Friday, October 20, 2017

Incheon Animals: Upupa epops

The hoopoe is a beautiful bird. I knew they could be found in Korea but this is the first one I noticed. It is nearly magpie or blue jay sized but my camera had trouble (or, I had trouble) getting a clear photo. Here are mine and below a few from the Interweb.


Pixdous (this one shrank a little):

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

TWIC: lots of generators, a science of imagination, Gates on NPR

I attended an online prep workshop for this year's Nanowrimo. We discussed a lot of generators for names and such. Here are some:
A human name generator. Superhero character generator. Lists of names with meanings. D & D characters. Character appearance generator. Character backstory.
A google app: Character story planner.
Sci Am looks Toward an Imagination Science.
At the link are a video and PDF of the results of a Neuroscience Imagination Retreat.
The past decade has seen an explosion of research into the psychology and neuroscience of imagination, with rapidly evolving literatures on topics ranging from mind-wandering, daydreaming, mental simulation, theory of mind, and creative problem solving. Despite considerable progress, however, several fundamental questions remain: What is imagination, and how do we measure it? Is imagination a fixed ability, or can it be enhanced through targeted intervention?
Sci Am also discusses how they make infographics, this one on pregnancy in progress.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

TWIC: Notebooks,desks

Snider tells us what to put in our notebooks. The image below was cut so it has only half of his list. Follow the link for the rest!

CBC's guide to writing prizes for Canadians. An excerpt from the 'Fiction' category. There are also non-fiction and poetry categories.
Canadian Tales of the Fantastic Short Story Competition
Entry period: Winter
Eligibility: Written by a Canadian, about Canadians, or takes place in Canada
Entry fee: $15
Prize: $500 for first place
Carter V. Cooper Short Fiction Competition (Exile)

Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $30
Prize: $10,000
CBC Short Story Prize
Entry period: Fall
Eligibility: Canadian citizens and permanent residents
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $6000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and a 10-day writing residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and publication on the CBC Books website.
Notable winner: Michael Ondaatje
Cedric Literary Awards
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Residents of Western Canada (B.C., Alta., Sask., Yukon) aged 50+
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $3,000
Eden Mills Writers' Festival Contests
Entry period: Spring
Eligibility: Residents of Canada
Entry fee: $0-$15
Prize: $50-$250
A short one this week. I have spent the past five days at my in-law's farm, celebrating the Korean holiday of Chuseok and spreading rice to dry.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

TWIC: 1702 math text,Terrible Dahl, Money, logos

Rebecca Steel's accompt book.
Book description:
Scope/Content: "Anno 1702" is written on the title page, but within the text, the present year is given as 1701 and as 1702.
Scope/Content: Manuscript mathematical cipher book written in 1701 and 1702 by Rebecca Steele, a young student in Bristol. Pages exemplifying specific mathematical operations and concepts are embellished with calligraphic designs and command-of-hand drawings, and some lessons are dated. Many processes and operations are described in long word problems, including one (p. 30) where Steele is set the problem of figuring her exact age. She gives her birthdate as 28 May 1689 at 8:12pm and the present date as 17 April 1702 at "about 10 in ye morning." She is likely the Rebecka Steele who appears in Quaker birth records for the city of Bristol as a daughter of William and Melior Steele, born on 28 May 1689 in Thomas Street.
Condition: Bound in contemporary speckled calf with blind tooling and metal clasps.
Via pharyngula.
Maybe one reason I am not a published author is because I am a really good guy. Apparently, Roald Dahl was a bit of a monster and look how well he wrote.
How to make $290,000 selling books. Amazon has removed the book, priced as $290,000 from its website.
A Nanowrimo friend interviews author Kelly Morse.
Science Fiction and Fantasy: ruined by Atheism?
Logos drawn from memory. As always, this image was shrunk slightly and the the link has more details. Click to see it somewhat larger.
via Kottke.
I like the idea of text prompts to help me think of a short story. But incomplete doodles will work, too. Here are some interesting completions of a few doodles.

