Glimpses through the blog
Glimpses through the blog

The Wiz is a published author!

    Attention all online surfers! The Wiz is riding the wave of the future. One of his books (he has written three) has been published online - and it is now available world-wide for downloading!

    The book is "Roadkill", and the author is John Rasor - as you can plainly see from the book's cover *BIG SMILE*:

                

    Now, if you want to do us a HUGE favor - and give The Wiz his best holiday present ever - please consider downloading his book from the publisher's site
www.ireadiwrite.com - where you can read the first chapter for free in order to decide whether or not you like it.

    His book is also available through www.amazon.com in their "Kindle" section. Is this exciting, or WHAT???

    The difference is that if you download it from the publisher, The Wiz gets half the price of each download (which is $7.99); but if you download it from amazon or someplace else, The Wiz only gets half of what the publisher gets after amazon (or whoever) has taken their "cut".

    Chatty could go on indefinitely about the excitement that this had generated in our house - but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    Chatty wants you to READ THIS BOOK! Because truly, even if the Wiz had not written it, she would still have read it. It is an excellent book - though not for the faint-hearted. It is a thriller - and it delivers!

    Please understand that this is not a "vanity press" type of thing - The Wiz paid nothing to get it published. But the publisher believes in him, and has found his book worthy of publication. If you want to read the article The Wiz wrote about this whole process, please check it out at http://hubpages.com/hub/My-New-E-Book

    www.ireadiwrite.com is a small publishing company in Canada, established about a year ago. The Wiz is their 40th published author. They believe that e-books are the future, and think that the market will probably grow exponentially in the next 24 months. However, they are also considering expanding to print publishing as well in the coming months.

    So, when you have a moment, give it a shot - at least go to the publisher's site
www.ireadiwrite.com and read the first chapter. You can also leave a comment there, after you have read it. The Wiz would love to hear your comments!

    If you aren't hooked after reading the first chapter - Chatty will be surprised.

    Once again - to  friends and family who read Chatty's blog - downloading his book (and telling him that you did) would be the very best Christmas present you could give the Wiz. Chatty's just sayin'...

    Later, alligators!


 

Non-gender specific - Yay or Nay?

Chatty was meandering her way home from the post office, having just posted four Christmas packages AFTER HOURS, using the special postage machine/box/miracle. Chatty *hearts* this marvelous machine.

She was humming along to the 24/7 Christmas radio station, and was stopped at the light by the community college. Having time to look around, she noticed the flashing "cool" traveling sign at the front entrance - the one that notes upcoming events, when classes for the new semester begin, etc. It's very eye-catching.

So, Chatty was watching it flash, ... << MORE >>

Eat our shorts!

    The Arizona Cardinals just beat the Minnesota Vikings - one of the best teams in the NFL…and, we BEAT THEM LIKE A DRUM! 

    Chatty adores Brett Favre, but tonight - she wanted her sweet, darling, BRILLIANT Kurt Warner to slam the Vikings into the ground and leave them there. And, he DID! It goes without saying that he had HUGE help from his defense. But still - coming off of a concussion, and the crushing defeat at the last moment ...

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A New Necklace

    Chatty has finally finished one of the necklaces she is making for her sister-in-law - JUST in time to take it to LA and give to her next week.
 
    It took forever to bring this together to Chatty's satisfaction, but she is finally pleased with the results. 

    The pendant is glass - hand-blown by her artist son - so Chatty used painted glass beads as accents, along with oblong carnelians, white quartz, and iridescent Japanese seed beads. It is double-strung on very fine wire, and has a copper clasp. 

    Chatty hopes she likes it!

            

            

    Chatty and The Wiz are heading to Los Angeles on Monday (by way of Lake Gregory and a flying visit with a dear friend there.) We will be cramming a lot of activities into our week - this is the first time we have been back to Los Angeles in three years, so we have many friend to see and lots of favorite haunts to visit.

    We will be back on October 6. Until then - later, alligators!

The Sacred Blue Cenote of Chichen Itza

    We stopped on our way to Chichen Itza for lunch, and a chance to swim in the sacred Blue Cenote.

    The entrance to the cenote complex was gorgeous - flame trees, hibiscus, thatched buildings, trees that looked like ancient sculpture, and stone "conversation benches", so-called because the seats face one another, but are part of the same bench. They can be found in almost every public park and attraction, all nicely painted white. They remind Chatty of the wooden 19th century ones she has seen in museums, albeit much more modern in design.

