11 August 2014 was Gotcha Day

run run run, enjoy everything, Yotsuba runs
The reason I've been offline for a while:

Which is to say, we have adopted a child to be referred to here by the nom de internet of TBD (if you know her offline name, we'd appreciate not mentioning it online). Seen here less than an hour after we met, shortly after crying herself asleep because her foster mother had left.

I meant to post this a few days ago, but it turns out that when a toddler has jet lag, the whole household has jet lag. This could possibly have been predicted by someone who wasn't a first-time parent ...



twirls, revolutions, spirals, curlicues, what tangled tales we weave
"This American Lear" (via)

How to cut a bagel into two interlocking rings. Spoiler: Use a möbius-strip shaped cut. (via)

Infographic: deaths in the Iliad by the numbers. Patroclus kills more named Trojans than Achilles. (via)

Subject quote from "Under Pressure," Queen feat. David Bowie.


eating, Yotsuba chomps, yum, chomp
It's been a disappointing monsoon season so far -- a couple big storms, but a lot of "it's raining over there and booming over yonder, but never here." This is not unusual, but still disappointment when these storms give us half our rainfall for the year.

More than one person, when shown Weird Al Yankovic's "Mission Statement," has claimed it's too close to reality to be funny. I defend it by claiming it's not actually a parody. The animation style, which I happen to like, is perfect though.

Also not parody: Arizona residents resisting Border Patrol checkpoints far from the border. (via?)

Some ferocious beasts you should stay away from.


Subject quote from "Eat It," "Weird Al" Yankovic.

run run run, enjoy everything, Yotsuba runs
From the Wikipedia article on Mongolia:
"Gobi" is a Mongol term for a desert steppe, which usually refers to a category of arid rangeland with insufficient vegetation to support marmots but with enough to support camels. Mongols distinguish Gobi from desert proper, although the distinction is not always apparent to outsiders unfamiliar with the Mongolian landscape.
So the Gobi Desert isn't.

The Toast summarizes the Judgement of Paris with copious illustrations -- which are available because "pretty much every dude born between the years 1100 and 1850 with an ounce of sprezzatura and a brush tried his hand at painting it at least once." (NSFW for artistic nudity, via)
you said i could just pick and then youd go home and it would be over
sorry i cant hear you with this helmet on
with this war helmet on
A fun Flash-based timewaster: Wunderputt. (via)


Subject quote from "The End of the Innocence," Don Henley.

run run run, enjoy everything, Yotsuba runs
What I've recently finished since my last post:

Poems of Places volume VIII -- there's not enough last bits of Scotland to fill out a volume, so miscellaneous Scandinavia was tucked into the remaining space like packing material. The Iceland section is particularly thin, starting with a burst of American cultural imperialism ("We claim thee kindred, call thee mother, / O land of saga, steel, and song!") plus only one local poet in translation -- the other countries manage a bit more than that. OTOH, this is an amusing bit of fairy lore, where the mortal price for interrupting a night-long fairy revel is -- to be tired from pulling an all-nighter. Ooo-kaythen.

Mushoku Tensei ("unemployed transmigration") volume 1 by Rifujin na Magonote ("irrational backscratcher" -- is there a pun I'm not getting or is that just an obvious pseud of silliness?), in which 34-year-old hikikomori at the end of his rope dies saving the lives of some strangers and is reincarnated as a newborn infant in a fantasy world with memories intact, whereupon he resolves to reverse the mistakes of previous life and do things right this time. A self-published web-novel picked up for print, and I see why it's popular. I can't actually recommend it, though, as much of the humor comes from the incongruity of a small boy with the knowledge and attitudes of a thirtysomething otaku perv -- which often means being deliberately offensive for the funnies, including a backstory rape being treated as only marginally problematic. I may try the next volume to see whether deepens this schtick or abandons it as part of character growth.

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk volume 5, which picks up with the battle interrupted by the end of the previous installment and finally completes the first tournament arc. Plot all too predictable (very few tournament arcs use original plots) but the story was enjoyable nonetheless. Excellent teamwork.