Control room eye-candy (images shrank, etc):

11th century herbal remedy guide digitized.

Boingboing has a summary.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Inktober 1: I had to start somewhere

Well, I have confirmed that I have a goal. That goal is to draw something that doesn't embarrass me. Sigh.
I often draw a version of this on my whiteboard for students to see the difference in tongue position and the importance of sticking their tongue out when they pronounce, "th".

The great artists I have seen and drawn inspiration from all show their warmup doodles on the side. I can't get more embarrassed so I might as well be pretentious.

Incheon Animals: Nephila clavata

Objectively, I know the value of spiders, even though I don't care for them. At least I can expect them to remain in their webs while I look at them, unlike fast-moving insects.  This one, the East Asian Joro spider or Nephila clavata was plenty big and disturbing. But also so very beautiful.

Music of my youth: Doug and the slugs' Tropical Rainstorm

I didn't have any specific taste in music and so drifted where friends and coaches led. One swim coach, who shared a last name with me but probably wasn't related, was a huge Doug and the Slugs fan and played his music while we swam.
I absorbed it while I swam and only later, when I knew the name of the group realized I'd heard their songs on the radio.
 D & S was the first concert I went to on my own, using a friend's ID to sneak in underage. Although this is not a bar or live favorite, D & S was the best bar band I can think of.

Anyway, this is not a love song but a wreckage-after-love-is-over song.
We're nothing more than friends gone their separate ways, no longer parallel lines.
The song has a bitter edge,
Hearing your master call, you finally turned to home
Back to what you see as real
but is more about the recovery
A bond broken, then repaired.
The imagery fits the song perfectly,
Oh, I heard the small-craft warning long before they came
Ah the gales oo were blowing for days
Clearing the pathway of the branches from the storm
I realized that you had made your place
Swept away by a tropical rainstorm on the lower mainland

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Inktober starts tomorrow

Inktober is a drawing festival that takes place during October. Drawings have to be in ink - "(you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want)." and posted online.

The website is here. There is a Facebook pageWith the hashtag on Twitter.
Here are the rules:

On Twitter, Abby offers her own prompt list: has lessons and tips for aspiring artists - $14.99 a month. They are mentioned in the video and introduction at the Inktober link. I am not interested but those who actually do this as a hobby might find it useful. SVS has some other content for Inktober.

Seeing the great work of artists doesn't intimidate me much. I have no illusions about my own skills but I hope that my skill does improve through the month. For simplicity reasons, I may post my drawings here once a week. In addition to the prompts above, I often try to draw examples for the subjects I teach. my work here may well include a carefully drawn version of my standard 'TH' pronunciation face. I'll have to check the textbook I am using these days to see what else is needed there. Otherwise, I sometimes like to look at a map or a building schematic while writing to see what actions are possible in the story - I know that I have written four people entering an odanathropter and eight climbing out at the end of the journey - and maybe mistakes like that will be easier to avoid with a few images at hand (Obviously, an odanathropter is an airship shapes like a dragonfly). 

Here are some of Jake Parker's (the creator's) work from 2013. He offers these images in a book, so I have taken care to shrink them greatly.
The image below is from Jake Wyatt. It was posted on the inktober Facebook page on Sept 15, but I don't know how to link to a specific post on Facebook. Here is Wyatt's website and the image below has been shrunk. I don't know the first thing about ink drawing and wanted to see images with colour being used.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

