Log in

No account? Create an account

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)

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

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/632515.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

A few stripy links:

What the Dunning-Kruger effect is and isn’t, including alternative explanations that significantly limit the domain in which Dunning & Kruger's proposed mechanism is valid. (via)

On the linguistic divergence of Northern and Southern Korean, above and beyond starting from different dialects, that is. (via)

This Comprehensive Guide to Yellow Stripey (sic) Things is mostly right but not exactly comprehensive. (via)


Subject quote from The Princess, part VII, Come down, O maid, Alfred the Tennyson.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/692219.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

It's Wednesday, and there's been some reading thither and yon. And sometimes even hither.


Whiskerella, Hamster Princess #5, Ursula Vernon -- Not read aloud, because TBD was more interested in other books, but we already had it from the library so I read it. An even more bent fairy tale than usual, but the ensemble scope has been increasing and I can see why TBD's interest waned. Maybe we'll try again in a year. Querk!

Rogue Protocol, The Murderbot Diaries #3, Martha Wells -- Another quick installment of my favorite clinically depressed artificial person as it tries to navigate the social realms of humans, AIs, and evil corporations, all while pretending it isn't an illegally autonomous partially organic construct. A well-plotted adventure albeit ending with more of a cliff being hung from than previous novellas, related to the larger arc rather than the immediate adventure plot. <3 Murderbot.

On Wings of Song, ed. J.D. McClatchy -- Yeah, it took a year. Not the collection's fault, though to my surprise, the last third, as selections shade into birds used symbolically (think Shelley's skylark and Keats's nightingale), was the most interesting. I think this is now my current favorite anthology of bird poems.

American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang -- Yes, I'm only just getting to this. Yes, I should have read it years ago. Damn good story told damn well. This will be one of the last books we give up when the Great Culling comes, because TBD will need it as they navigate being Chinese-born in a white-dominant society. I want to know the sources for Yang's version of the Monkey King story.

In progress:

Boxers & Saints, Gene Luen Yang -- Boxer Rebellion, told as a two-volume YA graphic novel (or duology?) that's completely dedicated to the POVs of two young participants, one a Boxer and one a Catholic convert. Am almost done with Boxer, the first part.

The Poetic Old-World, ed. Lucy H. Humphrey -- A tourist anthology of poems associated with various European locales, which means a mix of poetry about the places themselves and about people or stories associated with same. I'm not really the audience for this, namely a traveler looking for some local color (thus the inclusion of “John Gilpin's Ride” for London) -- in contrast to, say, Longfellow's Poems of Places, which is aimed at a reader at home looking for evocations of places they haven't been to (yet). The relatively small size (“only” 500+ pages) means at best a couple entries for each location. (Belgium apparently consists of Bruges.) I do appreciate finding place poems more recent than Longfellow, though, so I'm keeping with it -- am about ~⅓ through.

Rise of Humanity, Zhai Zhu -- Still bounding along with the adventure. The treatment of female characters is unfortunately about par for the course in wuxia -- there are, at least, strong women but with one exception they are stuffed into stereotype roles, some more sympathetic than others (and then there's the demons…). Am up to chapter 362, with less than 100 translated chapters left (whereupon I'll be waiting for a while).


Subject quote from Rogue Protocol, Martha Wells.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/691886.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Mix-and-match links:

Wikipedia maintains a list of all directly imaged exosolar planets. As in, the ones we've seen, not just deduced by star-wobble or whatever. (via)

Two doctors on Twitter figuring out how to treat a centaur having a heart attack. Because this is an important question. (via)

Verses Composed upon Reading a Review from Tripadvisor. (via?)

(Can I just have 2 from column A?)


Subject quote from Davideis, book II, ll.653-4, Abraham Cowley.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/691695.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For Poetry Monday, another initials poet:

Autumn Song, W.H. Auden

Now the leaves are falling fast,
Nurse’s flowers will not last,
Nurses to their graves are gone,
But the prams go rolling on.

Whispering neighbors left and right
Daunt us from our true delight,
Able hands are forced to freeze
Derelict on lonely knees.

Close behind us on our track,
Dead in hundreds cry Alack,
Arms raised stiffly to reprove
In false attitudes of love.

Scrawny through a plundered wood,
Trolls run scolding for their food,
Owl and nightingale are dumb,
And the angel will not come.

Clear, unscalable, ahead
Rise the Mountains of Instead,
From whose cold, cascading streams
None may drink except in dreams.

This is number VI of Twelve Songs, published -- and in this case also written -- in 1936. It was set to music by Benjamin Britten later that year. (Pro-tip: search on "Now the leaves are falling fast," as Britten used the title "Autumn Song" for a setting of a Chinese poem.)


