Showing posts from October, 2007

Menu for my Imaginary Country

The Promenade
Restaurant and Winery
188 Orient Avenue
Penthouse, the Crimson Building


The Promenade Special: Gourmet cheeses accented by wine of the day and organic apples with salad. $10.92

A Rustic Flair: Biscuits and smoked salmon. $6.38

Summer Delight: Sliced orange garnished by goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes. $6.00

Verandah Crunch: Mixed nuts with plain yogurt. $6.00

The Alleyway: Pumpernickel bread with honey-brie cheese. $9.99


Catch of the Day: Halibut, salmon, mackerel, or tilapia, grilled to perfection. $32.60

The Clam Shack: Fresh clams lightly breaded with honey-coated multi-grain. $28.00

Pasta Canasta: A variety of noodles with ravioli and tortellini, complimented by basil tomato sauce and Shiitake mushrooms. Salmon on request. $29.95

Countryside Platter: Organic veal, pork, and lamb, with parmesan cheese and rigatoni. $36.34

Wind of the Sea: Salmon teriyaki with clams, oysters, mussels, and dulse. $29.99

Vegetarian Variety: Platter of fake meats and breads with one…

Vietnamese Cuisine

As I will be going on an Asia tour this November through Hong Kong, Beijing, and Vietnam, I am doing some research on Vietnamese cuisine--just in case some if its not-so-savory sounding foods (dog meat, for instance) disturb my semi-vegetarian diet during my stay.

According to, a website I would strongly recommend for research on Vietnam, the French had a large influence on Vietnamese food because of their colonization of Vietnam. One obvious influence is French bread.

According to, one popular dish, with noticeable French roots, is the "Vietnamese baguette, French bread containing paté, Vietnamese mayo, different selections of Vietnamese cold cuts and deli (a large variety, most commonly with ham, head cheese, and a Vietnamese bologna), pickled daikon and carrot, cucumber slices. Often garnished with coriander, black pepper."

Another influence on Vietnam's cuisine was neighboring China. There are m…

Phrases of my Imaginary Country

Phrase: One hobbling crook is better than ninety-two strong monks.

Definition: One "bad" person who is too weak to do anything is better than ninety-two "good" people who are strong and zealous.

Origins: After the reign of Voledads' first duarchy, a religiously devout sister and brother pair, the Trinansitic archbishop took control of the country and installed harsh rules against those opposed to the Trinansitic faith. Monks were the new "bad guys" in their violent searches, secret surveillance systems, and total control of the legal system.

Phrase: Hag's Revenge

Definition: Hag's Revenge means a medicine that does more harm than good.

Origins: Alternative medicines became popular in the 1970s with the rise in buying of foreign goods and "exotic" objects. Alternative medicines, which were also known as "Hagfood" for the alternative apothecary stereotype (generally old women in the popular imagination), were soon at the center…

One of My Imaginary Country's Founders

Voledads is the imaginary country I have created in class. One of the country's founders is Emilio Iodeco van Sprawitz, more commonly referred to as Emilio van Sprawitz. Like many Voledadians, he was born in Maintana, but his father, Franklin van Sprawitz, was from Carmellan. Emilio van Sprawitz was born in 1698, the middle child of a middle-class merchant’s sprawling family of seventeen. Emilio's grandmother observed from the beginning that he was strangely calm, cautious, and observant for a small child.

Emilio van Sprawitz attended the College of Hull and Brownstone-Morris, famous for the study of psychology and law, on a scholarship for law at the age of thirteen. Contrasting sharply with his young childhood and later adulthood, Emilio was a rather rowdy sort in college, carousing about with the higher class and accumulating large debts. He studied law very seriously, however.

Emilio van Sprawitz was the main author of the constitution, which was drafted in 1738, after the d…

If I Really Became an Expert...This is Me in 20 Years


I studied China extensively in college and graduate school, set many of my works in China, traveled to China and interviewed locals for more information on the history of specific areas. I majored in Chinese history in college and graduate school. To learn more about China, I have visited China, Taiwan, and England (England having had quite a bit of control in China some time ago), as well as Japan to investigate China’s ancient influences.

My income comes from a variety of sources--I host my own History Channel program on Ancient China for middle/high school students, which is a large success in schools and dishes in quite a bit of money. I am also a spokesperson for the Chinese government’s tourism program to publicize Chinese museums and artifacts and raise international awareness about China’s rich history. My various books are national bestsellers and many schools across the country h…

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

A mermaid reminiscing self-contentedly, a linnet in a cage "that never knew the summer woods," a bugle call in a woman's college, the mysterious Lady of Shalott…
Dive into the world of Alfred, Lord Tennyson with Sterling Publishing's Alfred, Lord Tennyson, part of the Poetry for Young People series. Vivid illustrations by Allen Garns bring Alfred, Lord Tennyson's works to life for the whole family.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson is a great read for children and parents alike. The depth of his topics will spark interest for adults, while the wonderful texture, beautiful illustrations, and imagery-rich poetry of the hardcover book will entrance children.
Some of my favorite features include the vocabulary definitions at the bottom of each poem. While some books may include definitions, they sometimes take so long to find that they turn off most readers in today's hurried world. The Poetry for Young People series takes care of that problem and…

Sterling Publishing's Albert Einstein Book

Does the name “Albert Einstein” make you remember—or dread—a stuffy classroom and a teacher droning about relati-something while the class sleeps on?
Or perhaps “Albert Einstein” sparks memories—or excitement—about trailblazing in the fascinating world of science.
Either way, you should probably pick up a book.
Recently I read Albert Einstein: The Miracle Mind. An engrossing biography by Tabatha Yeatts and part of the Sterling Biographies series, Einstein is a thorough look at Einstein’s life and times and the influences that shaped him.
I would recommend Einstein to all ages, especially school-age children. Vocabulary words with definitions, ample visuals for enhanced reading enjoyment, and concise information panels all combine to create a wonderful tool for school projects or learning on your own. The compactness and texture of the hardcover book will strongly appeal to children.
Although some kids may back away at the wo…

Becoming an Expert: Part 3

I was looking for night reading--something exciting, perhaps, fiction, most definitely--in my mom's bedroom, when, scanning the shelves line by line, stumbled upon a brobdingnagian tome titled Ancient Civilizations. The six hundred and eighty-eight page book wasn't exactly night reading, I decided. It did, however, have plenty of information on China, so today we'll learn about the Shang Dynasty.
According to Ancient Civilizations, the Shang (also known as the Yin) dynasty, was China's "first truly historical dynasty," lasting from around 1550 to 1045 BCE. The Shang dynasty’s Cheng Tang wrested power out of the hands of his predecessor, King Jie of the Xia Dynasty (citing The Records of the Historian by Sima Qian). The Shang state was centered in what is now called the Huabei Pingyuan (North China Plain), an expansive lowland area extending across north central China. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2008. © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Many artif…