Rejiquar Works rejiquar.com::atom 2017-09-21T19:21:12-05:00 copyright 2017 Sylvus Tarn Sylvus Tarn 2017-09-20T00:00:00-05:00 A fabulous story by the scientist who discovered an important cancer gene. 20sep2017

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.

2017-09-17T23:11:35-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-09-20:/String/2017pink_green_beadcurtain_strand
2017-09-19T00:00:00-05:00 A bit about polynesian tattoo iconography 19sep2017

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.

What the client (who was getting his first henna) really wanted was something not-floral—not because he minded the flowers, he just didn't want a bunch of guff from other people. (Most of the examples of Polynesian tattoos I found were on men; ‘tribal’, which so far as I can tell simply means bold and black & is western in origin, is also perceived as masculine.) What particularly fascinated him is that henna, being an oxidizing dye, like indigo, is that it matures over the 48 hours or so it's bonding to skin: it's initially orange, and changes to a red brown, which he likened to old-style photographic images appearing in the darkroom. —I'm actually old enough to have hung around in darkrooms watching this process, and thought that was a very cool comparison.

Oh yeah, I have a bead curtain strand to enjoy...

2017-09-17T22:33:50-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-09-19:/String/2017amber_beadcurtain_strand
2017-09-18T00:00:00-05:00 Heh, 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 wr...

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.

2017-09-17T21:54:55-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-09-18:/2017mushrooms
2017-09-13T00:00:00-05:00 Jessica Abel's _Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars_, vols I & II. 13sep2017

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.

Also, the art and anatomy is good, as is the colouring, which I deeply appreciate:)

And there isn't a hint of romance:) Much as I enjoy love stories, it was kind of refreshing that the sex and genders of the characters didn't really have much of an any impact. Which is to be expected from an author whose early work mostly didn't inspire (though the librarian who recommended it to me adores it the most) but is worth the price of admission for the single page “Oh! My Sisters!” alone, a short addressing street harassment so sharply and succinctly I want to redraw it just for the sheer vengeful identification with the story.

There's no question that having a passing knowledge of flat track derby adds to my enjoyment of this book, but for the uninformed, there's an explanation of the rules in the back in Vol I. The first volume ends on a cliffhanger, but the second comes to something of a resolution; and I can't wait till the third comes out. A ton of fun, and suitable for all ages, but particularly teens who are likely to identify with the 15 year old protagonist.

Or you can look at some more fungi, which do sometimes look rather on the otherworldly side.

2017-09-11T09:30:34-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-09-13:/Fantasy/2017burgundy_spot_mushrooms
2017-09-11T00:00:00-05:00 review of Craddock's _An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors_. 11sep2017

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.

I particularly enjoyed the early chapters, which had some quite beautiful imagery. Again, like Arabella, it's modelled on an earlier, colonial time featuring European powers—primarily France and Spain, in this case, rather than England—but it mostly sidesteps the outright colonialism that was so problematic in the other book. (The ‘Spaniards’ are swarthier, and some briefly mentioned balloonists—the equivalent of Travellers, I think—come in many colours, but the real distinction in these societies is whether one possesses one of several heritable magical gifts or is ‘clayborn’.)

The story alternates between two viewpoint characters, Jean-Claude, a cavalier of the king, who has assigned him to protect an unwanted and deformed princess, Isabelle des Zephyrs, the other viewpoint character. Besides her misshapen hand, she is both fascinated by, and gifted at, mathematical thought, despite the fact that were her interests discovered she could have her eyes plucked out and her ears stove in, the penalty for women who follow intellectual pursuits. So she encodes her mathematical notes in paintings, and wishes she could stay in the exalted clouds of pure thought, a high mountain arduous to climb but a peak altogether worthwhile.

In contrast to her retiring and fearful naivite, Jean-Claude is a gifted dissembler more likely to use fast-talking than dirty tricks to protect Isabelle, though he'll do whatever's necessary. Neither have the magical abilities that are the birthright of nobility—Isabella's family being a sort of vampire, her fiance's Glasswalkers, that is, people who can travel via mirror. Thus, while Jean-Claude has the aegis of le roi, and Isabelle is a princess, they must very much rely upon their wits rather than sheer power.

