31 August 2005

Flood-Aid recommendation - CERF

This post is in response to Glenn Reynold's (Instapundit) call for bloggers to list a charity or other organization that can provide aid to the survivors of Katrina's wrath.

Some percentage of those displaced by the storm and the flooding are professional craftspeople in many media. They undoubtably have lost tools, raw materials, finished inventory, and in many cases even their studios or workshops. Whether they can eventually return to their homes, or must relocate permanently, they will need assistance to restart their businesses.

CERF, the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, exists to help craftspeople in this type of situation. Through their Emergency Relief program, they can provide for booth fee waivers at participating craft shows, discounts on or direct donations of craft-related supplies and equipment, low-interest loans, and in some cases, limited direct financial support. They also provide many other services and information to craftspeople.

In response to the hurricane, the CERF website has created a "Katrina Message Board" where you can either ask for help if you were affected by Katrina, or offer help, supplies, equipment, etc.

If you are a crafts person yourself, or simply want to contribute to an organization that directly helps creative people to get back to working, consider CERF.

Thanks to Glenn for coordinating the blogburst!


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21 August 2005

Desert Wood and Book Memes

It has been a while since I posted, but as with many enjoyable pastimes, life intervened. Shortly after my last post, my father took ill, and he passed away earlier this month. I drove with a friend down to Phoenix to give my mother some additional support and help with the funeral arrangements. They had been married more than sixty-three years. I will miss him.

The trip was not all depressing, however. We stayed with a very good friend, who owns a condo in an older complex with many trees. One of the monsoon storms that have done so much damage to the area this summer blew down several trees the week before I arrived, and a cleanup crew had neatly chunked them up and piled them by size in an open area.

My Phoenix friend had stashed several pieces in her storage area for me, expecting the remainder to be hauled away any day. However, the piles were still there when I arrived, so I got to pick thru and select a few more small logs, as much as I could fit into the car. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford to rent a trailer or truck to get the rest home, so I left behind many 18-20" diameter logs and lovely crotch pieces, as well as some large diameter palo verde, red gum and other eucalypts, and several other species. I did contact the local woodturners association and alerted them to the cache, but as of today when I called my friend, most of the wood was still there. *sigh* I will post a picture of my meager haul later.


The proximate incentive for this post, however, came from reading the latest posts on Red Georgia Clay, and following the volunteer link on the Book Meme. Since I had a couple of items in common with the Appalachian Intellectual, I volunteered to continue the meme. Here goes:

1. How many books have I owned? Probably several hundred. Most of the ones I have on display since I moved are on woodworking/woodturning (an entire bookcase full), plus about fifteen shelf feet of books on gardening, geology, nature reference, and many many "coffee-table" books on nature subjects of all sorts, and my small bookcase of cookbooks. Most of the fiction is still packed in boxes. My spouse owns several thousand volumes, including an enviably large collection of science fiction and fantasy.

2. What was the last book I bought? It has been a while since I actually bought a book, (limited budget) but I would be safe in saying it was on woodturning!

3. The last book I finished was: (don't laugh!) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. My son lent it to me to reread before I tackled Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which is setting on the shelf. He warned me not to read the last 150 pages of so of the latter at night, and then the trip to Phoenix has postponed my even starting it.

Two other books that I finished in the past few weeks were: Woodturning Design by Mike Darlow, a very thoroughly researched book on the origins and rationale of good design, with an emphasis on the architectural influences on woodturning; and At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: Travels Through Paraguay by John Gimlette. I thoroughly enjoyed the author's style, but by the end of this book I was entirely convinced that Paraguay must be the most schizoid place on earth. Almost nobody there seems to be "Paraguayan" - they all identify themselves as "British" or "French" or "German" or whatever country it was that their predecessors had emmigrated from, even if it was five or six or eight generations back!

I'm currently part-way through Joseph Campbell's The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology which I bought about five years ago but never opened. Interesting concepts, convoluted writing.

4. What books have made an impression on me? As with most avid readers, many books have left their marks. Probably the one that most influenced my thinking has been Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I have read that cover to cover (yes, even the fifty-plus-page speech by John Galt!) at least fourteen times over the years.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card was impressive, but I found its sequel, Speaker for the Dead, even more thought-provoking. In another connection with this meme, I have read most of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, (T.E. Lawrence) but IIRC, I was unable to finish it because I had to take it back to the library.

Most of my fiction reading over the last 20 years or so has been science fiction and fantasy, and two authors and series stand out. Their characters and their worlds are captivating enough that I have reread all of the books in each several times. They are David Weber's Honor Harrington books, and the Vorkosigan Saga by Louis McMaster Bujold.

A fantasy author whose works I very much enjoy is Diane Duane, particulary her Wizardry series. Deep Wizardy, the second book, I think is extremely well-written and emotionally powerful. Her Tale of the Five series is also very good, and handles sensitive issues with skill, compassion, and believability. Not to mention that her dragons are wonderful!

So many books, so many impressions. Will someone volunteer to carry this on?