Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

separate hobbies

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:47 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

I saw a thing yesterday that said “Buying fabric and sewing fabric are TWO SEPARATE HOBBIES.”

I actually feel that I understand so much more about the world now.

I’m now up to 6 artist’s figurines (I need to write more reviews) and I was unable (or unwilling) to resist a set of 14 archival color pens, plus all the stuff I already own, but do I actually draw? No, hardly ever. (That said, I’ve done more this year than in many years.)

Anyway, point is I’m back to that “I want to draw some silly little story like Questionable Content only about, IDK, fat 40somethings instead of hipster robots” thing. Except I really don’t want to draw a story about fat 40somethings because ugh life. I want to do something cute and funny that I don’t have the skill set for but who cares I’ll do it anyway because it doesn’t matter. Or something. And I want just enough pressure to help me do maybe half an hour of art a day without having any real expectations.

Which of course is not much like my personality at all, because yes, I have met me. :p

Moop.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

The Friday Five for July 21, 2017

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:06 am
spikesgirl58: (leading the band)
[personal profile] spikesgirl58 posting in [community profile] thefridayfive
1. Have you come to the conclusion that your parents music (music popular in their time) isn't so bad?

2. Is there a song/group/singer you once adored, but don't now?

3. Is there a song/group/singer you once despised, but is okay now?

4. Have you ever heard a favorite song and suddenly had a reinterpretation its meaning?

5. What song would you just as soon never hear again?


Copy and paste to your own journal, then reply to this post with a link to your answers. If your journal is private or friends-only, you can post your full answers in the comments below.

If you'd like to suggest questions for a future Friday Five, then do so on DW or LJ. Old sets that were used have been deleted, so please feel free to suggest some more!

**Remember that we rely on you, our members, to help keep the community going. Also, please remember to play nice. We are all here to answer the questions and have fun each week. We repost the questions exactly as the original posters submitted them and request that all questions be checked for spelling and grammatical errors before they're submitted. Comments re: the spelling and grammatical nature of the questions are not necessary. Honestly, any hostile, rude, petty, or unnecessary comments need not be posted, either.**

New Stargate

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:19 pm
theemdash: (M Squee)
[personal profile] theemdash
I'm not sure that I really have the words for this.

There's going to be more Stargate. A 10-episode digital series. That's exciting news enough, but...

It's going to be about Catherine Langford's early years.

It's going to be FEMALE-LEAD STARGATE.

Look at that beautiful thumbnail of A WOMAN in front of the Stargate:


FEMALE-LEAD. STARGATE. CATHERINE. LANGFORD.

AND THAT MEANS IT WILL ALSO BE A PERIOD PIECE.

I AM LIVING!!!

ETA: Continuing to add icing to this delicious cake: the director is a woman.

Going through the motions

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:07 am
jon_chaisson: (Default)
[personal profile] jon_chaisson
Related to a few previous posts.  Been thinking more about my current adjustments in time management.

Noted, giving myself reminders has always worked well for me: keeping tabs open for the blogs and the daily words, and closing everything else unneeded or unnecessary.   Jumping in on urges to work on something rather than 'I'll get to it soon enough.'  [This last one can be tricky during Day Job hours if I have fires to put out, but it there are slow moments, I can usually at least sow a seed or two that will bear fruit when 
I fully focus on it later.]

Going through the motions of time management for necessary evils.  (In some respects, the slower, more automated moments of the Day Job, where I'm just answering emails or doing minor research.  If dedication and focus is needed, it'll be provided.  Otherwise, I'm Going Through the Motions.)  Less stress, less concern about things I don't necessarily need or want to be concerned about.

I seem to be doing the same with social media.  I no longer want to be #LIVE and #BREAKING.  Things are much calmer and more serene that way.  Just me, some tunes, my creative projects, and maybe some coffee or tea, and I'm golden.

Wood Pidgeon, York

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:43 am
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric posting in [community profile] common_nature
I get the impression these are perfectly normal birds in the UK, but they're quite a novelty to me. Those fancy collars! There were three in the yard of the pub we stayed in, but they wouldn't sit still to be photographed. Here's one from the walk into town:

The Naming of Dark Lords!