TWIC: PErfect, focus, inspiration, sharing, erotica

Grant Snider discusses perfection. I'm a fan of his posters and have bought some for my sister. I want this one, if anyone is interested in helping me with that desire. Actually, I don't want the image below that I deliberately scrunched - follow the link to see the full image:
Boy. I really like the poster but the crumpled version I made to show looks very negative. Really, it is a cheery poster in full.
Focus when writing - and probably any other creative pursuit:
"While writing, shut down email and internet access. All of it! ... We need to practice and strengthen our long-deep writing muscles for most effective — and satisfying — story sinking."
Winnipeg author and actor Anita Daher
The book that inspired Dune!
Anyone who has obsessed over the mythology of Dune will immediately recognize the language Herbert borrowed from Blanch’s work. Chakobsa, a Caucasian hunting language, becomes the language of a galactic diaspora in Herbert’s universe. Kanly, from a word for blood feud among the Islamic tribes of the Caucasus, signifies a vendetta between Dune’s great spacefaring dynasties. Kindjal, the personal weapon of the region’s Islamic warriors, becomes a knife favored by Herbert’s techno-aristocrats. As Blanch writes, “No Caucasian man was properly dressed without his kindjal.”
On Quora, 100+ people share some of their creative work
Selling a book bundle on Amazon. TL;DR: combine the 2 or 3 or # of books into one file, make a new cover and upload it to Amazon.
Describe a cup of water. The lesson Robert Jordan gave Brandon Sanderson.
Should I write more sexy scenes? Part of a newsletter I get From Skinny Artist:
So she was wondering if she should start writing romance novels instead.
Not just romance novels, but “erotica” novels, which I’m told are kind of like the foul-mouthed step-cousin of the romance genre.
When I asked her why she was thinking about changing to this particular niche, she told me that it was because these novels are typically short and sell extremely well. There’s apparently a huge demand for these type of books, and ebook readers are known to buy them one right after another.
But here’s the thing. Tracy has never read an “erotica” book in her life, and she doesn’t particularly look forward to writing one, but she said that she’s tired of putting all of this time and energy into writing her thriller novels year after year only to watch them gather dust on the virtual shelf.
I mentioned to her that although I'm sure there are a lot of erotica authors out there who are selling a ton of books, she was probably going to make herself miserable if she didn’t have a passion (ahem) for the subject matter.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TWIC: research, comedy, organization

At Quora, a look at different levels of creativity. Joe Velikovsky offered this graph:
Explanation for his 5 Cs at the link.
Norm MacDonald, comedy genius.
I belong to a writing group on Facebook. A colleague asked how best to manage the following word count - I have removed identifying content:
1) 6000 words a month- I have 80,000 words I aim to finish by next Sept - this is my PhD and is of absolute priority.
2) 4000 words a month (1000 words a week) - this is for my blog and to keep my writing sharp and varied
3) 1750 a month (2500 words over 2 months) - these are magazine articles I write for some overseas publications
4) 1000-2000 words a month - these will be for academic journals and are a relatively high priority for an academic. Articles are about 8-10,000 words.
5) 500-1000 words a month - this is for creative writing. 
 For the blog and magazines, he writes in part for publicity - "get my name out there"
I don't have an answer for him but I find his desire to write in different genres and his attempt to be organized at it to be admirable.
A similar question came up on Quora: How do you manage your time when you need creativity to get work done?


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

TWIC: Inktober, CBC, LeGuin, writing, quora,women, Voynich solved, carving tools, tree font

Inktober is coming.

Do submit entries to CBC literary contests. Don't make these mistakes. Here are two:

3. Including your name (and address) in the file
It's impossible to anonymously evaluate a text when you have the person's name sitting in the right hand corner of the last page. Please remove your name and any identifying information from your submission (except the title, of course). We have our own ways to keep track of who you are and what you wrote.