             

               


              

              

            

            
    
            

    The cenote itself took Chatty's breath away. Cenotes are huge holes in the ground that have filled partly with water from underground rivers. Because all the rivers in Yucatan are underground, cenotes were sacred in ancient civilizations - both because of their majestic appearance, and because once away from the sea, water was scarce and precious. It's hard to know exactly how deep this amazing cenote is - suffice it to say that "deep" barely begins to describe it!

    Chatty - and everyone else who ventured in - had to take a shower BEFORE she climbed down the 120 (slippery and uneven) steps to the water's surface, because the state is very concerned about keeping as many non-natural ingredients (perfume, sunscreen, hair spray etc.) out of the pristine and amazingly clear water as possible. In addition to the magnificent blue-green colors, the water is also deliciously cool - about 73 degrees. You can dive off a 10 meter platform hewn from the rock, or climb down rustic wooden ladders (Chatty chose the latter!)

    This picture was taken from a height of about 120 feet - at the first "rest-stop" going down the stairs carved out of the stone surrounding the cenote. The vertical lines in the picture are vines. Because they dart so quickly, in this picture you are unable to see the tiny birds that flutter and dive in and out of the foliage that descends all the way down to the water's surface - but they are everywhere, and you can hear the beating of hundreds of tiny wings above you when you are swimming. The tiny black "specks" in the water are fishes about 6 inches long, that swim around and tickle one's feet. At the bottom right, Chatty swears she can see a foamy mermaid...

            

    Once in the water, swimming away from the platform and toward the other side, seeing no other people - only tiny fishes and tiny birds, and looking at the greenery hugging the edges of the cenote up up and up to a sky that seemed endlessly high - Chatty had a moment where she felt part of earth's long history - and could almost feel the presence of the people who swam in this ancient body of water thousands of years ago, just as she was doing now. It was eerie, and lovely - and an altogether moving experience. Then, she turned around - and there were all her fellow tourists - and she was jerked back to the present just in time for lunch (which was excellent!)

    This second picture will give you an idea of what the rock ledges looked like - and also how incredibly bright the sunshine was at the top! A lot of people were enjoying the cenote when Chatty took this picture - but by the time she gathered her courage, took her shower, and descended, she had it practically to herself, which was also cool, and helped create the atmosphere described above. Note that although this picture was taken from over 120 feet above, you can see the legs of the swimmers. We're talking CLEAR WATER, folks!


                    

   The Wiz did not swim in this cenote (he swam in the Grand Cenote a couple of days later), but he did climb down to the first viewing point:


            

    After our buffet lunch, we got back on the bus for the 10-minute drive to Chichen Itza and its fabulous pyramid. More on that another time.

    Later, alligators!

We Remember


        Those who cannot remember the past  are condemned to repeat it.


                    - George Santayana

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Chatty is not dead...

No, dear people who have wondered why Chatty is so silent these days - she is NOT dead...

She has just fallen into the world known as Facebook...

As her friend Heather says - it's blogging for those with ADHD!

Instant gratification! It's a real buzz, folks!

Happily, Chatty has discovered that most of the people who read her blog regularly are ALSO on Facebook - so they understand this current obsession of hers...

Chatty DOES have more pictures of Mexico, and wants to report on her tomato crop (insert horse laugh here)...

But...for the moment - Facebook has her mesmerized...

Chatty WILL return...
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At long last - some pictures from Mexico

    Chatty would like to thank those few readers who stick with her through thick and thin.

    Chatty has not recently been either a loyal or a good blogger. Partly because she was sick, partly because she didn't have much to say, partly because she was depressed about that, and partly because she is lazy.

    Also, Chatty must point out that her computer has been re-loaded 3 times in the past 3 weeks. A Nasty Virus. The Wiz KNOWS what the virus is, but...well...he just wanted to see what it could actually do. He has fixed everything, of course, and learned much in the process.  And this falls far short of an excuse for not blogging - because he fixed it within hours of the occurrence.

    However, Chatty just lost interest in her blog for a bit. 

    Partly because, as many bloggers do, Chatty lives for comments - and the only people who comment are those who are either relatives, close friends, or the few who genuinely enjoy Chatty's blog, and actually follow it - although we have never met - as opposed to the people who only comment if Chatty leaves comments on THEIR sites, or buys products from them. Chatty is pretty much through with that. 

