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There's some cool things out there:

Winners of the 2018 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest. You can click to embiggen. (via)

The reasons we haven't directly detected dark matter yet, including an excellent summary of how we know it exists. (via)

Oldest known intact shipwreck found in the Black Sea. (via)

---L.

Subject quote from Passing Afternoon, Iron & Wine.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/701925.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

A question for the internets

Can anyone recommend books like Tamora Pierce’s Alanna and Protector of the Small series for younger readers? Stories about training for knighthood or in vicinity of that.

Finding recs that age up is easy. Not so, down.

—L.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/701660.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Universal links to paper and sand, all of equal importance:

Paper Airplane Designs, a database of paper airplanes with easy to follow folding instructions. Filters for what performance you want to optimize, difficulty, and whether scissors allowed, plus printable instructions/templates for everything. (via)

Tessellated origami sculptures by Goran Konjevod.

Sandscript: A Beachwalker’s Guide to Ripples, Trails, Dimples, and Other Curious Markings. (via)

---L.

Subject quote from To Jane: The Invitation, Percy Shelley.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/701322.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

For Poetry Monday:


A Letter in October, Ted Kooser

Dawn comes later and later now,
and I, who only a month ago
could sit with coffee every morning
watching the light walk down the hill
to the edge of the pond and place
a doe there, shyly drinking,

then see the light step out upon
the water, sowing reflections
to either side—a garden
of trees that grew as if by magic—
now see no more than my face,
mirrored by darkness, pale and odd,

startled by time. While I slept,
night in its thick winter jacket
bridled the doe with a twist
of wet leaves and led her away,
then brought its black horse with harness
that creaked like a cricket, and turned

the water garden under. I woke,
and at the waiting window found
the curtains open to my open face;
beyond me, darkness. And I,
who only wished to keep looking out,
must now keep looking in.


---L.

Subject quote from Wanderer’s Nightsong, Johann von Goethe, tr. Henry Longfellow.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/701118.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Links, links, links.

The Intersex-Affirming Hospital Policies guide lists ways the medical community can improve healthcare for intersex people.” (via)

Times New Romance, embroidery art by Sheena Liam that's not limited by the embroidery frame. (via)

Seven Square Miles, an In Focus feature of aerial pictures of sites around the world at the same fixed scale. FULL SCREEN TIME PEOPLES (via)

ON THE LARGE MONITOR

---L!

Subject quote from A Connaught Lament, Nora Hopper Chesson.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/700682.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Reading Wednesday is happening again. Yay reading.

Finished:

The Murderbot Diaries series, being All Systems Red (reread), Artificial Condition (reread), Rogue Protocol (reread), and Exit Strategy (newread), Martha Wells -- I love this stuff. I ♥ Murderbot and its slow stumbling progress towards social autonomy (it already had personal autonomy) and its caustic sense of humor. The Hugo+Nebula+Locus trifecta for the first installment was deserved, and the others are all just as good. Go thou, find and read these.

Hilda and the Stone Forest, Hilda and the Troll, Hilda and the Midnight Giant, and Hilda and the Bird Parade, being #5, #1, #2, and #3 of the series, story and art by Luke Pearson -- All both read to TBD and reread by myself. Read in this order because that's how the library holds came through. FWIW, Stone Forest takes place just after the end of the recent Netflix adaptation, Troll was expanded into the first episode (it's disappointingly short), and Midnight Giant & Bird Parade were exactly adapted as episodes two and three, respectively. All are as wonderful as the adaptation -- excellent all-ages adventure comics in a fantasy world that's slightly sideways from ours. I especially like Stone Forest, where Hilda ends up on an adventure (first suggested in Bird Parade) with her mother, who is neither clueless nor completely clued in, and in either case rarely lets her instinct to protect her daughter make her act stupidly. Be warned: that volume ends on a cliffhanger, and the next book is still (after a few years) nowhere in sight. We're also still waiting on #4 (which looks to correspond to the show's last episode) but I expect the library will be quicker about that.

Other new read-alouds to TBD included an even handful of early-reader through middle-grade level nonfiction (don't have the titles handy) about castles and knights* and arms and armor, most with a tight medieval Europe focus; an educational graphic novel(ette) by Ted Rechlin accurately titled Tyrannosaurus Rex; and the first Super Fly adventure by Todd H. Doodler (competently written, thoroughly by-the-numbers story, took us several days to get through).

In progress:

Way of Choices, Mao Ni -- I love this novel's focus on consequences and moralities. This has more of a concern with Confucian ethics (as opposed to only Confucian social forms) than other xianxia/xuanhuan novels I've read, and highlights aspects of the master/disciple relationship I've seen only in core wuxia. Up to chapter 741.

Pogo volume 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder, Walt Kelly, to somewhat less than ⅔, savoring it at the rate of a couple weeks an evening.

DNF:

Skyfire Avenue (天火大道), Tang Jia San Shao (唐家三少) -- I appreciated that the protagonist starts out a developed grown-up and is faithful to the memory of his missing-presumed-dead wife, and the fusion of xuanhuan and science-fiction elements was interesting. However, comma, the snobbery of the aristocracy of talent was off-putting and I didn't have enough interest to stick with it after it was clear the supposedly professional protagonist had No Idea how to competently bodyguard someone. Gave up at chapter 40.


* Knights have joined the stable of recurring bedtime story requests. I am determined to work in at least one girl squire or lady knight into tonight's tale. I've already done a Hamster Princess crossover.


---L.

Subject quote from Call It Dreaming, Iron & Wine.

Originally posted at
https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/700582.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Links, links, who has links? Why I do -- imagine that.

Bees and Bombs, animated geometric .GIFs. (via)

Extreme closeup photos of butterfly wings. Click through for large size for the love of all the gods. (via)

How to scam a gmail user. (via)

---L.

Subject quote from You're a Mean One, Mr Grinch, Theodor Geisel & Albert Hague.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/700365.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Slightly out of season, but it still works for a Poetry Monday:


A Blessing, Luci Tapahonso

For the graduates of the University of Arizona.

This morning we gather in gratitude for all aspects of sacredness: the air, the warmth of fire, bodies of water, plants, the land, and all animals and humankind. We gather to honor our students who have achieved the extraordinary accomplishment of earning doctoral or master's degrees. We gather to honor their parents, grandparents, children, family members, and friends who have traveled with them on their path to success. They have traveled far distances to be here this morning: we honor their devotion.

May we remember that holiness exists in the ordinary elements of our lives.

We are grateful for a homeland that has always thrived on a glorious array of people and their diverse cultures, histories, and beliefs. We acknowledge the generosity of the Tohono O'odham in granting this land on which we learn, teach, celebrate accomplishments, and sometimes mourn losses.

May we always cherish our ancestors as we prepare for the days ahead. May we remember that we exist because of their prayers and their faith.

We are blessed with distinct and melodious tongues. Our languages are treasures of stories, songs, ceremonies, and memories. May each of us remember to share our stories with one another, because it is only through stories that we live full lives.

May the words we speak go forth as bright beads of comfort, joy, humor, and inspiration. We have faith that the graduates will inspire others to explore and follow their interests.

Today we reflect a rainbow of creation:

Some of us came from the east, where bright crystals of creativity reside. They are the white streaks of early morning light when all is born again. We understand that, in Tucson, the Rincon Mountains are our inspiration for beginning each day. The Rincons are everlasting and always present.

Those who came from the south embody the strength of the blue mountains that encircle us. The Santa Ritas instill in us the vigorous spirit of youthful learning.

Others came from the west; they are imbued with the quiet, yellow glow of dusk. They help us achieve our goals. Here in the middle of the valley, the ts'aa', the basket of life, the Tucson Mountains teach us to value our families.

The ones from the north bring the deep, restorative powers of night's darkness; their presence renews us. The Santa Catalina Mountains teach us that, though the past may be fraught with sorrow, it was strengthened by the prayers of our forebearers. We witnessed the recent fires the mountains suffered, and in their recovery we see ourselves on our own journeys. We understand that we are surrounded by mountains, dziił, and thus that we are made of strength, dziił, nihí níhídziił. We are strong ourselves. We are surrounded by mountains that help us negotiate our daily lives.

May we always recognize the multitude of gifts that surround us. May our homes, schools, and communities be filled with the wisdom and optimism that reflect a generous spirit.

We are grateful for all blessings, seen and unseen.

May we fulfill the lives envisioned for us at our birth. May we realize that our actions affect all people and the earth. May we live in the way of beauty and help others in need. May we always remember that we were created as people who believe in one another. We are grateful, Holy Ones, for the graduates, as they will strengthen our future.

All is beautiful again.
Hózhǫ́ nááhasdłíí’.
Hózhǫ́ nááhasdłíí’.
Hózhǫ́ nááhasdłíí’.
Hózhǫ́ nááhasdłíí’.


Tapahonso is, if you're wondering about the bits of non-English, Navajo. The mountain ranges named do indeed guard Tucson in the four cardinal directions, with the first and last best visible from the venue for graduation ceremonies.

---L.

Subject quote from Heiveinu Shalom Aleichem, Nefesh Mountain.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/699993.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Yuletide letter 2018

(Context: Yuletide is an annual fanfiction gift exchange for fandoms with relatively few fics, notable for its large number of participants and the high average quality of stories. I'm participating again this year, once more offering and requesting only public-domain fandoms, with a focus on poems.)

Dear Yulemouse,

Thank you for offering to write in at least one of these fandoms. They are awesome, and you are too. I can only hope you enjoy writing a story as much as I will reading it -- for certainly, there will be squees ringing off the mountains when it arrives given, yanno, it's in a fandom I want yet so rarely find.

The best way you can please me is to have fun. Wit, sex, dramatic irony, and cracktasticly silly rom-com are all possibilities, but go with whatever floats your boats. Gen, het, slash (including femslash), and poly are all great, as clean or smutty as you want. As a partial guide to the sort of things I like, my stories on AO3 is as good as anything. Turn-offs (do not want!) are humiliation-based humor, sadism, and explicit torture. Find something and make it your own, the thing you love writing, and it's easy odds I'll like it.

The rest of this are expansions on my Optional Details Are Optional, with notes on resources.

The Tay Bridge Disaster, William McGonagallCollapse )

Hell Gate, A.E. HousmanCollapse )

Tang Dynasty RPFCollapse )

Strange Tales from a Chinese StudioCollapse )

---L.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/699698.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Informal poll: If you were reading a book of translations of Japanese poetry, would you find an index of first lines (in romanized Japanese) of any use? All poems would be clearly identified by its standard anthology reference regardless.

And in return, some links:

Learning to make beef noodles. (via)

Once upon a time in Sichuan, someone made short charming videos about Chinese folkways.

Happy endings for birds.

Subject quote from Nuremberg, Henry Longfellow.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/699446.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

Poetry Monday:


The Oven Bird, Robert Frost

There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.


Vintage Frost, writing a variant-form sonnet in 1916. When reading this, keep in mind his claim “I am not a nature poet. There is almost always a person in my poems.”

---L.

Subject quote from On His Mistress, the Queen of Bohemia, Henry Wotton.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/699376.html (where it has comment count unavailable comments). You can comment here or there.

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Imagine Maria Rainer dancing through singing “These are a few of my favorite things” ...

The Space Opera Cover Maker and the Pulp Magazine Cover Maker. (via, which has other toys too)

Speech bubbles a la comics have been found in the art of a Roman tomb. (via)

Nicely satisfying videos of animated mechanisms.

You'll have to find your own whiskers on kittens though.

---L.

Subject quote from After dark vapors have oppress’d our plains, John Keats.

Originally posted at https://larryhammer.dreamwidth.org/698883.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.

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