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:45 am
[syndicated profile] steelthistles_feed

Posted by Katherine Langrish

It's summer, the sun is actually shining (or it was): hopefully we've all got better things to do than sit indoors - and I've got a book I need to finish writing. So I'll be taking a break from this blog for a few months. While I'm away I'll be putting up some posts 'from the archives'. This one first appeared in June 2015; whether you've read it before or missed it first time around, I hope it will amuse. 

 

See you in the autumn! 

 

The Naming of Dark Lords: a difficult matter: it isn't just one of your fantasy games...


At the age of nine or so, one of my daughters co-wrote a fantasy story with her best friend. By the time they’d finished it ran to sixty or seventy pages, a wonderful joint effort – they’d sit together brainstorming and passing the manuscript to and fro, writing alternate chapters and sometimes even paragraphs. There were two heroines - one for each author - and sharing their adventures was a magical teddybear named Mr Brown, who spoke throughout in pantomime couplets. Transported to a magical world on the back of a dove called Time – who provided the neat title for the story: ‘Time Flies’ – the trio found themselves battling a Dark Lord of impeccable evil with the fabulous handle of LORD SHNUBALUT (pronounced: ‘Shnoo-ba-lutt’.)  The two young authors had grasped something critical about Dark Lords. They need to have mysterious, sonorous, even unpronounceable names.

Imagine you’re writing a High Fantasy. You’ve got your world and you’ve sorted out the culture: medieval in the countryside with its feudal system of small manors and castles; a renaissance feel to the bustling towns with their traders, guilds and scholar-wizards. The forests are the abode of elves. Heroic barbarians follow their horse-herds on the more distant plains. Goblins and dwarfs battle it out in the mountains.

And lo! your Dark Lord ariseth. And he requireth a name.

Let’s take an affectionate look at the names of a few Dark Lords. The first to come to mind is of course Tolkien’s iconic SAURON from The Lord of the Rings.  A name not too difficult to pronounce, you’d think – except that when the films came out I discovered I’d been getting it wrong for years. I’d always assumed the ‘saur’ element should be pronounced as in ‘dinosaur’, and ‘Saw-ron’, with its hint of scaly, cold-blooded menace, still sounds better to me than ‘Sow-ron.’ I was only 13 when I first read The Lord of the Rings, and although I was blown away, and keen enough to wade through some of the Appendices, I never got as far as Appendix E in which Tolkien explains that ‘au’ and ‘aw’ are to be pronounced ‘as in loud, how and not as in laud, haw.’ But who reads the Appendices until they’ve read the entire book? - by which time I’d been getting it wrong for months and my incorrect pronunciation was fixed. Still, there it is. Peter Jackson got it right and I was wrong.


Not content with one Dark Lord, Tolkien created two - three, if you count the otherwise anonymous Witch-King of Angmar, leader of the Nazgul and the scariest of the bunch if you want my opinion.  In The SilmarillionMelkor is given the name MORGOTH after destroying the Two Trees and stealing the Silmarils. In Sindarin the name means ‘Dark Enemy’ or ‘Black Foe’, but Tolkien must have been aware that its second element conjures the 5thcentury Goths who sacked Rome and that, additionally, the name carries echoes of MORDRED, King Arthur’s illegitimate son by his half-sister Morgan le Fay. Of course Mordred is not a high fantasy Dark Lord, but he’s certainly a force for chaos and darkness. Though the name is actually derived from the Welsh Medraut(and ultimately the Latin Moderatus), to a modern English ear it suggests the French for death, ‘le mort’, along with the English ‘dread’: a pleasing combination for a villain. Mordred and Morgoth are names redolent of fear, death and darkness, and the ‘Mor’ element appears again in Sauron’s realm of ‘Mordor’, the Black Land.  