    Friends, relatives - and KCINNOVA (you know who you are, my internet friend), thanks from the bottom of my heart for caring and commenting whether or not I comment on your site from week to week. I love you all.

    Let's face it - not much happens to Chatty from day to day. She is certainly not as interesting as her fellow bloggers. In fact, Chatty's life is pretty boring.

    Now! Enough of the half-assed excuses, and the pity party!

    Chatty DID go to Cancun, and she has pictures.

    She has finally managed to downsize some pictures to the extent that they are acceptable to GoDaddy. 

    Chatty will start with our journey to Chichen Itza. Notice Chatty said JOURNEY - not Chichen Itza itself.

    The reason is that Chatty had never been to any Mexican town that wasn't either a "border town" (Tijuana, Nogales, etc.) or a "tourist town (Puerto Penasco/Rocky Point) - so she was particularly interested to see what an actual Mexican town that wasn't dedicated to the Almighty American Dollar looked like.

    She found this Mayan town beautiful. It was on our way to Chichen Itza, and for the life of her she cannot remember its name. This is probably because she couldn't pronounce it when she first heard it - much less remember it. Bad Chatty. *sigh*

    However...

    The church and its grounds emcompass one whole block surrounding the town square. It is a Catholic church, but has all sorts of Mayan symbols in bas relief on its doors:



    It is truly a lovely thing to see.

    The other three sides of the square are businesses, hotels, etc. They are all painted in the most beautiful ice-cream colors - here is the one side I was able to catch (because all of these photos were taken from the bus...)





    Chatty was lucky to get a shot of the huge Mexican flag that was flying just outside the main town square as our bus passed by:



    And inside the square, in the middle, was a lovely statue of a woman.

    This is unusual, because it is one of only two or three statues of women in the whole of Mexico to have the position in the center of a town square. (Chatty apologizes for not getting a shot - but the bus was moving.) It was explained to us by our Mayan guide that the Mayans are a matriarchal society - which is why they chose a woman to be honored in this town's square.

    Here are a few more shots Chatty managed to take while passing through the town:






    Here's an elementary school - Chatty loved the trees painted on the side of the building:



    As Chatty mentioned, she had never been to a Mexican town that was not dedicated to tourists like herself. So, these pictures are not particularly interesting, except maybe to those of you who, like Chatty, have no idea what a "real" Mexican town looks like. That's why Chatty decided to post them:



    Finally (at least for this post) this was Chatty's first glimse of the incredible "flame trees' of which she had heard, but had never seen. They are magnificent. No pictures can possibly do them justice. The sight of them takes one's breath away:



    Note that the road to the left leads to Chichen Itza - which is where we headed.

    More pictures to follow!

Miko, Movita...and Michael Jackson

    As those of you who follow my blog know, I have not been well. I had planned to come back with many pictures from my trip to Mexico, and will do so soon, because I am finally feeling better.

    However, I want to talk about something else first.

    Those who are kind enough to follow this blog know that I rarely speak of current events - and when I do, it is only because I feel strongly about the subject, and take the opportunity my blog affords to have my say.

    Perhaps you will also note that I do not speak as "Chatty" - but as myself.

    So, here goes.

    We have been innundated with the circumstances surrounding the death of Michael Jackson.

    I have just a tiny bit of input - not much, as you will see - but something I believe to be significant in its way, because it speaks to the friendships he had that endured.

    You can tell a lot about a man by listening to the friends who speak up for him in times of trouble or death, can't you?

    Deepak Chopra and his son are two people I would consider blessed to have as long-standing friends - wouldn't you?

    So - a bit more on that...

    First, let us be clear.

    I did not know Michael Jackson.

    I did, however, know the mother of one of the friends who has stuck by him through thick and thin. That friend is Miko Brando, and I am happy and proud to have known his mother.

    It may might not sound like much - but I do believe that we can learn a lot about a person if we know his mother.

    By the way, I met Miko's father in passing at a restaurant many years ago - and only the once. He was charming, funny, and interesting. We never worked together, but I'm glad I had the chance to meet him - if only in informal circumstances.

    But, that doesn't really count.

    What counts is that I met and got to know Miko's mother over a period of several years. I was working as an assistant director in Hollywood, and she was working as a background talent - aka "atmosphere".

    Her name is Movita Castaneda, but she was better known as just "Movita" in her years as an actress.

    Yes - a single name - just like "Cher" or "Madonna" - but she was known by a single name long before anyone else (everything old is new again, right?)

    Movita met Marlon Brando in the 1950's. They married, and had two children together - a son and a daughter.

    As Movita told it (and I cannot know if it is true, but I prefer to believe it) she left him when he "fell" for his third wife - a beautiful woman from Tahiti - while filming the re-make of "Mutiny on the Bounty" in 1962 (ironic note, Movita had a starring role in the ORIGINAL version). Movita asked for no alimony, and whether or not he contributed child support for their two children (both of whom SHE raised) she never mentioned. She did say once that she could not abide unfaithfulness - and if Marlon wanted someone else, her only choice was to give him his freedom, though she was Catholic. I'm sure this was difficult for her

    In point of fact, she did not speak of Marlon Brando often - in fact, I had known her for a year before she even mentioned it - and then it was just in passing. However, when she did speak of him after we knew one another better, it was always with affection. I liked her for that. I also believe that she and Marlon remained on good terms throughout his life, and stayed in touch - at least sporadically - and always as friends.

    As I came to know her, I liked her for many other reasons as well. She was kind. She was an oasis of calm on any busy "set". She was charming and fun. She was absolutely reliable. She did things like make tamales for friends in the cast and crew at Christmas.

    And, she loved her children so very much. She never bored anyone with stories, but it was obvious that she loved them - and that they were the most important people in her life.

    She spoke once to me of the horrific accident that befell Michael Jackson on the set of the infamous Pepsi commercial - how his hair caught on fire and that he could have died. She mentioned it with great sorrow, but also with pride - because it was her son, Miko, who was the first to jump to help Michael. They both received severe burns. Everybody has heard how much Michael suffered - perhaps fewer remember how badly her son was also hurt.

    We are hearing a bit from Miko now that his friend has died - he has been interviewed by many news organizations. I truly believe that he is trying to give us a picture of the man HE knew - his friend. I applaud him for that, and for his unswerving loyalty to a man who by all accounts was difficult to understand, though perhaps not difficult to love.

    I say again - you can learn a lot about a person just from knowing his mother.

    Movita - wherever you are - it was a privilege and a pleasure to know you. Miko - I have never met you, but I know your mother is proud of you for a myriad of reasons - one of which must certainly be your steadfast loyalty and love for your friends - one of whom happened to be Michael Jackson.

    Let us eschew the attention-mongering hangers-on and press vultures who pretend to help us "understand" Michael Jackson's life and death before he has even been laid to rest.

    And, let us remember him as we will - for better or for worse - but always as a great talent whose music made its impression on us all.

    May he rest in peace.

    And, while I am at it - let us take a moment to remember ALL of those who have passed away in the past couple of weeks - famous or known only to their dear ones.

    Death comes as the end for all of us - but love and memories live on always in the hearts of all who are left behind.

Under the Weather

    Chatty is far more under the weather than she at first thought.

    Sadly, it is not the kind of "under the weather" that would have ended up with Chatty having free vacations to Mexico for the next three years - because that would have entailed having the swine flu.

    Oh, no. 

    Chatty and The Wiz just caught colds.

    *sigh*

    BAD colds. 

    Chatty sleeps 12 hours every night, and has to drag herself out of bed.

    Then, she sits next to The Wiz, as we sneeze and cough at our respective computers.

    Then, Chatty takes a nap.

    And then we sit and stare at the TV.

    Then, Chatty goes back to bed.

    This is all by way of explaining why no pictures of Mexico have been forthcoming.

    Chatty apologizes.


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Recent Entries

  1. The Wiz is a published author!
    Friday, December 18, 2009
  2. Non-gender specific - Yay or Nay?
    Thursday, December 17, 2009
  3. Eat our shorts!
    Sunday, December 06, 2009
  4. A New Necklace
    Sunday, September 27, 2009
  5. The Sacred Blue Cenote of Chichen Itza
    Sunday, September 13, 2009
  6. We Remember
    Friday, September 11, 2009
  7. Chatty is not dead...
    Saturday, August 29, 2009
  8. At long last - some pictures from Mexico
    Wednesday, July 29, 2009
  9. Miko, Movita...and Michael Jackson
    Saturday, July 04, 2009
  10. Under the Weather
    Monday, June 15, 2009

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