Sunday, November 3, 2013

Closing this blog

I guess all good things had to come to an end.

I was going to post a book review today, but guess what., Google made me do a 1 hour runabout resetting my password just because I forgot the old one.

I didnt realise that Google had taken over Blogspot. I dont like Google - never have.

Google has no privacy rules - they invade peoples privacy at the drop of a hat.

That is why I refuse to use the Chrome Browser (I use Firefox instead) and also why I wont use any google email or other google product. I don't even use the google search engine.

Since  I am seldom posting anything up at this blog any more, I have decided that I am going to close this blog and and move somewhere else - somewhere NOT controlled by Google.

It's been a good run. I have had this blog for 6 and a half years - from March 2007 when I started it.

I will slowly be moving some of my posts and reviews off this blog - some may reappear on my website and others may just go to my hard drive.

So Ciao for now and thank you so much for reading.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tom Clancy has died

One of my all time favourite movies is the Hunt for Red October. This was a movie made back in the 1990s, starring 2 of my most favourite actors - Sean Connery and Sam Neill.

The movie was adapted from the bestseller book by Tom Clancy.

The author of that book, Tom Clancy, died yesterday.

He was just 66 years old. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Scanners Universe

I have now been out of Squidoo for 6 months, but I still have an urge to write.

So over the last few days, I have created a new website where I can write my stuff.

I will continue putting book reviews up on this blog. 

My new website is called The Scanners Universe

Because after all - I AM a Scanner!!!

This is still a free web-host and it claims to not have any advertisements, but eventually the ads will show up as a pop up. Please ignore the ads when they do show up and read my pages.

Thank you.

Monday, September 9, 2013

On Paper - Book Review

On Paper - The Everything Of Its 2000 Year History
By Nicholas Basbanes
Knopf Books
October 2013

I love Nick Basbanes' books. He writes wonderful book about books and bibliography.

So when I was offered the chance to read this new book, as an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) I jumped at the opportunity.

This book is about the history of PAPER - that thin stuff we humans used to write on -  before the Internet and the world wide web was invented. Now most of us type on keyboards and our writing is stored in Cyberspace!!

Paper was invented back in China some 2000 years ago, and eventually  arrived in Europe by way of the Middle East. Paper was clearly readily available before Gutenberg invented the printing press. The Printing press may have been new to Europe in 1450 CE, but it had been around in China in one form or another for quite some time. 

While reading the history of paper in this book, was extremely enlightening, Basbanes  could  have been lightened it up with a few more anecdotes, and personal stories.

Basbanes spent seven years travelling throughout China, Asia, Middle East, Europe and the New World, chasing the history of paper.  Some of his stories are interesting, others are not. I am probably biased, but there are some areas of history and some cultures I really don't have any interest in.

The chapters about the history of paper in China and along the Silk Road were very interesting to me. I thoroughly enjoyed those. The chapter about making paper in Japan was not. I personally am not terribly keen on Japanese history or culture.

That's not to say that the history was dry and dull, it wasn't. But all that history,  was certainly packed in tight and the chapters were quite lengthy to read. I think another reason why I had trouble getting through this book, is because this was an ARC, (and not the finished product) and there was NOT a lot of white space.

I like reading books with large (easy to read) text and lots of white space. They look "friendly" to me. This ARC had pages and pages of small text with very few photos and not a lot of white space - so again, I may have been biased. As a result, I could not read several chapters at one time.

Basbanes went on to describe different ways in which paper was used.  These included chapters on the following subjects.

Cartridge wraps (for holding the gunpowder before metal bullets were invented)
Hand made paper - often used for Origami (very important in Japan)
Identity papers and passports
Government documents

Diaries, Journals, Letters, Prose, Plays and other forms of literature
Picture Postcards, Posters and Cards
Gift wrapping paper
Designs, plans, schematics and blueprints
Printed Photographs (before the digital photo came along)

And so on.

As you can see, Paper has always been used in a variety of ways and for a lot of different reasons.

This book is due to be published on or around 17 October, 2013 by Alfred Knopf Books.
Price will be USD35 and there will 448 pages.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Growing Up Again - Book Review

Growing Up Again
By Mary Tyler Moore
MacMillan 2009
Publishers Review

Yeah, Yeah, I know - it's been way too long since I last read and reviewed anything.

But this book I have just finished reading precisely because like my son, Mary has also struggled with Type 1 diabetes. Except she was diagnosed way back in 1969 - 40 years before she published this book.

Mary was diagnosed in her 30's which is somewhat unusual, but it has been known to happen. 

She has never looked after herself as well as she should.  She tries hard to keep a tight control on her blood glucose level - but she is tempted by all sweet foods available and she finds it very hard to resist.

As a result, her eyes are not in the best shape. She has lost all her peripheral vision and the only sight she has left is literally tunnel vision (straight ahead).

The A1C is a blood test that shows an average Blood glucose level for the last 3 months.