The name of JK Rowling’s LORD VOLDEMORT is also suggestive of death and borrows some of the dark glamour of Mordred, but the circumlocutory phrase HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED (used by his enemies for fear of conjuring him up) certainly owes something to H. Rider Haggard’s Ayesha, SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED. Interestingly, males become Dark Lords but females are never Dark Ladies – which doesn’t have the same ring at all*. They turn into Dread Queens, such as Galadriel might have become if she had succumbed to temptation and taken the Ring from Frodo:

In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and Lighting! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!

Coming down to us from many an ancient goddess, Dread Queens are usually beautiful, sexual women of great power and cruelty, like T.H. White’s MORGAUSE, Queen of Orkney from The Once And Future King, busy – on the first occasion we meet her – boiling a cat alive. In his notes about her, T.H. White wrote:

She should have all the frightful power and mystery of women.  Yet she should be quite shallow, cruel, selfish…One important thing is her Celtic blood.  Let her be the worst West-of-Ireland type: the one with cunning bred in the bone.  Let her be mealy-mouthed: butter would not melt in it. Yet also she must be full of blood and power.





Blood, power, sexism and racism: White is clearly very frightened of this woman. He didn’t find her character in Le Morte D’Arthur: Malory’s Morgawse is a great lady whose sins are adulterous rather than sorcerous – but her half-sister MORGAN LE FAY is an enchantress whose name is derived from the Old Welsh/Old Breton Morgen, connected with water spirits and meaning ‘Sea-born’. A final example drawn from Celtic legend is Alan Garner’s ‘MORRIGAN’, a name variously translated as Great Queen or Phantom Queen, depending this time on whether the ‘Mor’ element is written with a diacritical or not. Enough already!

Not every Dark Lord’s name works as well as Sauron and Voldemort. I’m underwhelmed by Stephen Donaldson’s ‘LORD FOUL THE DESPISER’ from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever. Donaldson seems jumpily aware of the long shadow of Tolkien. He struggles to produce convincing names: for example ‘Drool Rockworm’ the Cavewight whose name to my mind belongs not in the Land, but in the Discworld. I've always thought that to name a Dark Lord ‘Lord Foul’ is barely trying, and tagging ‘the Despiser’ on to it doesn’t help. (‘He’s foul, I'm telling you! He’s really foul! I’ll prove it – he despises things too!’) Tacking an adjective or adverb on to a fantasy name often only weakens it, as in the case of the orc-lord AZOG THE DEFILER whom Peter Jackson introduced to the film version of The Hobbit. Azog is to be found in Appendix A of The Lord of the Rings, where Tolkien writes in laconic prose modelled on the Icelandic sagas, of how Azog killed Thrór, hewed off his head and cut his name on the forehead (thus indeed defiling the corpse).

Then Nár turned the head and saw branded on it in Dwarf-runes so that he could read it the name AZOG. That name was branded in his heart and in the hearts of all the Dwarves afterwards.

Just ‘Azog’, you see? The name on its own is quite enough.

Donaldson is trying to emulate Tolkien’s linguistic density, in which proper names from different languages pile up into accumulated richness like leafmould: Azanulbizar, the Dimrill Dale, Nanduhirion. But we cannot all be philologists. Lord Foul’s various sobriquets, which include ‘The Gray Slayer’, ‘Fangthane the Render’, ‘Corruption’, and ‘a-Jeroth of the Seven Hells’, only suggest to me an author having a number of stabs at something he knows in his heart he isn’t quite getting right. ‘Fangthane’?  A word which means ‘sharp tooth’ attached to a word which means ‘a man who holds land from his overlord and owes him allegiance’? It could work for a Gríma Wormtongue, but not for a Dark Lord.

Dark Lords are a strange clan. Why anyone over the age of eighteen would wish to dress entirely in black and live at the top of a draughty tower in the midst of a poisoned wasteland is something of a mystery, unless perhaps Dark Lords are younger than we think. If they’re actually no older than Vyvyan from The Young Ones, it could totally explain their continuously bad temper, their desire to impress, their attacks on mild mannered, law-abiding citizens (aka parents), their taste in architecture (painting the bedroom black and decorating it with heavy metal posters) and their penchant for logos incorporating spiderwebs, fiery eyes, skulls, etc.



