Update 27 MAY 2017

27 May 2017 12:05 pm
megpie71: Avon looking unimpressed, caption "Bite Me" (Avon2)
[personal profile] megpie71
This week everything happened at once.

I've known for a while that I had an essay due, a rationale and reflection document due, a short story to write (1500 - 2000 words) and a rent inspection due at some point this month. This week, the uncertainty bubble surrounding the date of the inspection collapsed, and we discovered when it was going to happen: this coming Wednesday (it's due in May, Wednesday is the 31st of May, it apparently counts).

For those of you not ensnared in the morass of the Australian rental market, let me describe the joys of a rental inspection to you. Firstly, you get told the inspection is happening at some time on a given day - usually with about a week's notice. The current real estate agency are nice enough people - they narrow it down to "some time between 12pm and 5.30pm", which is positively generous. Before this happens, you need to have the property in a condition which would satisfy either your mother, or your mother-in-law (depending on who has the more rigid housekeeping standards - if neither of these qualify, pick your unfriendly local germophobe). You also need the gardens (if there are any) looking good as well - the local mowing places do a lot of good business out of people who have inspections due! So, once you have the property in pristine condition (including things like cleaning off light switches, wiping down walls and cleaning the oven) you wait for the property manager (if you're renting from a real-estate agency) or the owner (if you're renting directly) to come in and have a look over the place. Now, technically, they're not supposed to be judging you on your housekeeping standards - but we all know this is so much horse elbows, so yeah, they are. If it's a property manager, they come in and often (these days) take photos of the interior of the place, in order to prove you've left the walls where they were when you came in, and to prove the roof hasn't spontaneously fallen in or similar. This, of course, means they're usually taking photos of your goods and chattels as well. Anyway, they come in, do their walk through, make sure you haven't knocked the place down since they were last there, then breeze back out again after making a report for the owner. The whole business takes about fifteen minutes to half an hour tops, but it requires about a week's solid effort in preparation because the place needs to be pristine for them.

This happens every three months, by the way (four a year).

We had the tradesman come around to have a look at the kitchen cupboards on Friday at about 7.30 in the morning. He brought the owner with him, which I would have appreciated knowing about beforehand (while the house wasn't in "complete dog's breakfast" condition, it wasn't quite at "suitable for unknown strangers visiting" levels of cleanliness). Basically, the owner and the tradesman consulted with each other, and I suspect the outcome is going to be a replacement of at least some (if not all) of the kitchen benches. Now, when this will happen (and whether we'll be in the property when it does) is currently all up in the air - our lease expires on the 21st of July, and while I'm going to be talking to the property manager about getting another twelve months in the place nailed down, what may wind up happening is the owner might decide (in the interests of "not disrupting our lives", gods help us[1]) to give us our notice to quit at the end of this current lease, so he can get the tradies in to do things uninterrupted. Now, I don't know whether this is certain, probable or merely in the range of possibilities out there, but it's something I've added to the list of potential worries coming up.

I've mostly finished all the uni assessments - I finished off the editing of my major essay for one of my units this morning (it's been sitting there waiting to be done like an albatross around my neck for the last three or four days, but when I try to do it in the afternoon, my brain basically throws up an "Out of Spoons" error and refuses to parse the wretched thing). I just have the short story to write a first draft of (for workshopping purposes) by Tuesday. Which should be fun, right? But once I've submitted that short story (due the 1st of June) I've finished for the semester, and all I have to do after that is wait for my results.

Of course, this also means I have to go and speak to AtWork regarding Work for the Dole, since at present my university study qualifies as my Work for the Dole activity - and technically they have me on the books as needing to do Work for the Dole until about August or thereabouts. So I need to find out whether I'm going to be breaching my mutual obligation requirements if I don't immediately start doing something else (like picking up litter, sorting rags, washing bottles, or picking oakum) immediately the moment I've handed in this last assignment.

Still going on MFF, have deleted Avengers Academy from the tablet (since it wasn't going anywhere, and was crashing on a regular basis every time I tried to open it) and I'm getting very fond of Final Fantasy Record Keeper, which I've been playing for over a year now, and which hasn't crashed, glitched, or demanded money from me in all that time. Why can't there be more games like that?

[1] The logic here being that having renovations done around us would be disruptive. Which, yes, it would. But having to move out on short notice, and find another place to live in for the amount we can afford (preferably close to uni - that's the main qualifying feature of this place, by the way - it's close enough to the university that we can basically be there within 15 minutes of leaving the house) would be even more disruptive.

Fess up

27 May 2017 12:04 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Which of you mentioned "cultural appropriation" to Orson Scott Card?

