origami penguin

Stickie introductory post

Characters frequently appearing in this drama:

  • I - your humble narrator, sometime writer and poet (preferred pronoun: he/him/his)

  • Janni - spouse and writer (preferred pronoun: she/her/her)

  • Eaglet - nom de internet of our child, formerly known as TBD, not yet a writer (preferred pronoun: they/them/their)

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origami penguin

“Air stilled and thrilled by the tempest that thundered between its reign and the sea’s”

For a Reading Wednesday of the day after being laid off:

Read aloud:

Cleopatra in Space #3: Secret of the Time Tablets, story and art Mike Maihack -- The plot thickens, as do the personal stakes. We have the next volume in hand but stalled out in the talky-talk story setup scene.

Charlie and Kiwi: An Evolutionary Adventure, story Eileen Campbell, various illustrators -- Technically a picture book, but it's a very long one so I’m counting it. Illustrates the basic ideas of how evolution works using an adorable kiwi stuffie with a time machine. Adult bonus content: the identity of Charlie’s great^n-grampa.

Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot books #1 and 2 and 8, story Dav Pilkey, art Dan Sanat -- Eaglet is almost up for reading these by themselves, but they want the one-on-one time. That this much engaging story is told in this small a space is a tribute to Pilkey’s writing ability.

The Adventures of Captain Underpants, story and art by Dav Pilkey -- The original hit book, which had no story surprises given the Netflix adaptation, but it's interesting to see just how faithful the adaptation is to Pilkey's written voice. Remember that now. Of note: this copy is the 135rd printing of paperback.

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny, story and art John Himmelman -- Awesome stories about an anthropomorphic martial arts student, which are more often about resolving conflict rather than overpowering it. Wise and humane and all of us love this thing. There are three sequels, none of them available at our library :-(((

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl volumes 1 & 8, story Ryan North, art Erica Henderson -- Speaking characters who are about resolving conflict instead of always fighting it out. The first volume is technically a reread aloud, but it's been a long time so I'm taking credit for this. I have the next couple volumes somewhere around here, but I can't find them, otherwise I wouldn't have skipped forward like this. Despite the talky-talk, Eaglet really enjoys the jokes pitched to their level.

Zoe and Sassafrass volume 7, Asia Citro -- Not the most engaging installment in the series, despite the gardening concerns. That there is no hypothesis & experimentation doesn't help.

In progress:

Night Ranger, Dark Blue Coconut Milk -- Reincarnated into a MMORPG fantasy adventure, western fantasy type. I don't usually want to read Asian takes on D&D tropes refactored through video games, since there's enough similarly diluted Western fantasy already available in English, but I was sick and fevered and needed brainless adventure. Despite many powerful female characters with their own agency, not great on that front, but the adventure has otherwise been entertaining. Up to chapter 231.

Gourmet of Another World (异世界的美食家), Li Hongtian -- Silly xuanhuan transmigration-with-system fantasy, with a protagonist given a tiny back-alley restaurant and the goal to become the God of Cooking. Does not interrogate the setup in any satisfying way, especially after exposure to The Empress's Livestream, but I was sick and fevered and needed brainless silliness. We'll see how well it keeps up the silly as the protagonist levels up and world opens out, but staying with it for now. Up to chapter 237.

Discoveries: Search for Ancient China, Corinne Debaine-Francfort -- Slender and heavily illustrated summary of our archeological knowledge of China through the Han Dynasty, as of 20 years ago. Getting visuals for certain broad currents was good, as was seeing the state of the terracotta warriors on discovery (as opposed to how they are displayed today), but as a way of boning up on history it wasn't the best.


Emperor's Domination, Yanbi Xiaosheng -- With the protagonist's leveling up, he's had less need to be clever and just curb-stomps everyone. The bloodthirstiness is tiresome, his outpowered companions are losing their slivers of agency, and I dropped this at chapter 658.


Subject quote from A Channel Crossing, Algernon Swinburne.

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origami penguin

“salt water unbounded—/The heave and the halt and the hurl and the crash of the comber wind-hounded”

Three links of stunning beauty:

MOCEAN: slow-motion oceans, with an emphasis on breakers. Whoa. (via)

Robert Lang illustrates 11 levels of complexity in origami using successively more complicated models of cicada. Level 7 is already a little past my technical skill (and I learned several things just from watching that segment). Disclosure statement: Robert Lang fanboy here. (via, which has more Lang links)

Solo dulcimer cover of “I Wanna Be Sedated”. (via, where more covers are highlighted in comments)


Subject quote from The Sea and the Hills, Rudyard Kipling.

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origami penguin

“Its tones come winding ... / Telling of woe and wrong / And he must listen till the stars grow dim”

For Poetry Monday, some Wallace Stevens, because it's been a while:

The House Was Quiet and The World Was Calm, Wallace Stevens

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.


Subject quote from The Buccaneer, Richard Henry Dana Sr.

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origami penguin

“And while the day died, sweet and fair, / I lit the lamps again.”

For Poetry Monday, something a little late, but better late than never:

To the Light of September, W.S. Merwin

When you are already here
you appear to be only
a name that tells of you
whether you are present or not

and for now it seems as though
you are still summer
still the high familiar
endless summer
yet with a glint
of bronze in the chill mornings
and the late yellow petals
of the mullein fluttering
on the stalks that lean
over their broken
shadows across the cracked ground

but they all know
that you have come
the seed heads of the sage
the whispering birds
with nowhere to hide you
to keep you for later

who fly with them

you who are neither
before nor after
you who arrive
with blue plums
that have fallen through the night

perfect in the dew

A late poem, from 2003.


Subject quote from The Wreck of the Pocahontas, Celia Thaxter.

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origami penguin

“for we have years and days and hours left to kill / and the means to make them pay”

For Poetry Monday, a day late because I spent much of the day asleep on the couch:

Falling Asleep, Siegfried Sassoon

Voices moving about in the quiet house:
Thud of feet and a muffled shutting of doors:
Everyone yawning. Only the clocks are alert.

Out in the night there’s autumn-smelling gloom
Crowded with whispering trees; across the park
A hollow cry of hounds like lonely bells:
And I know that the clouds are moving across the moon;
The low, red, rising moon. Now herons call
And wrangle by their pool; and hooting owls
Sail from the wood above pale stooks of oats.

Waiting for sleep, I drift from thoughts like these;
And where to-day was dream-like, build my dreams.
Music ... there was a bright white room below,
And someone singing a song about a soldier,
One hour, two hours ago: and soon the song
Will be ‘last night’: but now the beauty swings
Across my brain, ghost of remembered chords
Which still can make such radiance in my dream
That I can watch the marching of my soldiers,
And count their faces; faces; sunlit faces.

Falling asleep ... the herons, and the hounds....
September in the darkness; and the world
I’ve known; all fading past me into peace.


Subject quote from Draw the Curtain, Cats Laughing.

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enjoy everything, run run run, Yotsuba runs

“Of sky and water, and the drift of foam, / And thrill of brine-washed breezes from the west”

Wednesday reading:

Read aloud:

Hilda and the Mountain King, story and art Luke Pearson -- Library hold finally came through and we immediately zoomed through the second half of the story started in Hilda and the Stone Forest. Satisfying and well done. As soon as we finished, Eaglet started drawing fan art. (And complaining about still no season two of the Netflix adaptation.)

Monkey King, adaptation Wei Dongchen, art Chao Peng, volumes 15-17 -- We're getting closer to the West, yays. Content warning for v17: rear female nudity when the spider-monster fairies take an outdoor bath and are attacked by a pervy Pigsy. v16 also had mature moments that Eaglet didn't have context to understand. The adventure continues.

Dragon Masters books 13-14, Tracey West -- And that catches us up with the series until the next book is published in March. Not brilliant high fantasy, but there's not much wrong with it and there are FAR worse introductions to the genre and its tropes.

I Am Hermes!, story and art Modicai Gerstein -- Excellent at bringing out the trickster aspects of Hermes. The characterization of Maia, his mother, sends Eaglet into giggle-fits.

In progress:

Emperor's Domination (帝霸), Yanbi Xiaosheng (厌笔萧生, "loathe writing miserable life," which has a nice four-word cadence) -- A lot of mixed feelings about this xuanhuan adventure about a former immortal being who has finally, after plotting this for over a million years, incarnated as a human again. On the one hand, the good-naturedly arrogant trickster protagonist is quite appealing, at least until he powers up and stops having to trick his opponents in fights and just curb-stomps. It helps that the author is wonderfully inventive, with a gift for comic worldbuilding. On the other hand, while there are a greater variety of rounded female characters than typical for the genre, the protagonist's attitude towards them is … problematic. Even for a boss as generous as him, I'd expect more to leave him over the constant suggestive comments. Am up to chapter 453, and will continue on for now, but without the enthusiasm of the first 200.


Subject quote from Sea Witchery, Richard Burton.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/741093.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
La!, celebration, frivolity, joy, dancing

“always go out of your way to be kind to a noodle, and some day it may come back buttered”

For Poetry Monday:

An Attempt at Unrhymed Verse, Wendy Cope

People tell you all the time,
Poems do not have to rhyme.
It's often better if they don't
And I'm determined this one won't.

Oh dear.

Never mind, I'll start again.
Busy, busy with my pen...cil.
I can do it if I try--
Easy, peasy, pudding and gherkins.

Writing verse is so much fun,
Cheering as the summer weather,
Makes you feel alert and bright,
'Specially when you get it more or
less the way you want it.


Subject quote from Noodles, unsigned column in The Akron Beacon Journal, 13 June 1927.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/740846.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.
enjoy everything, run run run, Yotsuba runs

TusCon 2019

A little late, but here’s my schedule for TusCon 46 this weekend. Say Hi if you see me. Suggestions welcome for "SFF for Early Readers" (ignore the description -- we’re going to talk about genre books for K-2nd graders, training convention goers be damned).

Sa 12-1 pm - Just Finish the Damned Thing! The Importance of Completing that First Draft
Did I say starting is the hardest part? Lies. You gotta finish. Drive through to the end. Wrap it all up. Put a bow on it. Get it to the point where your editor can tell you everything you did wrong. That’s the hard part.
Cameron D Blackwell, KJ Kabza, Larry Hammer, Linda D Addison, Paul Clinco

Sa 1-2 pm - Autograph Session
Come get autographs from your favorite folks. Some are even probably selling stuff.
Frankie Robertson, Jennifer Roberson, Larry Hammer, Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, K.S. Merbeth

Su 9-10 am - SFF for Early Readers
9:00 am - 10:00 am
What’s out there for the kids? How do we make the next generation of convention goers?
Dania Wright, Jill Knowles, Larry Hammer, Janni Lee Simner


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