It probably also explains their peculiar names. Most teenage boys at some point reject the names their parents picked for them and go in for inexplicable nicknames like Fish, Grazz, or Bazzer… Anyway, the all-out winner of the Dark Lord Weird Name competition has got to be Patricia McKillip, whose beautiful fantasies are written in prose as delicate and strong as steel snowflakes. Ombria In Shadow is one of my all-time favourites. But the Dark Lord in her early trilogy The Riddle-Master rejoices in (or is cursed with) the altogether unpronounceable and eye-boggling GHISTELWCHLOHM.

He wins hands down. Lord Schnubalut, eat your heart out.


*The pun was unintentional.


Picture credits:


Cover detail from The Fellowship of the Ring, George Allen and Unwin (author's possession)


Melkor, Wikimedia commons, http://www.aveleyman.com/ActorCredit.aspx?ActorID=5137
Morgan le Fay  by Frederick Sandys (1864)


Adrian Edmonson as Vyvyan Basterd from The Young Ones http://www.aveleyman.com/ActorCredit.aspx?ActorID=5137

Tawny owl

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:50 am
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Short-eared owl
[Grainy photo of a short-eared tawny owl sitting on a lawn]

I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.

There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to [personal profile] shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.

The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.
[syndicated profile] brainpic_feed

Posted by Maria Popova

Reflections on silence and eternity from the poet laureate of death.


The Drift Called the Infinite: Emily Dickinson on Making Sense of Loss

“The people we most love do become a physical part of us, ingrained in our synapses, in the pathways where memories are created,” poet Meghan O’Rourke wrote in her stirring memoir of losing her mother. More than a century earlier, another poet with a rare gift for philosophical prose reflected on mortality in the wake of her own mother’s death.

Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830–May 15, 1886) was about to turn fifty-two when her mother, after whom she was named, died. A stroke had left her paralyzed and almost entirely disabled eight years earlier. Despite her lifelong infirm health, her disinterest in the life of the mind, and the surges of unhappiness in the Dickinson home, Emily Norcross Dickinson had been attentive and affectionate to her daughter, igniting the poet’s little-known but ardent passion for botany and prompting her to write that “home is a holy thing.”

Emily Dickinson, daguerreotype, circa 1847. (Amherst College Archives & Special Collections, gift of Millicent Todd Bingham, 1956)

Although a contemplation of mortality haunts nearly all of Dickinson’s 1775 surviving poems in varying degrees of directness, her mother’s death forced a confrontation with mortality of a wholly different order — loss as an acute immediacy rather than a symbolic and speculative abstraction.

In a letter to her cousins penned shortly after her mother’s death in November of 1882 and found in The Letters of Emily Dickinson (public library), the poet writes:

Mother’s dying almost stunned my spirit… She slipped from our fingers like a flake gathered by the wind, and is now part of the drift called “the infinite.”

We don’t know where she is, though so many tell us.

Even as a child, Emily had come to doubt the immortality so resolutely promised by the Calvinist dogma of her elders. “Sermons on unbelief ever did attract me,” she wrote in her twenties to Susan Gilbert — her first great love and lifelong closest friend. Dickinson went on to reject the prescriptive traditional religion of her era, never joined a church, and adopted a view of spirituality kindred to astronomer Maria Mitchell’s. It is with this mindset that she adds in the letter to her cousins:

I believe we shall in some manner be cherished by our Maker — that the One who gave us this remarkable earth has the power still farther to surprise that which He has caused. Beyond that all is silence…

Emily Norcross Dickinson, daguerreotype, circa 1847 (Monson Free Library)

Writing less than four years before her own untimely death, she ends the letter with these words:

I cannot tell how Eternity seems. It sweeps around me like a sea… Thank you for remembering me. Remembrance — mighty word.

In another letter from the following spring, penned after receiving news of a friend’s death, Dickinson stills her swirling sorrow the best way she knew how — in a poem:

Each that we lose takes part of us;
A crescent still abides,
Which like the moon, some turbid night,
Is summoned by the tides.

She adds a sobering reflection on the shock each of us experiences the first time we lose a loved one:

Till the first friend dies, we think ecstasy impersonal, but then discover that he was the cup from which we drank it, itself as yet unknown.

Complement with a collection of moving consolation letters by great artists, writers, and scientists ranging from Lincoln to Einstein to Turing, psychoanalyst Adam Phillips on how Darwin and Freud shaped our relationship to mortality, Seneca on the key to resilience in the face of loss, and this unusual Danish picture-book about death, then revisit Cynthia Nixon’s beautiful reading of Dickinson’s “While I was fearing it, it came” and Dickinson’s forgotten herbarium — an elegy for time and mortality at the intersection of poetry and science.


donating = loving

Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes me hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.


newsletter

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s most unmissable reads. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

what i saw July 19, 2017 at 09:58PM

Jul. 20th, 2017 04:58 am
ironymaiden: (beholder)
[personal profile] ironymaiden

Four goals, four players. CUT OFF ONE HEAD, TWO MORE WILL RISE something i saw

Recent Reads: A WRINKLE IN TIME

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:09 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

Having cried all over the WRINKLE IN TIME trailer, I thought I’d better re-read the book immediately to get a proper feeling for it again. It’d been at least twenty, possibly thirty, years since I’d read it, and…

…it’s kind of equally weirder and more mundane than I remember it.

I was prepared for, although somewhat exasperated by regardless, the Christian allusions; whenever I last re-read L’Engle, I was adult enough to notice her books are really laced with Christianity, so I knew that was going to be there. The story itself is actually a lot more straight-forward than I remember it being; possibly I’ve conflated the other books with it, or maybe it’s just that the weird bits are SO STRANGE that I thought the story structure had to be a lot more complicated than it really is.

It’s not, from a modern storytelling perspective, especially well told. It takes about four chapters to really get going, and it’s only a 12 chapter book. There’s a lot of telling, but not much in the way of showing in terms of…*why*. Meg is not, to the adult modern reader, particularly sympathetic: she doesn’t fit in at school, she’s angry in general and specifically very defensive about her father’s absence, and is apparently some particular kind of dumb that excludes being spectacularly good at math. That dumbness may be meant to indicate she’s socially inept, but although that certainly appears to be true, it doesn’t seem to be what’s really going on.

But that…dumbness…whatever it is…is crucial through the whole book. Meg doesn’t tesseract as well as the others. Meg is more vulnerable to the Darkness than the others. Meg won’t understand if you explain the thing…but I never understood why. (I’m not sure I understood as a kid, either, but it didn’t matter as much to me then.) And it’s apparently not something that came on simply because Mr Murry disappeared, because even he comments on it, and had done so before his disappearance, so you can’t lay her anger/ineptitude at the feet of her father’s disappearance.

And, just as much as Meg’s lack is not explained, neither are Calvin and Charles Wallace’s aptitude. Calvin communicates well; well, okay, that’s fine, but why does it make it easier for him to tesseract? Charles Wallace is, as far as I can tell, not even actually human, and Calvin, who does not come from the Murry family at all, is apparently More Like Charles than Meg is. But I don’t know what they are, or why they are, or why they’re the special ones and our heroine isn’t (well, that last one is institutionalized sexism, but let’s move past that). I remember *loving* Charles Wallace (and crushing terribly on Calvin), but I find him fairly creepy now, and that’s as the parent of an extremely self-assured little kid who, like Charles Wallace, is quite certain he’s able to Do It His Way without listening to the wisdom, or at least the experience, of his elders.

The one thing that maybe felt the most true to me in the whole book was Meg coming around to being the one who can save Charles Wallace. She wanted someone else–her father, specifically, but ANYBODY ELSE–to have to do the hard work. She was terrified and resentful of having to do it herself (and possibly that’s what the aforementioned “dumbness” is, since everybody keeps saying If you’d only apply yourself, Meg,, but that still doesn’t explain why she doesn’t tesseract as well, etc), and that seems very appropriate to a 13 year old to me. To people a lot older than 13, too, for that matter. But it comes in the 11th hourchapter, and her willingness to go on there is the only time in the book that she moves forward of her own volition. I’m not saying that isn’t fairly realistic, maybe, for a young teen, but in terms of making a dynamic book, it…doesn’t, really.

There are parts of the book that remain wonderful. The Mrs W are still splendid; Camazotz (which I always read, name-wise, as being what happens when Camelot goes terribly wrong) is still EXTREMELY CREEPY, and the thrumming presence of IT remains startlingly effective. Aunt Beast is wonderful. (So basically: the aliens work a lot better for me than the humans do.)

It doesn’t feel like a book that could get published now. It would need more depth; it felt shallow to me. A lot of its weirdness seems to me like it came very specifically out of the 50s and early 60s; I don’t think that book would, or perhaps *could*, be written now. It’s very internal in a lot of ways, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the film adapts the weirdness and the internalness and Meg’s basic lack of agency into an accessible story. My *feeling* is that they’re going to do a magnificent job of it, that it’s going to be one of those cases like Frankenstein or Jeckell & Hyde where the book’s conceptual foundation proves more powerful in film than it does on the page. I hope so!

But you know what I really wanted to do when I finished reading A WRINKLE IN TIME? I wanted to re-read Diane Duane’s SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD, because I felt like the Young Wizards books use A WRINKLE IN TIME as a conceptual springboard and dove off into something that worked a lot better as a *story*.

So I guess I know what’s up next (or soon, anyway) on the Catie’s Re-Reads list. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

scarlettina: (Geek Crossing)
[personal profile] scarlettina
I have been thinking about games lately, mainly because I have an idea for a board game and I'm reading up on the design process.

Specifically, I've been thinking about why I enjoy Ticket to Ride so much. Even when I don't win, it doesn't matter; I enjoy the process of the game play itself. I find it enormously satisfying and winning the overall game doesn't really matter to me when I play. I've realized that it's because the game has win conditions within win conditions.

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, the idea is that you are building railroads piece by piece across the country on specific routes determined by the cards that you draw. In order for each route to count, you have to complete it, laying down all the specified segments of the route. There are reward points for finishing each train route. There are reward points for the person who builds the longest route--which often means connecting several routes that you build over the course of the game. And then there are reward points for the segments of the routes that you build. The person with the highest point count overall wins. As I said above, win conditions within win conditions.

When I meet any of these conditions I am satisfied. Sometimes players compete for hubs where several routes meet. Sometimes laying down my route means blocking you from completing yours. There are cut-throat players who do this deliberately. Often I don't, but sometimes? Yeah, watch out! My personal win conditions tend to be completing routes I've drawn and completing the longest route. If I happen to win the game with all of the conditions listed in the paragraph above, that's awesome, too. But no matter who wins the overall game, if I've completed my own bits, I generally have fun and enjoy myself. I've started to think of this as the "fun condition."

If the point of a game is to have fun, then Ticket to Ride meets my fun condition. I need to bear this in mind as I work my way through this game idea. And I need to think about other games I enjoy and why I enjoy them.

NOTE: To my friends who have been designing games for decades, yes, yes, I know: this is probably 101-level stuff. But as a friend said to me tonight, everyone finds their own road.

Feed

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:12 pm
ironymaiden: (reader boys)
[personal profile] ironymaiden
I am not a zombie fan. But I do like a good political thriller. And Feed is a post-zombie political thriller.

the ebook is on sale right now.
[syndicated profile] brainpic_feed

Posted by Maria Popova

“Are we not … parts of a greater organism, kept alive through the ever more vividly circulating blood of an enormous past?”


A Pioneering Scientist on Memory, the Value of Our Unremembered Work, and the Incalculable Sum Total of the Human Experience

“Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it,” Gabriel García Márquez asserted in immortalizing the memory of his own life. And yet however much truth the sentiment may hold, it holds twice as much tragedy — although memory is the seedbed of our sense of self, the vast majority of life unfolds in the small, unremembered moments that furnish the microscopic threads in the tapestry of being. Sally Mann captured this paradox in her exquisite meditation on the dark side of memory: “The exercise of our memory does not bring us closer to the past but draws us farther away.”

