A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Things That Rainy Day Misses - Footnotes


Remember footnotes?  Those notes in tiny print under a black line at the bottom of the page?  What happened to them?  Where did they go?  Did they get tired of hanging onto the black line and slide off the page to be eaten by the dust bunnies under the bed?

            Rainy Day reads a lot of nonfiction, and she reads it for enjoyment as much as to learn, and because she reads everything, she reads the footnotes.

            When they were at the bottom of the page, it was easy to glance down and see if the author added something worth reading, or merely a reference bibliography.  A quick glance and it was either read, or ignored, and then back to the rest of the story.  Mere seconds required.  Nano seconds.  

            Footnotes now only exist when Rainy Day (Mary Roach and John Man) type them.  And if Rainy Day writes them, she already knows what they say and she doesn’t need to glance to the bottom of the page, except to proof.

            Now, someone in his infinite wisdom – probably someone who isn’t a ‘true reader’ – has changed the publishing of books.  Footnotes are passé.  They are old fashioned.  Nota non grata.  They ain’t used no more.  They have become the red headed orphan. Why?

            The best answer Rainy Day has found is a slam to all who are not working in academia.  Footnotes have migrated to endnotes for the sole reason (so she's been told) because people found them irritating and in the way, and no one but academes read them anyway, so why not put them in the back, out of the way, allowing the text to flow more beautifully.  Say what? 

            In an era when the mantra seems to be ‘time is money,' and more and more items are put on the market to tout the saving of time – pocket computers, electronic dictionaries, wireless phones, wireless computers (and wireless brains?) – all geared to save one time, books have devolved into endnotes.

           While it’s true Rainy Day may have more time than money, she still has lots of books to read, quilts to make, things to do, and people to see.  She must spend her time as wisely as she spends her money.  Time, like money, is not to frivolously twitter away on endeavors of questionable quality.  Like endnotes.

            Now, instead of one bookmark, and mere seconds to scan a footnote to determine whether it’s something to read or not, Rainy Day must flip to the back of the book and find the endnotes.  She now needs two bookmarks (She actually read one book that required three bookmarks.  She admits, it was a textbook of sorts, so some silliness could be expected).  Every time Rainy Day comes to one of the small, superscript numbers in the text, she must now stop reading, disrupt the flow, hold her place, go to the back, scan until she finds the matching number, and determine whether or not to read the note.  Then she must go back to the book.  This process no longer takes mere seconds. 

            Admittedly, some authors are kind enough to use endnotes as bibliography notes, with no text – a quick scan and Rainy Day can tell she doesn't need to keep up the flipping and flapping of pages.  And sometimes, she can scan down the notes and make a mental note that she doesn't need to check them until she gets to number 347.  But too often, there is good stuff in the notes that she doesn't want to miss. 

            And chapter endnotes.  Oy veh! Rainy Day hopes the person who came up with notes at the end of the chapter spends eternity flipping through pages trying to quickly find the end of the chapter.  Eternity is a long time.  He may get his just rewards.  (Rainy Day hopes he sits next to the person who invented white baby shoes, and spends his eternity polishing them.)

            Furthermore, Rainy Day doesn't believe the argument that paper is saved any more than she believes that nonacademic readers aren’t interested in footnotes.

            Alright, perhaps had she learned to enjoy reading while sitting in a chair, possibly at a table, endnotes might not hold the dire amounts of frustration they currently do.  Yes, Rainy Day learned to read sitting in a chair at a desk, but for pure enjoyment, her favorite way to read a book is stretched out on her back in bed.  Or on the sofa.  Or maybe a hammock.  And, at her age, she has earned the right to read where she wants to.  If it’s technical, or job related, she reads at her desk.  But Rainy Day doesn’t have a job any more.  She's retired.

            Footnotes.  One of many things that quietly slipped into the history box labeled “The good old days” of which Rainy Day is more and more convinced does exist -- someplace.

            And yes, she reads cereal boxes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rainy Day and Real-Life Hero William Hickman

So, says Rainy Day, we've all read books that have played an important role in our lives, but, have any of those books saved our lives???

