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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

25mar2020

cropYanno, it's really weird to be able to feel anxiety thrumming thru your veins... Why yes, yoga does help make one more self-aware (though I didn't actually detect the sensation until I was on the edge of sleep, that is, pretty relaxed.)

I resolved to do better, and one way is to (again) dump some of the links that have been piling up. —I haven't, unfortunately, the focus (yet, anyway...) to take advantage of this relatively slow & isolated part of my life to try all-in ultralearning but it looks cool. (I do this basic approach on a more relaxed basis to learn anything, because, frankly, one thing the author fails to emphasize is that ‘ultra-learning’ takes stamina. Probably the closest I ever got was when I became obsessed writing novels, which I once did nearly to the exclusion of everything else, for about 3 months. I simply haven't the energy for that sort of thing anymore.)

How to make a mask. Unfortunately, you need quarter inch elastic, and our local JoAnn's is completely out; kudos to the folks co-ordinating crafters & hospitals... Eventually, novel coronavirus may become seasonal, but it's certainly not gonna happen this year, cuz it's way too virulent. (Over time, many diseases, such as the common cold [which btw can be caused by coronaviruses, and n.b. for which there's no vaccine] become less so, but there's hella suffering inbetween.)

Back when the average person was poorer, strangers shared beds. (Drinking cups as well, but that custom went away—surprise!—during the 1918 pandemic...personally, I'd be just as happy if hand-shaking got replaced by bowing or [even better] the Vulcan salute after this pandemic dies down, but I doubt I'll be that lucky.)

Via WHTM a deconstruction of Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. I liked Heinlein's ‘juveniles’ (or at least his shorter, earlier works) such as Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, Red Planet, Double Star or even the horrifically racist Sixth Column, —I liked the Ardey Whitemore ‘Whitey’ Ardmore character because he uses his charisma & advertising gung-ho to get a bunch of demoralized people back up and running. However. His nickname isn't an accident, and though Heinlein tried to make the macguffin (an evil ‘pan-asian’ ‘race’ of Japanese-Chinese conquerors) more acceptable by adding a noble American Japanese guy (women were pretty much absent, of course, from a book written in the early 40s, esp as it was evidently based on an idea by John Campbell), it's probably the most racist thing he wrote. (I also liked The Door into Summer, which just goes to show that my juvenile tastes were, as is often the case, bad. Really bad. In my defense, there's a curmudgeonly cat.)

But I didn't care for his later stuff at all, and the turning point for me was Stranger in a Strange Land. Though I liked some of the ideas in the book, I was (& remain) a prude, and though well-done polyamoury stories (Norman Spinrad's The Solarians was really the first—and remains more or less my benchmark, and no, I'm not gonna risk the Suck Fairy by rereading it) fascinated me, I wanted ones in which men and women were equals, and needless to say, women in later Heinleins mostly exist to slaver all over Jubal Harshaw/other old-goat author inserts & have his babeeeez. Grossss. Stranger was the book in those ideas first made an appearance, and nubile young women dying to have sex with old goats was not terribly appealing to me, since I most assuredly did not want. —So yes, I enjoyed this deconstruction of the old non-fave.

And from the same thread, this amazing youtube of a miniaturist making a model camera (which although a leica rather than the 1950s voightlander my dad gave me as a child certainly evoked it, right down to the leather covered body.) Really incredible control, and I suspect filming the project took just as long as manufacturing the object. The other thing that really impressed me was how relatively simple his tools were, at least for the bits I saw done. (Somehow completely missed how he did the lens lettering—mebbe because it was buried behind a stereomicroscope & wasn't amenable to filming? Or I wasn't paying attention, equally plausible—this whole coronavirus has been hard on my focus!)

Amber is what got me into beads (as an adult) and I used to joke (along with other aficionados) that it was ‘nature's plastic’. Turns out, it's possibly as close to nature gets making a ideal glass. Well, okay then.

Yeesh. That's a lotta link-dumping, and I still haven't cleared my tabs. Too bad, I gotta go to bed. Here's a rainbow dead mouse, may it bring a bit joy into your life.

24mar2020

cropOver at LJF, Libby Anne is frustrated with complementarian advice-givers who are mixing sensible tips (plan your meals, don't waste food) with obnoxious, paternalistic advice (don't expect your spouse husband to help out around the house, then you'll be pleasantly surprised when he does). She's the one who grew up in this culture, whereas my parents required all of us, regardless of sex, to cycle through various household chores (unlike the folks who ultimately inspired this book, which has been garnering a good deal of attention); similarly the wizard's father often frustrated his wife by cleaning up the kitchen before we were even quite done with dinner!