The book obviously owes something to the Three Musketeers, and there's plenty of political maneuvering and derring-do as Isabella attempts to find her feet in the court of her fiance. Which she does indeed do, and I really appreciated watching her develop a backbone and political smarts. The problem is...she was supposed to be this introverted mathematical genius, and that sort of got lost after the first few chapters. To be sure, she needed to develop that acumen to survive, but I had hopes she could keep her intellectual interests amongst all the politicking. Also, those readers hoping for a juicy romance subplot are gonna be rather disappointed, I'm afraid.

Jean-Claude's character, however remained perfectly consistent throughout (I couldn't help thinking he was the one who really spoke to the author's heart;).

The only other nit I had to pick was with the villains (excepting Isabelle's father who is undeniably foul from the get-go). They—along with various other characters—were originally presented in rather ambiguous terms, and I think the book would have been even stronger if they'd continued as possible, but ultimately untenable allies, as opposed to devolving into pure baddies.

But these are nits. I thought the world-building was great, there's a decently finished ending but plenty of potential for future stories, and I hope the author will eventually take real advantage of aetheric environment.

Or you can look at pictures of fungi.

2017-09-11T08:47:43-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-09-11:/Fantasy/2017orange_mushrooms
2017-09-07T00:00:00-05:00 how to design better animated characters. 07sep2017

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:)

2017-09-05T13:27:41-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-09-07:/Garden/2017swallowtails
2017-09-06T00:00:00-05:00 3 views of Houston & hurrican Harvey. 06sep2017

cropMy view of Katrina was rather different from average, I think, because we don't have tv, and didn't subscribe to a newspaper: I found instead an interesting blog by an EMT who went there to help, and his on-the-ground observations, along with posts from the coterie of progressive blogs I follow, coloured my views. —Currently I do have a subscription to the NYTimes, though I use it to follow links more often than making a point to read it everyday.

Thus my view of Harvey is, again, influenced by links picked up here and there, starting with one by one of my fave NYT columnists, Paul Krugman (& yes, that's the real link but mebbe you have to cut and paste, or something to get it to work, sigh...) who, to be fair, balances his laments about Houston's unbridled growth with the necessity of pushing back on nimbyism and over-regulation along the coasts. (However, his complaints about Houston are similar to a lot I've seen on various left sites.)

So I really appreciated this pushback, via alas (see item #21) by an urban planner. An awful lot of the infrastructure services that government provides (& Trump & cronies are quietly cutting, much to our detriment) are this sort of detail-oriented, behind-the-scenes futzing around: misunderstood, if it appears on the average person's radar at all, boring, and specialized—and yet, over time critically important to the success of society.

This guy's argument is that Houston really isn't any more unregulated, or poorly-planned, than any other post 1950s car-culture-centric US big city, and it's unfair to blame it for that, or being on the coast, which are much larger discussions to be had about urban planning. Krugman's a smart guy, but his area of expertise is economics, not urban planning as this poster's is; so I'm inclined to believe this guy, if for no other reason that I'd like to rein in my tendencies to believe that the GOP is always & everywhere unmitigated evil.

And finally, we have the reaction of someone living in the city, a meteorologist for whom Harvey has a very personal meaning —and who, I'll note, falls more to the ‘unbridled land use and now we're paying the price for that’ camp. His expertise is in weather, and he also seems to be more aware of local politics.

So there you have it: three views, each a little closer to the source, with varying opinions about how much we could and should have done to prevent the devastation this storm caused. Some things have been learned: evidently, rescue teams no longer force people to leave their pets behind—which I think is a good thing, because forcing people to live that kind of guilt for a creature to whom they've assumed responsibility is not in my mind a good thing (leaving entirely aside whether innocent animals should be left to die through no fault of their own—and hey, isn't the sign of a civilized society its willingness to rescue its weakest and most defenseless?) —My overall opinion hasn't much changed: climate change is a thing, the storms will get worse, and it's not till we've gotten comprehensively shocked with the bill—be it in lives or the pocketbill—will we finally start doing something about it.

As a natural born conservative, this annoys me to no end, because I'm very much in the oz or prevention versus pound of cure, but unfortunately most of the world doesn't see it that way (or, in the case of the very wealthy, I guess, simply doesn't give a rat's ass—and hey, what that other flooding us self-involved usians are conveniently ignoring?