There was an interesting story in the news a day or two ago, about a 13 year old boy, William Hickman, who went hiking with his dad and younger brother up in the Cascades, not too far from where Rainy Day used to live (beautiful country!). The boy got hot, and thought he'd wade in the shallows of the river only to slip, fall, and get carried away over a 10-foot drop into a deep pool of water just above a 295-foot waterfall! Not the place to be.

Fortunately this young man not only reads books, he comprehends what he reads and was able to put some advice learned from the fantasy character Bobby Pendragon of the Pendragon Adventure books by D. J. MacHale: "go feet first, stay to the sides and kick off the rocks." William was cold, wet, scared, and smart! He remembered, and he acted, and he spent a terrifying time on a rock ledge, with a host of rescuers, until pulled to safety the next morning.

William is calling his rescuers 'heroes' as well he should, but I posit that William is, himself, a Hero for playing a huge part in saving himself! Read the nice comment Mr. MacHale wrote on his site. Watch the video of this amazing rescue. Note, this is raw footage, and slightly under 14 minutes in length, and begins with a few stills to set up the actual scene.

This is a great story, with a happy ending. And books played a huge role in that ending. Books and a young man's bravery under very adverse conditions. Of course, there were many other unmentioned heroes – the teachers who taught him to read and comprehend what he read and the parents who encouraged him in his reading. Not to mention the publishers who made the books available. And why is Rainy Day so interested? Because she writes books (as well as blogs;-). And she writes books for the young and the young at heart. And though she hopes none of her readers will ever face such a horrifying situation as young Mr. Hickman did, she hopes her readers will come away from her books having learned something that will help them live happy, productive, and very, very long lives.

Has a book ever saved your life? Or made a profound difference in your life? Rainy Day would love to hear about the book and the role it played!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rainy Day and the May Snowstorm

The other day Rainy D sat in her office working, when she happened to glance out the window into a snow storm. Now, where Rainy D lives we don't get much snow action in the dead of winter, let alone in May, so she was intrigued.

Cottonwood 'Snow'
On the way out the door with her camera to shoot this oddness, she noticed the outdoor thermometer read 83 degrees, and the sun was shining. Of course, as soon as she stepped outside, and began sneezing, she realized it was not a blizzard of snow but of Cottonwood seeds.

With any form of luck, you will be able to see the white 'flakes' against the green trees. (Hint, they may look like snow balls.)

If you click here (http://www.treepicturesonline.com/cottonwood_tree_pictures.html ) about the middle of the photo array, you will see a clump of the seeds.

Yellow Rose of Kennewick
According to some old-timers in the area, Cottonwood and Locust are the only two trees native to where Rainy Day lives; all other trees have been imported. The Cottonwood is sacred to some Indian Tribes, and there are many stories that can be found by using your favorite search engine. Also many pictures of the trees. This site is about the Corps of Discovery (Lewis and Clark's expedition), and may be of some interest. http://lewis-clark.org/content/content-article.asp?ArticleID=1333

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rainy Day and the Best Thing She Ever Ate

There is a TV show on Food Network, The Best Thing I Ever Ate that always comes with a subtitle such as, Fried Food, Desserts, Appetizers, etc. It's one of Rainy D's favorite shows. Chefs from the network take us, virtually, to some restaurant they like, and show us their favorite food. Sometimes, Rainy D crinkles her nose, but most often not. And she loves how they always go to some restaurant of haute cuisine that, even if Rainy D was in the right town, she could never afford to eat from;-)

But the show always makes Rainy Day wonder, what is the best thing she ever ate, and why. She tries to keep it in the same category as the show and has discovered she has many wonderful memories of really good things to eat, but couldn't tell you the name of the restaurant if her life depended on it.

There's Alligator Bites from a big restaurant just after you get onto Sanibel Island in Florida. Rainy Day had never eaten alligator before that trip, so she thought she'd try it. The plate came heaping with chunks of alligator meat that had been dipped in batter and deep fried. Rainy Day thought she'd died and gone to Everglade Heaven! Sweet, succulent, and to die for!

There was a little sea food restaurant not too far from Traveler's Rest in South Carolina where the waitress never let the basket of hush puppies sit empty on the table. I think the fish was pretty good, but those hush puppies were better than the ones my Grandma used to make. And hers were divine!

