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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: CA, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 6 of 6
1. Fan Mail Wednesday #193: Stinky Science & Secret Codes



Today’s letter comes from the International School in Palo Alto, CA, and it’s written by Chih-Hsuan. But that’s not the best part. The best part is that it includes a brand new code — and I cracked it!

Here’s the letter:

Scan 1

Scan 3

I replied:

Dear Chih-Hsuan:

It’s always amazing to receive fan mail. When you think of the world today, how many people on the planet receive actual letters? What’s more, you wrote to me about a book that I wrote 15 years ago. That’s before you were born!

I’m glad that I’m still alive to read it.

And I mean, I’m very glad. The old ticker is still working!

I love your code, which is a variation of the List Code that Mila created in the book. At first it looks like a shopping list: 4 peanuts, 3 lobsters, 26 tomatos, etc.

The number, of course, is the key which directs me, the reader, to the proper letter. 3 lobsters means: “b.” What stumped me, briefly, was 26 tomatos. Hmmm? The letter “z”? Then I separated the number into its parts, a “2” and a “6.” Oooooooh. Double ooooooh!

Your secret message: FUN BOOK!

Thanks for that.

I should also thank you for getting me to pull that book off the shelf. I was actually charmed by the first page — a good beginning, I thought, in which I introduce a new character:

Illustration by John Speirs.

Illustration by John Speirs.

The pink bows didn’t fool me. I ignored the matching lace socks and the little red plastic pocketbook. I knew that Sally-Ann Simms was one tough cookie.

So what if she was only four and a half years old.

Sally-Ann stood in my backyard, hands on her hips. She shouted up to my tree house, “Jigsaw Jones! You up there?”

I was up there — and I told her so. “Take the ladder,” I called down. “The elevator’s broken.”

It’s a relief for me to read something I wrote long ago to discover that I still like it. Not bad, I think. And “not bad” is “pretty good.”

You asked why Joey didn’t simply throw his egg sandwich away in the trash. Good question. I think he felt bad about wasting food, so he wanted to get rid of the sandwich without anyone noticing. Of course, as a storyteller, I needed Joey to hide it in the volcano to help keep my plot moving forward. I have to confess that the smell of hard-boiled eggs makes me flee the room. It’s just one of those odors that I can’t tolerate. Yuck. Super yuck. 

Thanks for writing to me, Chih-Hsuan. And thank you, also, to the good folks at Scholastic for still sending along those letters, long after the book’s been published.

My best,


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2. Puppicasso Predictions #185

On July 3rd of 2008, certain puppy with no name was found wandering on the streets of Lakewood, CA.  He was brought into the Long Beach Animal Shelter where he was given the temporary check-in name of Bob, or Temp Bob if you will.

He was wise even then.  He wandered free on the day before the Firework Holiday, so he would get a good cage with a view before the crowd came in.

Puppi portraying the role of Temp Bob…

…recreating his famous 2008 escape to Lakewood.

He fooled them with his age, they thought he was four months old, but he was a worldly six months old.

He even through them off with his name, one of the Animal Care Workers remarked, “He doesn’t look like a Bob.  We are really running out of names.”

And so Temp Bob waits for his new name, and his new home….

I think he knew back then what his future name would be, and it wouldn’t be Ezra Pound Puppy.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: 2012 Predictions, CA, Cute, Dog, Fireworks, folba.org, Lakewood, Long Beach Animal Shelter 0 Comments on Puppicasso Predictions #185 as of 1/1/1900
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3. Self-defe...er...deprecating

I recorded my audio recordings last week (at my company, all editors make audio recordings of our book presentations for each list and make CDs to distribute to our Sales force so they can listen to them in their cars to get more familiar with the books), and used the word "self-deprecating" to describe the writing in one of my YA novels. I ended up having to do this particular recording three times because I kept messing up, and the more I said "self-deprecating" the more I thought I had it wrong. I'm always paranoid about that word because once my friend said "self-defecating" by accident and we endlessly made fun of him. But I've said it jokingly that way so many times that now I'm paranoid that I'll say it at the wrong time. And on a Sales CD would definitely be the wrong time. Then again...I wonder how many people would actually notice?

Greetings from beautiful Diamond Bar, CA. I never thought I'd be coming to Southern CA to escape the heat!

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4. Oh, the things you don't know! *

* lame attempt at being Seuss-like

But seriously.
Read this great article by Mental Floss about all the interesting factoids you didn't know about Dr. Seuss's books.

© Getty Images

Some of it is very grown up stuff!


I should have art to post pretty soon. I'm in the middle of a couple of things.

Meanwhile, the roses have been pruned (well, most of them, there are a LOT), the hydrangeas have been deadheaded and some winter weeds have found their way to the trash can (the green can ~ do you all have separated garbage like we do here in California?)

Art deadlines coming up:

CA (Communication Arts) Illustration 50
Deadline, March 6th

CPSA (Colored Pencil Society of America) 17th Annual Exhibition
Deadline, March 31st

I'd better get my rear in gear!