A Normal A1C number for a non-diabetic is below 6
A diabetic adult is expected to try and keep that number below 7

Diabetic children have to keep it below 8.

Mary Tyler Moore says that sometimes her A1C reading is 9 - which for a diabetic indicates very poor control.

My sons last A1C (tested just last week in fact) is currently 8.5 - which is NOT so good.

I have to keep even tighter control over what food he eats while he is at home over these next 2 months. This is somewhat stressful because he is also entering the time of puberty, going through growth spurts, and complaining that he is always hungry.

It seems to me that after every single meal he is asking for more food. And it certainly  doesn't help that all he wants to do is to sit at that damn computer and play video games all day.

Mary Tyler Moore also does not like doing maths and so she has chosen to NOT use a pump - because she cant seem to count the carbs right, or figure out how much extra insulin to add when she is eating.

 My son is good at maths and has also shown an interest in going on the pump, so maybe once school starts again, we can look into him doing the required training to get on the pump. This will mean HE has to be in control of his insulin, his food and all the carb counting.

MTM does mention several episodes where she made mistakes, and went HYPOglycemic - this is when the blood sugar levels drop very low. These episodes can often be life threatening if the glucose level stays low for too long. These are also the one time when a diabetic is REQUIRED to eat glucose, sugar, candy, cakes or anything with fast acting carbohydrates, to get the blood glucose levels back up again.

But this does NOT give you carte blanche to gorge on and overeat on the candy and sugar. You eat just enough to get that number back up to a normal level, test your blood glucose level and then stop eating. 

Mary does not go into details about her acting - that can all be read in her autobiography - After All. This book deals much more with her life as a diabetic, and her role as the Chairman of the JDRF board.

JDRF stands for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation - the old name for Type One Diabetes.

 If you really want to learn what it is like to have type 1 diabetes, then this is the book to read.

 It is just a short book to read - only 160 pages - the rest is appendices about various aspects of diabetes. This is an open and honest look at what it takes and what it means to be diabetic - and showing just how much more the diabetic person has to work at staying alive.

I really enjoyed this book.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I don't feel old

Happy Birthday to me..

Today is my 49th Birthday.

Next year I will be 50!!

I am chronologically old and definitely grey.

But the curious thing is - I don't FEEL old. 

I think this has to do with the fact (and I know, I have probably mentioned this before) that my son is still officially just 10 years old.

But if you have read this blog with any regularity, you would know that MAY is the birthday month in this family. All 3 of us have birthdays in May. Mine just happens to be first which makes me the OLDEST on this family. My husband will also turn 49 this month, and our son will turn 11.

One that has changed from previous years is that I am now officially the SHORTEST in this family.

I have been 5 feet 4 inches tall now for a good 30 years - since I was 19 - at least. My husband has always been just over 6 feet tall. So what's changed, you ask?

Kids have this annoying habit of growing taller, and my son who was shorter than me on my last birthday, is now TALLER than me. I'm 5 feet 4 and he is now 5 feet 5 inches as measured officially by the doctors.

This now makes me both the oldest and the shortest in this family, as well as being the only female.

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me-ee
Happy Birthday to me.

PS while I am mentioning birthdays, this blog turned 6 years old on St Patrick's Day (March 17th)  this year.

PPS now that I am no longer doing any Squidoo, I am hoping to go back to reading and reviewing more books for this blog.

Friday, March 22, 2013

No more Squidoo

Ok my 2 year fascination with Squidoo has run its course.

Google keep changing their rules and algorithims about spam, spun content and duplicate content and Squidoo kept changing the rules to keep up.

Today was the last straw. They started telling us how to design our lenses. They said that they had created a prompt that strongly suggested that we have an Amazon Sales modules at the top of the lens - at least within the first 5 modules. Up until now, I have always placed my amazon modules at the end of most of my lenses.

I have also become worried about all the personal information and family photographs I was putting on my lenses. I have been thinking of removing them from Squidoo for quite some time now, so when they decided today to tell me how to design my lens, I decided that enough was enough.

I had 266 lenses in my account this morning. I deleted about 85 lenses - mostly the personal ones with personal information about me, and/or photos of various members of my family.

Now I have 181 lenses. I am going to keep those in place, just to continue receiving any residual cash I may pick up.

I wrote a comment in the forum about the HQ policy of this Amazon prompt. A lot of lenses just dont flow smoothly if you interrupt the flow of the content with a sales blurb. Especially if you are required to place a blurb in a specific location. I know HQ denies this, but I beleive that any lens that does not put an Amazon sales module at the top, will eventually be penalised

I also stated that the mere fact that HQ are mentioning this, indicates that income from sales and advertising is clearly dropping and the HQ team are losing income, so they need us to make more money for them. I know this is true because the amount of money I made from Squidoo also dropped for the first 3 months of 2013. My response was that I am not going to massage my lenses just to help them make more money.

To my astonishment, I got an email from the boss man himself - Seth Godin. I may have over-reacted just a smidgen . He claimed that those who did NOT put their Amazon modules near the top of their lenses, would not be penalised. But something tells me that eventually they will be.

