Friday, August 17, 2007

up and away one way or another

My sister, who lives in New Zealand, arrives tonight after being out in the wilderness tracking grizzly bears and riding the transcanadian rail across the country leading up to our first trip ever away together. We booked it over a year ago, planning times etc that suit our respective commitments, we were so looking forward to it, but I have just learned that our mother who has been unwell for a while is now in hospital for assessment. Our brother, who lives in Australia, is with her .... next post could be from down under or Quebec...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

PPP TT deals with Poisons

One of the things I enjoy most as a writer is learning about 'stuff' that isn't in my everyday existence. I'm working on a book where poisons play a big part.... so I'm going to bore...oops share with you some of my findings.
  1. Poisons are rated in terms of toxicity for the oral lethal dose for 150lb human.- 6 most lethal (less than 5mg, seven drops) to 1 the almost non toxic (requires 15 mg,1 quart or 2.2pounds of the stuff).
  2. Most poisons have a bitter taste -those that don't- have no survivors to tell us.
  3. Arsenic (5) is as toxic as rubbing alcohol containing Isopropanol (5)
  4. Strychnine and Cyanide (6) are as fatal as a sting from an Australian box jellyfish - death in minutes
  5. Snake and spider bite toxicity are exacerbated if the bite site is vascular.
  6. Age, health, lifestyle of victim affects uptake, and symptoms and time to die
  7. Tear Gas while toxic/harmful is not considered a poison (it only causes 2nd degree burns - lungs, eyes, etc painful, but it won't kill you.)
  8. New Zealand, Antarctica, Southern Chile and Southern Argentina are the only places in the world you wont find scorpions.
  9. First written records of poisoning are from the Roman Empire around the time of Christ - Summerians, Indians, Chinese, Greeks and Egyptians had already perfected the art of poisoning.
  10. Cleopatra didn't like using henbane, belladonna - it caused too much pain in her slaves and prisoners when she tried it out. Strychnine left convulsed victims grossly distorted so she settled on the cobra/asp - a serene prompt death.
  11. 2C B.C. Greek king Mithradates VI ingested a minute does of every poison hoping to build up an immunity - he died. This increased small doses to build immunity is not uncommon in many cultures and has been used in fiction by Dorothy L Sayers (Strong Poison). and Alexander Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
  12. Macabre I know, but history's notorious poisoners and study of poisons gave birth to modern pharmacology - without it we wouldn't have digitalis, ouabain, atropine, aspirin.
  13. 'Venin de crapaud' is made by feeding arsenic to, say, toads and when they die the juices are distilled from their bodies.

Have a great day but maybe you should watch what you eat, drink, step on, inhale, rub upagainst, touch..... maybe just go back to bed with a good book!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tangled Tuesday

Sadly my Mum is failing. You know how you dream of having a day in bed, writing, reading, sex...
Mum doesn't seem to want to do anything now but lie in bed and stare at the wall... Sort of makes a day in bed less appealing now.
Old age is a bummer.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Smoking Hot.

I'm going like a train at the moment and dread having to stop for mundane things like... life.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Brain Storm

Had a brainstorm for my Hero and Heroine in the wee small hours
No time for blog --- gotta go gotta write!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

TT - Thirteen Ways to detect a witch in 1486.

Okay - lets get this straight - these were used to identify witches during the Inquisition as set out in 1486's Malleus Malleficarum - the Witch Hunters Manual a book in three parts - one- explains who dangerous witches were, and how evil. The second - types of witches and what they did usually deviant sexual practices and luring men to have sex with them. Third part was ways to 'legally' convict them of witchcraft.
It heralded the beginning of the Inquisition at it most terrifying. The last English witch trial was held and repealed in 1736
Please note - no offense is intended to any Wiccans, Pagans or Religious groups.

  1. The Devil's Mark : scar, mole, birthmark. mole, wart, pimple, pockmark, cyst, liver spot, wen, insect bite, ulcer, blemish. If nothing is visible the witch was "pricked" (people were employed as Prickers) all over to search for an insensitive spot where the devil had given his blinding kiss.
  2. talking to oneself or animals or being overly attached to an animal.
  3. keeping a black animal - cat or lamb in particular
  4. spinning around
  5. freckles, red hair, odd eyes. Blue and brown you're a gonner.
  6. The Witch of Newberry was executed for surfing on a board in the river.according to Allan Maurer and Renne Wright -
  7. trail by fire - if you didn't burn holding red-hot irons you were innocent
  8. trail by water -"swimming the witch" the innocent sank
  9. physical impediment such as old, wrinkled, deformed, pale, too skinny, lame
  10. any unusual behaviour that followed in the wake of calamities, illness (like getting better or go mad with grief)
  11. "weighing the witch" - guilty if she weighed less than the massive tombs of the day
  12. healing - anything from a septic cut to something that would normally be fatal
  13. Money/religion - witnesses could be bribed to say an enemy was a witch and anyone who seemed to be a threat to the Church would soon be accused of witchcraft.
Basically anyone outside society's perception of normal for those times. It was easier to accuse someone of being a witch, than to prove you weren't. These people obviously hadn't heard of the Wiccan Crede in which it states: "For what you send out returns to thee times three. "

Sources: The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference, Writers Digest Books 1998
Complete Idiot's Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft (2nd Ed) Denise Zimmerman & Katherine A. Gleason Alpha Books 2003

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Went to my first ever baseball game yesterday - Blue Jays vs Yankees.... sitting up in the nosebleed seats (oops 500's) under the baking sun as the roof of the skydome was open, Wow! I am hooked, and want to go again, even if the Blue Jays lost 5-4 and hot dogs and soft drinks are way overpriced. I think that was my first hotdog this season too. Man they are so not good for the diet!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Success is hard work.