Which is why I'm aggressively going with pretty flower pix. There doesn't seem to be a damned thing I can do to change the situation, except perhaps brighten some poor sod's day with a bit a beauty.

2017-09-05T13:23:52-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-09-06:/Garden/2017daylilies
2017-09-05T00:00:00-05:00 The little links I collect to enliven these intros are piled up...somewhere. Obviously, I haven't been doing much with the website (though I've been spamming my instagram with a great many posts of out-of-focus henna); however, I hope to have some upcycled, dyed textiles relatively soon. In the m...

cropThe little links I collect to enliven these intros are piled up...somewhere. Obviously, I haven't been doing much with the website (though I've been spamming my instagram with a great many posts of out-of-focus henna); however, I hope to have some upcycled, dyed textiles relatively soon.

In the meantime, I finally figured out those various rather weird, mournful calls at 2 in the morning are eastern screech owls; have seen a few monarchs fluttering about; and here are some garden pix.

Currently, the garden is appreciating some much needed rain—spun off from Harvey, hundreds of miles away; what was was so awful for so many was attenuated here in showers of mist and rain, illuminated by the westering sun into falls of golden light so magical that I've only seen it depicted in fantasy paintings hereto (usually of Tolkien or the like). Or morning mist into which the trees disappear in silvery greys and charcoals—the sort of thing not uncommon in Japan (or, to judge from watercolors, other parts of the far East), but something rare enough to be special, here.

Even without Harvey it's been a rough summer for many; which is why I'm posting flowers and butterflies, I guess.

UPDATE: so I changed the post this intro links to so much I went ahead & redated this from 31aug...and since it rained yesterday, the above is still pretty much current.

2017-09-05T13:27:27-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-09-05:/Garden/2017stargazer
2017-06-30T00:00:00-05:00 Here's a link to a short film from the early 1900s that provides a fascinating window to life in NYC a hundred years ago. (I wish I'd saved another link I stumbled across of the same city, a decade prior, when horse-drawn transportation was completely dominated: the photo showed a street ankle...

Here's a link to a short film from the early 1900s that provides a fascinating window to life in NYC a hundred years ago. (I wish I'd saved another link I stumbled across of the same city, a decade prior, when horse-drawn transportation was completely dominated: the photo showed a street ankle deep (or more!) in horse manure, because there were so many horses that their waste totally overwhelmed the efforts of city planners to cope; the problem really only went away when the reliance on horses did.

Today's review of the YA fantasy novel Arabella of Mars, focuses on its culture, which has alas more serious problems than horse manure.

2017-06-27T14:21:23-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-06-30:/FantasySF/arabella_of_mars
2017-06-28T00:00:00-05:00 =Last evening=, i.e. 2 evenings ago when I wrote this, sigh, a storm system (and even a little rain) rolled in, & the sky turned these gorgeous shades of orange and pink, even lavender: sunset reflected high enough up amongst the clouds that we could actually see colours, which tend to be blocked ...

cropLast evening, i.e. 2 evenings ago when I wrote this, sigh, a storm system (and even a little rain) rolled in, & the sky turned these gorgeous shades of orange and pink, even lavender: sunset reflected high enough up amongst the clouds that we could actually see colours, which tend to be blocked by trees, houses and the like.

I love the closed in feeling the trees give, but there's no question that big-sky country is the place to see spectacular sunsets: today's link features art and science, specifically a new cloud formation—in very cool pink & gold colours—exactly the same as today's dead mouse.

2017-06-28T08:25:12-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-06-28:/String/2017pink_yellow_dead_mouse
2017-06-27T00:00:00-05:00 fabulous photography with fluidic acrylic paint... 27jun2017

cropContinuing on with bright, happy colour schemes with a nod to intense pink, I just loved this gorgeous photography of fluid paint; and I noticed that turquoise and fuchsia mixed particularly well (as they do with fabric dyes as well); with turquoise and yellow being a close second (also true).

Or you can check out this pink lentil pendant, made on the last day of spring.

2017-06-26T10:26:12-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-06-27:/GlassBeads/2017pink_lentil_pendant
2017-06-26T00:00:00-05:00 Gee, let's make a webpage about the latest beadcurtain strand. ---I love travelling, but it does seem to take *forever* get back on track. Evidently, June is Pride month, so here's a link about a LGBTIA+ ``alphabet'', delightfully interpreted in modern dance ; and the very first rainbow fl...

cropGee, let's make a webpage about the latest beadcurtain strand. —I love travelling, but it does seem to take forever get back on track.

