Read more this year

Read more this year

I get asked quite often how I read so many books every year. I am honest and I say that when I set my goal, I knew there would be a lot of children’s books in there and they don’t take long. I do aim for at least one “real” book a week. I have pretty much kept up with that, sometimes finishing two or more a week. It helps that I start a lot of books and finish them up all at once, too.

The above linked article comes from several avid readers. There are 19 tips for getting more books read each year. The ones that I really agree with are to change up your genre and to switch up the media. I get a lot read by audiobook, since my commute time is my quiet time. I can get an hour or two done each day, depending on what else is on my schedule. If you are reading a “smart” book instead of what you enjoy, stop doing that! Read what you want, not what you think you should read. If you are enjoying what you’re reading, you’re more likely to read it.

The other tips are great, too! The main thing is just to read. No need to count. No need to be embarrassed about what you’re reading. It isn’t a contest. Read for yourself.

Facts About California

More facts about California

Here are some facts about California that I had to look up when I was taking a California history class. They are interesting, especially since I have lived here all my life and I didn’t know many of these facts. I waited to post these until the anniversary of its statehood on September 9, 1850.

1. California joined the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War, in 1848. The U.S. paid Mexico $15 million for war damages. In turn, Mexico ceded nearly half of its territory, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. California officially became a state (the 31st) in 1850.

2. California was originally known as the Grizzly Bear State. As California boomed—and the bear population was wiped out—it became the Golden State.

3. The grizzly bear on California’s current state flag is a tribute to Monarch, a 1,200-lb. wild California grizzly bear captured by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst (or, rather, the reporter he hired, Allen Kelley) in 1899. Monarch was sent to San Francisco, where he was a star attraction at Woodward’s Garden and then Golden Gate Park until his death in 1911. The last reported sighting of a wild California grizzly bear was in 1924.

4. While Monarch is front and center on California’s official state flag, which was adopted in 1911, the bear flag image dates back to 1846, two years before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. A group of Americans who’d settled in California, which was then part of Mexico, feared they’d be expelled. They invaded the Mexican outpost at Sonoma and captured the retired general Mariano Vallejo. A few days later, they raised a flag that featured a red star and crudely drawn grizzly and declared the land the California Republic.

5. And who designed the original flag? William Todd, nephew of Mary Todd Lincoln. It’s a small historical world.

6. The one-word state motto, an exclamation-point-less “Eureka,” hearkens back to the exciting days of the Gold Rush. But the exclamation of “Eureka!” is attributed to the Greek scholar Archimedes. According to legend, he had an epiphany as he stepped into a bathtub and watched the water level rise—he realized that the volume of the displaced water was equal to the volume of the foot he’d submerged. And then he ran out of the room to tell others about his discovery… while he was completely naked. (More on whether that ever actually happened here.)

7. California is the only state that’s hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

8. California is the most populous state (and the third largest by area). To put California’s population, approximately 38 million people, in perspective, one out of every eight Americans is from California.

9. The fortune cookie was inspired by the Japanese fortune tradition o-mikuji and invented in California.

10. I can haz state recognition? In 1973, the sabre-tooth cat, Smilodon californicus, became California’s state fossil. A year earlier, Assemblyman W. Craig Biddle had nominated the cockroach-like trilobite for the honor. Nearly 2,000 museum curators and fossil experts backed him, but the bill never made it to a vote. A year later, the sabre-tooth cat made it to the floor and passed. The one no-vote? Senator W. Craig Biddle.

11. Despite living in Los Angeles—a city known for its traffic—for 78 years, writer Ray Bradbury never learned to drive.

12. California’s most famous for its Gold Rush which began in 1848, but it also had a Silver Rush in the Calico Mountains from 1881 to 1896. By 1904, Calico was a ghost town.

13. The mineral benitoite can be found in California, Japan, and Arkansas, but only San Benito County, California, has it in gemstone-quality deposits. The California State Gem Mine in Coalinga allows the public to dig and take home a quart-sized bag of treasure.

14. Thousands of U.S. banks failed after the 1929 stock market crash—by 1933, only 11,000 were left. All of San Francisco’s banks, however, survived.

15. The highest point in the contiguous U.S., 14,494-foot Mt. Whitney, is only 76 miles from the lowest point in the contiguous U.S., Death Valley. They’re both in Calif— well, you know.

Zoey’s comeback?

Zoey’s comeback?

According to the above linked article, no one has picked up Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist for the Fall season. I really am disappointed. The show was like nothing else that is on the air right now.

The article does state that it looks like it might be picked up for a made for TV movie. This does make me happy, since there were loose ends to tie up from the final episode.

I really enjoyed the series while it lasted. It was well-cast and usually had a good story to it. The music was just a bonus, but important in the story.

I’m glad it’s not just fading away, at least. We need to know what happened to the characters.

Non conforming Muppet Babies

Muppet babies Gonzarella

The above article talks about the episode of the Muppet Babies that discusses gender non-conforming people. Gonzo wants to wear a dress to the dance, but Miss Piggy is against it. They work it out, it seems.

I am so glad that a children’s show is discussing this, so that children can be aware that they can be who they are and shouldn’t have people giving them a hard time.

An Evening with Kindle Vella

An evening with Kindle vella

The above linked article isn’t talking about a new Kindle model, as I originally thought. It is a tool for authors to get their stories out as they are writing them. They don’t need a publisher. The stories can be published an episode at a time, and the reader has to pay for tokens to read the stories.

It sounds like a great tool for new authors. I’m not sure how well it would work for the readers, but it’s certainly a new idea.