A guide to writing prizes for Canadians4. Sending the wrong file
Are you attaching the proper document? Sometimes we receive frantic emails from people who realize they've sent in the wrong version of their story. Some keep tinkering with it after it's been submitted and want to send a tighter version. By then it's too late. We only accept one version of each entry for evaluation.
A guide to Canadian literary magazines and journals open to submissions
The CBC has a new short story prize; submissions accepted now!
The 2018 CBC Short Story Prize is open for submissions. Canadian writers can submit original, unpublished short stories until Oct. 31, 2017.
The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, attend a 10-day writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and have their story published on CBC Books.
Introduction by Ursula LeGuin to her new Hainish novels collection. An excerpt:
Methodical cosmos-makers make plans and charts and maps and timelines early in the whole process. I failed to do this. Any timeline for the books of the Hainish descent would resemble the web of a spider on LSD. Some stories connect, others contradict. Irresponsible as a tourist, I wandered around in my universe forgetting what I’d said about it last time, and then trying to conceal discrepancies with implausibilities, or with silence. If, as some think, God is no longer speaking, maybe it’s because he looked at what he’d made and found himself unable to believe it.

Usually silence is best, but sometimes I think it’s better to point out some of the gaps, to prevent readers from racking their brains in the effort to make sense out of what doesn’t. People ask, for instance: how did the League of Worlds morph into the Ekumen? or why did mindspeech suddenly vanish from the universe? I can’t answer the first question at all, but I know what happened to mindspeech. I couldn’t use it in a story any more, because when I began to think seriously about the incalculable effects mutual telepathy would have on a society, I could no longer, as it were, believe in it. I’d have to fake it. And though a fiction writer mustn’t confuse her creation with fact, encouraging “the willing suspension of disbelief” is not the same thing as faking.
From Quora: What should male writers think about when writing female characters. This answer reminds men that women are not always thinking about their chests in the way many men are. Here is an excerpt of what not to write:
She rolled out of bed and put on a shirt, her nipples prominently showing through the thin fabric. She breasted boobily to the stairs and titted downwards.
I did not answer that question but I did answer a few. My social media writing is really taking off - but I neglect my blog. I wonder what my priorities are?
I was one of several who answered:

Another question was about prepping -not for the coming zombie apocalypse, but before writing a novel. This list looked good.
The Voynich manuscript has been solved, or deciphered. It is text describing medical treatments for various ailments. It is difficult to find a single bit ot excerpt; I guess this will do:
It is reflected, however, in the illustrated Zodiac wheels of the Voynich manuscript; the additional ingredients can be identified by the trademark patterns on the bathing tubs, a practice of ingredient identification used by many a medieval apothecary on his albarelli (storage jars). Each Zodiac wheel in the Voynich manuscript is populated by depictions of naked female figures in the classical tradition of either bathing in hip baths or in physical exertions.
I briefly mentioned Voynich here, the link in that post goes to the digitized books.---
Using images in English Language Teaching, a free e-book (pdf format found at the link).
I try to carve wood. I know what a stop-cut is. At a carving tools fair, I picked up a few chisels, gouges and blades that I thought were appropriate; at the check out the clerk asked me what I planned to do with them. She then recommended fewer and different tools. Another subject I need to educate myself in. This blog post on wood carving tools will help.
Tolkien reads the Hobbit. This was his first time seeing and using a tape recorder.
A tree alphabet and font. Katie Holden has created an alphabet of trees. Part of it here.
I must admit I don't know how to install new fonts but if you can and want to, you can download it here.
Via Kottke.
Social Justice Warriors are(n't) taking over science fiction.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Music of my Youth: Vangelis I'll find my way home

Ah, synthesizers.  You were so great, way back when.
I remember the synthed voice more and the first two lines more than anything else. Now looking at the lyrics, it's a neat song that rewards reading.

From Lyrics Freak:

You ask me where to begin
Am I so lost in my sin
You ask me where did I fall
I'll say I can't tell you when
But if my spirit is lost
How will I find what is near
Don't question I'm not alone
Somehow I'll find my way home

My sun shall rise in the east
So shall my heart be at peace
And if you're asking me when
I'll say it starts at the end
You know your will to be free
Is matched with love secretly
And talk will alter your prayer
Somehow you'll find you are there.

