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September 9th, 2014 05:46 pm - Happiness
There's a "List Ten Things That Make You Happy" meme going around Tumblr, and since:

a) I would like to see the meme here on DW instead,
b) I am just coming out of an *amazingly* awful week or so (totaling the car was not the worst thing that happened, if that gives you a benchmark...)
c) but it's over! and nothign terrible has happened for AT LEAST three days, and also I'm at the point in my cycle where I get a random mood lift to compensate for the cramps,
d) and I finally bucked up and made the phone calls necessary to book a WEEK IN A 1930s BEACH CABIN at the end of the month, which I have only wanted to do for twenty years, so my brain is full of BEACH CABIN IN AUTUMN;

Here are ten things that make me happy in no particular order:

1. Long walks on a wild beach.
2. The kind of weather where it's cool but not yet cold, and cloudy, and just windy enough to not be stuffy, and everything seems to have agreed to hush, just for a day, because every noise feels like an unnecessary disruption of the peace.
3. Driving around on empty roads at night listening to the kind of music that sounds like molasses would, so that it seems like you and the singer are two observers outside the world.
4. Sitting in the hammock chair on the screened-in porch during a storm.
5. Afternoon naps in the sun.
6. Popular nonfiction books from the early 20th century where the authors assume that every reader is smart enough, and skilled enough, and hungry enough, and fearless enough, to follow along as far as the author wants to take them.
7. Warm and snuggly creatures.
8. Making something and knowing that what I made is good, and beautiful, and useful.
9. Practicing a new skill when I'm still bad enough at it that I can see the massive improvement after every session.
10. Getting up early to see the dawn come in, when only the early birds are around to keep me company and I can see the light creep in through the trees, and then knowing I can go back to sleep afterward and sleep as long as I want.

..um, and I normally don't tag people on these because of my deep anxiety that people will think I don't like them enough, but I do want it to spread, and I love you *all*, so, uh, I tag everyone who hasn't done it yet. ^_^

Current Mood:: [mood icon] happy

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June 1st, 2011 11:02 pm - Heiligenschein
So, as you might've guessed if you saw my last entry (offers still open, btw! We might actually end up getting a half-dozen or so internet people together on Saturday, or something) Mom and I were going to fly up to Boston for a week starting today in order to go to [personal profile] stellar_dust's graduation and things. It was going to be my first plane ride in about twenty-five years!

I say "were", because the flight was cancelled so we're home again already. I should have expected this. The thing you have to understand, see, is that my mother has magic powers. We've known this since I was pretty small: our family likes camping and hiking and such things, and every time Mom goes camping, it rains. It started to be a running joke once we got into Girl Scout camping, and if Mom went, it rained; if we couldn't go, it didn't. I didn't really think it was much more than an observer bias sort of thing until I got old enough to go on a few camping trips with no parents along, and I scoffed at the boys who brought sleeping bags with no tents assuming they could sleep under the stars, and then it didn't rain.

My whole life I'd just assumed that part of planning a camping trip was assuming that, regardless of forecast or length of trip, you would spend at least one day and/or night dripping and miserable (not counting that time it snowed. In April.) I've had to readjust my entire packing strategy now to the idea that if I am going camping without Mom, there is actually a possibility that it won't rain, that if I plan ahead the weekend might actually turn out clear, that if the forecast a day before says dry it actually will be.

Well, we are slowly discovering that Mom's magic weather talent extends to plane trips, too. As in: if Mom is flying, her flight will be delayed substantially, and even odds you'll have to switch flights at some point. While we were sitting in the terminal tonight waiting to see if they'd ever let us board I asked her if she'd ever been on a flight where something didn't go wrong, and she couldn't come up with any.

On the plus side, we got to spend four hours sitting in the air-conditioned terminal rather than sweating it out in 97° at home.

Also, it gave me a chance to pull out my diffraction grating to take on our rescheduled flight tomorrow morning!