What I'm reading now:

Mandan no Ô to Vanadis volume 9, also picking up mid-battle. I'm not in love with the amnesia plot, mostly because we spend too much time outside the amnesiac's head -- as one of the primary POV characters, to boot. Needs more of title characters.

Shadow Unit season 4 by Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, et al. As usual, of all the co-authors, Bear's stories pulls their punches the least, but Bull's are consistently the best-written, making them the most effective. It is probably just as well the original 5-season structure was aborted modified, given the dialation of deadlines. Will see how well they wrap up the mystery, which I have hopes of given the slow movements by episode of the myth arc.

The Jolliest School of All -- yes, stupid title, but I found a stash of unread Angela Brazil novels and decided the day was as rainy as any other. This one is set altogether outside Britain, in a boarding school in Naples catering to the daughters of Anglo-American families there on business. Just as popcorn as the rest of her schoolgirl stories, and so far just as more-or-less successful.

Poems of Places volume XXIV: Africa. Oh dear, this one's dire. As in worse than Asia. That it's two-thirds ancient Egypt neither rescues nor redeems the exoticized slaves and noble savages that otherwise abound (sometimes, in the abolitionist tracks, both at once). The 1870s were not, it seems, a good time for sensitive handling of the region, even by those who considered themselves enlightened.

Continuing through Dragons and Other Fantastic Creatures in Origami by John Montroll -- less of these will become part of my standard repertoire than Mythological Creatures, but there's still enough good ones to make this a clear go-to book. Plus I also started folding from Kusudama Origami by Ekaterina Lukasheva (which may not have a Cabbage Rose but it does several other interestingly swirly and spiky shapes) and Origami Animal Sculptures by John Szinger (not yet published but advance copies were available at Origami USA).

What I might read next:

More light novels and poetry would be the obvious guess, based on past experience. Possibly Emily of New Moon since that's perked my interest a little.


run run run, enjoy everything, Yotsuba runs
Sometimes a randomwalk of the 'nets gets you interesting places. From Metafilter, I found this site of troubadour lyrics, many in English. From there, I found this awesome site of poetry in translation. Where I found "Doesn't your heart hurt" by Guaman Poma, translated from the Quechua by Dorn & Brotherston.

A People's History of Tattooine. "What if Mos Eisley wasn’t really that wretched and it was just Obi Wan being racist again?" (via)

How to talk to babies about Marxist theory.


Subject quote from "Something Beautiful," NEEDTOBREATHE.

run run run, enjoy everything, Yotsuba runs
Motivational post-its left on the train. (via)

Scalable, animatable maps of world history from 3000 BCE to present, with timelines. (via)

What's your Quaker name? (Spoiler: does not involve the name of your childhood pet.) (via)


Subject quote from "32 Flavors," Ani DiFranco.

run run run, enjoy everything, Yotsuba runs
Vids, vids, vids:

AMV for the works of Studio Ghibli: "Creating Something Beautiful." (via)

Timelapse: taking a belt sander to various objects (log, electronics, skull) and stripping away one thin layer at a time. (via)

Weird Al Yankovik works his magic on Pharrell's "Happy" with "Tacky." Awesomely bad outfits a-hoy! (via)


Subject quote from "Heart-Shaped Box," Nirvana.

for you, gift, clover, Yotsuba & clover
Blasts from pasts:

"The Pulp Magazines Project is an open-access digital archive dedicated to the study and preservation of one of the twentieth century's most influential literary & artistic forms: the all-fiction pulpwood magazine." Focus is on out-of-copyright issues, and includes the original Amazing Stories and Argosy, but also other genres including mysteries, romance, westerns, adventure, sports, and spicy stories. Digitizing continues apace, but many PDFs are available already. (via)

A new web port of Colossal Cave Adventure. Xyzzy again! (via)

A life webcam of bears standing in a river, waiting for a salmon to jump. (via)


Subject quote from "Love Among the Chickens," P.G. Wodehouse, describing Waterloo station.

Wednesday! Readings! Memes! (baaa...)

completed, done, finished
What I've recently finished since my last post:

Harry Heathcote of Gangoil by Anthology Anthony Trollope, a novella/short novel of Australian bush life circa 1870. Trollope is not always successful with character development in his shorter works, and in this case all the most important characters except the title character change, which is a problem only because he's the one set up with a specific character flaw -- in a way that, in his longer novels, would get hammered on till he cracked. Still worth it for the local color.

Captain's Courageous by Rudyard Kipling, a reread of one of his surprisingly few (given his general preoccupations) stories about a young prat who grows into A Man through adversity, in this case being washed overboard an ocean-liner and picked up by a Grand Banks cod fisher. A less subtle writer would have had all the character development incidents take place at sea, returning to land only for the recognition of his Growth & Change -- by delaying the last incident to after the recognition, Kipling created a more effective story. Not his best ever, but a fine sample of the master at his craft ("he struck into a tune that was like something very bad but sure to happen whatever you did"; of a boat's hold: "the place was packed as full of smells as a bale is of cotton") and entertaining. Especially if you like details about how work gets done.

Adoption: A Brief Social and Cultural History by Peter Conn, and it feels a bit petty to complain about the thinness of the treatment when it says "brief" right there on the tin. Still worth it for:
In the words of one adopted Korean woman, "blood is thicker than water, but love can be thicker than blood."
Poems of Places volume VII -- another hank of Scotland, which feels very much like the previous hank. How many "(name of place) is bonnie because (name of lass) said Yes to me" poems did the world really need? (Er, don't answer that.) OTOH, I now want to reread The Lady of the Lake.

What I'm reading now:

Dragons and Other Fantastic Creatures in Origami by John Montroll, a follow-up of sorts to my favorite origami book. Ten different dragon variations (with one, two, or three heads, both with and without wings, et cet.) plus several animals made fantastic by sticking wings on them (winged horse, lion, wolf, unicorn, ... ). There's a running story of sorts running through the model descriptions that might appeal to those of an age to discover D&D or M:tG. Have done, oh, maybe 2/3 of the models.

Poems of Places volume VIII, being the fag-end of Scotland plus Scandinavia. It is amusing to read praises of the Tay River in the context of McGonagall.

What I officially Did Not Finish:

The Mother's Nursery Songs by Thomas Hastings, a 1835 collection published in New York ostensibly intended to teach children how to sing by providing moralizing songs for mothers: by turns lullabies, nursery rhymes, didactic songs, and devotional works. Starting with the second part, the moralizing gets rather heavyhanded:
See that heathen mother stand
Where the sacred currents flow,
With her own maternal hand,
Mid the waves her infant throw.
begins one of the didactic ones, which ends with a call to send Bibles to pagan lands (followed by study-guide-style questions that call into question the efficacy of this). Er, no thanks. The earlier lullabies, though, include a few nice tunes. By turns fascinating and abhorrent, and I abandoned ship with the explicitly devotional.

The Connected Child by Purvis, Cross, & Sunshine, which is aimed more at parenting small children than young toddlers -- keeping it at as a potential resource, though.

What I might read next:

Poems of Places volume XXIV, being Africa -- which sounds dire, yes, but Africa apparently consists largely of Egypt, which might contain the direness somewhat.


completed, done, finished
Building more roads does not decrease congestion: all the slack immediately is taken up by more drivers (via?)

"On weekends, we walk out to where the past used to be and where its stories remain." A long SF webcomic about the devastating emotional effects of time-travel. Someone make a note of this for next year's Hugos. (via)

"One Poem" by Heather Christie. (via)


Subject quote from "A Dead March," Cosmo Monkhouse.

modular models, obsession, origami
Time for another showing of Origami Part N: The Obsession Continues. Our last installment included a Cabbage Rose Kusadama #2 that was more rose than cabbage (see icon). In today's exciting episode, we have one that's more cabbage than rose:

Cabbage Rose Kusadama #2 #2

(Click through to see this in the original orientation -- LJ why do you do these things?)

I didn't time it very well -- most of the units were folded in odd moments between bouts of house-cleaning, but assembly went considerablly quicker with experience, and the total time was probably about 4-5 hours.

Model successfully learned.


Subject quote from "Gonna Get Over You," Sara Bareilles.

... a place for posting bits of fluff caught in my filters. Warning: I list "very bad poetry" among my interests.

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