Death is before me today

Sep. 22nd, 2017 09:50 am
missroserose: (After the Storm)
[personal profile] missroserose
I find myself wondering about humanity. Their attitude to my sister's gift is so strange. Why do they fear the sunless lands? It is as natural to die as it is to be born. But they fear her. Dread her. Feebly they attempt to placate her. They do not love her.

Many thousands of years ago, I heard a song in a dream, a mortal song that celebrated her gift. I still remember it.

"Death is before me today:
Like the recovery of a sick man,
Like going forth into a garden after sickness.

"Death is before me today:
Like the odor of myrrh,
Like sitting under a sail in a good wind.

"Death is before me today:
Like the course of a stream,
Like the return of a man from the war-galley to his house.

"Death is before me today:
Like the home that a man longs to see,
After years spent as a captive."


I never got to meet Jim Rothfuss in person, but through an odd turning of fate we've exchanged Christmas cards and letters these past several years. I can only say that the world needs more souls of his gentle and kind nature, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to know some little portion of his life, completely separate from my great enjoyment of his son's work.

Go easily and well, Mr. Rothfuss. And thank you.

(Attribution, and for the poem.)

Sienese posters

Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:34 pm
cmcmck: (Default)
[personal profile] cmcmck
 I have a liking for posters wherever I go in the world and on our first day in Siena as we walked into town, I knew of a place where there would be some nice ones.

I wasn't disappointed!

One for a transport show:




And one for a donkey palio (yes, really :o) Such a beautifully captured image of one of my favourite creatures:



And general posterage:



That's all I have time for as we're now in the process of getting the new attic room as we want it, but there'll be more later, I promise! I took two hundred odd shots!










Everyday stuff

Sep. 21st, 2017 10:36 pm
buttonsbeadslace: drawing of a high-heeled boot (Default)
[personal profile] buttonsbeadslace
 Sparkly's team got to their new location safely. Cube Guy is going to be out of town this weekend. He took today and tomorrow off work for something that got cancelled, but he's decided at the last minute to plan a new trip. This weekend I need to remember to go to the library and return A Fisherman of the Inland Sea before it's overdue. I also need to get back to looking at apartments. 

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:16 pm
lunadeath02: (moonunit)
[personal profile] lunadeath02
Have therapy today in a few minutes. Just came online real quick to post the next chapter to my fic and to read emails and such.
I am still not used to getting up early, but so far I seem to be doing a good enough job there. They told me before I was done with my shift that I did a really good job. I must have, if they tell me that. I honestly had no idea how i was doing. My mind was still foggy from getting up early.

The "right" to respect

Sep. 21st, 2017 07:39 am
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
"I am entitled to respect!" That's the cliche line of every power-hungry official. But what happens when you try to universalize that entitlement?

Erika Mantz, speaking for the University of New Hampshire, decreed, "We believe strongly in the right to free speech as recognized by the First Amendment, and we believe equally in the right of every member of our community to feel safe and respected." By putting those claims side by side and saying they're equally valid, she appears to say that "feeling respected" is a legally enforceable right.

It's logically impossible to enforce a right to feel respected for everyone. Enforcing a right requires preventing or penalizing actions which violate it. If A expresses disrespect for B, then defending B's "right" requires taking some kind of action against A. But this can reasonably make A feel disrespected. There's no way to uphold the "right" of both people to feel respected.

The right of free speech and the right to feel respected can't co-exist. If people can't speak against people who do things they don't respect, they don't have free speech. If UNH officials have a "right to feel respected," the university can and should prohibit and punish any demonstration against its policies or actions. When there's a "right to respect," it's always the people in charge who get first claim on it.

As a government institution, the University of New Hampshire is required to abide by the First Amendment. There is no Constitutional guarantee of a right to feel anything.

It's common for people to talk sloppily about rights to feelings, but UNH has gone further than most, claiming them as having equal status to Constitutional rights.

The right to "feel" safe follows the same analysis, strictly speaking. However, it's a more complicated mix, since it's easy to confuse with the legitimate right not to be endangered by people's actions, so I've left it aside.