2 Comments on Oh, the things you don't know! *, last added: 1/27/2009
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5. Ypulse Essentials: Coke Debuts Single, French Teens Discover Bronte, Clean & Clear's Teen Soap Series

Putting the pop back in soda (Coke releases a single for its "Open Happiness" campaign featuring members of Gnarls Barkley, Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco. Plus, The New York Times asks what "The O.C." treatment will do for indie bands featured... Read the rest of this post

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6. Notes from the English Department: Easter in Fall

I'm writing as the sun is beginning to get low. A slow afternoon of not much going on. For lunch, we had salmon bought right from the fishmonger. One of them once told Bill he could come to her kitchen and cook anytime. I shared a bottle of wine with Bill. We rarely drink a whole bottle, but today is Easter and the afternoon slow. This morning I went to St. Peter's, the Anglican church in Vina Del Mar, which is very English. I learned that the Gospel According to Mark was written like a best seller, with an ending that leads you hanging and wanting to know more. I like trivia like that. But as lovely as the people are there, I miss St. John's, my church at home in Lake County, California, the place where most of the parishoners support Gay marriage and where Shared Ministry has been practiced because we can't afford a full time priest. That means we get to make a budget and plan the songs (not me because I can' t sing, but I did write the newsletter) and grumble a bit. I miss the grumbling. Before we sit down, most of us do a kind of little bow or curtsy to the alter that they don't do here, and we use the old form of the Lord's Prayer more often, which I prefer. We've kept more to the old forms in general. It's like how Americans still say gotten, but the English don't.

I'm reserved and my personality predisposes me to be one of the Frozen Chosen. There was guitar music during Holy Communion today and it annoyed me. I prefer the old hymns. I feel my English major coming to roost in them. I used to feel my bones were buried in an English churchyard in a past life. Weird. It passed, but the thought stayed with me for a long time as I got to know Episcopalians. I'm a latent one. Not from the cradle, as they say.

In my doubts, which I have many, i found the first church I ever was comfortable at St. John's. Redwood gothic. It creaks like a ship. Motorcycles sometimes go up the street during hymns. We've had bikers come to church. If I'm really in a rush or haven't gotten the ironing done, Iwear jeans.

This Easter, as usual, my doubts seem larger than any belief. I feel Christian because I like Jesus. Not sure I love him; he seems a bit stern at times, but he'd be one of the people from history I'd have over for dinner if I could. I know that with my disposition, had I been born Jewish or Muslim or Hindu, I'd be in just about at the same place . . . probably attending a synagogue or mosque or temple with the same half-faith that I have lived with all of my life. As a child, my parents didn't go to church but would send me to whatever Southern Baptist church that was close by where I'd ask Jesus into my heart countless times, and not feeling he ever got there, kept on asking. I guess I still am in a way.

Mrs. Haines, my Sunday school teacher when I was eight, got mad at me because I went up to an alter call after having gotten down on my knees in her class a few weeks before and asked for salvation. You only do it once, according to her. She told us that the size of our houses in Heaven would be built according to how many souls we saved. Mrs. Haines warped me, and I got in trouble at home because people from the church came to tell my parents the good news, which they would have been just as happy not to have heard.

Bill and I are were in Valparaiso yesterday buying some extra macrame necklaces for our friend Charlene who is back in Canada. While we were talking to the vendors, beautiful young women in sight and soul who happen to be Communists, a couple of ragamuffins came and pulled on Bill's shirt. They wanted a donation for the Judas they had made. Today, many Judases, along with political figures, will be burned in the cerros on Valparaiso. One of the lovely Communistas said that Bush has been burned many times. That's an Easter, if you ask me. A little fire. A little effigy burning . . .now, that sounds like a party.

Last year as I went to St. Peters, a group of about two hundred Pentacostals passed me by, singing joyously, throwing confetti and handing out candy in celebration of the Lord's resurrection. I missed them this year; they must have taken another route. Even though I have my prejudices about conservative Christians, I kind of wanted to follow them because of the music and their energy. I'm not into contemporary Christian hymns. Most of them sound like they are being emitted from a bad FM station. Really bad rock and roll from the 80s, and the like. But I do like gospel music, and though this wasn't it, it had a great beat. They were joyous, an emotion that I have to admit I feel I haven't had my fair share of.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this other than I wish that I could look at life with eyes more open, find fewer barriers in my soul, unloosen a bit. I'm one of the shy people Garrison Keillor speaks of, even if I'm not a Lutheren. I'd love to be a Buddhist, actually. I sometime admire atheists. The dead Jesus thing gets to me. I learned a few years ago that the earliest Christians, those Communistas, would have never thought of putting up a crucifix. It was too real for them, too brutal. It was only after the memory of real crucifictions faded that they started to appear.

Truth be told, I might be a better Christian Scientist or a determined follower of A Course in Miracles, as they make more sense to me. Only the sensory elements don't. Or with the history I've had. I have too many fixed signs in my chart. Maybe that's why a half bottle of wine on an Easter afternoon beats Easter Eggs.

I want to burn effigies and handle snakes and find my mind overstepped by emotion. Forget about creeds. A problem for a Protestant, at least this one, who since Mrs. Haines and before (Dr. Bob at Central Baptist could probably have hosted Fox News) has worried about what to believe. I'm shy to admit this, like how uncool can I be?

Chile isn't necessary a Catholic country anymore . . .( my other influence as all of my parent's friends, retired cops from Detroit, were Catholic. We didn't eat meat on Fridays because we always had one or another of them over. I can still say the prayer from heart where you ask for blessing all the faithful departed may they rest in peace amen after asking for blessings for the bounty we were about to receive). The government made October 31st a holiday last year, the anti-Halloween. There are enough Evangelical voters now to be catered to. Lots of Mormons here. Seventh Day Adventist, too, who are mainstream other than that they eat healthier than the rest of us and have the Sabbath on the right day.

3 Comments on Notes from the English Department: Easter in Fall, last added: 5/11/2009
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