I decided that since this is my first flight since I've been old enough to really enjoy it, I was going to, and screw acting my age. So I pulled out my copy of Science from your Airplane Window by Elizabeth A Wood, and had enough time while waiting through delays that I read the whole thing this evening. Now I just wish the flight was going to be longer! (Also unfortunately having to switch flights means a later boarding and small chance of a window seat, but I can hope.)

Science from Your Airplane Window )

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January 3rd, 2011 09:00 pm - The Word and the Life
I am messing around on AO3 (instead of doing all the other things I need to do, yes, shush) sort-of catching up on Yuletide fics and sort of thinking about maybe starting to do some actual tag wrangling now that yuletide is over (though I think I need to poke somebody about getting an account for the chatroom) and you know what I have discovered that I have a very strong opinion about, regarding AO3 canonical tags?

If you're working in a canon where somebody's full truename is powerful, and hidden, and binding, and they are very, very careful about who they offer it to and when they use it, even in the privacy of thought --

Then you shouldn't make their full truename their AO3 canonical tag.

It's just wrong. First off it breaks pretty much every rule of magical etiquette, plus it's a breach of trust, plus it's a massive act of hubris. I think *especially* because you're applying it to fanfic - sealing something with a person's truename is to try to make it them; to use a truename irresponsibly can change who the person is, because you're saying that whatever you've given that name to is the person, in some of the oldest Deep Magic there is.

And so sealing a fanfic with a truename - it's saying that your fanfic is the person true, and it runs into the danger of making that true, of shifting the person into the version you've sealed into the fic. And I don't like it. Fanfic shouldn't be about making it true.

...and, okay, yeah, the above is only about half-serious. But if I had fic posted to the AO3 in a fandom where this was relevant, and saw my character name tags turned into truenames? I would not like it. (Luckily the only fandom I currently have up where this applies is Earthsea, and Earthsea has a tradition that a person's truename becomes public-domain regarding stories told about them after their death, and is framed such that most Earthsea stories are in that context, so it's a slightly different situation.)

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November 25th, 2010 08:36 pm - In preparation for family gatherings
How To Be The Cool Cousin/Aunt* in Five Easy Steps That Anyone Can Do )

*or elder relation of other gender or connection

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October 31st, 2010 06:22 pm - Sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia
Ah. Of course I wore my voice out the day before Reformation Sunday, when we sing all the good old traditional hymns.

Anyway, to make me less depressed after listening to Pastor's Reformation Day sermon, which was all about the deeply disappointing way the ELCA is (slowly, politely, quietly) attempting to schism itself over the issue of same-sex partnerships (which our Churchwide Assembly decided they approved of last year), here is an embed of the video our Presiding Bishop posted as part of the It Gets Better project, which [personal profile] beatrice_otter linked to a few days ago:
Video + transcript )
And, wow, I'd never really thought about the fact that Lutheran pastors have a specifically recognizable style, but it is so very painfully obvious what denomination he's from even without the intro. Which is to say: it's not by any means a perfect statement, but I am *so proud* of my Bishop for deciding to join the project, especially given the way his Church is spasming over it right now, and the cultural Lutheran more that you avoid divisiveness at all cost.


...oh, is there another holiday on 31 October? Sorry, you know how tunnel-vision us Christians can get about other folks' holidays. :P

I have very specific tastes when it comes to horror, I have come to realize.

The horror I find nicely shivery brings in a few particular factors: the unseen monster and the unknown fate; the incomprehensible but malignant outsider sentience; and the shift of ordinary things and places into sudden objects of fear.

The first horror-y fiction I ever read that I actually both found scary and liked was the classic fantasy novel The Face In The Frost, by John Bellairs. It's a short novel which combines parody/humor, classic quest fantasy with evil wizards, and that sort of deep horror of the mundane and unknowable. It stars two wizards named Prospero (but not the one you're thinking of) and Roger Bacon (also not the one you're thinking of) as they try to stop Melichus (a old schoomate of Prospero's) from evoking a formless, all-encompassing alien evil out of a mysterious book.

