I’ve decided to work on reading off a list for 2011.. after looking at a bunch of options, I’ve decided to read off an “around the world” reading list which requires reading something from an author from many different countries. I’m pasting this here for my own reference but it came from a high school senior year reading list.

AFRICA
Algeria – Tajar Djaout (or something I haven’t read yet by Albert Camus
Angola – Alice Wellman
Egypt – Naguib Mafouz, Sabri Moussa or Nawal el Saadwi
Kenya – Ngugi wa Thiong-o, M.G. Vassanji
Morocco – Tahar Ben Jallou, Hafid Bouazza
Nigeria – Buchi Emecheta or something I haven’t read from Chinua Achebe
South Africa – Andre Brink, Mark Mathabane, Alan Paton, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Randall Kenan, Alez La Guma, Mfutzeli Matshoba or something I haven’t read from J.M Coetzee

ASIA / MIDDLE EAST
Cambodia – Luong Ung
China – Pearl Buck, Yuan-Tsung Chen, Sijie Dai, Jin Ja, Ji-Li Jiang, Bette Bao Lord, Adeline Yen Mah, Gail Tsukiyama, Anyi Wang, Lulu Wang, Hui Wei
India – Mulk Raj Anand, Anita Rau Badami, Shashi Deshpande, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Attia Hosain,M.M. Kaye, Kama Markandaya, Rohinton Mistry, Bharati Mukherjee, Anita Nair, R.K. Narayan, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Thrity Umrigar
Indonesia- Pramoedya Ananta Toer
Iran – Mahsid AmirShahi, Anahita Firouz, Soraya Paknazar Sullivan
Iraq – Naim Kattan
Japan – Sawako Ariyosha, Kyoko Mori, Sue Sumii, Akira Yoshimura (or something I haven’t read by Yukio Mishima)
Korea – Sook Nyul Choi
Lebanon – Hanan al-Shaykh, Tawfiq Awwad
Pakistant – Bapsi Sidwa
Phillipines – Jessica Hagedorn
Sri Lanka- Michael Ondaatje, Shyam Selvaduri, Bandula Chandraratna
Syria – Rafik Schami
Thailand – Minfong Ho
Yemen – Zayd Mutee Dammaj, Lena Jayyusi

AUSTRALIA
Australia – Amatullah Armstrong, Peter Carey, Janet Turner Hospital
New Zealand – Keri Hume

EUROPE
Bosnia – Ivo Andric, Zlata Filipovic, Mesa Slimovic
France – Balzac, Pierre Boulle, Alexandre Dumas, Gustave Flaubert, Victor Hugo, Moliere, Emmuska Orcsy, Edmond Rostond,
Germany – Heinrich, Lloyd Alexander, Herman Hesse, Erich Remarque
Greece -Euripides, Herodotus, Sophocles, Thucydides
Ireland – Samuel Beckett (the rest on the list, I’ve read)
Italy – Boccacio, Lucretius, MArcus Aurelius, Nino Ricci (the rest on the list, I’ve read)
Norway – Henrik Ibsen
Poland – Gunter Grass, Irene Gut Opdyke, Anita Lobel
Romania – Elie Wiesel
Russia – Chekov, Pasternak, (the rest I read)
Spain – Yann Martel
Turkey – Adaley Agaoglu, Orhan Pamuk, Yasar Kemal
Ukraine – something I hadn’t read by Nikolai Gogal

AMERICAS
Argentina – something else by Borges
Barbados – George Lamming
Brazil – Paulo Coelho
Canada – Jeanette Armtrong, Marilyn Bowering, Wayson Choy, Austin C. Clarke, Leslie Forbes, Cecil Foster, Scot Morison, Peter Oliva, Modecai Richler, Ruby Slipperjack
Caribbean – Dionne Brand, Merle Hodge
Colombia – something I haven’t read by Garcia-Marquez
Dominca – Jean Rhys
Grenada – Jean Buffong
Guadeloupe – Simone Schwartz-Bart, Myriam Warner-Vieyra
Haiti – Edwidge Danticat, Jacques Roumain
Jamaica – Orlando, Patterson, Sybil Seaforth
Mexico – Isabel Allende, Laura Esquival, Carlos Fuentes
Puerto Rico – Carmen de Monteflores
Trinidad – Neil Bissoondath, Ismith Khan, Harold Sonny Ladoo, Earl Lovelace, V.S. Naipul, Samuel Selvon

Went to see Electric Button yesterday — was pleasantly suprised and enjoyed it. Had been apprehensive about going but did not end up feeling weird at all — I found the treatment of the subject to be sweet/ light. Would recommend.

