Quick Update

Aug. 23rd, 2017 03:19 pm
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
Leaving in an hour for Albuquerque. Back Tuesday. In between, a con!

I hope this is still cross-posting to LiveJournal. Anyone from LJ reading this, for the past 48 hours, LJ has not let me comment on anyone's journal. I will try again on my laptop on route, but might not be able to catch up.

Will talk more about a really good ballet I watched recently on YouTube.

Also, reading.

Spinning!

Aug. 23rd, 2017 03:12 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
I'm getting better at keeping the width consistent (ish. Very ish.), although not so much at keeping the spin consistent.

cut for large pic )

Femslashex 2017

Aug. 23rd, 2017 04:08 pm
xenoglossy: (Default)
[personal profile] xenoglossy
Read more... )

Specific fandom stuff coming soon!

icon request?

Aug. 23rd, 2017 01:56 pm
yhlee: Angel Investigations' card ("Hope lies to mortals": A.E. Housman). (AtS hope)
[personal profile] yhlee
I am finding that I would really like to have a sea/ocean icon. I like blues/teals and I am also fond of seahorses and sand dollars. Would anyone be willing to make me an icon from some public domain image in exchange for a flash fiction or simple cartoon/sketch or something?

ETA: While I'm at it, what's the difference besides animation style between Star Wars: Clone Wars (older, 2D animation) and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (newer, 3D animation)? I am strongly biased aesthetically toward 2D animation but will watch the latter if the story/characters are good...
sovay: (Psholtii: in a bad mood)
[personal profile] sovay
I am behind on posting about politics, NecronomiCon, and movies, I am exhausted and I have to catch a bus for a doctor's appointment right now, but Brandeis University has had to close its campus because of bomb threats and I am not happy. That is my non-sectarian, quota-busting, Jewish-sponsored alma mater, with a school calendar that shifts each year to the Jewish holidays and Hebrew on its university seal. In this political climate, I have a hard time thinking it's a coincidental crank call. Please explain to me again why it won't work if I inscribe אמת on the forehead of the nine-foot bronze statue of Justice Louis D. Brandeis and ask it to lay down some old-school crusading social justice on this country.

Lightspell

Aug. 23rd, 2017 12:14 pm
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[personal profile] nineweaving
 
From my journal, May 1994:

"Did you see the annular eclipse? It was a perfect day for it here: high- clouded blue, the trees leafed out or leafing, still pale green, a trifle rumpled with unpacking. Light breezes in the dappled grass. Clean rainwashed air. By one, the flawless clarity of light began to dim. A queer dark, neither dusk nor overcast. Underexposed. The moon worked strange equations of light and space and time: as if the world were bright but somehow distant, or later on but here, or nowhere, now. Sharp shadows, and a cooler spectrum, a flattening and heightening of space- time, like a scene in a camera obscura. Like a view of Delft. (Vermeer composed his pictures through a camera obscura, casting its image on the canvas, painting light not line. It gives a dreamlike surreality.) A few birds clamored in the trees, confused or settling.

"Then the air was tranced. The trees were underwater, underhill. Elsewhere. Dark-dazzled, like a world enstoned in crystal: dark within, but lightedged, and refracting light.. Glimpsed sidelong through film, the sun was crescent, heavy, like a raindrop streaming; but of fire. Ablaze but coldly: vermeil, silver-gilt. The oddest thing I’d not expected, and
it stopped me with a shock of wonder. (I must have read of it, long since; but I’d forgotten.) Through the screen of new leaves, at the fringes of the shadows, the sun cast thousands of light crescents, imaging itself. It spelled itself on earth.

"This evening clear, the sky almost colorless, faint gold; then the deepest endless blue and Venus riding air." 

sharp

Aug. 22nd, 2017 10:19 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Marja Vongerichten with Julia Turshen, The Kimchi Chronicles: Korean Cooking for an American Kitchen (2011)
Lauren Chun, The Kimchi Cookbook: 60 Traditional and Modern Ways to Make and Eat Kimchi (2012)

Read Vongerichten for a fusion tour. Read Chun to distinguish older and newer (she labels). Neither book could have existed without a family member: Vongerichten's three-star chef husband enabled the TV show on which the book rests, and Chun acknowledges the restaurant in which she was raised, though she doesn't trouble herself to credit by name the ajummas who labored in her mother's kitchen.

Both have a great grounding in writing and showing what one knows, however. Vongerichten is admirably matter-of-fact in crossing among the restaurants where she and Jean-Paul dined (thence recreated or adapted a dish), remembrances of her adoptive parents, and remembrances of her birth mother. She lived with the latter till she was three years old, then parted and re-met when she was grown. Chun studied law and worked as a wine buyer before returning to kimchi, the one thing her mother had warned her not to share with non-Koreans, which made me wonder whether we're of similar age; quite a few K Ams from the US West Coast have this story about their childhoods, without Chun's backing (or Roy Choi's) of restaurant-quality food.

(Japanese miso soup and ramen were acceptably exotic, but Japanese anything was protected by the coolness of their electronics during that mini-era. Korean food was nearly unknown even in southern California unless you lived right atop K-town or (where Chun was) Orange County's Garden Grove/Anaheim pocket. Otherwise, you were assumed Chinese, a situation aided by the fact that some Chinese restaurants served pickled cabbage, whether in their own right (northerly tradition) or because they were run by Koreans.)

[story] The Statue Beneath the Sea

Aug. 22nd, 2017 02:23 pm
yhlee: Flight Rising Spiral dragon, black-red-gold (Flight Rising Jedao baby Spiral)
[personal profile] yhlee
For [personal profile] storme.
Prompt: dépaysement.

The Statue Beneath the Sea

Once upon an ocean, a statue dwelled beneath the waves. In days past the statue had been brightly painted and crowned with gilt, with jewels for eyes and jewels set in its magnificent wings. It remembered dancers crowding its plaza and lovers exchanging promise-poems beneath its benevolent gaze, parades of helmeted youths and prophetesses giving speeches in the sinuous language of time unwound.

It had never met the general whose victories it was meant to commemorate, although it knew that some statues had that privilege. But it had their smooth face and their smile, and even though the jewels of its eyes had long ago been stolen by treasure-scavengers, it had something of the general's vision. It knew the stories of the general and their honored lover the lady scholar, and how they had built the old city to a precipice of grandeur.

Those days had passed long ago, however, and the wars of weather-mages had sunk the city below the sea. No one now living remembered the city's name the way it had been spoken by its inhabitants, although it lingered in distorted whispers and siren-songs that wound through the tides. The statue remembered its people and yearned for whatever scraps of myth it could gather from the gossip of gulls and sailors.

The fish and the anemones, mindful of the statue's melancholy, spoke with it little. In truth it would have welcomed their chatter. But when it asked them for stories of war (in honor of its general), they could only share tales of cannonades and blood staining the foam, so different from the swift chariots and dust-clouds it knew of, and its melancholy only deepened.

At last an entourage of dragons, distant cousins of the Dragon King Under the Sea, visited the sunken city. One of the dragons, hardly more than an eggling as dragons reckon time, especially liked to explore vanished civilizations. She was particularly taken by the statue's eroded marble surfaces, seeing in them the litany of years gone and years to come.

The statue told the dragon of its vanished city, and its general's victories--more fable than truth by this point, not that there was anyone to correct it--and the dragon listened eagerly. She began telling the statue's stories to the sharks and the seahorses, the terns and the turtles. Soon the creatures of the sea came to listen to the statue as well, and to honor it with their tribute.

It wasn't long before the statue's old plaza was surrounded by nets woven of pirates' beards, and strands of coins marked around the rim with praises to octopus gods, and bits and pieces of filigree armor snatched from soldiers fallen overboard. The creatures of the sea, not to mention the dragons, began frequenting the statue's plaza, and carrying out their own ceremonies there.

While the statue knew that the people it had once known would never return, and that the old city was dead in truth, it found some comfort in seeing a new one arise where the old had been.

Fig and Ibid

Aug. 22nd, 2017 02:40 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Are surrounded by cats used to other cats and thus not necessarily alarmed to see new ones. Ibid is content to sniff noses with the bolder of his new housemates, whereas I think Fig is affronted by their lack of timidity.

I still have not seen the orange kitten I was warned could be an issue. It's afraid of people but likes to tussle with older cats. I expect Ibid will like this and Fig will not.

calendars and Ninefox Gambit

Aug. 22nd, 2017 01:29 pm
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
[personal profile] asakiyume
Something you notice very quickly when you start reading Ninefox Gambit is the importance of the calendar. It’s the foundation stone of empire: things that subvert empire cause “calendrical rot,” and, conversely, things that cause calendrical rot are subversion, or, as the story terms it, heresy—like rebellion but even more rebellious.

This focus on calendars is a stroke of genius. Calendars **are** powerful mechanisms of cultural control. Think about how the international standard calendar for business and commerce is the Gregorian calendar, which ties its start date to Christianity. (People do use other calendars in various places and for various purposes, but the Gregorian calendar dominates for international exchange.) Less so now than in the past, but Sunday is designated a no-work day in accordance with that tradition. And think how the rest day figures for other calendars, too—the Jewish calendar or the Islamic calendar. If you don’t know the proper rest day, you can be in trouble—and this is even if you’re an outsider: things stop. And if you don’t stop—depending on the degree of observance—you might be punished. And if the community gradually moves away from this, it can be perceived by the more-faithful as cultural weakening. Calendrical rot is threatening!

The traditional Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar that has complicated, intersecting base 10 and base 12 recurring features and indicates certain days as auspicious or inauspicious for various activities. When you combine it with geomantic principles (powers or traits related to compass directions—feng shui), which happens naturally, as feng shui is tied to the solstices and equinoxes, which are calendrical as well as astronomical occurrences, boom, that’s a whole lot of Chinese folk culture you’ve got—and, like the Chinese writing system, it spread to Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.

In Japan (and probably in other East Asian countries, but Japan’s the one I know about), magical powers were attributed to people who could advise on and manipulate the calendar—something that required some good math skills, what with those mixed number bases and various repeating units. If you’ve ever seen the film Onmyōji, you’ve seen the story of one famous example of such a person, Abe no Seimei. In Ninefox Gambit, this magic translates to the “exotic effects” that can be generated in war, relying on the calendar. These same effects don’t work if the calendar is subverted—beware calendrical rot!

There’s one notable instance in Ninefox Gambit in which the protagonist manipulates the heretics’ calendar to gain a tactical advantage—Buuuuuut I can’t spoil it.

This isn’t a review of the book—I have one of those at Goodreads, covering some of the same territory, but in less detail—it’s more of an appreciation of this one aspect of the book. It’s me saying “I SEE WHAT YOU DID HERE, YOON HA LEE! VERY CLEVER!”

beauty

Aug. 22nd, 2017 08:24 am
sartorias: (white rose)
[personal profile] sartorias
I have been using up my birthday treasures so fast that I've changed my strategy. Yesterday's eclipse was so lovely not just in itself but the relief from the news, that when I woke up to the prospect of the orange horror playing video games with people's lives in Afghanistan I made a conscious decision to look for moments of beauty every day--moments of other human beings making art.

I found this wonderful dancer with a hoop--and this young man doing same..

A Theory of Fun for Game Design

Aug. 22nd, 2017 06:02 am
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
Raph Koster's A Theory of Fun for Game Design (2nd ed.) has been on my wishlist for something like the past five years. I picked it up recently by ordering it through my local game store (which is technically also a bookstore and is in the process of signing on with distributors or however that goes). It is an absolute delight.

I'm glad I sprung for the hardcopy of this for two reasons: one, I like to mark up my nonfiction, and two, its formatting! The left-hand page in every two-page spread is text; the right-hand page has an illustration related to the material on the left-hand page. While the illustrations are not technically the most accomplished, they are generally extremely effective communicative cartoons or diagrams.

This book comes with a ton of blurbs, and Cory Doctorow's--"Does for games what Understanding Comics [by Scott McCloud] did for sequential art"--pretty much sums up how I feel. I've read other game design books that were insightful, or thorough, but the Koster is accessible and very interesting in its approach to what makes games games, and how to make them fun (in the instances where that's a thing--cf. Brenda Romero's Train).

One of Koster's arguments is that "with games, learning is the drug" (40)--a game that interests us is one that strikes the necessary balance of not too easy (Tic-Tac-Toe, for most adults) and not too hard (multiple failure modes possible, depending on the individual--witness me and chess or go [1]). He suggests that games (and play, which is common in a lot of young animals!) are an artifact of how we try to learn survival skills, and moves forward into making suggestions as to how to move the form forward into values/skills more suitable for the modern era than "kill things" or "jump over things" or "search for all the things."

[1] Joe gave up on teaching me go when I told him I have severe difficulty with visual patterns. In fact, I am starting to wonder if aphantasia just screws me over for this kind of game in general. :p

There's also a particularly interesting chapter on ethics and entertainment where he discusses the difference between the game system and the flavor/dressing:

The bare mechanics of a game may indeed carry semantic freighting, but odds are that it will be fairly abstract. A game about aiming is a game about aiming, and there's no getting around that. It's hard to conceive of a game about aiming that isn't about shooting, but it has been done--there are several gmaes where instead of shooting bullets with a gun, you are instead shooting pictures with a camera. (170)

The bare mechanics of the game do not determine its meaning. Let's try a thought experiment. Let's picture a mass murder game wherein there is a gas chamber shaped like a well. You the player are dropping innocent victims down into the gas chamber, and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are old ones and young ones, fat ones and tall ones. As they fall to the bottom, they grab onto each other and try to form human pyramids to get to the top of the well. Should they manage to get out, the game is over and you die. But if you pack them in tightly enough, the ones on the bottom succumb to the gas and die.

I do not want to play this game. Do you? Yet it is Tetris. (172)


In general, Koster has a background in game design AND writing AND music, and he draws on all three in his analysis of games, as well as other disciplines (e.g. psychology). It makes the book a scintillating read. I can't believe I waited so long to read this--but it was exactly what I wanted to read last week, so hey. Highly recommended.
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
I looked at the calendar, Ray.

The HFA's all-night half-marathon this year is vampires. Of that lineup, I have seen only the Hammer Dracula (1958), but some of the rest—Near Dark (1987), The Hunger (1983), Dracula's Daughter (1936)—I've had designs on for years. This should be great. People are going to be so nervous, stepping out into the ash-making sunlight at the end of that long, bloody night.

I see also from the October and November calendars that the archive appears to be embarking on a William Wellman retrospective. The trick here will not be living in the theater for most of the fall. I've seen a number of the titles announced so far, but hardly any of them on a big screen—they're pre-Code, they turn up on TCM. I know I want to see Night Nurse (1931), Heroes for Sale (1933), and Wild Boys of the Road (1933) because they are three of my favorite pre-Code movies, period. Maybe Other Men's Women (1931) just because I like Grant Withers and all five minutes of James Cagney in it so much. Safe in Hell (1931) is one of those titles you can't turn down. I've been seeing stills of cross-dressed Louise Brooks in Beggars of Life (1928) for years. For some reason I always forget he directed Nothing Sacred (1937) and think of it as an unusually cynical Frank Capra.

I'd ask why I have a real job except I worry it would trigger irony, so I'll just wish I had a real job with more time to write about movies.

Budget also couldn't hurt.

Face Off through 3.1

Aug. 21st, 2017 10:21 pm
yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
Read more... )

Also, now I have an incredible desire to watch the Clone Wars cartoon so I will have to save up for the DVDs. Maybe Christmas? XD

(no subject)

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:57 pm
skygiants: storybook page of a duck wearing a pendant, from Princess Tutu; text 'mukashi mukashi' (mukashi mukashi)
[personal profile] skygiants
A couple months ago I was talking with my roommate about the new Anne of Green Gables TV series (I have not seen it, she had opinions about it) which led to us reminiscing about Other L.M. Montgomery Books We Had Known, which led to me last weekend rereading The Story Girl and The Golden Road.

I was actually much more attached to these books than I ever was to Anne -- they're about an extended group of cousins who have very wholesome adventures together. The cousins include:

Beverly, Our Narrator, most notable for his mildly purple narration and deeply sentimental soul
Felix, his little brother, who is Fat and Sensitive About It
Felicity, who is Very Beautiful and Very Prosaic and also Extremely Bossy, like Lucy from Peanuts if she also looked like Elizabeth Taylor
Cecily, who is Very Good and Very Serious and probably also Doomed to Die Young Like Good Children Do
Dan, Felicity and Cecily's brother, who is an Annoying Brother
Sara Ray, who lives down the road and cries all the time
Peter, who is But a Hired Boy but Clever and Talented and also In Love With Felicity
and, of course, Sara Stanley the Story Girl, who is not pretty but interesting, and has a spellbindingly beautiful voice, and is prone to stopping in the middle of any given conversation to announce that she knows a story that has some vague relation to the topic at hand and will then proceed to relate that story come hell or high water, which: oh god, of course I imprinted on these books as a kid, because I of course do the exact same thing, except without any vestige of a spellbindingly beautiful voice, and also instead of 'I know a tragic story about our uncle's great-aunt's wedding' my version is usually 'I read a book once in which somebody banged a griffin.' But, much like the Story Girl, once I get started on an anecdote of this kind there is very little chance of stopping me. I apologize to anybody who has suffered from this.

ANYWAY. Fortunately, the other kids (with the occasional exception of Felicity) never get fed up with the Story Girl and are always glad to hear an entertaining anecdote about the minister's cousin's grandmother or whatever the topic of discussion is that day.

The kids also get into normal turn-of-the-century-Canadian kid stuff, like pretending to be ministers, or freaking out because the local old-lady-who-might-be-a-witch sat in their pew at church, or panicking that it might be the Day of Judgment. Normal turn-of-the-century-Canadian kid stuff centers very prominently on appropriate church behavior, as it turns out. L.M. Montgomery's world is composed of Methodists and Lutherans and that's about it. I don't remember this being weird for me as an emphatically-not-Christian youth but it is slightly retroactively weird for me now.

Other notable things that happen in The Story Girl and The Golden Road:
- Dan eats poison berries because Felicity tells him he would be an idiot to eat the poison berries, nearly dies, then goes back and eats more poison berries because Felicity made the mistake of saying she told him so
- Cecily the Very Sweet and Very Good is mean to exactly one person in both books, a boy in her class who conceives a terrible crush on her and will not leave her alone despite multiple stated requests until she publicly humiliates him in class, which she ruthlessly does; a good lesson
- The Story Girl gives a great and instantly recognizable description of synesthesia without ever actually using the word
- The Story Girl befriends a desperately shy neighbor who is known as the Awkward Man, "because he is so awkward," our narrator Bev helpfully explains
- the Awkward Man is later revealed to have a secret room in his house containing women's clothing, which, the Story Girl explains, is because he's spent years buying things for an imaginary girlfriend - and, I mean, far be it from me to question the Story Girl! but some grad student could probably get a real good paper on gender and sexuality in turn-of-the-century children's lit out of this is all I'm saying

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