Your friend is close by your side
And speaks in far ancient tongue
A seasons wish will come true
All seasons begin with you
One world we all come from
One world we melt into one

Just hold my hand and we're there
Somehow we're going somewhere
Somehow we're going somewhere

Somehow I'll find my way home X4

One of the commenters on the Youtube pages asks an important question about this video:
This blogger feels the song is strongly Christian in origin. It does mention soul and sin but I find it more generic.

I think I'll be digging into Yes: Youtube, Wikipedia

Friday, September 8, 2017

Incheon Animals: Probably Peregrine Falcon

Falco Peregrinus lives around the world and while I think it was endangered, it has rebounded well and is not considered at risk now.
These photos were taken in Sokcho, Gangwon Province a few years ago but I see and hear them around my current apartment complex in Incheon.

Apartment complexes look somewhat like cliff faces and one apartment near my own did not have glass doors enclosing it. A pair of falcons nested upon it.  For about a week I could hear their piercing cries before I finally saw them and tracked down which apartment they were flying to and from.

In the photo below, we see two juveniles, the left one much older than the right. One reason the adults were able to raise two full clutches is shown in the talons of the left bird; the apartment owners were feeding them.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Gangwon Animals: a farmer and its livestock

A coworker brought in a yellow flower his students had picked, surprised at the ants climbing on it. Since I was eager to use my digital microscope, we set it up and had a look at the base of the flower. With the naked eye, we could barely see a few uninteresting lumps. They were forgettable until we looked through the 'scope.

Wikipedia on Ants & Aphids.
More from Ars Technica and Science Daily.

Many students wanted to study ants as their project and I mostly dissuaded them. The challenge is in identifying what species we are looking at. 'Around 5 mm and black' covers a lot of ground in the ant books.

Aphids are similarly hard to ID. There are a lot of them and as you can see, they are tiny.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Music at my first job: Windy by The Association

Windy on Youtube. Ah heck, here is the video:

I am certain I heard this song playing on the radio at home. Hmm, I cannot recall the station; the DJ for the show was Don Dainer (sp?) and the show was "Looking Back". We listened to it Saturday nights in the late '70's so this song would have been ten years old.

I most recall it on 590 AM in Muskoka on my way to or from work in the summer. I was a carpenter's helper in the summer, swinging a hammer or carrying stuff.

I really thought this song had a whistling section as I definitely thought I was whistling along with it. That is to say, I was whistling although I am not sure a listener would have recognised it.

Who's peeking out from under a stairway
Calling a name that's lighter than air?
Who's bending down to give me a rainbow?
Everyone knows it's Windy

Who's tripping down the streets of the city
Smiling at everybody she sees?
Who's reaching out to capture a moment?
Everyone knows it's Windy

And Windy has stormy eyes
That flash at the sound of lies
And Windy has wings to fly
Above the clouds (Above the clouds)
Above the clouds (Above the clouds)

I also thought there were more words to it. Full lyrics can be found here.

the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of that year[1967].
Maybe that's why it is a big deal for me: it was big when I was born.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

TWIC: D&D, O'Connell, game the system, banksy in Korea

I want to play D & D again. I miss it. I was (am) too much of a snob to appreciate D&D themed books like those of R A Salvatore, but I do think the creativity that goes into planning a campaign or dungeon and the creativity of the players trying to survive is remarkable and at least an introduction to story telling. And, I have read a few books by Salvatore.
D&D Beyond offers a character-generator for free and some other cool for-pay offerings for players and DMs alike. Boingboing has a summary. In the comments of the B'Boing article, people recommended similar services from roll20.
CBC interview of Grace O'Connell Eight other Canadian authors each asked her a question. Here is
one of them:
3. Vivek Shraya asks, "Who is a Canadian writer you aspire to write like and why?"
There are so many! Lisa Moore for gorgeous sentences and emotional depth, Timothy Findley for amazing depictions of madness and grief, Alice Munro for building worlds within paragraphs. Kathleen Winter for deep empathy and unexpected beauty. Robertson Davies for dry humour and totally unexpected, wild plots. Margaret Atwood for perfect similes and deeply human characters. Brian Francis for huge range and a keen emotional understanding of people. I'm sure I'm forgetting favourites, but that's what springs to mind today.