Subject quote from The Jews’ Cemetery on the Lido, John Symonds.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/691331.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


A little bit of this, a little bit of that:

The Glue Famine. Spoiler: it's the slime. Warning: long-ass read is long and snarky. (via?)

Octonions! And how they might be a route to a grand unified theory. I especially appreciate that this article goes into the algebraic symmetries lost with each successive division algebra (though it doesn't bring out that these losses are deeply tied to why there aren't hexadecinions). (via, which has more material)

Live stream of bears catching salmon at Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park. (via)


Subject quote from Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, Thomas Gray in an entomological mood.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/691196.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Poetry Monday:

Atlas, U.A. Fanthorpe

There is a kind of love called maintenance,
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it;

Which checks the insurance, and doesn’t forget
The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;

Which answers letters; which knows the way
The money goes, which deals with dentists

And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains,
And postcards to the lonely; which upholds

The permanently rickety elaborate
Structures of living; which is Atlas.

And maintenance is the sensible side of love,
Which knows what time and weather are doing
To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;
Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers
My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps
My suspect edifice upright in the air,
As Atlas did the sky.


Subject quote from Passing Afternoon, Iron & Wine.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/690933.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


Links, links, links. No, wait, that's not right. It's link, link, link:

Timelapse: kidney bean sprouting. (via)

On the history of using orange for the color. (via)

“We now live in a country where it is seen as abnormal, or even criminal, to allow children to be away from direct adult supervision, even for a second.” Motherhood in the Age of Fear. (via all over)



Subject quote from Lullaby, W.H. Auden.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/690603.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Books on a Wednesday, I've been reading, I've been reading some:


Of Mice and Magic and (almost) Giant Trouble, Hamster Princess #2 and #4, Ursula Vernon, read aloud -- Not bad at all. TBD especially looked forward to GT as "Jack and the Beanstalk" is one of the handful of standard fairy tales they already knew from a primary source, but despite this it was harder to keep up interest. Querk?*

Mulberry Song (桑歌), Jiu Lu Fei Xiang (九鹭非香) -- A posthumous romance in a pseudo-historical setting. Sweet and short (a 4-chapter short story).

In progress:

Rise of Humanity (人道至尊), Zhai Zhu (宅猪, literally "House Pig" but probably better read using a slang meaning as "Shut-in Pig," or maybe even "Nerd Pig" using an even slangier sense from Japanese (宅 is the taku of otaku)) -- Starts out as a fairly standard xianxia adventure, albeit one with occasional iffy humor around gender roles, but from the trappings it looks like it might end up connecting its fictional world to the legendary history of Chinese mythology. Sticking with it for now to see how that works out. At the very least, I'm getting a competent adventure story with rising stakes. It helps that attempts at humor are tightly localized and the protagonist moves around a lot as the world stage expands. Read through chapter 155 (out of 420 translated/1490 total).

On hold:

It's Not Easy to Be a Man After Travelling to the Future, Madam Ru -- Another 100 chapters of translation had built up, and I needed something diverting and not especially challenging. Have to say, the protagonist's plot to duck out of her life track and become a "normal" young woman seems underbaked for a supposedly brilliant tactician. Ran out of material at chapter 289.


Great Tang Idyll (田园大唐), Tian Yuan Ru Meng (田园如梦, "Pastoral Idyll") -- A successful conman and a crack policewoman are reincarnated-with-memories as 1-year-old toddlers in the Tang Dynasty (specifically 714 CE, early in the reign of Emperor Xuanzong), the children of the two major landowning families of a farming village. The result is not nearly as charming as I'd hoped -- babies talking like adults, as they do after initially faking infancy, is actually kinda creepy. If the cop had more to do than be a foil for the con, this might be more interesting. As there was no sign of this happening after a dozen chapters, I gave up.


* Which is Quail for "Where's the next book?"


Subject quote from The Statue and the Bust, Robert Browning.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/690388.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


TBD is five years and three months old.

Achievements unlocked these past two months: climbing a full-length wall at the indoor rock-climbing center, riding a horse on a lead, numerical succession, latching and unlatching bike helmet, successive somersaults, the interrupting cow knock-knock joke, swimming with arm floaties

Achievements leveled up: describing experiences we weren’t there for, separation in new social situations (such as drop-off at a new summer day camp), dribbling/shooting/other basketball skills, trampolining, LEGO assembly (again)

A busy two months -- let's see what I can untangle.

We started the summer at a school-based day camp but, due in part to chaos from schools merging, it was not working out. So halfway through we switched gears to a mix of week-long programs, including two rounds at a ranch camp (with farm chores such as taking care of the animals as well as horse riding) and a general sports camp. (TBD lobbied for soccer camp, but we didn’t want to shell out for equipment without clear signs of extended commitment.) Many of the unlocked achievements come from this.