The book was clearly inspired by the Voynich manuscript, a deeply creepy Medieval book full of drawings of cyborg women, strangely biological-looking circle diagrams, and alien plants, which is written in a mysterious script that has never been decrypted. Melichus' book from The Face in the Frost is very similar, but it is finally read - by Melichus - after he discovers that, when you study the book obsessively, sleeplessly, compulsively, staring only at the pages of the book until all the rest of the world seems unreal - suddenly it wavers into something readable. Something alive, strange, something that wobbles between not quite real and too real to exist, but readable.

I've always wanted to mock up some pages of the book, properly bespelled, and since I finally found my stylus, I drew them for All Hallows. Here it is, a two-page spread from Melichus's evil book:
a two-column layout that looks like it's from a medieval manuscript, with intricate and creepy drawings of plants, circle diagrams, and naked women in plumbing all around the margins. The text is in an alphabet that is strangely familiar, but not one you know.
And yes, if you figure out how to read it properly, it really does decrypt by itself, one slow letter at a time, alive and wavering but readable, like the evil book in the story: there is proper magic in it.

The plaintext I used was a nonsense poem from later in the book. The marginals are directly inspired by the Voynich manuscript - luckily the artist of the Voynich wasn't a particularly good draftsman either.

If you figure it out or try try and fail, let me know? I've never really tested this method on anyone else, so I'd love to know how well it works. Anybody posting a full decryption within the next few days gets their comment screened, but discussion of methods is strongly encouraged. :D

ETA: If you want to know how this encryption works, [personal profile] siegeofangels worked out the cheating decryption method, and I give the rest of it away in comments to her entry.

(24 comments | Reply)

September 14th, 2010 10:13 pm - Election day!
You know that old saying about how democracy is like sausage: you'll feel much better about it if you never see it in progress?

Yeah, don't ever sign up as an election judge or a meat inspector.

(Also, Candidate Middlebrooks' wife showed up to observe and get immediate vote totals. Guess how many times I accidentally called her Mrs. Milliband! Go on, guess!)

Here are the Completely Useless Skills(pat. pending) I showed off to my fellow election judges while waiting to see if any voters would actually show up for a non-presidential primary election where none of the races were being seriously contested.

Make a three-story-high tower out of voting machine security cards )

Make a 'beaded' necklace out of 'I voted' stickers and paperclips )

Make a basic paper spring out of the backing strips from a roll of 'I voted' stickers that you used to make a necklace )

Make a kleenex carnation )

Make a rotating three-dimensional projection of a four-dimensional hypercube out of nothing but paperclips )

(Oh, and some voters actually did show up! Although many of them were confused and thought they were there to vote on something else entirely. This is, sadly, true.)

Current Mood:: [mood icon] exanimate

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March 27th, 2006 12:04 pm - I will create as I speak
Early this morning I was visited by a bogeyman. I heard him in the living room - I heard him come stalking down the hall - I heard him crunching through the mess of papers on my bedroom floor - I heard him make deep, irritable growly noises like nothing I had ever heard before - and I knew, I just knew, that if I pulled my head out from under my covers, I would see him on the floor below my bed, see his glowing red eyes afloat in a mass of darkness - and he would know I was there - and then - no, I don't even want to think about and then.

I had no other option but to stay all the way under the blankets, to try to make my breathing quieter, and go into the accepted method of getting rid of bogeymen (that being, keep your eyes closed and your head under the blankets and try your best to convince yourself that he couldn't possibly exist, and when you no longer believe he has to go away.) It worked. Eventually.

When I woke up for the final time this morning, I could have sworn that the clothes hanging on my closet door had a pale, dead face and were watching me...

I've never been bothered with monsters under the bed before, or anything like that (except for the days when occasionally the sweet-gum tree by my window would get restless and come walking, but that was only that one autumn before it settled down.) I wonder what attracted that one last night. I wonder if I can remember never to do that again. Yesterday in church I started to say the Abracadabra diminishing chant, but was interrupted before I got to the end of the spell ... I'm tempted to say something about psychic energy leaking out of the unbound ends, or attracting demons by saying their names lightly, or tiger repellant and the day it stops working ... but it's noon and broad daylight, and I don't really believe in any of that stuff. Really.

Where's my blanket?

Current Mood:: [mood icon] intimidated

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