Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Charmed Lives from Diana's Castle

Diana Wynne Jones is dead. Apparently she died last night (early in the morning of the 26th). She'd been dealing with cancer, which temporarily went into remission. More details are on her website.

I was just going online for a short break, and found this. It breaks my heart.

A few years ago (while working on my master's thesis, I believe), a friend recommended her book, "The Tough Guide to Fantasyland." It was hilarious and on point and so much fun (I kinda wanted to "forget" to return my friend's copy, but I was nice and gave it back). Since then, I've bought most of the Dalemark books from a library book sale, borrowed from the library (and then bought in omnibi) the Chrestomani books, and just as eagerly swiped up every book set in the world of Howl's Moving Castle that I could find. I ordered online "Mixed Magics," a Chrestomani anthology, and bought from Borders the anthology, "Unexpected Magic," which I read in bits and bobs when I need something short but damn good to make me happy.

In my heart, I continued to hope for more Chrestomanci books with Cat and Christopher, as well as stories featuring Sophie and Howl. I've yet to read a DWJ book with which I was disappointed.

Every death of a fantasy/sci fi writer leaves me feeling a little despondent, but this one hits particularly close to home. There are apparently two more books coming out by DWJ, "Earwig and the Witch," a short novel, and a collection of her lectures, articles and interviews. I look forward to both. According to her website, her papers are being preserved in Seven Stories, a gallery and archive for children's books. I would like to go there.

Although she may be considered a writer of children's books, Diana Wynne Jones was an author for everyone, regardless of age.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cranes: A Symbol of Wanting Hope

I live in Hawaii, so even if you know nothing else about origami, chances are you've made at least one origami crane in your life.

There's a tradition that if you make a 1,000 cranes, you get a wish. I went to a graduation party once, where 1,000 cranes were scattered around the tables to be unfolded later to make a wish for the graduate's mother (whose health wasn't good).

It was interesting to think of creating a wish by effort, by doing work, which built up the hope. It was a nice thought.

Therefore, below are the details for Students Rebuild, which is working with to send aid/donations to Japan.

Make as many cranes as you can, take a picture and email it to Students Rebuild, then send the cranes themselves. They're looking for a total of 100,000, which will result in a $200,000 donation from Bezos Family Foundation.

In their words:

"Help Japan by making paper cranes. These simple yet powerful gestures will trigger a $200,000 donation from the Bezos Family Foundation - $2 for each crane received - to Architecture for Humanity's reconstruction efforts in Japan. Once we reach our goal of 100,000 submissions, the cranes will be woven into an art installation - a symbolic gift from students around the globe to Japanese youth.

Questions? Email us at"

And a breakdown of the steps:

"1. Make a paper crane (watch a how-to video)

2. Snap a photo and upload it, along with a message of support to the Facebook page "Paper Cranes for Japan."

3. Turn your crane into dollars for reconstruction - and eventually an art installation - by mailing it to us. Or, team up with friends and fold as many as you can! Email us to receive a pre-paid shipping label for large boxes (over 50 cranes please).

Students Rebuild
1700 7th Avenue
STE 116 # 145
Seattle, WA 98101"

So get together with friends, have fun, and build a little hope with some time and effort.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quick Update about Tsunami Post

Just wanted to let anyone who'd read it know that the friend of a friend was finally able to contact her family and friends (yesterday or earlier today I believe), and she's fine. She had been without power at home, but is now in a hotel. So she's good--not super keen on all the public attention, but we're all just happy she's okay.

Thanks to everyone who shared their concern and suggestions.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Please Respond if you have any information

Hawaii seems to have bounced back fairly quickly from our tsunami. Japan, not so much. I've heard that the Japanese government has even set up a website where people can post the names of missing family members and search for information about them.

Amanda is someone I know on Livejournal through a mutual friend who has been living in Japan the last few years, near Sendai in Higashi-Matsushima.

No one has heard from her since the earthquake and tsunami hit.

Our mutual friend and Amanda's family and other friends have searched for information on People Finder, but there're still no updates, and no one has been able to get in contact with her yet (which doesn't mean the worst, since a lot of places around there have little to no power or cell service, one likes a cat in a box with no windows).

This article and video: Parents Desperate for word from daughter in Japan is about her. It's a long shot, but if anyone might know anything--knows someone in Japan from the area, or has a suggestion of where to look or post information next--please let me know and I'll pass it on.

Thank you.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami in Japan and Hawaii

First of all, my sincerest sympathies and good wishes to everyone and anyone in Japan affected by both the earthquake and the tsunami which hit last night, and to anyone worrying and waiting to hear from friends and relatives in Japan.

Last night, around 9 pm, my mother, sister and I heard about the earthquake in Japan, 8.9, and the tsunami created in its wake. Then we immediately heard that Hawaii was at risk for a rather large tsunami as an effect. Due to hit about 2:55 a.m.

Some months back, there was another tsunami warning, but it ended up only being a couple of inches, rather anti-climactic, thankfully. This time, as I apparently do with most major disasters, I watched the news for a few minutes then found something to distract myself (I think to avoid dealing with something so large that I feel useless to stop it). I live in Central Oahu--generally, if there's something coming and it's going to hit that far inland, there's not much I can do about it anyway. (Instead, I watched the Adam Lambert performance from the American Idol results show that I had recorded earlier and a few minutes of "27 Dresses".)

Eventually I was able to go to sleep, despite the emergency broadcast sirens going off every hour or so. According to the news, the tsunami hit Oahu around 3:30 a.m., sweeping around Kaua'i, then O'ahu, then Maui and the Big Island. Luckily, there hasn't been much damage, but buses still aren't running, evac zones are still evacuated, and we are still waiting for the all-clear.

Tsunami waves aren't always the big waves most people imagine, but more like a rising in sea level. Video from the near Japan showed an actual--large--wave, but right now I think we're just waiting to see if subsequent waves are as bad or if they'll lessen as they approach. By the time they got here, they'd already lessened somewhat, so no major damage so far.

Anyway, I woke up super early, so I figured I'd jump on and give you all an update so you wouldn't worry too much. (And then my internet became troublesome.)

My condolences to everyone in Japan hurt or suffering the damages of the earthquake and tsunami, and to anyone who is worrying and waiting to hear from someone in those regions. I saw the video last night and this morning and it hasn't been good.

Update: I'm watching the news, and Gov. Abercrombie has officially changed the status from Tsunami Warning to Tsunami Advisory, a lesser degree, which means some people who had evacuated can go home (not all if there was flooding).

For anyone who is in Hawaii, please don't go in the water. There are still "significant" waves. According to Lara Yamada at KITV, the tsunami will still be going on for another few hours.