Saturday, September 30, 2017

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

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.

Monday, September 25, 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.

Saturday, September 9, 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.

Friday, September 1, 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.