Last class before the test tonight (although I’m opting out of the test anyway)… Hoping to get some writing and lounging and general laziness out of the way this weekend.

I’ve been inspired by other people’s lists lately…

I would like to
1. Learn to do one of those crazy inverted yoga poses
2. Start (and finish) a 365 photo project.
3. Read 52 books in a year
4. Pass the JLPT 3 exam
5. Go on a weekend long myself-only therapy retreat
6. (Self) publish a novel
7. Have, adopt or sponsor a child
8. Cook my way through a cookbook (of foreign cuisine)
9. Catch crab, abalone or something along those lines
10. Learn how to scuba dive
11. Throw a dinner party using fine china
12. Read every book on a classic world literature list
13. Film a stop-motion film
14. Unplug (completely) for an entire week
15. Design and print my own fabric
16. Send holiday cards on time.
17. Visit the whirlpool off the Inland Sea of Japan
18. Start an etsy store or small business and sell at least one item
19. Invest in someone’s crazy idea
20. Create and sell a digital art print
21. Learn to fence
22. Learn how to gut a fish
23. Learn how to play the gamelan
24. Sew a proper zipper
25. Own a set of expensive, luxurious sheets.
25. Take a letterpress class.
26. Hire a personal trainer
27. Spend the night in a yurt.
28. Perfect a signature drink to serve
29. Perfect a signature drink to drink
30. Subscribe to one great literary magazine and one arts magazine
31. See New England in the fall; possibly bottle maple syrup.
32. Purchase top-notch, personalized stationery
33. Rent a bicycle and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge
34. Sleep in an ice hotel
35. Cook something that requires setting it on fire
36. Learn how to do costume makeup/ body/face painting
37. Try again to learn how to operate a scooter
38. Pay for an hour of time of a professional organizer
39. Learn one programming language or skill well
40. Build a puppet
41. Attend the opera in New York
42. Walk a labyrinth
43. Grow a small herb garden
44. Swim a mile without stopping
45. Learn bookbinding
46. See the temples at Angkor Watt
47. Try glassblowing (poss. at a workshop?)
48. Attend the Elizabethan ball in a steampunk-inspired costume.
49. Visit the Great Wall of China and the Great Barrier Reef
50. Take part in a dia de los Muertos celebration
51. Go on a hot air balloon ride or watch the hot air balloon festival in New Mexico
52. Learn to roll in a kayak
53. Take a walking tour of the city I live on (one of the cheesy tourist trap ones)
54. Make one something every day for a year
55. Own land
56. Write and record a tune (can be instrumental/digital)
57. Keep a dream journal consistently for 6 months
59. Run a half marathon
60. Try one of those crazy juice (or other) fasts or cleanses for at least 5 days
61. Sleep in a tree house
62. Take a zipline somewhere…
63. Play hooky and go on a picnic.
64. Make ice cream from scratch
65. Watch a movie directed by one person from each letter of the alphabet
66. Visit all 50 states
67. Host a lavish holiday party
68. Visit 5 continents
69. Attend a dance performance on its opening night
70. Look for literary landmarks in St. Petersburg
71. Go surfing every day for one week
72. Become truly proficient at DDR or another dance game (once I figure out how to deal with apartment living and noisy floors)
73. Die my hair an outrageous color and keep it for at least a month (at least once more in my life)
74. Maintain a healthy weight for a year (at least once more in my life)
75. Go spelunking or otherwise do some cave exploring trip
76. Ride one of those free fall rides I’m deathly afraid of
77. Experience spa/bathing culture in 3 foreign countries
78. Have six months of personal savings in the bank
79. Pay off my credit cards
80. Plant a water garden
81. Produce a piece of work using encaustics
82. Embed something in resin
83. Create a plaster model of something
84. Give a fantastically awesome massage
85. Pose for a life drawing class
86. Own one classic, custom-made or designer suit
87. Take a class overseas
88. Take a dance lesson, any type, once a week for 52 weeks.
89. Set foot in Andalucia. If possible, listen to classical guitar music while there.
90. See Machu Pichu
91. Get a facial
92. Eat street food in Sweden
93. Play a whole 18-hole golf course
94. Participate in Design Festa
95. Visit Istanbul
96. Take 3 months off from everything to take care of myself
97. Rent a kitschy hotel room at Niagara Falls
98. Adopt a pet
99. Follow the silk road
100. Go apple picking