His last line said - Sorry to see you go. Good Luck.

 I am not leaving Squidoo. I am leaving my account up, and just choosing not to make any more lenses, that's all.

Friday, February 8, 2013

This weather is getting out of hand now

I don't know who upstairs controls the weather but today we are in the middle of yet ANOTHER snow storm. and once again this one stretches from Toronto all the way to the East coast of the USA - including from Boston and Maine, down to NYC.

We have had more snow this winter than we have ever had in the last 4 or 5 years. 

It actually started snowing around lunch time yesterday and more or less has not stopped since. The snow looks to be around 6 inches deep judging by what is piling up around the trees.

 A lot of private schools have taken a snow day today as have several Universities and tertiary colleges.  But the public and catholic schools boards say that schools are still open - although they have cancelled the buses.

So my son had to be wrapped up in a sweatshirt, a hoodie, a jacket and snow pants and boots, plus hat, gloves and scarf before I would allow him to leave and walk to school.

There is one thing I can say - AL Gore is just so so WRONG!!

This is NOT global warming!!!!

Once again I am not bothering with photos of my balcony - they look just like all the others.

Monday, January 28, 2013

And more snow....

Woke up this morning to yet another snowstorm *huge sigh*.

Schools are open but both my son and my spouse have come down with bad colds. Their sinuses are blocked and they both have sore throats and are feeling generally unwell. Both of them are diabetic as well, so I made the decision that my son will stay home today.

I could put up yet more photos of my snow covered balcony but really, they would just look exactly the same as the others, so just look at those and imagine more snow...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Recent Books I have read and Online Relationships

Not eveything is about the weather - even though it seems like it. Despite being in this city for 12 years, I guess I am still not totally acclimated to living where snowstorms are considered par for the course. Because where I grew up, it did not snow in January!! That was (is) summer time.

In other news - My sister got married 3 days ago for the second time. It was the second time around for both of them, actually. They both have one son each and the boys get along very well.

Judging from the photos I got from my parents, my sister looked gorgeous in her dress, and with her hair done the way it was.

 You know how people say that marriages from online relationships generally don't work? I dont know why people have to be so negative about meeting spouses and partners online - because my sister and I are both living proof that online dating DOES WORK.

Both of us met our spouses online. I met my husband in a chat room in January 2000. We were married in October 2000. We have now been married for over 12 years.

My sister met her spouse in an online chatroom some time in late 2000 - just after my wedding, I believe. They met in person during 2001 and have been together since January 2003 - that's 10 years!!!  They have also been engaged to be married for the last 4 years.

So online relationships - if you find the right person - DO WORK.

Moving on  - I have read and/or reviewed the following books over the last few weeks. These are reviewed at Squidoo.

The Walking Drum

The Out of Time Series

Charlton Heston Books

Girl of the Limberlost

I also babbled on about Reading Challenges and Book Club Quests too

So that's my reading and news for this month.

January snowstorm

While we have had a few light snowfalls during January. today is the first REAL snowstorm of the new year and there is a cold weather alert to go along with it.

Right now as I type, the time is almost 9 AM and I have just sent my son out into this snow storm to attend school. He is all wrapped in jacket, snowpants, boots, scarf and gloves. He does not have a hat but his sweatshirt does have a hood.

Photos taken in the last half an hour, from my balcony.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review of 2012

I guess I need to do a review of 2012, right?

 Well I am still unemployed. I did not even try to look for a job in 2012. I was too busy with my family - especially after my son was diagnosed with Diabetes. I was also kept busy with Squidoo.

 The End of the World (Mayan prophecy date)  has passed and we are still alive. In fact - on that date - December 21st, 2012 - I went to the hospital to get my blood tests done - which I always have to do before my quarterly specialist appointment.

Surprisingly there was NO Nuclear war in 2012 - but a certain country is still pushing for the USA to start a war with another certain country and the people are resisting.

The economy is getting worse and prices are rising higher.

I know this all seems like doom and gloom, but it is a fact of how we are living.

I mentioned last year that we had purchased a 3rd computer. Well, it is now hooked up to the family network, and we now have 3 computers working, but only 2 of them are actually being used.

I have moved from the old XP computer to the new Windows 7 computer. I LOVE the new Windows 7 computer. It has 6 GB of RAM and 1.33 TERABYTES of HARDRIVE memory!!!

Hubby for some reason does not like the Windows 7. So he and our son are still sharing the Vista computer.

The XP computer is actually getting very slow, so its probably about time it was retired. I just need to finish moving all my files off the XP to the new Win 7 PC, and then we can let the XP die a natural death.

I came across a meme about Microsoft and I thought it was very true.

Windows 98 - Excellent
Windows 2000/ME - Sucked
Windows XP - Excellent
Windows VISTA - Sucked
Windows 7 - Excellent
Windows 8 - Not doing so good.

And that's my review of 2012.