Toeshi, a local restaurant Rainy D frequents, makes the best Daeji Bulgogi (a spicy pork bulgogi) this side of Korea. And their kim chees are not only wonderful, but come with every Korean dish ordered. And one can get a side to go with the Japanese dishes.

The best Yakisoba she's ever had was from Tanpopo's in Bellevue. The best dessert from a restaurant in South Seattle, Castle's. She doesn't remember their name for it, but she called it Death By Chocolate – a 7 layer chocolate cake, and each layer was different.

What makes it difficult to pick a 'best' in any category, at least for Rainy Day, is that by her definition, any food she doesn't have to cook, or clean up after, is Excellent! But it's a game she likes to play to while away an hour now and then.

The best salad she ever had was a seafood chopped salad by a restaurant that no longer makes them. The best hamburger was a bison burger in a tavern in Wyoming (or maybe Montana). Her favorite chicken dinner was from a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Karlsruhe, Germany. Her favorite lunch? Kraut and wurst from whatever Gasthause in Germany she was at when lunch time rolled around. (Every town had their own versions for both the wurst (some short and fat and others long and skinny) and the kraut (they all used different spices).

Rainy Day admits it. She likes food. Not necessarily the haute cuisine of the TV Chefs (which fork do you use?), but the food of the working people. Simple food, honest food, delicious food that will keep body and soul together. And you, Gentle Readers? What is the best thing you ever ate?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rainy Day asks You to Tell Her

Rainy Day came across Justine Dell's blog a year or so ago, and her section called Grammar Police. Rainy D has been subscribing ever since and today's Living With Rainy Day is a direct result of Ms. Dell's latest blog, titled, You Tell Me.

What Ms. Dell wants her readers to do is tell her what they love to read, and those of her readers who are also writers, tell what they love to write.

Rainy Day knows that it does no good to ask her Gentle Readers much of anything, because unlike Ms. Dells readers, Rainy Day's seldom, if ever, respond. (Yes, Rainy Day is jealous of Justine Dell's readers. She is also jealous of Ms. Dell's writing, but that's another story!)

So, knowing beforehand that she will get few, if any, responses to her questions, she will ask them anyhow. What do you, Gentle Reader, read? And, if you write, what do you write?

If you read Romance, Rainy Day strongly recommends you check out Justine Dell's blog at http://justine-dell.blogspot.com . And, of course, her book, Recaptured Dreams when it comes out later this year.

If you write, Rainy Day strongly recommends the above blog, and the Grammar Police section, whether or not you write Romance. The rules are the same ;-)

But what, you may want to know, does Rainy Day read? The easy answer is to go to her Rainy Day Reads blog at http://lenoragood.blogspot.com/ . This blog will show the published books she's read since the beginning of the year. As you can see, it runs from Science Fiction and Fantasy to Biography to Memoir, and most everything in between. She qualified the books as 'published' because she is in writing groups, and has the marvelous opportunity to sometimes read books before they are published. Oh, aren't you the jealous ones now, Gentle Readers?

Besides several blogs Rainy Day subscribes to and reads, she also subscribes to Daily Science Fiction at www.DailyScienceFiction.com. She gets a daily dose of SF/F in her mail box every morning. Short stories, quick to read, and a fun start to her day.

Her other two daily reads are A.Word.A.Day with Anu Garg. She loves reading about words and their meaning, usage, and etymology. You may sign up by going to www.Wordsmith.org. And her day would not be complete without reading an excerpt from a nonfiction book sent by www.delanceyplace.com.

And, of course, you all know Rainy Day writes novels – historical and fantastical, as well as short stories and poems. Sometimes, they are purchased and published; too, in which case you, Gentle Readers are always the first to know.

So, Gentle Reader, what do you read? And why? And do you write? What do you write? For whom do you write? (Bill Ransom once told Rainy Day that we write for three audiences – private (we don't care to share), limited -- sharing amongst family and friends, and for public consumption and that often what begins at the first, migrates through the second into the third.)

Speaking of good reads, if you can find any of Bill Ransom's books, and like Science Fiction and Fantasy, read them! They're marvelous!