A Handbook for Mortals: did it buy its way into the New York Bestsellers list? And more on the subject.

Exhibit in Seoul of Banksy works. I plan to visit this Friday or Saturday. Exhibit ends Sept 10.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gangwon Animals: broad-bordered bee hawk-moth

I know this type of insect as a hummingbird mimic or hummingbird hawk-moth. Of course, there are no hummingbirds in Korea so there is good reason to not associate it with that bird.

And yet it hovers and flies very much like a tiny hummingbird.

Korean name: 북방황나꼬리박각시Wikipedia has details about it  here.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Music of my middle age: Cinderella (trying not to scream)

I grew up on Doug and the Slugs (Doug on Wikipedia). Along with a few other bands and songs that will be featured here, one of my swim coaches loved this band and played their cassette tapes repeatedly while we swam.  I am certain to feature more Doug and the Slugs songs here but this one is interesting because it is relatively recent (he died in 2004) and I think only exists on Youtube.

I have discussed this song before, focusing on the interesting choice of detail; the only concrete detail is green walls. A very quick Google search shows the phrase he used describing schools, maternity hospitals and spas.

We further know she lives alone and she has no place to go. The rest are merely evocative language and cliche. Let me pick out a few cliches:

  • Down in flames
  • Streets paved with gold
  • Half-full glass

Elsewhere are everyday icons, used by everyone and nearly cliches themselves:

  • Cinderella
  • broken mirror
  • broken heart
  • heart of stone

Bennett puts them together well and makes his own kind of tragic love song from them. I don't know if Bennett made any other kind of love song. One of my favorites that made it onto an album is Tropical Rainstorm.

Some questions: "Shattered dreams like Napoleon Bonaparte". I have listened to the line a few times and wonder if he uses the ending to a joke, "Blownaparte". Bonaparte's dreams were indeed shattered but not in a love song kind of way. I hope there is more to the choice than a rhyme with 'heart'.

Cinderella Trying not to Scream.
When we first met, there was a sound of music and the streets were all paved with gold.
Then fact and fiction began to collide and the love letters all turned cold.
One of us in denial, the other down in flames.
But who got busted, who gets dusted, it's the same old game.
She sits in the window of a haunted house where the walls are all painted green.
Cinderella, trying not to scream.
When you live a love without any glory, its a love you live in vain.
With so many lies and so many stories we live in a spiral of shame.
One of us a broken mirror, the other a broken heart.
Shattered dreams like Napoleon Bonaparte.
She sits in a window of a haunted house where the walls are all painted green.
Cinderella, trying not to scream.
She lives alone with her own expectations and the spaces in between. Cinderella trying not to scream.
All those lonely days and lonely nights that she slowly walks us home.
No one knows  she has nowhere to go and no one to call. No one to call.
When we first met, there was a sound of music and the streets were all paved with gold.
 Then truth and religion began to collide and the love letters all turned cold.
Some say the glass is half empty.  And others say half-full.  But she thinks the glass is pointless. I guess she always will.
She sits in a window of a haunted house where the walls are all painted green.
Cindrella, trying not to scream.
She lives alone with a heart of stone. Its the saddest thing I've ever seen.
Cinderella trying not to scream. X4

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Stories of my youth: the disappointing elements of fantasy books.

I grew up reading Lord of the Rings, The Belgariad, and The Riddle Master of Hed. Riddle Master is probably the series I have most often reread. I just finished the first book an hour ago. I have reread it more than ten times. Beautiful writing but the hero, Morgon, seems more whiny with each reading.