Memory, then, is not the pencil with which the outline of a life is drawn but the eraser — something as true of our personal memory as it is of our collective memory, which contains everything we know as culture: the great works of art celebrated generations after their creators have returned to stardust, the scientific discoveries that become the building blocks of subsequent theories and breakthroughs.

Perhaps because science is the ultimate self-correcting mechanism and necessarily builds on both the errors and the triumphs of the past, scientists must have a particularly revealing perspective on memory and its paradoxes. That’s what pioneering biochemist Erwin Chargaff (August 11, 1905–June 20, 2002) explores in a passage of Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life Before Nature — his uncommonly lyrical memoir, which gave us Chargaff on the poetics of curiosity and the power of being an outsider.

erwinchargaff
Erwin Chargaff

Chargaff writes:

If we could not forget, we could not remember; just as only the trembling balance can weigh. There are nights with a rose tint, there are days black with clouds, a groan from a deathbed, a hand on my hair, a voice out of the pyre of forgottenness. The ashes do speak, but it is a broken murmur. Brief reflections of brightness, as from a shattered mirror, play over the blackness of an ever-present past.

I tell what I am told. Who is the speaker? If it is memory, then why does it sometimes whisper, sometimes shout, often chatter, and mostly remain in sullen silence?

Illustration from The Book of Memory Gaps by Cecilia Ruiz

Noting that this nature of memory condemns him to “writing as a fragmentist,” Chargaff looks back on his own past as a scientist and reflects on the “ghostly pantomime” in which scientists engage as they test theories and perform experiments invisible to the outside world, lost to the canon of collective memory, which James Gleick once so elegantly termed “the fast-expanding tapestry of interwoven ideas and facts that we call our culture.” With an eye to his days in the laboratories of Columbia University and their invisibilia of forgotten yet undismissable work, Chargaff writes:

That most of this activity did not lead to anything handed on to posterity was perhaps a pity. But does this count in the face of a human life? Does not the great corpus mysticum of the world contain all that was once felt or thought, suffered or overcome, created or forgotten, whether written or unwritten, made or destroyed? Are we not in this sense parts of a greater organism, kept alive through the ever more vividly circulating blood of an enormous past?

Heraclitean Fire is a beautiful read in its entirety. Complement this particular fragment with Virginia Woolf on how memory threads our lives together, Arthur Schopenhauer on how it mediates the blurry line between sanity and insanity, and this stunning short film about memory, inspired by Oliver Sacks.


donating = loving

Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes me hundreds of hours each month. If you find any joy and stimulation here, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.


newsletter

Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s most unmissable reads. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up.

Holding Pattern

Jul. 18th, 2017 02:52 pm
jon_chaisson: (Default)
[personal profile] jon_chaisson
Sometimes I feel like I'm in a holding pattern.  A slow loop around the airport, waiting for my turn to pop into the queue so I can land.  I used to feel like that in high school, waiting for that bit of compulsory education to be finished so I could move on to the college thing.  It's like a slow waiting period I have to go through before moving closer to my goal.  I took it with patience instead of impatience...just something I had to get done.

Currently feeling the same way right now for a few differing reasons -- upcoming vacation, writing situation, long-term career outlook, that sort of thing.  A lot of personal reasons as well.

Today I was thinking about this, and realized, wait...why am I waiting, anyway?  I mean, sure, some of this wait is due to hard and fast dates (like the vacation, two weeks away) or needing to actually finish the cycle (that is, finishing the first draft of Meet the Lidwells).  I'm talking about other things.  Why am I future-dating my plans when I could start some of them now?

Sometimes this holding pattern is of my own making, and the landing strip is wide and clear.  Perhaps it's time to land.

Pigeon!

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:16 pm
rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
I had to check the comm profile to try to decide if this was legit, as this was clearly not a wild pigeon; it was obviously someone's sleek, well-fed and well-cared-for homing/racing pigeon.

However, it was definitely "unsupervised", as it was hanging out at a gritstone crag eating bilberries and watching the climbers.

It wouldn't quite let people touch it, but was otherwise very comfortable with humans and happy to let you get very close.

I took a lot of photos of it trying to get a shot of the tags on its legs, as I was worried it was someone's beloved pet and lost. But when I got home, I found out that the "report a found pigeon" websites (they exist, naturally) say in rather weary tones not to even bother unless the pigeon's been around for at least 48 hours; apparently they like to take pit stops.

Pigeon with beautiful iridescent neck

Cut for more pigeon )

Which direction?

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:58 pm
scarlettina: (Madness)
[personal profile] scarlettina
Sometimes I don't know whether I'm coming or going. The fact that gmail occasionally seems wonky, delivering email a day late, doesn't help. I don't know what to think sometimes. On the other hand, I recently had this exchange with my therapist:

Me: I need to stop thinking and just start doing.
Therapist: You need to stop doing and just start being.

Oh, right. It's all about being. This mindfulness stuff is hard.

"Stand in the place where you live
Now face north
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven't before . . . "

Insect Season

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:43 am
redsixwing: Two water lily leaves with smaller plants between (stems)
[personal profile] redsixwing posting in [community profile] common_nature
Cattails and water skippers in a local ditch.

skippers and cattails

A very vivid ladybug on a maple tree.

ladybug on maple
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

Carrie Fisher. Robin Wright. Gal Gadot. Daisy Ridley. Melissa McCarthy & Leslie Jones & Kate McKinnon & Kristen Wigg.

Jodie Whittaker.

It shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter, but it goddamn well does.

You know why I chose the women I did, up above? You know why I didn’t include Weaver & Hamilton & Theron on that list?

Because Ripley and Connor and Furiosa were given to us. They were put on the table by filmmakers who said either “it doesn’t matter if this character’s a woman or a man,” or who specifically chose a woman as the vehicle for the main story. Alien & Terminator were always ours. We didn’t have to ask, much less plead and beg, for Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor. We weren’t looking for Furiosa, and Theron came out of nowhere the same way Weaver & Hamilton did.

But Carrie Fisher? Robin Wright? Yeah, Princess Leia & the Princess Bride were integral to their stories, but Buttercup was a pretty passive observer in her own story and Leia wasn’t there FOR GIRLS. She was there as the token female. The fact that she had an important role & agency is almost beside the point. I read something recently–maybe in Empire Magazine–where someone said something like “If you think about it, Star Wars is really Leia’s story,” and all I could think was WOULDN’T IT HAVE BEEN AMAZING IF IT HAD BEEN FILMED THAT WAY?

So General Antiope? General Organa? I feel like we *fought* for them. Diana? Rey? I feel like they’re from us saying “we want this so much, we deserve this, we hold up half the fucking sky, people.” An all-women Ghostbusters team? We kept saying “oh god please we want this this would be so awesome.” And so now, a female Doctor? It feels like another one we fought for.

And it shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to be pleading for 1/13th of the pie (or less). We shouldn’t have to be THIS HAPPY to get it. And yet I am.

And I’m also SO ANGRY that it takes so little, such a crumb, to make me THIS HAPPY, when it shouldn’t even be a conversation.

And none of that even STARTS to touch on how 8 of the 9 (or 11/12, depending on how you wanna count it) women I’ve talked about are white ladies.

I don’t want white women to be the only ones gaining ground here. I don’t want increments. We don’t NEED increments. The actors are there. Storm Reid proves it. Zendaya proves it. Hannah John-Kamen & Frankie Adams prove it. And I want to see women of color in all these big amazing roles and films too. I don’t want this to just be a moment for white girls and indistinguishable blondes.

I want more, god damn it. I want it all, for all of us. #GirlPower

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Profile

peartreealley: (Default)
Peartree Alley Studio

July 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2 345678
9101112131415
16171819 202122
23242526272829
3031     

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Page generated Jul. 21st, 2017 08:43 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios