Ray and I enjoyed another interesting speaker at UT Arlington. Their Maverick Speaker Series brings in vibrant folks who encourage us to dream and dare. Anousheh Ansari was the first female private space explorer. Also the first Iranian and Muslim in space. Her eight days aboard the International Space Station completed a dream she had as a little girl, and also pushed her to think further about science, technology, and the future.
Ansari is the co-founder, chairwoman, and CEO of Prodea Systems - a company constantly seeking innovations in global access to technology. Her talk was very interesting. As a young girl in Iran, she drew pictures of rocket ships and dreamed of space travel. Her parents were able to flee the worn torn country in upheaval and come to America. Here, she pursued a math career but always had her head in the stars. Obviously a smart entrepreneur, her hard work did pay off.
She was able to pay for a trip in a Soyuz. Her discussion of the training, the ride in the Vomit Comet test, learning beginning Russian, etc was humorous. The preparation was rigorous. The pictures aboard the ISS - weightlessness, doing experiments, and the views from space - were awe-inspiring.
Now back on earth, Anousheh Ansari works to promote STEM education, especially for girls. She hopes to inspire youth to dream big and not give up. Look to the stars and see a future.
Whatever on a Wednesday - hope everyone is having a good week.
Sometimes things just strike me as I'm reading. I'm a paper person and I rip out pages in the newspaper or magazine and put them in a pile to digest again. Here are two little blips that struck me - enjoy
From Time Magazine 10/30 issue - in regards to a collision of two neutron stars 130 million years ago that just reached Earth signals recently, scientists learned a lot. Here is one finding that amused me:
The universe is speeding. We know the universe is expanding and a gravitational signal from a galaxy at a known distance made it possible for the first time to measure how fast: 43 miles per second per megaparsec. Here's the line that cracked me up - That's astronomy talk for "really fast." !!
And here's another comment from the Time Magazine 10/30 issue from author Philip Pullman who wrote the Golden Compass and others in a series. In regards to what he wants folks to take away from his writing, " The meaning of the book is never just what the author thinks it is. It's a great mistake to rely on the author to tell you. We don't know. The meaning is only what emerges when the book and the reader meet."
Ponder that on a Wednesday and carry on. Happy writing and reading.
Today Will be Different by Maria Semple is
different. I really liked an earlier work of hers, so I opened this one
with a good attitude. Semple has an odd sense of humor (that I like) and her
writing is smooth. However, I found the characters a bit annoying, and some of
the quirkiness seemed forced. I did not stay engaged and reached a point where
I did not really care what happened to Eleanor. I even sympathized with the
husband and his need to explore other avenues. Plus her son acted as more of an
adult than she did, and I found some of his comments to be stilted. So, I am
returning this book to the library, glad that I did not pay for it. Seek out
her book Where’d You Go Bernadette? Now that was a good read!
From the opening page: Today will be different.
Today I will be present…Today I will take pride in my appearance, I’ll shower,
get dressed in proper clothes, and change into yoga clothes only for yoga,
which today I will actually attend. Today I won’t swear….Today there will be an
ease about me. Today I will radiate calm. Kindness and self-control will
abound. Today I will buy local. Today I will be my best self, the person I’m
capable of being. Today will be different.
Hmmm, let’s just say that goals are not met today. ‘Nuff
Feast your eyes on this new State Fair fried food winner. It's heaven. Only 14 coupons ($7.00). Yowza. But trust me, worth every penny. And when you convert your hard earned money into coupons, it's like monopoly money - practically free!
This is called Fat Smooth and OMG, hell yes. Three cream puffs fried in Cafe Du Monde beignet batter, then doused in powdered sugar with a drizzle of caramel and chocolate sauce.
It was tough, but I did share with Ray.
(we did walk over 10,000 steps that day. I feel good about it - absolutely)
Oh yes, everything is bigger in Texas. The State Fair is a marvel. It runs for a month and is SO much fun. There are shows, exhibits, fried foods galore, and how about this wall of butter carving......Crazy, right?
Award winning quilts in the creative arts building. Folks are so talented
The Hall of State is a gorgeous permanent building in Fair Park. The exhibit this year was Texas and WWI. Quite fascinating. But I've always loved this wall sculpture.
The Esplanade. Art Deco buildings are all around. Huge auto show is inside. Ray test drove the 2018 Chevy Colorado. No purchase yet....
and cool statues abound.
More pics in a later post. Happy Friday - gotta love October
I Need a Lifeguard Everywhere but the Pool is
a great title. It sums up this collection of humorous essays from the mother
daughter combo of Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella. Light and
breezy, this book encompasses musings on all aspects of life and from the
perspective of a sixty year old twice divorced successful author who lives in
the Philly suburbs, and a thirty year old single up and comer living in
New York City. From the cover blurb – They offer a fresh and funny
take on the triumphs and face-palm moments of modern life, showing that when it
comes to navigating the crazy world we live in, you’ve always been your own
From Lisa’s chapter Collect Them All –
Either way, I have too many books.
I know, I don’t think it’s a problem either.
The only thing is they’re overtaking my house.
She goes on to discuss putting book shelves in her
kitchen, the only room without such shelving. It’s a funny chapter and one I
could identify with.
From Francesca’s chapter Hi, My Name Is
“It’s a good networking opportunity.”
If there’s a more anxiety inducing sentence than that, I
don’t know it.
Networking is the worst. I like people and I’m outgoing,
but I like connecting with people on a real level. I make friends. I don’t make
She goes on to describe an event, and being the awkward
outcast standing in a corner. We’ve all been there.
Lifeguard is a very fun non-fiction book I
plucked from the library shelves. If you need a chuckle or two, this is the
book for you. Enjoy.
I paid $4.33 for Home Again and it was worth
every penny. I just wanted a movie at this time (2 ish) that was not too
long ( 96 minutes) and that required NO thinking whatsoever. Home Again
completed the mission as a total fluff piece. Thank you Reese Witherspoon
for delivering a worthy performance that only required looking adorable. Her
big blue eyes never looked bluer or bigger. Her smile was never more radiant.
And she pulled off that cute wrinkle the nose look. As for the young men
in the movie – oh so cute. Generically good looking, okay acting, and yes, total
fluff puppy dog eyes. The girls playing Reese’s daughters were equally way too
adorable. Michael Sheen is fine as the on-the-outs artsy husband. Candice
Bergen (good to see her) is Reese’s mother.
This is a Nancy Meyers production and the writer/director is
her daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer. That says enough. Absolutely fabulous LA home
setting with a kitchen to die for, and of course the pool, guest house, etc are
decorated to perfection.
Shall I discuss plot? Nah. Why muddy the waters? I didn’t go
to think. I went for fluff, light drama, humor, cuteness, and a happy tidy
ending. BAM!!! Totally nailed it.
Michael Connelly changes gears from old Harry Bosch. This
time in The Late Show he introduces us to young Renee Ballard, a
tough detective trying to prove herself. She’s been shoved into the midnight
shift due to some office politics – punishment for filing a sexual harassment
complaint against a supervisor. It’s frustrating, but she’s working hard to do
her job and move on. The book leaps into two cases that will keep her busy.
First a prostitute is badly beaten and left for dead – a sign of an evil killer
at large. Then a nightclub shooting has all the earmarks of gang activity and a
possible cop on the inside. Oh the web tangles and Renee has a lot of work
ahead of her.
From the cover blurb – As the investigations entwine,
Ballard is forced to face her own demons and confront a danger she could not
have imagined. To find justice for these victims who can’t speak for
themselves, she must put not only her career but her life on the line.
Renee Ballard is an exciting new character and I look
forward to reading more of her in Michael Connelly’s books. The Late Show
proves to be a page-turner. Fast paced and riveting – everything you want in a
crime drama thriller.
Enjoyed a Sunday afternoon program at the Dallas Museum of Art. The theme of Artful Musings was Fame. It consisted of letters about fame from the famous. Four performers - Todd Beadle, Jamie Maschler, David Quicksall, and Jen Taylor presented a program with letters, a slide show, and an accordion accompaniment. It was all quite entertaining, amusing, and enlightening.
The show was in four parts - the struggle, fame, stardom, and fleeting aspects. It began with a letter from a 14 year old to a magazine, hoping for acceptance. The author...Stephen King. Other letters included David Bowie writing back to his very first fan letter from America - his response was incredibly gracious. Another letter read aloud was from a young Bruce Springsteen to his landlord explaining why he was late.
There was quite a variety - some from authors to their publishers along with a response (sadly a rejection or two). There was a very funny letter response from the Monty Python troupe - John Cleese wrote, then Michael Palin did a follow-up, along with Eric Idle. It was a hoot.
The program flowed and the performers read with verve. This was a well curated collection and performance piece. Fame - quite a concept.
Joanne Faries, originally from the Philadelphia area, lives in Texas with her husband Ray. She considers herself fortunate to be able to pursue a writing career after eons in the business world. Joanne enjoys reading and movies, and is the film critic for the Little Paper of San Saba.