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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

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cropWhile noodling around the internets I stumbled across this truly amazing story by a scientist talking about her trials and tribulations for getting a grant. Don't really want to say more for fear of spoiling it, but her speech is well worth twelve and a half minutes of your time.

(Honestly, someone oughta make a film about this—it's got everything: science, sports, heart-wrenching drama, a kindly mentor, even a cute kid...)

Or you can check out my latest beadcurtain strand.


cropI started learning how to do henna earlier this summer, and finally started doing it professionally about a month ago. One of the things I enjoy about henna—beside the relatively low-stress aspect of, even if I screw up totally, evidence thereof will fade away in a couple of weeks—is the collaborative aspect of interpreting the clients’ ideas. One, frex, wanted an anklet of dots and dashes—morse code—so she could have something decorative with a secret meaning not obvious to most, which also has the advantage of avoiding the unintentionally hilarious screwups you read about on hanzismatter.

My most recent client requested something ‘Polynesian or Asian’. I kind of stalled out completely, trying to envision what ‘Asian’ (presumably non-Indian/Pakistani bridal) henna would look like, but figured perhaps ‘Polynesian’ would be a small enough topic that I could generalize something. After a bit of hunting around, I found this website that summarizes some of the common iconography. Until I can actually get some books on the topic, I guess that will have to do for my understanding. Oh, and by the way, ‘Moana’ evidently means ‘ocean’ in all polynesian languages.



cropHeh, it turns out I'm not the only person who takes pictures of mushrooms and posts them on the internet. Along with other cool stuff, like someone's best guess of what the Epic of Gilgamesh might have sounded like (I had to read this for college, & it's generally considered the oldest written-down story.) But like flowers they make great subjects for art—speaking of which, I will (finally!) have some on the site. Tomorrow!

In the meantime, the last lot of mushroom pix.


cropPlanetary settings in general and Mars in particular seem to be capturing the fancies of sf&f authors, and today's offering, Jessica Abel's Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars, once again features that locale, as well as a young, spunky heroine; after that, things begin to diverge.

The most obvious difference, of course, is that this is a series of three graphic novels whereas the other two were novels; also, the author is female, but the story couldn't really be characterized as a ‘first novel’ as the other two are; but I'd say the biggest difference is actually a matter of inspiration: the others harken back to a romantic age, with varying levels of homage and critique.

Trish Trash takes its inspiration firmly from the present day—not only the sport, which really only has gotten going in the last 15 years or so (and in fact fresh meat at our local league started last week, and the last set of roller derby playoffs is weekend after next) so this is an altogether appropriate timing—but also exploitation of the poor. If there's any hearkening back to those grand old colonial days, it's in the sour comments of a scarred descendent of folks who indentured themselves for the journey; in fact, not for only the protagonist but most the people she knows, indent—involuntary servitude for excessive debt—is a constant sword overhanging their lives and struggles. Indeed, if I had to choose an inspirational work, I'd say Bitch Planet, but according to the author, Trish Trash has been in the works for years.



cropI'm still going along with the prettypix (& my sympathies to all those in Irma & Jose's paths: 9/11 just isn't a good day around here, is it?)—this week, perhaps we'll do mushrooms & the like, as they're more or less the late-summer/early-fall equivalent of flowers when in the woods:) I mean, pretty colors, and they are the fruiting bodies for some fungi, after all.

Library was good enough to get in Curtis Craddock's first novel, An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors: A Novel (The Risen Kingdoms), for which I found a recce somewhere or other. This charming Martian fantasy has a lot to recommend it. Like Arabella of Mars it features a young woman with a scientific bent of mind, a highly patriarchal society, and the romance of ships sailing amongst the aether, not to mention a nod to a classic author, in this case, Alexander Dumas.



cropvia pharyngula this entertaining half-hour discussion about game character design, which, spoiler alert, also applies to any would-be manga-ka (that would be me...) It's also kind of a bright spot of feminism sanity and good design uniting for a better outcome, and right now, I'll take all the little victories I can.

Speaking of lively movement, today's post is on swallowtails; and that's all folks, till I get back from a trip up north. Take care:)

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