Tuesday, April 23, 2013

reading notes, entry 1...and some really cool news...

I made an executive decision. It's my blog so I can do that. In fact, it's pretty much the only place I can, so why not take advantage of that power, huh? :P Yeah, anyway...it's no secret that I pretty much suck at anything remotely bordering the lands of book reviewing. And because I feel that way, it's really not a lot of fun. BUT! I do love books, and reading, and talking about books and reading. So what's a person to do? Well, I'm going to try a little experiment. I may find out that I hate it, in which case it too will go to the wayside where so many of my other experiments have gone. No biggie.

Reading notes. Yep, as in the kind of notes I write down in little notebooks while I'm reading when I'm not feeling too lazy. (Unfortunately, I feel too lazy a lot.) But I've decided to use my blog as my little notebook. Now let me warn you, these are *not* deep thoughts we're talking about here. More just my observations, reactions, quotes, ponderings and wonderings. Or the "how frickin' cool is that?!!" stuff I learn. That's what today's entry is (though I fully understand that I may be the only person to rate it as such).

A Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer.

Okay, so I didn't even realize there were viruses in ocean. But hey, until less than twenty years ago, scientists thought marine viruses were fairly rare, so I don't feel so bad about my ignorance. Turns out viruses in the ocean are rather abundant (understatement alert).

Yep, a graduate student, Lita Proctor, decided to look more closely, and what she found astounded scientists. Her finding were replicated by other researchers, and scientists now generally agree that there are 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 viruses in the sea. (That number is one nonillion--I had to look it up.)

It is hard to find a point of comparison to make sense of such a large number. Viruses outnumber all other residents of the ocean by about fifteen to one. If you put all the viruses of the oceans on a scale, they would equal the weight of seventy-five million blue whales. And if you lined up all the viruses in the ocean end to end, they would stretch out past the nearest sixty galaxies.

My mind is officially boggled.

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OMG OMG OMG!!! This has absolutely *nothing* to do with the above, but I just had to share because it's just so damn exciting!!! Ms. Annie got some incredible news today!!! She had entered the college's annual writing contest. I'm not sure how big the English department is, but the college itself has between 17,000 and 18,000 students, so it's not a tiny school. Anyway, there were five categories, and Annie entered a piece in three of them--poetry, short story, and literary essay. She came in first place in the literary essay category and second place in the short story category. The professor who called to let her know made it point to tell her that it's a rare event when someone places in more than one category. To say she is over-the-moon happy would not be an exaggeration. :D The only downside--she has to speak at the awards dinner, and she is definitely not looking forward to that. But I'm pretty sure it doesn't really put that big a dent in her current elation. Another little bit of awesomeness--the literary essay she wrote was on Sarah Water's Tipping the Velvet. (Read the damn book already, Debra Anne!)

LOL--you know, in a way this does sort of tie in to what I was saying above. Here I am, can't even write a book review worth squat to save my life...and the kiddo is here winning an award for a literary essay. Switched at birth perhaps?

Annie, I know this was evident from the screaming I did over the phone when you called to tell me, but sweetie, I am SO. DAMN. HAPPY. for you!!! Way to go, Sugar...you are so awesome in so many ways!!!

7 comments:

Jean said...

Annie is as awesome as she is, Debi, because you have nurtured and encouraged her and given her the freedom to thrive. Your own writing isn't all that bad either. I'm heading off to bed with a smile at both you and your amazing offspring.

Ana @ things mean a lot said...

Jean is right: I wouldn't say "switched at birth" so much as "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" :P Congratulations, Annie! Well done :D

Debi said...

Jean,
What an incredibly kind thing to say! I know we, like you guys, try our very best to provide an environment where the kiddos can be all they dream of being. And we sometimes fail. But no matter what, I don't think there's any credit to be taken by me.

Ana,
LOL--well, it's probably neither of those things really, huh? I shall definitely pass along your congrats--it will put a huge smile on her face when I do. :D

Heather said...

WAY TO GO ANNIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so incredibly happy for you! And you too, DEBRA ANN. I think you do much posturing, to have such brilliant kids. :) Love you!!

kreed said...

WAY TO GO, ANNIE!!! That is so exciting and I am not the least bit surprised. I am just glad that the world recognizes what stellar children you have. Go take on the world, Annie - you have amazing things in your future.

I am wanting to reach through the computer and shake you for your comments about your writing. I wish you could see yourself the way I see you and give yourself at least a tiny bit of the tremendous amount of praise you deserve. You, my dear, are a talented and generous soul and I really hate the fact that you self yourself short. How is that for what sounds like a mom lecture!?!?! I really just wish I was there to hug you and take you to lunch and remind you that you are all of that and a bag of chips:)

Debi said...

Heather,
You're too sweet, my dear! Too sweet, indeed! And you know I love you too!!! :D

Kara,
I will definitely pass on your sweet words to Annie. You know, as soon as I stop crying over the sweet words directed at me. God, how I miss you, woman!!!

Ali said...

Wow, wow, wow! That is fabulous news! You must be so stinking proud right now.

I love your idea of sharing reading notes. Also: that's a heck of a lot of viruses floating around. Holy cow.