Also, are Irish accents really as hard as all that for Americans to understand?
ellenmillion: (Default)
[personal profile] ellenmillion
So, we were planning to go camping this weekend. That was before the forecast called for 4 INCHES OF SNOW and winds of up to 60 MPH at our campground. SO that ended up being a big NO THANK YOU, and instead we're working on home improvement. Think warm thoughts for all my poor flowers. The lettuce baskets and potatoes were in the garage last night, and this morning I woke up to buckets of snow coming down... but not sticking for very long at all. It was just wet, and warmed up quickly. Nothing looks frosted. (Though we did lose power for an interesting 20 minutes or so...)

For my birthday, I got hacked. Okay, that's not entirely true - it's still the day before my birthday. But I'm cranky about it! I think it's all cleaned up, and nothing was compromised (just some crap that got added to an old forum and a defunct folder at EMG-Zine). Passwords updated and all the folders in question were summarily deleted (or are still processing through deletion).

In other news, I did finish some client artwork! This is part of a filed trademark application:



And I'm well into inking another sea monster piece that I'm really hoping to have finished up to post this month. :) I have another commission to do in color, and then everything is off my plate. Until the next big secret project, which supposedly I have until next March to complete. (The last secret project hit some delays, but should be out of the gate... by March, I suppose.)

Now, it's time to get birthday dinner ready for the best husband in the world.
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

One of the benefits of being on a higher floor of the hotel, even if this also means a lot of rather tedious waiting for lifts. I was going to take and post a photo, but I really don't think that my present state of tiredness is a good state in which to get to grips with DW photo posting. Also, on essaying to take a photo for later presentation, realised that the grimy marks on the window would be rather obtrusive.

Quite a full day, which started with waking up rather earlier than I had hoped, but not horribly so.

Socialising has taken place. There was going to be a walk, but then it started to rain (I wouldn;t say there was no chance of a walk that day, but not at that particular time).

Also have been on one panel, which I think suffered a little from ambiguity in framing its terms but nonetheless evoked some interesting discussion.

Observations of note: in the stuffed toy and knickknackery shop just around the corner in State Street, there is a stufft swan, right at the front of the window display: also an inflatable pool version. However, I should eschew props for my reading.

Eeee!

26 May 2017 09:11 pm
musyc: Draco and Pansy, captioned "toil and trouble" (Draco: Pansy toil and trouble)
[personal profile] musyc
A lovely person on Tumblr made a mood/aesthetics board inspired by a fic of mine. Delightful! Right this way. Reblog if you like! Support Draco and Pansy being snaky, snarky best friends. XD

26 May 2017 08:04 pm
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Watson reading, with the caption "Winner, JWP 2016" (watson's woes)
[personal profile] violsva
Title: Plots of Sax
Rating: T
Universe: Biscuitverse (BBC Sherlock)
Character(s): Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Mary Morstan
Summary: For once it’s not (entirely) autocorrect’s fault.
Warnings/Enticements: Polyamory, Non-Consensual Drug Use, Texting, Humour
Word Count: 596

On AO3

26 May 2017 11:59 pm
sravakavarn: (Default)
[personal profile] sravakavarn
 The book of poetry will come out from Unlikely books new year. Yey. 

and i don't feel so good myself

26 May 2017 02:56 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Sometime last week I came across a passing link, probably somewhere in the Lawyers, Guns & Money comments, to All Birds Are Cats. I started off somewhat baffled, but by the end of the two-minute clip I couldn't stop giggling. "Well, look, if you're not prepared to do the research, Bryan, why make the statement in the first place?"

It seems that John Clarke and Bryan Dawe have made a career for the last thirty years of doing these little two-minute satirical interview sketches, one a week, for Australian television. Some of them are downright brilliant, for example, The Front Fell Off (I have not laughed so hard in ages). Many rely on a grasp of Australian politics that I just don't have, but are still delightful to watch.

Sadly John Clarke died early in April, while 'bushwalking' and birdwatching. On the bright side there's an awful lot of Clarke & Dawe on their Youtube channel, and more to come.

Maymester

26 May 2017 05:07 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
[personal profile] feuervogel
Intense. Damn.

So, class is 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 15 days, in order to get an entire semester's worth of instruction in. This means we read approximately a chapter a day, with 1-2 articles a day in addition (a total of 50-80 pages or thereabouts). Taking graduate-level German classes has me saying "300 pages a week? In English? With no other commitments? Pfffff, easy."

The class has a lot of discussion and presentations, and we had an individual project and a group project. My group project is ok? I guess? but I had to wrangle undergrads, which is annoying. That's due Tuesday, and I can't start data analysis until the last data points are collected.

