Cherylcan's Blog

Life and Literature

Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories

cover225x225Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Microsoft is an anthology of short stories written by some of today’s greatest science fiction authors. These visionary stories explore prediction science, quantum computing, real-time translation, machine learning, and much more. The contributing authors were inspired by inside access to leading-edge work, including in-person visits to Microsoft’s research labs, to craft new works that predict the near-future of technology and examine its complex relationship to our core humanity. –

Robert Sawyer is the reason I got this collection. He is one of my favorite authors and he tweeted about the book. His contribution was Looking for Gordo. It is a story about a mock court proceeding that was being televised regarding the debate about searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. It is instigated by receipt of messages from an alien race “similar” to Facebook of our time. I love the short story when well done and Sawyer is on of the masters. I love seeing ideas from another point of view, and this is so engrossing.

Seanan McGuire opens this collection with Hello, Hello. A story about a prototype ASL interface between siblings that gets hijacked by an unknown avatar on the Tasha’s end. This is complicated by the fact that Tasha runs a bird sanctuary in her home, thus has many visitors, and the unknown is talking to her brother’s children Greg and Billie. The story is very engaging as it unfolds and the mystery of the unknown caller is resolved.

The Tell by David Brin follows a magician in an alternate world where he developed a way to reveal hoaxes and scammers. This gets him targeted and a friend must come to his rescue. It is a wonderful approach to take in exploring how we know things. I keep thinking about how I interpret what I see now, then I try to look at it through the eyes of the main character here.

In Another Word for World, Ann Leckie starts when a Ashiban Xidyla comes to with a headache. The Sovereign of Iss, hereditary high priestess of the Gidanta sits across the aisle. They must leave the site of their flier’s crash says the Sovereign through her handheld. Someone wants them dead to start a war. They struggle for survival and to understand each other. The story’s evolution as the characters learned from each other and determined what was really happening was very satisifying. A perfect ending to this book.

The interesting thing that I found is that all of the authors have written engaging short stories. That is what happens when you have a book full of masters of their craft. I love the idea of a company putting together an anthology like this. Microsoft picked the authors well. You should enjoy it too.

Download Future Visions for yourself.

INFJ and My Writing

I just read Andrea Wegner’s post on how people with my personality type approach writing. It mostly fits me, although in school I had no problems with outlines. Now, I must admit I do not use them when preparing my posts, but that may be a product of the fact that I am trying to be less formal and academic here.

However, I do need to learn to let go of the editor in me while writing first drafts. My NaNoWriMo writing is falling victim to too much editing and not enough new writing. I will have to fix that this weekend. I also am energized by small groups not large.

Overall the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator works to identify my go to preferences. INFJ means that I prefer: Introversion over extroversion, intuition over sensation, feelings over thinking, and judgements over perception. Preference is relative. I can do extroverted things but I get revitalized by doing things alone or in small groups. My though process is abstract. Even my kids know to interpret what I say. “You know what I meant” is my mantra. Trusting my gut is becoming more and more what I do as experience has taught me that my feelings tend to be bang on. Most times when I get in trouble, I have ignored that feeling. Closure is very important to me. I think it is one of the reasons I love knitting so much. I can start a little project and finish it in a day or a weekend. So much of my work and my writing take much more time. I believe I should set smaller writing goals so I can say “Finished!” more often. I might get more productive that way.

Review — The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

There was so much buzz about this book I just had to read it. Who has not been on a train and thought about the people in the homes you are passing by? The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins starts with our primary narrator Rachel telling us about a couple she passes by daily on her way to work and makes up stories about. It all seemed rather run of the mill to me at first.

The story jumps to a year in the past and Megan. I liked the back and forth but began to distrust what Rachel was telling me. I almost put the book down at this point. Generally, I do not like books with a lying narrator but I gave it a chance and am so glad I did. I do not want to spoil the trill of the ride but suffice to say that the twists and turns are good and all the stories come together in the end.

I love thrillers and like the great thrillers I find this book speaking to me at the oddest moments. Making me wonder if the characters could have done anything to change the outcome. If you like thrillers, wounded characters, and stories that are more gray than black and white. This one will stick with you long after you put it down.

Wow… Our 21st Anniversary. Time Flies!

So how can I respond to an amazing song, written for my wedding and recorded by my amazing husband 20 years later? I love Tim Wartman, and our song. I just do not know how to respond. It is so wonderful that I am at a loss for words. (Anyone who knows me knows how rare that is.)

Each year at this time and wonder how I can respond. I know he knows I love him and anything I do does not compare to this tribute. It is always there for me. Any time I am feeling low or undervalued I can just listen, smile, and feel so loved.

Tim I know you know this but you are my soul mate. The one I go to with my joys, secrets and heartaches. I love you so much but know I do not express that as well as I would like. You are the calm place I go to recharge, re-bulid my confidence, relax, and enjoy life.

Happy Anniversary and here is to hoping for many more fun filled days!

Toddler Bubble Mitts

A friend of mine sent out an SOS early last week. She has a toddler and wanted a simple knitting pattern for mitts for this winter. There are lots of basic patterns out there, but I knew she would want something warm and colourful. I love bubble mitts and had made some for my nephew to match his sock monkey hat a number of years ago. Naturally, I did not actually write down what I did when I modified the pattern from E.D. Creations Bubble Mitt Pattern. I went to my ravelry project picture and attempted to recreate the project. I think I came pretty close to what I actually did in 2010.

I posted the final Toddler Bubble Mitt pattern in my store on Ravelry for free. I still have not had a test knitter check it so I am sorry if there are errors.


Supper and a show in Victoria PE

Monday July 28th my husband, my father-in-law and I went to Victoria for a fun filled evening. We started with supper at Beachcomber’s on the Wharf.  Sitting right by an open window there was a nice breeze to go with our amazing view. Tim ordered beer and kettle chip nachos (I cannot remember exactly what they were called) to get us started. I had the PEI Halibut which was well worth the price. I am from a long line of fishers and very picky about my fish, so this is high praise. They served it in a batter just like my Grandad used to make. I chose their amazing side salad. I am not exactly sure what the dressing on it was but I loved it. Both Tim and John had the chicken club. They raved about the great cheese, and homemade bread. Tim had the potato salad with it. I had to steal a bite (I am afraid that my “bite” may have been about half of his serving). I love potatoes and homemade potato salad. This fit the bill with a unique dressing. I think it had some kind of fancy mustard in it. Yes that is about as specific as my taste buds got. John had the side salad but with ranch dressing. We were pushing it catch the show so did not have dessert.

This summer the Victoria Playhouse has Musical Mondays. The 150 seats make any seat in the house good, but we were in the front row. Katie McGarry started the show. She has a distinctive voice. I was surprised when she said it was intermission because I felt like she was just getting warmed up. After intermission Meaghan Blanchand came on stage. I have heard Meaghan numerous times and appreciate her strong voice and the stories in her song. At the end of the show they shared the stage. I especially loved their harmonies and the give and take of two strong singers blending their voices. It was a wonderful experience. Thank you both.

Peanut Chicken and Vegetables

So I tried a new slow cooker recipe today. I had to modify so much it is not even close to the original now, but it smells amazing.

I love slow cooker recipes because you can chop everything the night before. Chill overnight in separate bowls then mix it up quickly the day you plan to serve it.

1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 package of frozen diced chicken (approx 2 lbs.)

3 medium onions (approx. 1.5 cups) thinly sliced

1 tsp garlic plus (did not have garlic cloves)
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 TBSP cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt (I just ground some pink rock salt into it)

2 TBSP warm water
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter (almond butter if you prefer)

Chopped and cooked to desired hardness:
3 lbs. potatoes
2 heads broccoli

1/4 cup grated zucchini
2 TBSP chopped unsalted peanuts (optional use almonds if use almond butter)
1 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (or 3/4 tsp., 4 mL, dried), optional)

Heat cooking oil in large frying pan on medium heat. Add diced chick. Cook until browned. Transfer to slow cooker.

Add onion to same large frying pan. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often until softened.

Add next three ingredients (garlic, curry, crushed pepper). Heat and stir for one minute until fragrant.

Mix 1/4 cup broth with cornstarch, mix until smooth. Add all broth, and salt. Stir well. Pour over chicken. Cover. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or on High for 4 to 4.5 hours.

Stir warm water into peanut butter in small cup until smooth. Add to chicken mixture. Stir. Add potatoes and broccoli. Stir well. Cover cook on high for about 5 minutes. Remove to serving bowl.

Scatter zucchini, peanuts and cilantro over top.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,273 other followers