Global Warming

Sep. 21st, 2017 03:47 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 ... is not new, is more solid than ever, but people still aren't listening.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:23 pm
buttonsbeadslace: drawing of a high-heeled boot (Default)
[personal profile] buttonsbeadslace
 My throat hurts and I'm Tired, but I had a good day. Work was boring, cats are good. Tomorrow Sparkly's team is relocating from just-south-of-Jacksonville to actually-in-Jacksonville. Ey seems to be getting along well with eir boss, which is wonderful. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Scientists have discovered a geometric shape at the center of reality, whose form defines the behavior of particles.  It's a lot simpler than trying to calculate by hand the way those things move.  It goes from hundreds of pages of math to one. 

Meanwhile I'm laughing my ass off because, well, om mani padme hum.  Not the sound of the chant, but it's literal meaning: the jewel in the heart of the lotus.  Mystical people have been staring at this thing forever, because A) it's inspiring, B) it's really pretty, and C) when you're out of your body on a lot of other dimensions it tends to be right in front of your face and kind of hard to ignore.  Which is okay because A and B.  :D  Anyhow, quantum mechanics might like to take a look at the prismatic branch of sacred art.  Perhaps it will prove inspiring.  Because quantum physics is where magic and science meet, which is why it's cool.  I may not be able to hack the math, but quantum physics still makes my existential intelligence sit up and go squee.

On the downside, this means people are getting reeeeeaaaalllly close to figuring out graviton technology.  This is about as relaxing as realizing that the toddler has just about figured out how to turn on the blowtorch.  O_O  

Birdfeeding

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:22 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
A few days ago, I filled the birdfeeders.  Today I saw a mourning dove on the fly-through feeder, so at least one bird has discovered the seed.  \o/ 

A locked-room cat mystery

Sep. 20th, 2017 01:31 pm
madfilkentist: The Catmobile at Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (Catmobile)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
The Spice Kittens are now up to a quartet: Ginger, Posh, Scary, and Baby. Checking Wikipedia, I see these are all Spice Girls names, but should a shelter really name a cat "Scary"?

Tanglewood Placido was adopted but Domingo wasn't, so now Domingo has to work twice as hard to make a mess of his cage. Vin Diesel was adopted, with exclamation marks after his name on the adoption board. Apparently he finally managed to be nice for a full fifteen minutes. Tanglewood (in the picture) is new and very friendly. He's officially a kitten but nearly full grown.

The excitement came afterward. When we'd finished our work, Virginia and I went to Tom's a mile away to get some stuff for the shelter. I brought it back while she continued home. When I got to the shelter, there was an animal control officer at the bathroom door.

Tiny, a very large gray cat, has been staying in the bathroom for weeks, and we've kept the door closed so she can stay away from the other cats. According to the description, she's declawed, morbidly obese, and very scared. Somehow she locked herself in the bathroom. It has a twist button lock, which isn't easy for a cat to work. You can't open the door from the inside without unlocking it, which makes it unlikely anyone locked it by accident. The officer was trying to pick the lock. I didn't stay for very long, so I don't know what they ended up doing.

Update: Virginia and I just got an email with a sharp rebuke from the director for working there so long and doing such a thorough job. I guess we'll have to remember to do a hastier job next time.

Wednesday book meme thing

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:36 am
missroserose: (Joy of Reading)
[personal profile] missroserose
What I've just finished reading

I've spent a decent chunk of time reading this week - I'm about three-quarters through The Sundial - but due to the way it's been split I haven't finished anything this week.

What I'm currently reading

Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, by Ruth Franklin. Like most children of my generation, I read "The Lottery" in school and was thoroughly traumatized by it. It's one of the few pieces I've found to be genuinely shocking, and all the more so because of the craft involved: you realize, looking it over, exactly how well all the pieces are put in place, how consistent the tone and character of the village, and how inevitable the ending is, even though your well-adjusted brain won't let you put the pieces together, except in retrospect. In a way, reading it is an act of complicity; you participate in the same self-delusion as the villagers, your observation of the ritualistic nature of the gathering fueling your assumption of people's fundamental decency and blinding you to the warning signs around you, until things are too far gone to stop. It's not a wonder the story generated more mail than almost any New Yorker fiction piece - people hated it, unless they were one of the minority who were certain this was an actual event and wanted to know where they could go to witness it.

All of which is to say, I've long had a great admiration for Jackson's writing; at her strongest, she has an uncanny ability to balance the best of human intentions with the darkest in human nature, and demonstrate how our fundamental insecurities cause our darker sides to manifest themselves. So when this biography came out, to some acclaim, I was very interested in it.

So far, I'm only a little way in, but Franklin makes an excellent case for the origins of Jackson's obsessions. Born a plain, awkward, introverted daughter to a beautiful California socialite, much of her childhood was spent alternately bowing to and fighting against her mother's criticisms of her dress, her ambitions, and her deportment. Her few friendships tended toward the tumultuous and her (prolific) letters and diaries suggest that she suffered from an onset of depression in her first year of college. She's just met her future husband, and it's not hard to see the attraction - he's witty, intelligent, and a great admirer of her mind and work, providing much of the affirmation her mother was unable to give. Of course, even only knowing the bare outlines of her life, there's more than a little foreshadowing of future dysfunction.

The Sundial, by Shirley Jackson. Having only read "The Lottery" and We Have Always Lived In The Castle, I figured it would be interesting to read another of Jackson's books while listening to her biography. This one, about an extended aristocratic household that lives on an estate set apart from the local village (large houses, usually haunted, feature in most of Jackson's books; Franklin points out that her great-grandfather was a celebrated architect Gilded Age San Francisco, although most of his buildings perished in the Great Fire) and becomes convinced that the world will end, sparing only those who live in the house. I don't think it's as strong as Castle; there's a little more emotional remove from the characters, who feel more like stand-ins than fully-developed human beings, and thus it's harder to sympathize with them. Still, the portrayal of complementary dysfunction is stark and believable - there's Aunt Fanny, the disempowered poor relative who finds new respect as the recipient of the Revelation; Mrs. Halloran, the tyrannical head of the family whose belief in the Revelation seems questionable but who is clearly enjoying the opportunities it gives her to manipulate those she lives with; Essex, the jack-of-all-trades being preyed upon by both Aunt Fanny and Mrs. Halloran who nonetheless finds the idea of himself as Father of Future Generations (as opposed to the unremarkable life he might have outside the enclave) too alluring to resist; and various other hangers-on with their own agendas. I'm tempted to say that people who are curious how cults get started should really give this a read.

What I plan to read next

Feeling pretty saturated book-wise recently, but you never know...

Hard Things

Sep. 20th, 2017 03:50 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Life is full of things which are hard or tedious or otherwise unpleasant that need doing anyhow. They help make the world go 'round, they improve skills, and they boost your sense of self-respect. But doing them still kinda sucks. It's all the more difficult to do those things when nobody appreciates it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our accomplishments and pat each other on the back.

What are some of the hard things you've done recently? What are some hard things you haven't gotten to yet, but need to do?

Pears in Progress

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:38 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I got back out to pick up pears, so we cleaned half a bucket of them, and I put the bits in a crockpot to cook into pie filling.  :D

Everyday stuff

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:22 pm
buttonsbeadslace: drawing of a high-heeled boot (Default)
[personal profile] buttonsbeadslace
 I did a lot of work today and my brain is very tired. Oh, I should mention, though- Sparkly got a confirmed ~demobilization date~ for when ey's coming home: October 10th. 

Tuesday Yardening

Sep. 19th, 2017 04:24 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today is warm, partly cloudy, and muggy.  We went out to the orchard and removed many many field weeds from under the pear tree.  It is a bumper year for pears, they are all over the ground already, with plenty left overhead.  If I have the energy, I'll go back out later and pick up a bucket of them to make pie filling. 

Leaving Academia

Sep. 19th, 2017 03:16 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Here is an essay about a professor leaving academia

I went to U of I.  There were parts of it that I enjoyed, and the culture wasn't that bad.  But I can see parallels.  For me it was more a matter of looking at the way education was going, and deciding not to get involved in public education as a teacher.  It was obviously going down the tubes, and that was decades ago; it's infinitely worse now.  So too, many colleges.  :/  I couldn't stop it.  I could sure get the hell out of the way.

Poem: "So Closely Allied"

Sep. 19th, 2017 02:34 am
ysabetwordsmith: (gift)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the February 2, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [livejournal.com profile] my_partner_doug, [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon, and [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It also fills the "separation and reunion" square in my 1-23-16 card for the Valentines Bingo fest. This poem has been posted as a birthday present for [personal profile] callibr8. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )

Poem: "Learning and Growing"

Sep. 18th, 2017 11:14 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Victor Frankenstein in his fancy clothes (Frankenstein)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the September 5, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] sweet_sparrow, [personal profile] technoshaman, [personal profile] readera, [personal profile] gingicat, [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron, and [personal profile] librarygeek. It also fills the "vampires" square in my 1-1-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.

Read more... )
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