All fantasy has wizards and magic and swords and royalty. Many such stories have ancient secretive races like elves and dwarves -or Earth Masters. I wanted in this post to dig into the other stuff common to these fantasy stories and focus on Riddle Master of Hed.

The things I note are:

  • wine
  • harps
  • approachable royalty
  • robes

In Lord of the Rings, I would add:

  • other boozes
  • tobacco
  • healing plants

I guess I would add in general:

  • capes
  • swords

Wine and booze. Tim Powers' Drawing of the Dark made beer magical. But Tolkien had already done this with wine. Maybe he was making his story less fantastic and more historic. Note what the Founding Fathers of the USA drank!
The Huffington Post reports, “In 1787, two days before they signed off on the Constitution, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention partied at a tavern. According to the bill preserved from the evening, they drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight of whiskey, 22 of porter, eight of hard cider, 12 of beer and seven bowls of alcoholic punch. That’s more than two bottles of fruit of the vine, plus a few shots and a lot of punch and beer, for every delegate.”
What I really want to get at here is my disappointment with booze. I was a nerdy kid; didn't smoke and wasn't even interested in alcohol. At age eighteen, I snuck into a bar. Not to drink, but to listen to the band playing that night (Doug and the Slugs, often featured here at Creativiti Project).
I finally became interested in alcohol and tried wine. It was okay and I could drink it out of politeness but none of the brands for sale listed medicinal or medical uses (for the latter, come to Korea where traditional liquors have remarkable claims of effects.)

I like beer now and have become something of a connoisseur. At least as far as my wallet allows. Rum and Coke is great. Gin and Tonic is refreshing and protects me from malaria. But none have the effects described of even house wine in Tolkien's stories.
Beer image from.

Morgon of Hed, in RMoH, is stubborn and frequently smashes a glass against a wall when he cannot do as he wishes. This makes more sense when you realize how often he is drinking wine. Maybe that description of drinking is accurate - though depressing. Morgon of Hed is a damn drunk?
Everyone in the RMoH universe plays or loves to listen to the harp. In the first book, the two main characters both carry them. And they do so through difficult travel. I don't know how small a harp can be but even a small one would be annoying to drag around, I would guess.
Seventeen years ago, I decided I wanted to learn an instrument. I had played tuba and a few other brass instruments in high school but they were bulky and expensive. I didn't want to learn the piano due to its size. I didn't want any stringed instrument because I have a tin ear and would never be able to tune it. I was lucky to be able to take Danso lessons in Korea. The Danso is a small flute held forward and down rather than horizontally. I had a lot of fun learning it and still bust it out on occasion.
I can see professional musicians wanting a harp, but can;t imagine anyone else wanting to carry one around.
I guess I don't have an actual problem with approachable royalty but it just seems weird.
Robes. So many people in fantasy stories wear robes. I don't understand it. 'Nuff said.
In addition to imagining myself drinking various fortifying alcohols, as a youth I also imagined myself smoking a pipe.  Maybe I would control the smoke with my mind or allow it transport my thoughts into other spheres... smoking is pretty nasty in real life.
Aloe Vera is a great plant with medicinal properties. Touch-me-nots in Ontario have sap that relieves the itch of poison ivy. I am now done with my knowledge of medicinal plants.
Capes. Capes look cool. You know, in the right situation, having a blanket hanging from your shoulders would be handy. I was very disappointed with the cape my mother made for me one Halloween as it barely reached down to my waist and everyone knows a good cape should reach the ground. My mother ruined Halloween that year! And capes forever after!
In addition to learning an instrument, I have also learned swordfighting. This is another thing I am not disappointed with.
But glaives and bills and halberds have so many military uses. I don't understand why they aren't more common in fantasy stories.
Hafted weapons Image from.
Halberd image from.

Okay, reader(s). What do you see in fantasy that affected your childhood imagination but was ruined as you matured?