Vexharg is major mecca for anything. If you want something, and if you can afford it, you can get it. It is also the place for higher end gladiatorial fights. It’s illegal to bet against yourself but there’s nothing that says you can’t bet on yourself. With large city like this one, there’s always going to be come action. There should be enough betting going on that they’ll be able to handle couple of bars of gold pressed latinum without raising suspicion.

Finding the fight circuit is easy – everyone’s on the planet is into them. There are two major groups, anything goes, and normal combat. Weapons use and instant kill attacks tends to be messy so normal combat is the way to go for raising one’s personal funds. Now, there are rankings, one through 10. Anything above 10 is at the realm of breaking a planet in one blow thus not sanctioned by the different bodies. With that being said, there are plenty of fighters out there who can break a planet who’s not quite at level 10 or higher.

Choosing the middle ground around level 5 won’t get noticed by the governing board, especially on mixed class where chi, mana, and psychic based fighters are all allowed. The judges will only look at the sheer amount of the damage being thrown to make certain that it stays in the correct level.

“I wanna register to fight for level 5, open class.”
“Do ya have anybody vouching for you?
“Whadda ya mean? I can fight.”
“all right, put your hand here. What’s your name kid?”
“call me Tank.”
“Just remember, anything happens to you, we’re not responsible. Hey, you were last registered at level 4 on the other side of the continent. Are you sure you want to go up a level.”
“yeah, whatever. where do I go?”
“Your funeral kid. Step through those doors over there.

Slight reduction in use of proper grammar and vocabulary choices and the organization won’t even look at you twice. It also helps when you have a number of aliases and one of them is a middle rank fighter. Now to raise the funds.

“Are there any information on this new unknown fighter called Tank?”
“sorry, he’s an unknown. The odds are even.”
“I have a good feeling about this fellow. Put me down for 2 bars.”
“I’ll need to check on the purity.”
“By all means.”
“99.99% confirmed. Good luck sir.”

The trick isn’t to down the opponent as quickly as you can. Anybody can do that. The real hard part is to sell that you’re someone else and fight differently than the most efficient mode available to you. No matter what happens, you can’t break from that style or else everyone will know that you’ve been faking it. Bring up the psychic shield right up the skin and mostly put them on physical damage and bit of energy will make them look like a iron skin technique. Create an invisible exoskeleton and boost the strength will have the look and feel of concentrated chi punch.

At level 5, opposing fighters are no slouch. They’ll measure you, and will attack the weak point. They should be able to punch a hole through 3” or so of solid steel. The hard part is giving them the open gate without making it look like creating an obvious trap.

The opponent is good. He’s measuring. He’s calculating my speed and tendency on counters. Let him hit few but deflect just slightly so it won’t be a full contact. Ooh, grappling, spin in the same direction and get out. It’ll be harder to explain invisible hardened defense of an psychic exoskeleton. Give him about the right amount of damage to keep the fight even.

Oh, he’s going for an energy build up. Probably some sort of chi energy range attack. Step out of the way and spin. No, no jumping here, landing could be harsh if he sets up an uppercut. He’s not bad, he was ready for the jumping dodge.

Now, it’s time to take it up a notch without going over the level limit. Combination strike of over 3 hits are difficult to defend against, just keep up the pressure and land successive strikes. There you go, now go for the rapid attack.

Sorry kid, you were good but I needed this one.

