Monday, September 24, 2012

Assassin's Creed III

Sometimes things take a turn you don't expect.

I did not expect AC III's cover to look anything like this.

The storyline for the AC series is framed Desmond, who is linked to all the MCs of the individual releases. Desmond relives the stories of his ancestors through a device that taps into a latent memory stored in his DNA. Very cool idea. So, to recap:

The first game is in the perspective of Altaïr, set in Third Crusade Masyaf, Acre, Jerusalem and Damascus. Lots of Old buildings and castles to climb.

The second and two following games were through the eyes of Ezio Auditore. Game two, and game two and a half, were set in Italy. We all loved it. Game two and three quarters was in Istanbul, but really just felt like Italy with a few costume changes. Again, lots of castles and neat old buildings.

The "third" game is in the perpective of a new character, set in the American Revolution? That's a big change - as in change continents, and fast forward. The main character, Connor, is part Native American, part British. It looks like he takes the eagle theme even futher into shape changing. No chance for castles here, folks. I'll definitely be buying it, but -

What about the world that we enjoyed in the past versions of this game? There's a reason the whole AC II ++ was in a similar setting. Are we ready to move on? Maybe.

This is a question I ask myself about the books I read and the manuscripts I write. If book one does a good job immersing us in a specific world, why change it? Most readers aren't ready to move on yet either, which must be why there's a whole trilogy trend. But-

When we get past book three, aren't we ready to move on?

For me, I find that three books in a series is adequate. Lots of times I won't even read whatever follows. I don't have time. It's like travel. How many times should I visit Italy, when there are so many other destinations in the world I still have to see?

What do you think?

Monday, September 17, 2012


You might ask: Why is there a post about Greek yogurt on this site?

Answer: Because it's really Turkish.

Lots of Turkish stuff in this country is labelled as Greek. In this case, people were already familiar with Greek yogurt, even though it's the same stuff the Turks make.

Tomato, tomahhhto. Whatever!

So what makes this Turkish/Greek stuff different from regular yogurt?

It's strained.

When I lived in Turkey, I was like: What is it with this thick stuff?
I was yearning for Yoplait, you see, but all while the Turkish stuff was better for me.
Less fat, more protein. No artificial anything.

Me being a word-a-holic, the purpose here is to let you in on the roots of the name Chobani.

Choban is the Turkish word for a shepherd. When you add an i, the word is modified to mean "shepherd's style". Technically, I think the i is an Arabic addition. You know the Ottomans were all over the Middle East, so they must have picked up some word habits while they were there.

The Chobani story:

While tidying up his desk back in 2005, our Founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, stumbled upon a classified ad for a yogurt plant recently closed down by Kraft. After initially throwing the ad away, Hamdi listened to his gut, fished it out of the trash and went to see it that day. He decided to buy the plant on the spot, and went to work on perfecting the recipe for Chobani based on his belief that everyone, regardless of income or location, deserved access to delicious, high-quality yogurt. The first cup of CHO finally hit shelves 18 months later and has since grown to become America’s #1 yogurt.

To me, Hamdi sounds like an Egyptian first name. Ulukaya is definitely Turkish . Maybe that's how the name Chobani happened. Hybrid people make up hybrid words - I know I do it all the time.

Per the (very cute) video below, Hamdi Ulukaya grew up in eastern Turkey.

So I'm off to have some black cherry Chobani.

What's your favorite flavor?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Author Leigh T Moore ~ CP Extraordinaire

Lots of bloggers know Leigh T Moore , but I'm sure many don't. She's a great asset to the writer's blogging community. Her comments sparkle like spots of supportive sunshine, AND she's an excellent professional editor. (Shoot her an email, leightmoore (at) gmail (dot) com.) 

I consider myself very lucky because Leigh was my first ever CP, and she's the best kind - the kind who cheers you along when you get an R from that dream agent who requested your manuscript. Yep. She's got my back.

So Leigh is great. And I want to *throw confetti* around to celebrate her latest endeavors, her new YA contemporary:


Jason just wants a date with Harley.
Harley just wants a date with Trent.
Trent's still getting over Stephanie.

When Harley and Jason decide to fake date, they uncover a school of deceptions. Trent's got a secret, but so does Jason. And the more time Harley spends secretly kissing her fake boyfriend, the further she gets from her dreams with Trent.

Worst of all, Harley's mom is getting cozy with her hot massage therapy student, and even Harley's Reverend Dad can't fake not being bothered by it. But when the masks finally come off, can everyone handle the real truth?

Also, later this fall, Leigh has an adult novel coming out through publisher Pocket Star:


Trapped in the underground theater world of 1890s New Orleans, Hale Ferrer has only one goal: escape. But not without Teeny, the orphan-girl she rescued from the streets and has since raised as her own.

Freddie Lovel, Hale's wealthy Parisian suitor, seems to be the easy solution. If only his touch could arouse her interest like Beau's, the penniless stagehand who captures her heart.

Denying her fears, Hale is poised to choose love until an evil lurking in their cabaret-home launches a chain of events that could cost Hale everything.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Turkey's Salt Lake ~ Tuz Gölü

Tuz Gölü
Between the Cilician Gates at Pozanti and the capital city of Ankara, a single highway snakes across the endless fields of Anatolia.

Well, seemingly endless.

Sunflower fields are lovely, but after so many hours, they're just sunflowers.

Then the fields give way to the shimmering salt flats of Tuz Gölü. (Literally: "Salt Lake")

The lake draws the eye like a magnet, even though the bright whiteness makes me squint as I get closer. It's a huge lake,Turkey's second largest.

My father-in-law mentions that there are salt mines, and he keeps driving. (Salt mines there produce 63% of the salt consumed in Turkey.)It takes a while to drive past.

Over the years, I passed the lake several times, never stopping. I should have.

The lake is like a natural spa. The cosmetics industry uses the water, salt, mud, and extracts from the 22 types of minerals found there for various skin softening treatments. Honestly though, the cosmetics angle doesn't interest me all that much.

But - Tuz Gölü is home to the largest Mediterranean flock of the greater flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus. THAT interests me.

In 2011, the major breeding colony  there hatched over 18,000 chicks. That's a lot of pink!

Speaking of: You probably know the flamingo's food source is the reason their feathers turn pink. At Tuz Gölü, the brine shrimp artemia salina is their favorite snack. Artemia salina likes to feed off the red algae, dunaliella salina.
Sometimes the red algae gets out of hand. Ever heard of a crimson tide? A blood red algae bloom rolls in along the shores, and against the white salt flats, it's particularly shocking. (link to pic) Never thought I'd see a crimson tide on a lake shore. You?
A little bit of housekeeping:
A) Summer isn't officially over until September 21st, right? I'm keeping to one post per week until then. ;)
B) I've rearranged the blogroll on the left sidebar. See how there's a whole widget for Blogs on Turkey? These are all interesting, mostly written by expats, but all about some aspect of Turkish life. Check them out!
Also, I'll be evaluating the author/writer/reviewer widget soon.  


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