- recent reading
Michael A. Stackpole. Malicious Intent. Battletech tie-in novel, which I took a ridiculous amount of time to read because I have no attention span. I wasn't at first sure that all the strands would come together--Stackpole's BT novels tend to be aggressively multi-POV--but they did at the end, in a very satisfying manner. I really grew to like Doc a lot. And to my great surprise, I think I have become a Vlad Ward/Katrina Steiner-Davion shipper--they don't have a lot of time on-page together but the chemistry is astonishing.
Reginald Bretnor, ed. The Craft of Science Fiction, ©1976. A collection of essays. I have to confess I've never heard of Bretnor, or if I have encountered him before (possible), I have completely forgotten about him.
Essays: ( Read more... )
daidoji_gisei, if you can find this through your library, or a used copy, I think you'd enjoy some of the essays. I recommend in particular: Clement, Spinrad, Williamson; but have a look for yourself. (I got this out of the library myself.) Alternately, if you just want a couple of essays, I can photocopy them for you.
Remember in June when I participated in The Great Namaste? An attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the number of people simultaneously doing yoga.
We Did It!
I got this funny email from organizer Tyler Tervooren:
Well, for those last four months, the record was only technically broken. We’ve been waiting… and waiting… and waiting for them to give us the official nod. Kind of like when you’re really excited to get someone’s phone number, but you can’t get a hold of them so you leave a message saying, “Uh, it was really nice to meet you and I think you’re super cool so, um… call me back?” And then you sit and wonder if you had bad breath or crazy eyes or something as each week passes and they don’t call.
And that’s how it felt with Guinness. UNTIL TODAY!
The only thing that’s missing at this point is they haven’t updated the listing on the website yet, which is kind of like when you start dating someone new and realize they still talk to their ex on Facebook. We’re trying not to be jealous, though. We’re certain it will be updated soon.
And Here I Am
In the detail of the above photo….
He was awkward, he was goofy, he bristled visibly when he was flustered, he could not speak clearly and didn't seem particularly to care. He was big in emotion, sometimes annoyingly, but often -- especially as he got older -- endearingly. I ran into him on the street once, almost a decade ago, just on my way to work and he was walking in the opposite direction with two aides at his flanks. I waved hello, because what else do you do? And he said Hello howaya and on we went in our opposite directions. When he became thin and frail in recent years, it was strange and foreign, as if that could never happen to a roly-poly, genial man.
Who among us will speak ill of him? (You don't succeed in Boston politics without shiving somebody along the way.) He was friendly and unpretentious and is reputed to have met more than 50% of the city's 600,000 residents. He even had a pleasantly boring personal life, unlike Ted Kennedy whom he outlived. Television is chockablock with ordinary people -- barbers, deli owners -- surprising themselves with tears. He just seemed permanent, which was totally illogical. We could see his body fail him slowly. Some high muckety-muck priest visited him in the hospital like two days ago, after he stopped treatment for cancer. It shouldn't have been a surprise.
His funeral mass is being held on Monday in the church where my uncle, Jawj Cahtah, was massified these many years ago. I expect the motorcycle cops to stop traffic for his funeral procession (to Forest Hills Cemetary?) with similar aplomb.
In looking up the statewide ballot questions (because commercials, also my union sent a voting guide that had Opinions about Questions 1 and 3, but not 2, and since when does a union not have an opinion??), I say, in looking up the statewide ballot questions, I discovered one more time that Bill Galvin is not just a gentle telephone pole of Massachusetts responsibility and clear explanation, he is in fact a politician who has to run for office now and then.
But who would run against him, I ask you! He is one of the stalwarts of the state. I don't think he's even had a challenger in ages, because your faves could never be that unobtrusive.
(Question 2, by the way, is about the $0.05 deposit on soda bottles. Which does not affect my union. you'd think they'd have something to say about Question 4, though, which is about requiring paid sick time. Everyone in my part of the union has it already, but surely it's something to agitate for beyond the membership!
(PS, vote no on Question 1 and keep the gas tax indexed. If you don't like it, go move to New Hampshire or something.)
( I saw the word 'henchman' and wondered idly what was its etymology. :) )
I hope all Yuletiding friends all have the most gorgeous and stimulating and fun assignments!. :)
I'm sort of panicking over the fact that I have a much better idea of who my antagonist is than my protagonist.
Meanwhile, I have my Yuletide assignment and am mostly through source review. Am going to attempt to start writing tomorrow despite PANICKING. Wish me luck! And good luck to fellow Yuletiders.
I was struck by the juxtaposition: in this poem/song, The Kalevala was talking about catcalling.
Listen to the song:
which is based upon this poem:
This is from the text of the epic Finnish poem Kalevala:
"0 my mother, you who bore me,
You who bore and suckled me! so
Surely there is cause for grieving,
Bad the troubles that oppress me!
This I weep for, my poor mother,
Why, dear mother, I'm complaining:
To the woods I went for broom twigs,
Leafy sprays for sauna slappers;
Broke a slapper for my father
Broke a second for my mother,
Even gathered up a third one
Ready for my red-cheeked brother. 90
Just as I was starting homeward,
Crossing on an open clearing,
Osmo from the hollow spoke,
Kalevalander from the clearing:
"Not for anyone else, poor maiden,
Not for anyone else but me,
Poor maiden, wear that beaded necklace
Or the crosslet on your bosom,
Put your hair up in long braids
Tie them round with silken ribbons." 100
101 "From my breast I tore the crosslet,
Dashed the beads down from my throat,
And the blue silk from my temples,
The red ribbons from my hair;
Left them on the woodsy earth
For the good of earth and woodland.
Then I put it into words:
Not for you or anyone else
Will I wear this crosslet here
Or tie my hair in silken ribbons.
Then watch the Hollaback video again:
Paul Davidson tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the Ark of the Covenant but were afraid to ask: “Readers of the Lost Ark: Following the Literary Trail of an Ancient Religious Symbol.” After tracing the various (conflicting) biblical traditions and narratives about the ark, Davidson notes that “diverse traditions about the ark continued to develop into the Christian era.” His post also, of course, includes some Indiana Jones allusions and images as a lighthearted touch.
But I take those Raiders references seriously, because even though Stephen Spielberg and Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas didn’t intend to reshape our understanding of the Ark of the Covenant, they contributed mightily to the way we imagine it, the way we think of it, and thus the way we read and tell and understand all those biblical stories.
When you read Davidson’s summary of the work of actual biblical scholars, you can’t help but notice that their understanding of these stories is very different in many ways from the popular understanding most Christians acquire in Sunday school. And it’s not just that scholars know more than what is communicated in those popular lessons. In many cases, the difference is that scholars “know” less — the popular lessons include all kinds of little details and glosses, embellishments and assumptions that can’t be found anywhere in the text.
The text itself gets popularized and its stories are retold. Its stories provide the basis for other stories about those stories, and details from those new stories seep back into the popular understanding as though they were part of the original. The revised and expanded idea of the original then provides the basis for even more new stories, and the cycle repeats itself. The text feeds into popular culture and popular culture, in turn, feeds back into the text, and after multiple repetitions of that cycle we lose the ability to distinguish one from the other.
That’s where 90 percent of what most Christians “know” about Hell or Satan or “the Antichrist” comes from. They’re confident that all this stuff they “know” is in the Bible somewhere, but you can’t find it in the text itself, only in the idea of the text that exists after generations of this text-culture-text cycle has done its work.
We learn new stories and then we carry those stories with us when we go back to the text and those stories influence what we see and don’t see when we read the text. This is true of horrible stories that intend to reshape the way we read the text itself, such as for example Left Behind. But it’s also true of really good stories that don’t seem intended to do this — like Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Omen or Dante’s Divine Comedy or The Vision of Tundale.
The new stories employ vocabulary that comes from the text, and those new stories give the words from the text new connotations and new associations that we carry with us when we go back to the text. And in that return to the text, we begin to imagine that we find those new connotations and new associations there in the original story. We read a Bible verse with the word “Hell” in it and we bring 2,000 years of other stories with us, assuming that all of that is what the writer meant when it’s neither true nor possible that the writer could have meant any of that.
Indiana Jones may not be a character you’ll find in the Bible, but then “The Antichrist” isn’t a character you’ll find in the Bible either, and that hasn’t stopped generations of Christian readers from finding him there.
A bulleted list! So you know it’s precise! Considering each HMU where we did some work in 2014, starting with the South Plateau:
- Had been neglected since project dropped by previous forest steward.
- Neighbor complaints caused us to return to working on it.
- Water flow appears to be under control. One forest steward has examined it in the rain and observed that most of the water was flowing into a wood chip pile.
- Personal contact was made with two neighbors of the South Plateau, and a homeowner engaged in a gutting and refurbishing of a house. All contacts were positive.
- There was one work party in 2014, clearing and planting prep with SPU students.
- Ivy, holly, blackberry, yellow archangel resurgence.
- Nipplewort, wall lettuce, other annual weeds.
- Water flow seems to be under control, but still needs to be inspected regularly during heavy rain.
- Establishment and after care for already established plants.
- Maintain neighbor relations.
- January: Planting work party, 128 plants.
- September: Clearing and prep for planting with SPU students.
- Forest stewards will continue to work approximately one Monday a month, to maintain cleared areas and prevent reinfestation. We will also attempt to spread seeds of native plants as appropriate, particularly Dicentra Formosa (Pacific bleeding heart).
- Began 2014 with clearing about 800 square feet, down the trail from Knotweed Hill. The clearing happened on both sides of the trail, so it was in both the Central Valley and on the base of the 91st St. Slope.
- The area was neglected during the summer months in favor of after care for plants in drier areas of the park – along the North Slope side of the main trail and along the 24th Ave. rim.
- A three person crew worked on the area during the August work party.
- This area will be planted in the November work party. There will be enough people there to do some clean up first.
- Extensive planting happened in the seeps at the eastern edge of the Central Valley during the October work party.
- 2015 plans: Forest stewards and work parties will monitor cleared areas to prevent invasive resurgence and provide after care as/if necessary.
91st St. Slope:
- In addition to the clearing mentioned above, a thicket of laurel was limbed by forest stewards early in the summer.
- This thicket was given both E-Z-Ject and cut and paint treatments to kill the laurel.
- Forest stewards will monitor this laurel thicket.
Knotweed Hill (Knotweed Hill is located at the border of the North Slope and the 91st St. Slope HMUs.)
- Knotweed Hill was treated for knotweed in the summer of 2014.
- There was some watering of the upland plants in the summer, but it has received no other attention.
- It needs to be monitored for invasive resurgence and any after care.
Headwaters Bowl (“HWB”):
- The narrow, western section of the HWB received about half the plants from the October work party. Some plants were put into bowl section as well.
- The area between the north side of the streambank and the main trail received a lot of clearing in 2013 from EarthCorps and Parks Dept. contract crew. These cleared areas need to be regularly inspected to prevent resurgence and to provide after care for plants installed in 2013.
- An area of the HWB that has received little attention so far was transected by two forest stewards (Luke and Drexie) in October. We started at the Two Cedars area (about 150 feet down the main trail) and crossed the HWB just west of a line of old Alnus rubra (red alder).
- North of the stream, we saw a large number of small Vaccinium parvifolium (red huckleberry). It was unclear whether they were planted or volunteers.
- Immediately south of the stream crossing the soil was very wet and marshy. There were many large Lysichiton americanum (skunk cabbage) leaves dying back. There was also evidence of Equisetum arvense (horsetail) from earlier in the season.
- Further south of the stream crossing, the ground rose slightly and was dryer. At that point, the Rubus spectabilis (salmonberry) became very thick.
- There was some Polystichum munitum (sword fern) and Athyrium filix femina (lady fern), but ground cover in general was relatively sparse.
- There was a thicket of Ribes bracteosum (stink currant) at the border of the wet and dry areas.
- At the base of the south slope we stopped to write down what we’d seen so far. In addition to the already mentioned plants, there were:
- Emergent (that is, taller than the shrub layer) Acer macrophyllum (big leaf maple) and Alnus rubra (red alder).
- Sambucus racemosa ssp. pubens (red elderberry) thicket.
- Sorbus aucuparia, European ash.
- An apparently dead Populus balsamifera (cottonwood) stake from 2012.
- Going up the south slope to the houses, we saw:
- Sword fern as dominant groundcover.
- Occasional salmonberry, but fairly isolated and lower on the slope. Otherwise, no shrub layer to speak of.
- Big leaf maple trees dominant towards the middle of the slope, with conifers along the rim (we weren’t able to identify the conifers from that distance).
- We continued east along the base of the south slope towards the 24th Ave. Slope.
- Outside of the tree cover, the ivy was very dense, bushy, and had many many seed pods.
- There were a couple small Thuja plicata (Western red-cedar) that Tad and Luke had liberated from salmonberry in 2012; Luke and Drexie liberated them again.
- The base of the 24th Ave. rim was dominated by Hedera helix (English ivy), with Urtica dioica (stinging nettle) growing up between it. There was no shrub layer and no regenerating trees.
- The culvert that empties into the park from the corner of the 24th Ave. slope and the south slope has gouged a deep channel. There is a lot of construction rubble in the channel, but also some large garbage (garbage cans, tires, etc.) that should be removed. This is on private property, but if at all possible it should get treated with some rip rap. The channel is still carved farther down, and at the base of the slope and in the flat area it can receive fascines or woody debris.
- For 2015, we will work with the Parks Department to determine what can be the scope of volunteer work in the private property areas of the HWB, and then contact the neighbors to get permission for that work.
Mirrored from Nature Intrudes. Please comment over there.
So, that happened.
No, no. It's good. Promise. I mean, I'm not promising the STORY is good. I'm promising that the reaction I'm having is good. Because it is. Just...
There are a handful of people I think I need to pressgang into being my audience/betas so that I can share with them how FUCKING HILARIOUS THIS IS TO ME.