But the prof only counts the 2 highest tests, and I'm satisfied with my current test scores (100 and 96), so I won't take the third test, which is Wednesday. That definitely makes my weekend a little less stressful. "All" I have to do is write up my paper and put the rest of my things into boxes and take them to the office.

I'm moving out of my apartment, so I have virtually nothing in it. My furniture is at a friend's apartment, so I'm sitting on a spare couch cushion and using a lap desk. I've been eating TV dinners and things I don't need dishes for, using paper plates & bowls and plastic cutlery. I feel very College Student. Small remaining things are going to my office (cleaning supplies, what little furniture I have left) over the weekend, and Tuesday will be the final clean-up before the walkthrough, and I'm driving home Wednesday morning (staying with a different friend Tuesday night).

Why you deserve it

26 May 2017 01:24 pm
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

I have just finished watching season 1 of Skin Wars on a friend’s recommendation. It is very very far from my usual sort of thing: it’s a reality show that’s a competition in body painting. My friend promised that it was very low on the interpersonal cattiness/drama, with lots of very skilled work and a certain amount of people learning stuff about their art, learning from each other. New art and learning? Hey, I’m there for that. And I was immediately hooked, and I will definitely watch the other two seasons, especially since my friend is a person who would have warned me if there was a lot of body-shaming weirdness in store.

One of the things that fascinates me is that the artists involved in this were often financially struggling–it’s not a fast route to fame and fortune–and they had pretty well-entrenched justifications for why they deserved success that were not always easy to dislodge by circumstances that really should have dislodged them. Examples:

I have put in the time. I have worked long hours. This is a competition with firmly set time limits, around each piece and around the competition as a whole. Each artist gets literally exactly the same amount of time. There are no examples of artists putting their feet up and being done early, and beyond that here is absolutely no way for anyone to put in more time than anyone else. Eventually this got clarified to:

I have put in the time. I spent my whole life learning this. Finally someone turned to the person who kept repeating this and said, how old are you? and determined that they were very close to the same age. And that they had both spent their whole life learning it, so…yeah. Not a distinguishing feature. I’ve seen both of these at conventions, though: I have devoted more time to science fiction than the other people at my day job! And I’ve seen a certain amount of it in various factions in the field who are convinced that they are the ones who are truly, deeply devoted–and that that kind of devotion has to be what matters. (Spoiler: it does not have to be. Sorry.)

I need it the most. My living conditions are worse than other people’s without recognition. There are indeed need-based scholarships for various types of study, and I’m very glad. But they’re usually clearly labeled, and “I like your art a lot” and “I think you need money” are not actually the same thing–and “you should like my art a lot because I need money” doesn’t actually work very well.

I need it the most. I poured my heart into this piece. “You should like my art a lot because I need validation” does not turn out to work better than “you should like my art a lot because I need money.” It is often a great idea to pour your heart into art. I recommend it. Then make more art and pour your heart into that. Also technique at the same time.

I have the most technical skills. Ever heard a pianist play Hanon? They are finger exercises. They are finger exercises, they are to make you a technically better pianist, and nobody plays them in concert because they are no fun to listen to. (Or play. Freakin’ Hanon.) Okay, okay, they have a certain hypnotic power, they can be impressive, but…at the end of the day if you are showing up and playing Hanon, nobody is buying your book, your painting, or in the most literal sense, tickets to your piano concert. (Freakin’ Hanon.)

It is apparently really, really hard to say, “Mine is good. Here is what I did well. Look at this part. I deserve this because mine is really good art. I combined the technical and the creative, this has thought and feeling and everything it’s supposed to have, and who cares whether I picked up those skills in two minutes or ten million hours, who cares whether someone else thinks that they are overall better than me and paid their dues more than me, here is the thing I made, it doesn’t come with dues, it comes with awesome.”

It is even harder to say, “I don’t know what’s missing. I did everything right. It’s just not happening for me. Can you help me see what’s going wrong in my piece?” And sometimes there are ten million answers, and sometimes there’s one answer, and sometimes there…isn’t. And sometimes the artificial contest structure of a reality show has made something happen that reality doesn’t support, it has made a thing where there is a winner and a loser where actually in a group of ten there might be three pieces that really work and four that don’t and three that meh, or ten that meh, or any other combination of numbers.

But the attachment to previous explanations of why you deserve it, the strength of that: that really got fascinating for me, and I will be riveted to see whether that continues for future seasons.

swampers: (Default)
[personal profile] swampers
cpolk: (Default)
[personal profile] cpolk
I've decided to track what I do in a day, in 30 minute increments. I already have some observer effect, as I have only spent 30 minutes goofing around on the internet.

I'm not sure how long I should continue the experiment. I think for the month of June? 


miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cuddly Cthulhu)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... the Manchester thing hit me pretty hard, and then yesterday I had a migraine to the extent where I could just about manage twitter on night mode in a darkened room but not much else.

So if I missed anything important, I'm sorry xx
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

QotD

26 May 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"I'm convinced that most men don't know what they believe, rather, they only know what they wish to believe. How many people blame God for man's atrocities, but wouldn't dream of imprisoning a mother for her son's crime?" -- Criss Jami, Killosophy [via Goodreads]

Today is...
Gregorian: 2017 May 26 -- first day of Balticon
Julian: 2017 May 13
Hebrew: 5777 Sivan 01
Islamic: 1438 Sha'ban 29 -- sunset will start 1438 Ramadan 01
Persian: 1396 Khordad 05
Mayan: 0.0.0.13.0.4.8
Indian: 1939 Jyaistha 05
Coptic: 1733 Pashons 18

WisCon 41: Day Zero

25 May 2017 11:36 pm
owlmoose: (da - flemeth)
[personal profile] owlmoose
We have arrived! [personal profile] renay, [personal profile] justira, and I are in Madison, safe and sound, sacked out in our hotel room after a day of travel. We all flew into Chicago (me yesterday, Ira and Nay this afternoon), rented a car, and drove the two-ish hours with very little trouble. Made it into town just in time for the pre-con Guest of Honor reading at A Room of One's Own bookstore, where I got to sit next to [twitter.com profile] toughlovemuse. The two GoHs, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Amal El-Mohtar, each read a short piece and answered some questions. They are both fantastic performers with many interesting and worthwhile things to say, and I'm really excited for their speeches on Sunday, as well as hopefully seeing them around the con.

Now we are crashing early, in my case because the universe in its infinite wisdom decided to gift me with con crud BEFORE the convention. I've been under the weather with a bad sore throat since Sunday, to the point that I even changed my Wednesday flight to see the doctor before I left (but it seems to just be a stubborn virus). The main problem is talking, which is a fun thing to have trouble with at a con when you're on four panels. :/ But hopefully it will run its course soon. (So if you see me, and I dodge a hug or don't seem my usual bright and sunny self, you know why.)

Languages redux

25 May 2017 09:26 pm
ysobel: (learning german)
[personal profile] ysobel
Tried poking at French on duolingo ... and then realized it would mess up any Spanish attempts (or the Spanish attempts would much up French) because they look similar and sound so different, and I had a moment of "je suis, tu eres, il/elle/es est" (bad jumble of french and Spanish with a soupçon of German). So ... for now I go back to German for Duolingo purposes, and refresh Spanish grammar/vocab through other sites. (I am currently tempted by https://www.rocketlanguages.com/ which is paid, but I will probably get over that temptation and just stick to free resources.)

I did realize why I suddenly had urges to go do other languages, Greek or French or whatnot, rather than continuing with German. It's because the words aren't sticking right now. It's not difficult vocabulary -- z.b. Ort, Kneipe, Bezirk, Grundstück, Umgebung, Unterkünfte -- but I can't remember the words or their meanings at all. Each time it's like I'm seeing the word for the first time, and by the time it comes up again I've dropped it again.

Which is, um. Frustrating. And makes me want to avoid it. And to some extent repetition is the key to learning things like this, but it's hard to repeat things you can't hold on to.

I kind of wish I could just download language knowledge into my brain.

Thankful Thursday

25 May 2017 08:44 pm
mdlbear: Wild turkey hen close-up (turkey)
[personal profile] mdlbear

It's been an eventful week. I'm thankful that it's over. That's probably enough.

  • We sold our house in West Seattle. Done. It required a marathon cleanup session the day of the closing (Tuesday!) after the buyers' walkthrough Monday night. Why the *bleep* couldn't they have done it Friday evening? But they didn't, and our agent and I spent all day Tuesday cleaning out the stuff that I'd been too tired to deal with last Thursday, and the stuff that the movers dumped on the side path after they ghosted on us Friday. And G and I rented a UHaul and hauled his two motorcycles -- that the aforesaid mover had said he wanted to buy on Monday but never showed up -- over to our housekeeper's house in Auburn. But we did it.
  • In the end, after dropping off the truck, I went back to the old place to collect the paint cans the buyers had complained about, drove around to the front, and picked a bud and a flower off the Royal Amethyst rose. Thank you, Ame.
  • ... and sang "The Mary Ellen Carter" as loud as I could on the way back over the West Seattle Bridge. Thanks, Stan -- I needed that.
  • Our purchase of our new house on Whidbey Island went through without a hitch. That was a long search, and a lot of anxiety and research, but that too is done. Special thanks to our agents, Rob and (especially) Leif.
  • Also somewhere in there my final payment from Amazon came through. Less than I'd been expecting because I hadn't allowed for Social Security and Medicare taking their cuts, but welcome just the same. I note in passing that they have not come through with my promised health care, so no thanks are due in that direction.
  • Thanks to my family, too, the whole crazy lot of us. Special thanks to the Younger Daughter, whose new phone plan and health coverage through her employer have taken several additional worries off of my mind.
  • Thanks, too, to you, my readers. Your occasional comments and encouraging words have meant a great deal during this, um..., adventure? Something like that.

umadoshi: (mermaid 02)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky Things

"Artists are creating gorgeous mermaid art all #MerMay". [The Daily Dot]

"Rihanna and Lupita Nyong'o will costar in a buddy movie directed by Ava DuVernay for Netflix".

"Josh Boone Says THE NEW MUTANTS Is A Full-Fledged Horror Movie".

"The Origins of Anime: Watch Free Online 64 Animations That Launched the Japanese Anime Tradition". [Open Culture] (Note: I haven't delved into this yet.)


Photography

"How dogs get older: A fascinating and deeply touching photography project".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] larryhammer, "Photographer Uncovers The White Ravens Of Legend In West Coast Forest".

"Fallen Cherry Blossom Petals Fill a Lake in Japan for Naturally Beautiful Scenes From Above".


Miscellaneous

"All The Wrong People Are Asking All The Wrong Questions About Fidget Spinners". [Sarah Kurchak at The Establishment]

Via [flocked], "Angry otter pursues Scottish man". [~40 sec. video]

"A Moose Destroyed a Flowerbed Planted to Celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial". [Atlas Obscura]

"Fairy Princesses And Mermaid Queens Have Been Waiting For These Fishnet Stockings".

"Why Americans Smile So Much".

"Our Mothers as We Never Saw Them". "For me, as for many daughters, the time before my mother became a mother is a string of stories, told and retold: the time she got hit by a car and had amnesia; the time she sold her childhood Barbie to buy a ticket to Woodstock; the time she worked as a waitress at Howard Johnson’s, struggling to pay her way through her first year at Rutgers. The old photos of her are even more compelling than the stories because they’re a historical record, carrying the weight of fact, even if the truth there is slippery: the trick of an image, and so much left outside the frame. These photos serve as a visual accompaniment to the myths. Because any story about your mother is part myth, isn’t it?" There's an accompanying collection of photos on Instagram: [instagram.com profile] mothersbefore.

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] ironymaiden, "I Got Drunk With The Funeral Industry To Find Out What Happens When We Die". [Buzzfeed, 2015] "The Ideal Death Show initially started out in 2011, not as an industry shindig, but as a Six Feet Under fan convention in Bournemouth. It was run by a guy called Brian Jenner, who is a professional speechwriter and not remotely connected to the funeral industry except for this one weird thing. [...] When everyone turned up for the Friday night welcome wake, it was clear that what Jenner had accidentally organised was an industry meeting for people who worked with the dead; undertakers on a busman’s holiday, stood around a cardboard coffin in a room full of lilies.

The next year he stripped away the HBO pretext and just made it that: a bunch of people talking about death, once a year, with other people who know about death. They needed it – death can literally be a lonely business."



Via [dreamwidth.org profile] alisanne:

--"You Can Stay Overnight In A Jail Cell At This Haunted Prison In Canada". (I'll pass, thanks.)

--"10 Beautiful Photos Of Dogs Underwater" by photographer Seth Casteel.

--"I’m A Barista From Korea Who Creates Art On Coffee".

So here I am again

25 May 2017 09:20 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

And this year I did manage to get a massage from the amazing massage therapist at the place on the square, it was quite entirely wonderful.

Yesterday and earlier today it was still quite cool and cloudy, but seems to have warmed up by late afternoon.

Spent a mostly quiet and lazy day before going to the A Room of One's Own Reading.

Have managed to see and have some degree of conversation with the old familiar faces.

Have registered and must now look through the schedule to see what (apart from panels I am actually on) I want to go to.

Really, no news here, pass along.

sineala: The Enterprise (Star Trek: TOS) flying into the clouds (enterprise)
[personal profile] sineala
In case anyone has not seen this link: there is a blog this week doing a Big Gay Fiction Giveaway where you can get about 80 m/m books for the low, low price of completely free. I mean, you have to give them your email address and presumably they sign you up for a bunch of authors' newsletters, but there are some good things there, like KJ Charles' first Magpie book. I personally am looking forward to one that apparently has a rancher falling in love with a werehorse. Also there's one that appears to be gay Oliver Twist.

The Stony Trumps Hate auction is still going on. Sadly, even though I really, really wanted to win [personal profile] garrideb's vid auction, she's up to $90, which is more than I can afford, and since I have, like, eight possible ideas rather than one solid idea (seriously, I have a list of 616 vids in the order I would like to see them), I don't think I can get anyone to go in with me on this. I am sad. So I will try to win Amonae instead because I would really, really like someone to make me a comics vid. I just really want a comics vid so much.

Also I am trying very hard not to panic about this but I am the highest STH auction, as the people competing over me have devolved into two groups now: a Double Time sequel ([personal profile] magicasen) versus a Star Trek AU sequel ([personal profile] kiyaar). There is, uh, a lot of money at stake here. I think the Star Trek AU is losing, although honestly I really can't tell anymore.

I have no idea when I'm going to write this, whichever it is, as my fic writing output at this point is scheduled through at least September (or later, depending on how long Cap-IM BB runs for me), but it's going to be fun and I should probably try to stop screaming internally, right? Right.

[Art] A Duck, A Gull, A Hare.

26 May 2017 09:35 am
moonvoice: (calm - cute quoll)
[personal profile] moonvoice
These were all inked during Inktober last year.
So much fun colouring them.
I livestreamed the colouring of all of these over at Instagram,
and had really great crowds join me throughout the day.
Also honestly how have I never drawn a Mandarin Duck before,
they're so awesome. :D


Mandarin Duck as Totem
Original available at Etsy

 photo 2017 - Mandarin Duck as Totem 600x_zpspx6iqemw.jpg

'Love can be such a bright, brilliant emotion. I teach about eternal love. I don't teach lessons about love that fades, but instead, love that remains, stays steady, flames bright no matter what. I champion fealty and loyalty to one's loved one, will show you why opposites attract, or why two people can fit together like a perfect puzzle even when they're already whole. I also teach about the beauty of the liminal, how to find wisdom in the dawn and dusk, in the mist and fog. I will guide you through confusing places, and you can follow my bright plumage, or, if you get along better with my female counterpart (or myself when I'm in eclipse plumage), you can follow the flashes of green-blue upon her wings. See me at the surface, and I will teach you about the beauty of love, but I am a duck, and we are made to delve deeper, friend. Come with me, learn what lies beyond.'

More under the cut. )

Mediterranean Gull as Totem
Original available at Etsy

 photo 2017 - Mediterranean Gull as Totem 600x_zpscm0wi9z5.jpg

'You might think, to look at me, that I am a bird that whispers the secrets of the sea, or squawks them, but I'm the Mediterranean Gull, and you'd best get to know *me!* I cry the secrets of the coast, the shoreline, the cliffs, but especially the reeds, the marshes, the swampy wet places where sea meets land. I'm not about those huge open seas, nor am I about endless land, I love the meeting places. Perhaps you'll not be surprised then, to learn that I also teach about meeting places! How to socialise, interacting with others, loving others and hating them, walking through a social life of literal pecking orders and subtler nuanced association. I am not as brazen as some of my gull counterparts, but I'm not quiet either! I will be near you, and I will talk happily. Do you want someone to walk along the beach with you? To forage through the reeds? To find gems of wisdom in the places other people neglect? Look at how we can become so successful, commanding the places that people put second, to their detriment. I am joyful, determined and outspoken, but respectful and understanding too. I might look like so many of the others, but you will learn that I am only ever myself - as you are too.'

More under the cut. )

Mountain Hare as Totem
Original available at Etsy

 photo 2017 - Mountain Hare as Totem 600x_zpsdfkyodve.jpg

'I am integrated into my ecosystem, to the point where the way I live from place to place is variable, as it should be for you as well, if you are hopping from ecosystem to ecosystem. I am aware of my place, I respect it, we have a relationship of mutuality. On the surface, you may think me silly and hilarious, with my hopping antics, my wild racing across the fields or meadows or forests. I am happy in the higher places, I'll never be all that content at sea level, and you may find yourself drawn to the wisdom of hills and mountains and rises. Whether gentle or steep, we know how to appreciate a good hike to see the view beneath us, don't we? It's not always an easy life, I feel you know this well. I am hunted, and I am prey. But there are those who look out for me, and I look out for myself, too. I'm watchful, wary, made to inhabit my environment as perfectly as possible, whether white as new-fallen snow, or as grey-brown as a stone in a grassy field. Look for my moon and goddess wisdom too, if you wish, look deeper, into how I am anchored with the legends of the land and fertility. Oh, we can go so far together, you and I, across the fields or meadows or forests.'

More under the cut. )

25 May 2017 05:27 pm
bitterlawngnome: (Default)
[personal profile] bitterlawngnome

These were in a second hand shop in Seattle. They are so beautiful - and were so inexpensive - I could not pass them by. My best guess is - volumes 2, 3 and 5 of the Annotated Complete Works of Nogami ? ... but I can't find any further information. Anyone know enough Japanese to decipher what these might be? Or what the stamp on the colophon page means?

註解謠曲全集, 野上豊一郎著, 中央公論社




[psych] Define Empathy?

25 May 2017 04:31 pm
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
I am thinking about writing a thing, or several things, about empathy. I come from a perspective of generally being appalled about how the concept is bandied about, not just in the popular press, but pretty much everywhere, including among the pros.

Part of my appall is how there seem to be a vast profusion of definitions, many mutually exclusive, loose out there. Like, I'm pretty sure two of my grad school classes promulgated precisely opposite empathy vs sympathy distinctions.

So, for kicks and giggles, what's your personal definition of empathy? Assuming, of course, you have one. (If you don't, you can say that too.)

All comments will be screened, and I may or may not be unscreening some or all of them at my personal discretion. If you don't want your definition of empathy being tied to you, comment anonymously.

Going to Wiscon after all

25 May 2017 01:27 pm
pameladean: (Default)
[personal profile] pameladean
No doubt I should have posted something earlier, but we've had memberships and a hotel room for the past several years and yet it was not actually feasible to go. But this year, if I get off the computer and finish my lunch and finish packing, Eric and I will be at Wiscon. We hope to arrive in time for the Gathering, or a good portion of it.

Pamela

Lando and Cap and me

25 May 2017 12:55 pm
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Look, I am only a casual superhero comics fan, but here’s my sideline/peripheral take:

When I was two years old, Lando Calrissian betrayed his friends to the Empire. And then he thought better of it and became a good guy again. Two years old. I don’t actually remember experiencing this story for the first time, it’s a thing that entered my brain through cultural osmosis and repetition. I am now almost thirty-nine.

Why do I bring this up?

Because “maybe someone you thought was good is actually bad! but wait, no, they’re actually good again!” is not a new story for anyone who is an adult now. We have all done this one. It is not daring and new, it is not a shocking twist, it is–in fact–kind of the default. Yes, yes, who can you trust, anyone might turn out to be blah blah whatev.

We have never experienced a Superman without a kind of kryptonite that can turn him evil. We have never had a hero without shades of gray. And I’m not suggesting that we should do a ton of that. I’m not suggesting that abandoning nuance is the way to go. I’m just suggesting that “the ground beneath your feet is shifting! who should you trust!” is yeah, yeah, yeah, pretty old hat to more than one generation in a row by now. So you really need something better than that if you’re going to try to convince readers that you have something great up your sleeve. As far as twists go, this is as twisty as “maybe they’re all dead we promise they’re not oh wait they are.” Other people have made the moral arguments already, the arguments based on character background/origins. I find them pretty compelling. I just wanted to say, also? it’s really sad when you go to shock people with things that have been standard templates for longer than they’ve been alive. It relies on one of us not paying attention, and buddy, it’s not me this time.

Nora update

25 May 2017 01:28 pm
xiphias: (Default)
[personal profile] xiphias
Our cat has cancer. Lymphoma + leukemia. Without treatment, she'll die in a couple weeks; with treatment, in about six months. We're going to go with "with treatment", because her quality of life for those six months will likely be better than it would be for those couple weeks.

Garden addition

25 May 2017 06:21 pm
nanila: nellie kim is awesome (purple nellie)
[personal profile] nanila
Back story: The garden behind our house is a very peculiar shape. It is quite wide at the back of the house for about 10 metres, then narrows abruptly to a very skinny path alongside the canal towpath hedge. It goes along like this for about 5 metres and then ends in a round, fenced-in patch about 4 metres in diameter. The round patch has a concrete pavement in a pretty circular pattern.

We’ve been trying to work out what to do with this odd space since we moved in. It’s a fair way from the house and not visible from the back door. Jacuzzi? Too much maintenance, plus it’s too far to trek on a horrible winter night. Bike shed? Functional but boring, and also bike sheds are ugly. This is a pretty space, ringed by climbing roses and vines.

A few weeks ago we went to the garden centre and found a display of cute playhouses with trimmed roofs and windows, and an interior upper floor reached by a child-sized ladder. The 6’x6’ models were on sale. As we had to carry the children away from them, literally, we thought, perhaps this is the optimal use for that round patch.

Thus far, we have been proved entirely correct, and the expense has been justified. Since it’s been installed, both children come home from nursery, dash through the house and out the back door into the playhouse to draw, play on the tablet or just run up and down the steps and in and out the doors. (There’s an adorable toddler-sized door out the side in addition to the larger front door.) The only things that brings them back to the house in 15-20 minutes are the requests for drinks and fruity snacks, which are then carried back up to the playhouse.

tl;dr version We got the kids a playhouse for the garden. Photos below!

20170523_184119
[Keiki on a wooden chair outside the playhouse. “Oi* shut da door on moi sister!”]

+3 )

* The Black Country is strong with this one.
** There is a whole separate post brewing about how I simply do not understand Danger Mouse.

25 May 2017 12:16 pm
semperfiona: (Default)
[personal profile] semperfiona
Interesting. Since I deleted all but one sticky post from my livejournal, I've received two spam comments on the one remaining post. I think I could have counted on my fingers all the spam comments I ever received before, in sixteen years of having the journal.
umadoshi: (Saiyuki nobody's saviors (oyceter))
[personal profile] umadoshi
If we ignore the fact that I'm behind where I'd like to be on the work front (meep), I've gotten a reasonable amount of adulting done in the last 24 hours or so. I have:

--been to see Lawyer Friend with [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and signed a heap of financial paperwork;

--voted in the advance polls for the provincial election (which is this coming Tuesday);

--called (CALLED, with the despicable VOICE APP) to follow up with the library branch where I returned the book last week (the library staff member who picked up was awesome);

--successfully ordered a Slasher Chicks tank top from Unicorn Empire (tomorrow is the last day to order, y'all), which I'm counting as adulting because it got stressful when there was a period of many hours when the tank top option vanished, and I really want that and not either of the t-shirts (and okay, the shop didn't respond when I asked about it on Facebook, but the tank top did eventually reappear and I still asked, which is hard for me);

--tweeted at the local community net to ask after my still-unanswered/unverified "please renew my account" email (a small thing, but again, stressful);

--done a fair bit of laundry.


Okay, that's not actually as long a list as I'd hoped, but some weeks you take what you can get. And now I'm gonna get to work.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
...so here, have a photo from yesterday evening instead of hearing me moan about that.

IMG_5yqare
[Humuhumu and Keiki in their swimming costume & swim nappy respectively, eating ice creams in the paddling pool.]
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

On my first day at Les Imaginales, a pair of librarians came up and invited me to visit the Epinal Library. What I didn’t realize — they may have mentioned it and I just missed it — was that they were giving us a private tour of the rare books room.

Epinal Library Rare Books Room

It was amazing. One of the true highlights of my trip to France. My interpreter Lionel, an author himself, was as awestruck as I was. Especially when they brought out the first book. If I’m remembering right, this was from the 8th century.

8th century religious text

The next one wasn’t quite as old…being from the 9th century. This Gospel of Saint Mark was a youthful 1200 years old.

Gospel of St. Mark: 9th Century

The cover is metal and ivory. I’m not sure what kind of jewels those are. The circular areas on the corners were for holding relics. Here’s a glimpse of the interior:

Gospel of St. Mark: Interior

You can see the full set of photos on Flickr. (Or you may have already seen them on Facebook.) It was such a wonderful experience. My thanks to everyone at Bibliothèque Municipale d’Epinal for their time and generosity.

I’ll end with a map of Michigan from one of the books that was “only” a few centuries old. Michigan sure looked different in the old days…

Map of Michigan

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

supergee: (horse's ass)
[personal profile] supergee
NRA person says the way to deal with someone who has a backpack full of explosives is to shoot him before he does any harm. Also blames “gender-bending.”
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

When it changed

25 May 2017 06:28 am
supergee: (grandpa)
[personal profile] supergee
40 years ago a film buff took all he could remember of Buck Rogers, Seven Samurai, World War II movies (both sides), and the Masterplots guide to The Hero with 1000 Faces, and made a movie with lotsa battles, unprecedented special effects, and magnificent scenery that the actors sometimes blocked our view of. That’s when sf became sci-fi.

ETA: It was also the year that Terry Brooks cut the interesting parts out of Lord of the Rings and created not only a bestseller but a template for the infinite replication of fantasy product. Anus mirabilis, or something.

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