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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

magic window


cropVia bb, a mechanical computer using marbles that demonstrates how the simple binary operations (e.g. addition and multiplication) in these machines actually work. Which if you as much of a doofus about this stuff as I am, is pretty great.

Also, another peony painting, showing (I hope) a bit of evolution in my efforts at a traditional botanical style.


cropYup, the floral sketches continue. This week we have peonies, primarily tree peonies, since A) that's what was in bloom last week, and B) they are the kind of peonies I have in my own garden. Tree peonies (which are shrubs, 3–5’ high) actually do better with a bit of shade—there's no way I could grow the full sun herbaceous ones, which anyway have an annoying habit of flopping every time there's a hard rain. Tree peonies are about as easy-maintenance as flowers this showy get, another reason I really like them.

Today's sketches are older, but I had the photos already made, so, here we go.


cropUgggggghhhhh, sometimes I really hate this country. (CN: lots of people getting beaten, pepper-sprayed and shot with rubber bullets.) I have to admit, The Onion's take on the whole matter, like so many satirists’, seems to be the most trenchant. Particularly as there seems to be a lot of misinformation going around...

Aaaaand the much needed unicorn chaser for the above, police who understand that peaceful protests a) are a right guaranteed by the constitution and b) much more likely to stay that way when not driven by provocation.



cropLike a lot of my recent links this one is courtesy of Cory Doctorow's pluralistic, but I've known about McMansion Hell for a long time. Now the author takes on what she calls Coronagrifting, the architectural/design version of clickbate—like those food bloggers doing impossible (& sometimes dangerous) food hacks because they're visually interesting.

Perhaps an even better equivalent would be runway shows: totally impractical clothes that nevertheless get the designers’ names out there. (Since lost, some other link about the way the writer had mostly lost her interest in ceaseless fast-fashion buying. Part of her realization, besides having nowhere to wear the new clothes, was simply having more time to reflect on her life: living in a slower lane. I have always had to do this, because I simply don't think very fast. —The luxury of having more time means I can—and do—try to think about every purchase carefully, in a way that an over-busy, stressed and exhausted person attempting to assauge those problems might not be able to.)



cropFollowing up with yesterday's comic link, here's another one, this time Stan Lee kibutzing as Rob Liefield and Todd McFarlane create ‘Overkill’, which even I found funny.(1) This 3 minute clip is edited from the original 30 minutes the guys had to finish the drawing, and it opens with Lee asking, ‘Wait, you can draw and talk at the same time?’

It's a good place to start, because I suspect many if not most artists, if they're actually working can not draw and talk at the same time—unless they're doing something they've practised so often that it becomes rote. IOW, Lee is criticizing the younger guys for uninspired banality.



cropIt's so rare, recently, that I feel like I can really get fully, unapologetically, completely and unequivocably enthusiastic, but it does still happen; in this case, a link on the ever-more-ad-laden boingboing about Bruce Sterling's blog on Wired being shut down because the mag is so strapped for cash they can't even afford an unpaid blog; the brilliant sf author is happy to reminisce how writing the thing has clarified his thinking, and is not at all unhappy to be released; but one of the commenters noted that Cory Doctorow had stopped blogging on bb itself, which led me to go seek him out; and while I found several interesting links I was just blown away by this page of a comic by some guy named Sousanis. I scrolled down 2 more equally enchanting pages, and wondered what graphic novel they'd come out of, and where I could buy it. (It should be on my doorstep by next week;)


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