Before she might resume her defenses, Esteban slid into the second seat to London’s right and took out his favorite deck of holographic cards. He shuffled, flicking by the graceful designs with a practiced air of wistfulness before he set out at drawing his fortune. Careful to place to cards slowly, studying them with his signature blend of hopeful resignation, he glanced conspiratorially towards London.
“Weeks like this, I wonder whether there is any hope my luck will change”, he tried out, halfway to himself, hoping to garner some of her sympathies.
“Your tarot set is beautiful,” she noticed. In her current state, she was oblivious to his appeal. “May I?” she asked.
“Sure”, Esteban chimed, “Perhaps you will bring me some luck.” Inwardly he cringed at how ridiculous this approach was, but trite bar chatter didn’t seem to register as suspicious to the young psionic. He let her take the reigns, fostering her sense of safety.
“Whose firm embedded the expressions?” London asked, slightly amazed. There was something in the way the figures moved that seemed to resonate with her. He could see the glimmer of recognition that she was trying to work out, scrunching her brow in the manner of a small child. She must have been at a loss because her face relaxed again into its unwrinkled canvas , and she resumed manipulating the deck to examine the artistry.
Relieved, Esteban launched into some prattle about the budding talent he met in AVERs, the Terra 9 alternative vocational program for misfits like him. It was almost entirely fiction but it gave him an avenue to safely use his most charming “childhood hijinx” play. A few stories in and he knew he had her trust… trying to decide whether to push his luck and see where it went for the night or whether to risk drawing out the play a little longer, Esteban finally settled on the latter. This one wasn’t worldy-wise enough to take the game forward so fast — it might trigger her defenses — so he worked a discreet charm while she was occupied. Not a moment later, his phone chimed and he signaled his leave. He kept the script short before hanging up.
“I hate to intrude, but I have to leave. Last minute details on a presentation at work before the boss catches his flight.”
Nodding in sympathy, the woman slipped a genuine smile, “It was fun while it lasted — best of luck finishing your project.”
He grinned back, “Thanks. Here’s my card if you’re in the neighborhood again.” With a wave, he moved out before she had a chance to answer, hoping to leave her wondering just enough to keep her on the hook.

“I’m tired” thought Wyatt. It’s been a long day coming but finally, he’s out of the business.. He realizes that there are no happy retirement parties for people like him. In fact, all but a very few will even make it that long. Being a Justice League’s field operative takes a heavy toll on one’s mind and soul, not to mention the body.

Now, he had to worry about other hunter killer units from chasing him. He decides one of the larger cities will be easier to hide given the sheer number of minds. All he has to do is keep his mind undetectable while putting up a false façade to make it look like he’s actually another person. Making his psionic activities is tiring but it’s not that terribly difficult. As for cash, well, there are gladiatorial fights. For an unknown, the odds will be even at worst so that shouldn’t be a problem.

He could use Association of Telepaths and Teleporters to get to Vexharg. Full size person teleportion costs plenty but at least it’ll be fast. And it’s better to create a distance first. And to teleport that great of a distance would leave too big of a trail even hidden well.

“How much to transport to Vexharg?”
“All the way to Vexharg? How many and how much luggage?”
“Just me and this bag. The bag doesn’t weigh that much.”
“500 gold”
“do you take jems?”
“sure do but I’ll need to get it appraised.”
“how long?”
“I got Carl out back. Come back in 10-15. Oh, and don’t eat too much if you’re not used to it.”
“I think I’ll be ok, thanks.”

Association isn’t perfect but they don’t ask questions. And their surveillance system only record visual, audio, and mental records. It’s too far easy to establish a disguise using physical manipulation of cell structures as long as you don’t have to look like a specific person. Change the cells around the vocal chords and the voice will be unrecognizable too. Make yourself look tough and carry a weapon and they’ll just assume you’re one of the chi users.
Teleporting isn’t that hard, it’s the disorientation afterwards that throws most people off. There’s this lights, then sudden chill, and then complete disorientation. Brain doesn’t like complete disassociation from reality even for a split second.

“How much was the gem worth?”
“700 gold. I don’t carry that big of a change around so do you mind couple of small gems?
“Not at all. When can we go?”
“Right now if you like.”
“No time like the present.”
“Step on to this platform. Ready?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”

Thuunk!

“How are you doing? All body parts present?”
“Ugh, wait, I don’t… yeah, all seems ok.”
“Thanks for using AT&T. Come again soon.”
“Yup, I’ll do that.”

Vexharg, the biggest city on this continent is a great place to hide. Now, to some seedy place and then change my appearance…

“Give me your coin purse and those fancy looking bracelets”
“You have got to be kidding me.”
“We followed you from AT&T. I know you are loaded if you can afford teleportion.”
“And we’re in part of town that’s not being monitored.”
“You made the wrong turn.”
“I really don’t need this now.”
“Give them up and you don’t need to get hurt”
“If I gave each of couple of silver, will you go away?”
Who do you think you’re talking to?
“level one at best. I take it you couldn’t even win the arena against those with same level.
Screw you. Get him!
Zark!
What you’re feeling is a small bubble going through your arteries. Oh don’t worry, you won’t be able to run since I’ve turn off your motor cortex. Now go to sleep. That’s right.
Now to erase last 10 min of their memories…

Gleaming from the light of the 2 ascendent moons rising off Terra 9, London Danin emerged from the sand colored Elite transport vehicle that had been sent to retrieve her earlier in the day. It felt good to be cleaned, protections updated and back at home in Loch, and she was looking forward to up a night out. After providing her monthly intelligence report to the Alliance, she was now free to do as she pleased and she intended to use up every spare moment of her long weekend. London tucked her thin cylindrical communication piece into a small shaft in her pearl white ostrich skin boots, a sign that she was officially off duty. The massive steel doors of of 28 Twilight opened with anticipation. The tall glossy space, truly inspired, was lit as if on fire, washing the hues of sunset across the entire surface area of the space. Finding her regular seat at the bar free, she slipped up and tapped her fingers lightly on the mirrored surface. Hense, the eternal elfin bartender, sensed her order before she even could utter the words and slid the MegaCity smoothly into her palm. The Twilight’s signature spin on a blood and sand, a smooth, smoky warmth coated her throat and every ganglia in her body released the last remnant of tension left over from the meeting with the Alliance council.
London’s day gig, her slightly less than respectable means of earning a living, imvolved travelling to Terra 9’s psionic hot spots to gather intelligence on the activities of persons or creatures charged or convicted by one of the justice committees. Her monthly portfolio of candidates was drawn by the Alliance, the largest bounty hunter network in operation, which was responsible for the collection and retrieval of criminals as part of the outsourcing arrangement each justice committee negotiated following the last period of civil unrest. London ranked among the elite psionics employed by the Alliance, and for that, she was well compensated, but between filtering the thoughts of criminals to ascertain their location and ratting out people that she had no complaints with, the gig left her feeling grimy at the end of the day. Still, she got to travel and she was, she felt, pretty good at what she did. Harder to shake were the threats that would occasionally mount against her if details that she was assigned to develop a report for a particular criminal’s collection.

As part of her original negotiations, she had the foresight to negotiate into her salary certain protections that the Alliance reluctantly agreed on, and her life very nearly depended on. Following her monthly report, she would go in for an update to her protection systems. The physical shielding system was a thin bodysuit made up of a nanofiber membrane. The suit prevented most regular weapons from penetrating to inflict life-threatening injury. It also provided a baseline protection from lesser electrical attacks, including tasers and small EMP devices. As protection against the more routine level magic attacks, London had spellset opal microfilaments woven into her hair and 0.01mm diamond chips updated with the latest release of magic protections. Once they were refreshed, she was released into the flow of the celebrity dayspa that provided cosmetic protection systems for other wealthy patrons. She always felt slightly out of place, but the benefits, she considered while shaking out her gleaming mane of hair, were definitely worth it. London indulged herself in brief flash of vanity, admiring her image in the bartop and grinning sightly.
—–
Not to miss a cue, Esteban watched as the woman across the bar curve her head gracefully to the side, the lone stingray in room full of sharks. His eyes had followed her for months; he had looked forward to the last Friday of the month, waiting for the right moment to approach… and now, it seemed, she had finally let her guard down and made it possible.

I’m going to reactivate this for NaNoWriMo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) — the spouse and I will be working up a story together I think. I’ve been so swamped this past 7 months that nothing has made it here… I’ll have to remedy that before year end.

Received today –  2 belated birthday cards

Sent today – 1 letter to a penpal overseas.

Discovered today – an option for possible reinvention

Lost today – the attachment to my old trajectory.

Feeling good, all in all.

Paperbackbookswap book is off an in the mail, soon to bring me a credit (I’ve received more than I can read so I’m down to a pitiful credit count right now).  Also finished a letter to one of the pen pals.. should write the other after class tomorrow, if I’m good but we’ll see if that gets done.  Was pleased to at least have one done.  Also purchased batteries for my daily picture project but it’s gotta start as of today… yesterday the efforts to start encountered technical failure… and today’s are a sad start, but they are a start.

wish the week was going by more quickly… it’s exhausting and we haven’t even reached Wednesday.

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