Before excursions up the mountains were nixed by Janni's condition, TBD got heavily engaged in rock scrambling -- including a memorable a couple hours leading me over and around a large mountain outcrop littered with boulders, making traverses I would have had trouble with at ten. After that picnic, they asked visiting the local rock-climbing studio, and the next week successfully scaled the easiest full-height wall their first visit. We’ve been back a couple more times.

We intended this to be a summer of expanding reading and exploring insects. It's turned into one of heavy physical activity and LEGOs. Different skill focuses, okay.

Janni’s heart surgery and recovery meant a lot of time being mad at Mom, which is TBD’s typical cope for emotions they don't know how to handle, especially beforehand. They got significantly less mad once they could visit Mom in the hospital, and since she's been home and visibly improving, very little -- and indeed, has been much helpfulness.

I'm out of the loop on recent media consumption, though this past week Peppa Pig seems to have cycled back. Bookwise, I've been reading aloud mostly chapter books, typically realistic (with a school and friendship focus) or adventure tales, and comic books. Overall bookage is down -- there's been competing interests.

When told that the tooth fairy was a story, TBD asked that if she didn’t come that night, that we do the job for her—and not tell them who left the money. This, the being-raised-Jewish kid who has already written out two versions of a letter to Santa. The will to believe is strong in this one.

One linguistic note: Janni is roughly equally Mommy, Mama, and Mom, while I’m mostly Daddy (or Datty), sometimes Dada, occasionally Dad. Another: irregular past tenses are slowly getting internalized.

Because much talking, talking has been extended conversations, I haven’t been able to jot down most of the interesting ones before forgetting details. We did get these though:

TBD: “We can play any game.”
“Okay, is there any Thing in this room?”
:gales of laughter: “No! I said any game, not an any game!” :more laughter:
(we may soon be ready for Who’s On First)

(while being read a book about mummies, TBD corrected a mention of Egyptian “gods” to “God” and was boggled when it was corrected back; some parts redacted)
TDB: “How can there be more than one God?”
“Some people believe there is.”
“I think there’s one God.”
“I do too, but different people have different ideas about that.”
“God is everything.”
“I do believe that.”
“So how can there be more than one?”

“If Darth Vader were real, do you think he would try to kill Santa because he gives all those presents and is nice?”

“I don’t like kindergarten. Even though I’ve never tried it.”

Which is on their mind because it starts next week. (Later than most of their friends: most local school districts gear up the next couple days -- we had to search for a day-camp program still open.) (Yes, Arizona schools start and end early, compared to most of the country.) No doubt I'll things to report next time.


Subject quote from Passing Afternoon, Iron & Wine.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/689972.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


For Poetry Monday, a jump back in season:

Kyoto: March, Gary Snyder

A few light flakes of snow
Fall in the feeble sun;
Birds sing in the cold,
A warbler by the wall. The plum
Buds tight and chill soon bloom.
The moon begins first
Fourth, a faint slice west
At nightfall. Jupiter half-way
High at the end of night-
Meditation. The dove cry
Twangs like a bow.
At dawn Mt. Hiei dusted white
On top; in the clear air
Folds of all the gullied green
Hills around the town are sharp,
Breath stings. Beneath the roofs
Of frosty houses
Lovers part, from tangle warm
Of gentle bodies under quilt
And crack the icy water to the face
And wake and feed the children
And grandchildren that they love.

I love the weaving through of traditional Japanese poetic imagery into something new. I did not post this in March because I was out at sea; now, though, it's a nice reminder of a cooler time and climate. And a somewhat bittersweet one of when Japanese was my current language being learned.


Subject quote from Passing Afternoon, Iron & Wine.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/689703.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.


There's something of a thematic throughline in these links:

A three-part essay series on costume design for heroic female characters: The Extrapolated Costume Design of Wonder Woman, The Referential Star Wars Costumes of Rey, and The Warrior Women of Black Panther and the Symbolic Approach to Costume Design. Would that more SFF writers put more of this kind of thinking into their worldbuilding. (via)

Natural selection in action: Post-hurricane lizards had, on average, feet better at holding on in high winds because the ones with smaller feet got blown away. (via)

Epic surf ride: 1 wave, ridden 1.5 kilometer for 2 minutes, through 8 barrels. Also available in POV cam. (via)

Or maybe that's just the wishful thinking of colons.


Subject quote from In the Wood of Finvara, Arthur Symons.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/689605.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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

Latest Month

August 2018


RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow