26 June 2017 @ 11:30 am
[community profile] fandomgiftbox is running again in July-August. It works a little like Fandom Stocking, but is in the middle of the year, instead of the end when all the Yuletide/Santa exchanges take place.

You post a comment with the lists of your requests for fandoms/characters/prompts, and the type of gifts you'd like to receive, and the mods post your lists in a separate post which is temporarily screened. People may then gift you fic and art based on what you've posted.

You don't have to gift other people - it's not an exchange. However, it's hoped you'll go looking for someone who has interests that match yours and give them a little something.

Sign Ups at [community profile] fandomgiftbox run until the 7th July.
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25 June 2017 @ 09:34 pm
Inspiring image (SFW):

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/89f86c716478b4e4af646df13/images/7bced22b-5261-428b-b4c7-4b35fe368f02.jpg

Inspiring quote, which I found, of all places, in a memoir about de-cluttering, and comes, of all places, from the musical "Annie""

Don't it feel like the wind is always howlin'?
Don't it seem like there's never any light?
Once a day don't you want to throw the towel in?
It's easier than putting up a fight.


It's a hard-knock life!
 
 
26 June 2017 @ 09:24 am
Perhaps I should make some attempt to describe this campus. Toukyou Joshi Dai isn't a big university by the standards of the UK (it has about 3,000 students to Cardiff's 30,000, for example). It takes up what in American terms would be a block (if you're from Bristol, think of the zoo). That space has quite a few older buildings dotted around, like the one in which I'm living, some of which were apparently designed by a pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright with a taste for inverted dishes, as well as a few plate-glass jobs with offices and teaching rooms.

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This turns out to be purely decorative, and not after all a way of communicating with extra-terrestials

There's also a rather grand main building, with the Latin motto "QUAECUNQUE SUNT VERA" inscribed on the front. For this is a Christian foundation, as its English name (Tokyo Woman's Christian University) makes clear, even though the "Christian" bit is dropped in Japanese translation.

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There are trees (木), groves (林) and woods (森) (who said that kanji were hard to learn?), and although these come with matching mosquitoes I think it's well worth it. It certainly doesn't feel like the middle of one of the world's great metropoles. In some ways it resembles my idea of an American liberal arts college, although before you use this as a reliable reference you should remember that my ideas of American liberal arts colleges derive entirely from having read The Secret History and Tam Lin. Unlike a typical liberal arts college, this university appears (as far as I can tell) not to be a hub for ritual murder, whether inspired by Dionysian frenzy or the need to pay a tithe to hell, and as far as I'm concerned this is a plus. On the contrary, they take rather paternalistic care of their students, locking the gates at 11pm each evening (though nothing as extreme as the broken glass and razor wire I saw surrounding the female dorms in a Christian university in Taiwan a few years ago). Even I, when I leave the campus, have to hand my key over the guards (there are usually at least two) and pick it up again on my return - perhaps five minutes later, after a dash to the combini. I'm not sure what purpose is served by this requirement, but the guards are always very cheerful and polite, so I can't resent it.

The area is neither central Tokyo nor the suburbs, but a sweet spot somewhere in between. Turning left from the main gate the streets are quiet, with houses, family restaurants, antique and bookshops. There are people milling about, but no sense of city hustle, and more bicycles than cars. Here it is at about 7pm on my first evening, with dusk already falling in the abrupt Asian manner:

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In the other direction is fashionable Kichijouji, a far more bustling place, for shopping by day or eating by night. Here's where you need to go if you want to eat a curry doughnut, which I intend to do as soon as may be:

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On my first full day in Japan, though, I contented myself with buying a yukata and all the trimmings - something I've wanted for a long time. I placed myself in the hands of a very friendly department store assistant, and luckily it was one of those days when my Japanese was flowing pretty well (it varies greatly). She walked me through the process of putting on the underdress, the yukata itself, the obi, the geta (alas! my feet are so large that I had to get men's ones), and then set me up with accessories - a flower for the hair, and of course one of those terribly useful baskets.

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I hesitate to say how much all that cost, but suffice it to say that it sated my desire to shop for at least a day.

"They order these things better in Japan" Dept. A useful feature of Japanese supermarkets is that, rather than put the food into your shopping bags at the checkout, potentially holding up other customers as you do so, they provide tables where you can take your shopping basket/trolley after you've paid, and put things in bags at your leisure - rather like the tables in airport security where you can sort out your possessions after they've been through the scanner. A simple idea, but a good one - which I noticed only having held everyone up at the checkout putting things in bags, of course.

On the other hand, here at Toukyou Joshi Dai I seem to be a celebrity:

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Let's hope I live up to the billing.
 
 
 
 
 
26 June 2017 @ 09:27 am
With two assignments and a pinch hit to get done in the next week, none of which are even close to completed, along with both the Porn Battle community ([community profile] pbam) and the Fan Flashworks community ([community profile] fan_flashworks) running amnesty weeks, it may not have been the wisest time to subscribe to Netflix.

But I do have Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, Sense8, and a number of movies lined up for watching...
 
 
25 June 2017 @ 04:58 pm
I've finally found one area in which German is superior to French (by which I mean, easier for me as a native English speaker). It's numbers. German numbers seem to work mostly like English ones, but French numbers make you do math. Well, numbers from 70 to 99. 70 in French is "soixante-dix," literally sixty-ten. 71 is "soixante-onze," sixty-eleven. 80 is "quatre-vingt," or four twenties. 90 is "quatre-vingt-dix," four twenties and ten, and so on up to 99, "quatre-vingt-dix-neuf," or four twenties and nineteen.

My French is not too bad, apart from not having a full adult vocabulary, but I still have to stop and think when hearing or speaking French numbers.

This is especially fun in the context of telephone numbers, because the French don't say telephone numbers digit by digit like American English speakers do, they divide them into groups of two. So if somebody's telephone number includes the combination 97, they will say "quatre-vingt-dix-sept," and the unsuspecting English speaker will write down 4 (quatre) and only then realize they've got it wrong, and have to go back and correct while their French interlocutor is now several numbers ahead. You can guess how I know this.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand all this is probably interesting to no one but me, but I was happy to find a context in which German is simple and straightforward. Unlike its ten million billion pronoun forms.
 
 
26 June 2017 @ 09:03 am

Drawesome on DW
[community profile] drawesome: A Drawing Community for Fan-Artists

 
 
25 June 2017 @ 04:44 pm
18. A song from the year you were born

This was an easy choice.

This version of the song, the best known one, is I think later than 1969 (my birth year), but I like it better so that's what you get. It's worth looking at the original 1969 video on YouTube, though, if only because both video and song version are so hilariously 1960s.

David Bowie, "Space Oddity"





All the prompts )
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25 June 2017 @ 05:44 pm
FYI, I finally finished the edits to Second Chances, my Daredevil Secret Santa fic from last December, and updated the AO3 file. The story is now ~2,700 words longer, and hopefully everything flows better and the plot arc is less jumpy.

Six months late is better than never? *wry*
 
 
Current Location: cass lake, mn
: amused
 
 
26 June 2017 @ 06:31 am
The Quenda (or Southern Brown Bandicoot, Isoodon obesulus) is a small marsupial of the South-West of Western Australia, and other pockets around the coast of Australia.

Under threat from clearing and feral animals (due to both predation and competition for food), it was very unexpected to see one on the edge of the CBD, in Queen Victoria Gardens in Claisebrook. It was even more unexpected to see it in the middle of the day, right next to the main walk-path! 

They are listed as Endangered in Australia.

Cut for size )
 
 
: excited
 
 
25 June 2017 @ 06:25 pm
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25 June 2017 @ 11:10 pm
oh yeah dr who was pretty great this week, but i am holding back on whether i love it based on how certain plotlines are dealt with next week. i do however have a new appreciation for john simm. i still prefer michelle gomez but lbr she's the best master since delgado so she'd be hard to beat.
 
 
25 June 2017 @ 03:49 pm
Yesterday was a lot of driving. I didn't end up posting anything last night because we didn't stumble in the door until after 8:30 pm (we left Rapid City at 7:30 am. Now, there is a time change in there where we lose an hour, but still that's a LOT of hours on the road.)

We did some classic stuff. We stopped both at Wall Drug and the Corn Palace.

the corn palace

450

We started to see a few more families on the road at Wall Drug, but Mitchell could have been a ghost town. Shawn and I both remarked at how several store fronts were closed and/or empty in Mitchell. It's June. This should be the beginning of the tourist season for them, I'd have thought. We were there right at noon and I had a BLT from the one place we found to eat. That was the other thing, the 'historic' downtown didn't have a lot of places to get food. You'd think it would be more like the other tourist towns we travelled through, like Cody, which is just lined with diners and burger joints and pizza places. Something for everyone, as they say. All of that interspersed with trinket shops.... but no, they seemed to have department stores and... furniture? Not something you're going to haul the rest of the way across country with you.

This actually made me wonder if the over-the-road tourism is down in this part of the country. Okay, well, a quick Google tells me that my anecdotal sense is WAY OFF. Apparently, tourism numbers are up, according to the South Dakota Tourism Industry Information for 2016.

Maybe we were just lucky? Because we planned this trip so early into summer vacation?

I don't know. Interestingly, Wikipedia tells me that the largest draw to South Dakota is actually the Sturgis Motorcycle rally. Maybe that's the thing that's shifted? The demographics of the people traveling across country? We certainly saw a ton of motorcycles all throughout our visit both to South Dakota and to Yellowstone.

Also, I'm super curious why so many of my fellow travelers were white. It wasn't 100%--but there was a shocking sea of white faces waiting for the geysers to blow. Why is that, I wonder? Or is this another anecdotal misinterpretation of mine? I couldn't easily find a demographic statistic for the visitors to Yellowstone, though I did see that 2016 was a record-breaking year for them. So what do I know?

We did stop at the Minute Man Missile Site (Delta-09). That was kind of spooky cool. There was a fence around the site that had this sign:

cows out of missile site

It says, "Help us keep cows from entering this area. Please close chain as you enter and exit." There's a lovely little center icon of a big red no symbol over a cow.  

One of the missiles is preserved:

missile in launch pad

As a kid of the 1980s, I found this very chilling, frankly.  Mason looked at us and said, "And how do you think I feel, knowing that 45 has the launch codes?"  

...

Right.  So, that left us all feeling a bit... freaked out.

Otherwise, I have to say that the thing I'm noticing now that we're home is that I still have my tourist eye on everything.  I kind of wished that I'd had my camera this morning when I went for coffee because I had a sudden yen to photograph the neat old houses that are in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood. Maybe this is something I'll have to start doing as an antidote for all the depressing politics.

I thought about going out to Pride today but I just couldn't muster the thought of fighting crowds after all of the fighting crowds at Yellowstone and whatnot. Good news: I'll be gay all year 'round.

 
 
 
Title: Escaping the Clouds
Fandom: original
Character: original
Length: 583
Rating: G

Read more... )
 
 
25 June 2017 @ 11:21 pm
It's 2004, so probably out of date, but Andrew H. Knoll is good at writing.

Life on a Young Planet is nonfiction about Precambrian life on Earth! It had lots of interesting stuffs about bacteria and other micro-organisms, as well as weird Ediacaran life. The prose was also nice, and it clearly explained a lot of new stuff, like life preferring to use carbon-12, and thus the carbon-12/carbon-13 ratio being a useful measure of life's presence. It also explained shortly some blind alleys of thought, as well as why scientists went there.

All in all, a very intriguing "What" book on an interesting subject, with brief forays into and mentions of "Who", "How", and "Why", to give better texture. It's also given me a few ideas to toy with in origfic.

Additionally, [tumblr.com profile] shiftingpath gave what was maybe the best explanation of the appeal of exploration narratives ever in TGE chat. (Repeated small stories of tension and release in small adventures.) I am toying with it in the aforementioned origfic.
 
 
25 June 2017 @ 12:54 pm
The gulls and cormorants at the imaginatively named Bird Island in Pt. Lobos have had their chicks. \

Click on the thumbnails to see the bigger pictures.







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