But it was this comment that got my attention:

But the clutter, is it ever an unrelenting despot!

We lived not just in clutter, but filth as young marrieds. My parents did a little better, but our house, with half a dozen kids & at times a large dog, was pretty messy. Mess and clutter just seem to go along with young children. —I have seen one or two super-neat homes with little kids, but they're pretty unusual; even though my dad was obsessive about tidyness, my parents didn't really achieve it until their children were adults, or nearly; and neither did we.

So I wanted to offer this one bit of encouragement: hang in there! Things will get tidier (& cleaner) as the kids grow, and in the meantime, don't beat yourselves up about it.

Thus endeth my PSA—oh, wait, we have another dead mouse, one associated with pi...just a bit late:) Enjoy.

23mar2020

cropEven I occasionally fall prey (heh...) to slightly morbid flights of fancy, so this week's pages return to dead mice, in honour of the 20 or so (real ones) f2tE has piling up on zir compost heap.

It does mean we're very much enjoying the attentions of sweet, fluffy Sketch, who is a delightful lap cat but lousy mouser. Now over at f2tE's Lua the lynxpoint has run of the house, she's hunting them. (Unfortunately, she's learned that letting them go provides even more play...!)

This one, at least, will not run around in your bedclothes at night, nor leave unsanitary droppings, so enjoy.

20mar2020

cropHey, today, I have uplifting linkies! The very phrase ‘megachurch’ tends to get my hackles up, cuz they have a reputation for insularity shading into outright bigotry. But it doesn't have to be that way, which I find heartening cuz I'd just as soon think well of my fellow humans.

But I admit to identifying more easily with other artists, such as this beatbox champion who not only breaks down the components of her art, but (like most really good artists) encourages you to try it yourself. —I can't see myself ever attempting beatboxing, but I surely appreciate having a greater understanding of how it works.

Some things, alas, just don't work. Today's fridayfailure is one of ’em. C'est la vie.

19mar2020

cropIt's the first day of spring, and snowdrops are blooming, and the early crocus are coming up. Last year I planted clumps of snowdrops all over, and it's gratifying to see them doing so well: I learned my lesson, which is that they do much better in bunches than as singletons. —Yesterday I tried making plant markers, and my efforts at representing these dainty, nodding flowers...suck. Well, there are a lot of clumps, so I can make a lot of plant markers. By the time I finish, I might be able to make a decent trailed snowdrop on glass.

Well, supposing you have coronavirus & end up at the hospital, but not treated by an in-network doctor, or worse, get sent to a different hospital cuz your usual one is too full—why yes, you will get hit with a bunch of out of pocket costs. —I really hope a) the dems win this fall & b) medicare-for-all/single-payer or close analogue is seriously on the table. Also, stories like this one are the reasons IP laws needs to be thoroughly overhauled.

Remember I mentioned Myst the other day? Well, here's a modern game that's supposed to ping all those same buttons.

(Naturally, it's not available for linux, but one of the things I did shortly before social distancing took over was to exchange my empty propane tanks for full ones, plus my order for teeny tiny gold coloured crimps came in, which finally allowed me to finish the necklace featured today, & start on others. So I have plenty to keep me busy.)

18mar2020

cropDinos in amber(!) —I got my (adult) start into beads via amber, so I have (ahem) a soft spot for this ancient gem. Another woman scientist's contribution dug up. In slightly more modern news, Tim Berners-Lee (aka the inventor of the internet) notes that it's not serving women and girls very well. Reminds me of some book I read documenting how, when Victorian women started moving into public spaces (via, among other things, the bicycle) men treated them terribly, a practise that continues today. Why is it that men feel so compelled to lay claim to physical space—everything from airing out their balls on the subway to chasing others away from virtual spaces (which ought to be big enough for everyone, surely?) on the internet?

Ok, determined to end this on an upbeat note: stripes—I love stripes, especially organic ones, such as those found in moku magane, as with these gorgeous pieces spotted by Marcus Ranum of Peter Johnsson's work; and of course zebra stripes: I've encountered this story before, but it's so cool I'm happy to put it out there again that those gorgeous patterns serve a very functional purpose: to deter biting flies.

Or hey, here's a necklace I just finished yesterday three days ago. (This sort of thing happens when you move pages around...)