Evidently, June is Pride month, so here's a link about a LGBTIA+ “alphabet”, delightfully interpreted in modern dance; and the very first rainbow flag, which ties in nicely with today's page, given the colour scheme of the original beadcurtain.

2017-06-25T09:03:07-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-06-26:/Beadcurtain/pink_green_fumed_dichro
2017-04-21T00:00:00-05:00 Anoushka Shankar plays one of my favourite instruments. 21apr2017

cropvia a ftblogger's self care channel here's a gorgeous sitar vid by Anoushka Shankar.

If you're feeling a bit stronger on the activist side, Earth Day (& marches for science) are tomorrow. I've never really understood the divide between science and art, as the former is a huge enabler of the latter. But as an artist always wanting better & cooler art supplies & tools (never mind the whole clean water/cures for infectious diseases/communication tech...) I am all about funding science. For those not into crowds, the nice thing about resistbot is you don't even have to talk to people. I gather you have to give it both your full name & title (the latter is a bit problematic for me, as there isn't really one in English I'm happy with....)

I'm going out of town shortly, and so blogging is gonna be light to non-existent for the next month or so. But we've got all those pretty spring colours to look at in the meantime:)

2017-04-19T10:01:04-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-04-21:/Kumihimo/2013easter4strand
2017-04-20T00:00:00-05:00 Gear driven machine for producing textiles... 20apr2017

cropSo I thought I'd take a break from all that old stuff, and talk a bit about some of my more recent researches: today's textile is not a braid (technically, braids are an oblique interlacing, i.e. a sort of weaving) but instead merely a 4 strand twisted fiber, like rope or multi-ply yarns. Though handspun yarn can be single ply, it's not as durable as multiple, which is also why rope is traditionally at least 3 plies.

Plying allows for some fun visual effects, such combining strands with long and short colour repeats, a technique handspinners call fractal spinning; knit up, it uses optical blending to make more softly transitioned stripes. I, of course, have been fascinated by ombre yarns for a long time—somewhat for embroidery, but especially for kumihimo. As it turns out, though one can purchase reproductions of circular sock knitting machines, no-one, unfortunately, has gotten around to reproducing the equivalent 19ca braid making machines, which to be sure, have a lot more gearing; even the sock machines were, according to the 4th generation machinist who makes these things, no picnic. So if I want to, say, prototype hand-dyed string to see how it might look in braids, I'll just have to settle for using my bradshaw winder:) —which actually would be a pretty decent mockup, at least for spiralling striped braids such as kongoh.

So today's post features a bradshaw wound cord, as opposed to a braid.

2017-04-20T09:00:31-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-04-20:/Metal/2013lentil_pendant
2017-04-19T00:00:00-05:00 Getting back into harness. 19apr2017

cropIt's taken several run-ups to get going again, and the post below, written in Dec15, kinda shows why. Wish I could say it was now totally outdated, but if anything, the situations referenced have gotten worse. Le sigh.


Well, my goodness, in the last week or so we've had yet another Planned Parenthood clinic shot up (and this essay is all I have to say about that); more mass shootings; plus of course the ongoing syrian refugee crisis, the US reaction to same in contrast to the season (not to mention our country's—and, particularly on the patriarchal side of the family—own founding) being so appalling hypocritical that I just had to take a break.

I've also been struggling with the resurgence of a persistent cold, which, while not particularly serious, has certainly been sapping my energy. I read somewhere that depression may possibly be a screwed up immune response, a shutting down to redirect energy to getting well. SAD would seem to support that hypothesis, since a lot of animals do ‘power down’ during the winter.

Regardless, when low on resources, one of my little strategies is to step back: I can't do this big thing (that I ought to be doing) but is there some little task I could do? And I suspect, entries for this week, if they appear at all, will be smaller criticisms. Or, hey, mebbe just kitten cuteness on the interwebs, or equivalent.

2017-04-13T11:03:41-05:00 tag:www.rejiquar.com,2017-04-19:/Kumihimo/2014kongoh16strand