ridley pearson

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hello, Mommy

Japan's fascination with Hello Kitty just gets weirder and weirder. Here, in Shanghai, it's nearly as bad, but not this crazy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting Naked

I will be joining the Naked Authors blog starting in Feb. 2009.


I will be posting every other Wednesday. About two weeks after each NA post I will re-post the same piece here, but I hope you'll visit Naked Authors and keep up with my writing colleagues like Patricia Smiley and Paul Levine.

Happy Chinese New Year from Shangahi (www.shanghai-family.blogspot.com)


Friday, January 16, 2009

For the program guide

I was asked about childhood fantasies, for the program guide to the stage play of Peter and the Starcatchers (La Jolla Playhouse, beginning Feb 13th):

As a child I was surrounded by sorcery and magic. The kids in our Connecticut neighborhood were very close and over the years we formed a kind of secret club without ever calling it that. As the youngest of that club I was the guinea pig, the object of childhood "torture" like being tied up and left in the attic while the others dressed up as goblins and then raided the attic, scaring me half to death; once I was made to drink a green potion that I was told would kill me (it turned out to be 7-UP with green food coloring). This went on for many years. Ricky Hart, who lived down the street, wore capes and rode his bike around in the gloom of night making hooting noises. We were a strange bunch.
My fantasy back then, and perhaps it carried forward, was to be a spy. I would work on walking through the woods without making a sound; I would sneak around my house trying not to be noticed; at one point I had run wires throughout most of the house so it was "bugged" and connected to a tape recorder in my room. I'm not sure my parents ever found out about that. I wonder where those tapes are now?
But an ability I fantasized about, was, like my favorite early book, Harold and his Purple Crayon: to imagine and create a world. Harold could draw things that then came to life, and he stepped into that world. My mother was the artist. My father was a writer. I began using words in place of Harold's crayon--creating worlds where I could be the caped magician, the spy. And I, the writer, was of course, invisible. It's a fantasy world I still enter each day as I sit down in my office chair.
Ridley Pearson

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kidle freeze, Kindle crash, Kindle alive!

I know there are those out there who dislike the notion, if not the actual device itself. I'm talking about the Kindle. Living in China for the past six months it has been a life saver. Not only can I carry 10 to 20 books with me wherever I go -- and I've been traveling a lot -- but I use it with my students' papers (30 a week!) to create a paperless office. I read and grade on the Kindle.

And then it failed. If it entered "sleep" it wouldn't wake. I had to reset it with a paperclip. I searched the Internet for solutions -- and tried a half dozen fixes. Nothing. Still not working. Then Amazon wrote me to send it back and get a new one -- and I hated to do that, but finally, today called Tech Support to get a return number. And that's when they decided to tell me how to fix it. I was lacking a single step in all the dozens of variations of resets I had done. One button. Nowhere on their site. Nowhere on any of the blogs. But I went ahead and followed his instructions, and now it seems to be working again. Which means I can read, and I can teach (and not waste reams of paper). It galls me that they don't post this solution. So here it is:

ALT-SHIFT-R and then when the screen blanks... release those and hold down HOME KEY until the firmware reset menu appears. (so simple!) press 2 for firmware reset, and the EPROM is wiped clean and you can start all over -- load your books (the Amazon site holds them!) and get going again.

I love real, tangible books. I will continue to buy REAL BOOKS in independent stores, whenever, wherever possible. But the Kindle, both for long distance travel, and paperless reading of Word documents is a terrific addition to a writer's toolbox. I'm glad to have it back working.