relationships. How would a single young woman write to a young man she has know for her life, but now the relationship is starting to evolve?

I welcome suggestions as I sip my wine.

Cheers!

-N

 

Here is an update on my historical story.

I wrote this on my Facebook Author page www.facebook.com/NancyTurnerVaughn/

One aspect of this page that I prefer over my personal page is the lack of political messages and posts. My current historical work touches on the political climate post civil war, when the west was opened up for migration from the east by people who were looking to settle the lands in the west. This presented the situation of conflict with the indigenous population and the people looking for a new life. It could have been done so much differently.

I was watching a program about the Norman conquest of the Saxons in the 11th century. The French speaking Normans found the people to be backward, and some parts savage. They forced language on the population, expected them to conform to the accepted religion, and essentially to become Normans. Within a few decades a transition began in the people and their rulers whereby the Saxon culture began to emerge from it’s oppression. The language, government, etc. melded with the established Norman regime and over centuries we have what is now the United Kingdom.

How could the USA have done this conquering better? My main characters finds he is at odds with the military attitude toward the indigenous people, and yet is brutally attacked by these same people because of what his uniform says about who he is. In my research, I found times where both sides retaliated first, rather than condescending to conversation. There were some like Cochise who were guardedly open to conversation with the invading forces, and Lt. Charles Gatewood who made earnest promises his government didn’t keep.

So here I go, delving into the past, to find the passion, courage, and healing for my character, Jude Tremaine in my story currently named “A Favor From A Lady.”

Cheers!

-N

NFL goes out with a bang-for me

Yesterday was the “Big Game” for the NFL. I have to admit, as a football fan, the NFL has been a troubled platform for lots of fans and players. As a military kid, dad was Air Force, I have a strong patriotic heart. It’s true I was disheartened at the continued disrespect I saw, but this was not just in the NFL-it was everywhere.

It made me harken back to that time when we were on our way back to the US from the Philippines after my dad spent most of that tour in Phan Rhang, VietNam. We were told not to mention our dad serving in VN, and it was best not to mention our father was military. He was told not to wear his uniform on once he reached the shores US because of the strong and sometimes violent anti-military sentiment at that time.

1969 it was.

When I saw the protests of the players kneeling, the flag burning, and the things said about our military forces, it was Déjà vu. I felt my late father was being disrespected-again. His career in the Navy during World War II, and in the Air Force for Korea and Vietnam seemed to have no value or meaning to many of these humans who weren’t even around at that time.

So, yesterday I got a a bit of mine back.

I live outside of Tucson AZ, home of the University of Arizona Wildcats. My in-laws, my husband, and my daughter are all UA alum. I’ve worked there, and hubby currently works there.

If anyone was watching, the Wildcats had four ex-players in the game. Two for each team. It was splendid for me and for my dad’s memory. You see, for at least eight years my father volunteered his time to the UA football team for Coaches Larry Smith and Dick Tomey, as a time keeper for football practice, on the sidelines holding headset cables (before wireless,) and helping out with anything coaches, players, and trainers needed.

My dad loved Arizona Football. 

To see Nick Foles, Coach Dave Fipp, Rob Gronkowski, and Marquis Flowers playing in the Super Bowl would have brought my dad incredible joy. He would have been happy no matter who won, but I’m kinda thinking he would have liked Nick getting a Super Bowl ring, since Rob already had two. But just knowing some of his boys were playing, well lets just say there was cheering in heaven!

Everyone has their own opinion about the topic of what the flag means and why they protest. That is their right. But this is mine. I love my flag just like I love my country. I know history shows there was very bad and wonderfully good events. This is the point of keeping history, to be aware and make sure those mistakes are never made again.

Cheers!

-N

 

Picking a name

While I’ve been working stories, especially fiction, the one thing I discovered is the complexity of character names. How do other people come up with names? Sometimes I’ve had a name from the start. In the case of my current story the main characters’ names have been in my head from the beginning. I also had several of the other background and ancillary characters with names I knew I wanted to use.

But this one guy. My main female’s ex-husband. What the crap is his name? Todd, Alec. Oh he’s dead, a jerk, and only referred to in past tense.

I’ve come up with those two names so far, but they just don’t strike me as the right one. All you writers out there. Where do you look for names? Do you have a proven method to find the one that works?

I am currently trying to blog, listening to classical music and eating a sandwich while trying to keep the cat from my food.

So let me know the way you find the best name for a fictional human.

Cheers!

-N