Wednesday, April 22, 2009

earth day, and the I-5 mountains

This past weekend The Hub and I went down to Portland, OR, where he had lunch with his cousin Jonathan and I went to the Readers' Luncheon, sponsored by the Rose City Romance Writers. The speaker was Lucy Monroe, and she was fabulous, as alway. After lunch (and Luncheon), we headed back north to Seattle. The trip going down (at an unspeakably early time of morning) we couldn't see much, thanks to the thick fog that blanketed the route, but on the way back home? Wonderful. Scenic. Mountains!
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At this time of year, most mountains are covered with snow, and yes, there is a certain sameness to them because of it -- but the snow is gorgeous, particularly when the sunlight hits it just right, and the entire mountain glows. That was the case with Mt. Hood, seen here without that glow, but quite handsome, nonetheless:

What we found remarkable is that with all the times we could have seen Mt. Hood in all its glory, we'd never seen it like that, whether because of pollution or weather or stress (if traffic's bad, do you notice anything else? I thought not). 

Farther north, we saw a mountain with an amazingly rounded top. Never seen anything that before. Until we realized it was Mt. St. Helens, and we'd just never seen it from that particular angle. The image of St. Helens here is clearly not rounded, but it sure looks as if the top's blown:

I was in Seattle in 1980 when St. Helens blew. A fine layer of ash fell on my mother's yard, but it quickly disappeared. Not so in Yakima, in the middle part of the state; the wind must have been just right, because the town got something like six inches or more of ash, and it was not nearly as easy to get rid of, but it had to be done, and fast, because it could suffocate local vegetation and animals. And people, who were advised to stay inside for a while. The mountain's still around, after all these years, and still reminding us that we've got to keep an eye on her.

An hour or so later, we saw the first signs of home. Mt. Rainier is just known as "the mountain" in Seattle thereabouts, because it is omnipresent. It's there when the weather's clear, and it's there when the pollution's high (just murky). The first Japanese who came to this area saw the graceful lines of the mountain and were reminded of their own distinctive mountain, and referred to Mt. Rainier as "the American Mt. Fuji." The angle of this picture makes it look far less like Fuji than it does from other angles, but on a clear day, from the right perspective, it's understandable.

Where we live, the mountain's not quite visible; we need to go five minutes one way or another to be able to see it. But we still regard ourselves as fortunate that it's close enough to see. 

Happy Earth Day. And that includes our mountains.

Eilis Flynn
Coming soon from Cerridwen Press

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The shape of things to come

Terry Odell's post on green tech ( had me thinking about the technology of tomorrow, specifically tech like "electronic paper," tech as thin as paper and reads like it but something that changes -- imagine a newspaper that holds the information of the Sunday New York Times but is one sheet thick. You turn to the page to whatever you want to read, to the size you want it to be. It's an amazing concept, but when you consider there's a light source just as thin and easy to manipulate, right now (but not marketable due to cost), you know it can't be too far away. The Star Trek (original series) inspired us to expect something the size of a paperback book to read from and write on, and we have something a lot like those now. If that's the future realized, what's the real future going to hold? I'm not sure we can fathom it.

It's not just the far-flung future, either, that this is the case. I remember reading recently that the spy gadgets we were amused by on the TV series GET SMART were the source of inspiration for the real-life CIA. The CIA scientists would see something on the show and try to figure out how they could make a variation for their own uses. (But no cone of silence, as far as I know. After all, on GET SMART, they never could get the cone to work!)

The book I have coming out in July, ECHOES OF PASSION, has a control device that's smaller than a paperback but a little thicker than a sheet of paper, easy to pocket and easy to overlook. It's a coin, basically; distinctively shaped and integral to the plot. Because The Hub works at a mint (where they design coins), I got a chance to see how intricate coins could be, and that was my inspiration. 

But once I thought about it, it's not new at all. I have something about that size, something distinctive, a control device. You probably do too. Got a garage-door opener?

Eilis Flynn,
83 days to ECHOES OF PASSION! On sale at Cerridwen Press at 7.02.09

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Every year, April fools come out of the woodwork

Every year, I dig out the link to the piece I wrote about April Fools' Day, just to remind myself that having a sense of humor is important. If you try to nurture the child within, if you have a fondness for pranks, if you, frankly, have a juvenile sense of humor and see no reason to grow up, you'll appreciate the article:

Happy April Fish!
Eilis Flynn