In Dallas at the RWA National, I was with a group of multi published author friends who were moaning about their work loads... yeah like I should be so lucky.... anyway they were envious (to a point) of my unpub status... Enjoy it they said, you can write what and when you feel like it, you have no constraints, no public ready to pounce on something that they feel should not be. If you are unpub and have finished a manuscript and started another, you have success. So many don't get to type - The End. That in itself is success...
It got me thinking about success and here is what a few others think of it.

  • (On being congratulated on a Competition win) It is always encouraging to receive a compliment - Brenda Novak (author)
  • I work really hard - Tiger Woods (golfer)
  • The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary - Vidal Sassoon (hairdresser)
  • Success can be wracking and reproachful, to you and those close to you. It can entangle you with legends that are consuming and all but impossible to live up to. - Gordon Parks (photographer film director)
  • What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. - Stephen King (author)
  • In all things, success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure. - Confucius (Chinese philospher and ethics teacher)
  • '-be happy but not satisfied' - Sensei David Kovar (6th degree black belt)
  • Getting there is only part of the challenge, it is how you deal with it that determines whether success continues - Anon
  • (on how to write a successful novel) - There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. - Somerset Maugham.
  • Success is counted sweetest, by those who ne'er succeed
  • To comprehend a nectar, requires sorest need. - Emily Dickinson (poet)

Guess it is back to the grind... and I'll take a leave out of Rita Mae Brown's book and - "pray for chance magnificence."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

13 Facts and Fallacies about health and diet!

1.Diet soft drinks can help you lose weight!
Only if you are substituting real sugar sodas for diet (save 100 cal approx)
NB: Rats fed artificial sweetners craved more calories than rats fed real sugar.

2. Eating late at night in unhealthy and makes you fat and lead to a poor nights sleep!
  • Fallacy it will only make you feel ill if you aren't used to it and consume more calories than you will burn off in the next 24 hours. Fallacy - There is no evidence to support that going to sleep on a full stomach, or the time of eating, leads to a worse nights sleep, unless of course you are not used to it.
3.Calories consumed after 6pm lead to sleepless nights and make you fat!
  • Fallacy - There is no evidence to support that calories consumed later in the day hang around. It is how often you consume these large amounts of calories not the time they are consumed that lead to fat deposits. Calories consumed late in the evening can have a beneficial affect on sleep - take hot chocolate for instance, or a glass of red wine.
4. Commercially prepared children's food are geared to their needs.
  • only 'beginner' baby foods like simple pureed fruits and vegetables that have no salt or sugar added.
  • Most commercial foods targeted to children are sweetened, contain artificial colors, flavors and bright appealing packaging. None of which are to do with the 'needs' of young children. Many 'regular adult foods containing less sugar and fewer additivies are far healthier.
5. When you go a long time with little food your stomach shrinks.
  • Fallacy. The stomach never shrinks it only enlarges to accommodate large portions of food then returns to its previous size. However the entire digestive tract can be overtaxed and overworked if it is only used to small portions and is suddenly called on to deal with a larger quantity. In stomach stapling for extreme obesity - the original (empty) size of the stomach is stapled so it wont accommodate as much food.
6. Adding salt to cooking vegetables keeps their colors bright.
  • Fallacy. Salt has no effect on the color of vegetables. Waters acidity and mineral content contribute to the molecular changes n vegetables and often affects their color. NB: Plunging vegetable into ice cold water after blanching will help them retain their color.
7. Searing meat seals in the juices.
  • Fallacy. Tests prove that seared meat and unseared meat have about the same amount of juice. Searing does however gives it better flavor due to the protein and sugar reaction to heat.
8. Cooking time for roast meat depends on its weight
  • Although weight is important the shape also affects the amount of time it takes the heat to reach the center of the roast thus affecting cooking time.
9. Alcohol evaporates during cooking.
  • It does evaporate faster than water but not all of it evaporates when cooked. e.g. something cooked in alcohol for 2 1/2 hrs will retain 5% alcohol, a flambe however retains 85%.
10. You can't deep fry in olive oil.
  • You can but it does smoke faster(375F/191C) than other oils. It works fine in a deep fryer and gives food flavor however it is a lot more expensive than other oils.
11. Water is better than milk in an omelet.
  • It might be healthier but tests have proved that an omelet made with milk is softer, fluffier and has more flavor.
12. The highest levels of Vitamin C are found in lemons.
  • Fallacy - per 100gms, the Barbados cherries are the highest with 3,ooomgs, then rosehips with 2,800mgs and sea buckthorn 1,200mgs. Fruits such as blackcurrants 190mgs, kiwi 100mgs; green cabbage 105mgs; and red peppers 100mgs. Oranges and lemons only contain 40-50 mgs.
13. The smell of strawberries is made from --well, strawberries.
  • Fallacy - the so-called fruit aromas are produced by bacteria and fungi.
Another load of useless info for you thanks the the Health and Diet section of: 1,000 Common Delusions and the real facts behind them by Christa Poppelmann, Firefly Books, 2006.